Transparency in the election of the Supervisory Board

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Intro

In a much acclaimed article by Gabor Steingart, the comparison begins with


“The doghouse is for the dog, the board of directors for the cat.”


Hermann Josef Abs (First member of the Management Board, then Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank in the 60s and 70s of the last millennium). In fact, the function of the Supervisory Board is being given greater focus, currently around the personnel of Paul Achleitner.

We need more transparency

In fact, confidence in the function of the Supervisory Board is no longer at its highest. There are two reasons for this:

The Supervisory Board is often staffed by the old Management Board.
The function of the Supervisory Board was delegated more and more to voting rights advisors.

The most important function (of the many held by the Supervisory Board) is to seek and appoint a reasonable and well-functioning Management Board. As Gabor Steingart explains, this has not always been the case.
A decisive criterion: the search again for the supervisory board itself. And here it is time for a paradigm shift to take place in the large corporations as well. It should be the person on the supervisory board who has proven competence not only in the specialist area of the company, but primarily also management experience behind him: A retreat to a pure cuddling course with the company’s executive board should thus be avoided.
I am not only talking about keeping to the cooling off phase, which is often ignored, but also that it is often appropriate to fill the supervisory board from a third party. The competences to supervise the board can also be acquired elsewhere in the economy.

Especially in medium-sized and family-run companies such a rethinking has already taken place. Here the Supervisory Board is staffed according to other criteria than in large corporations. It is about time that the same applies to them as well: Away from uniformity with the Board of Management, towards a critical body that constantly questions the course of the Board of Management. It also helps that institutions such as the Anglo-American IOD help the function of the Supervisory Board to become more professional.
To this end, the Supervisory Board must be staffed differently. As long as the positions have the appearance of “supply posts”, trust will not be restored.

German version here.

NewWork: Deconstruction of the safety net

Veröffentlicht 1 KommentarVeröffentlicht in Allgemein, Board, Digital Transformation

Intro

In the past I have already dealt several times with the topic “NewWork”. My focus here is on how new ideas and concepts can be established in organizational structures. Phrases like “always focusing on customer benefit” are not very helpful if you are established in a company with several 1,000 employees.

Decisions without safety net

Both in projects and in middle management it is becoming increasingly evident that decisions are not only made, but also that a lot of capacity is “burned” in the justification of a decision. This culture of justification (the “backups” in the slide sets) may seem helpful to the project managers and division managers. But they only help the decision maker in case he has really made the wrong decision. And then other mechanisms are needed, not the questioning of the original decision making.

This discipline is due to the organisational structure. The project and division managers have been conditioned over years to act in this way. And so the justification system was optimized over a long period of time.

The dismantling of this culture must take place across all hierarchies: Every form of approaching new working structures must have a stable size: Trust. Without this, it is not possible. In the vast majority of cases, employees at all levels are in a position to make their own decisions in their field of work. A manager or project manager should be able to assess this area. If a wrong decision is made, everyone should work together on the solution and not on the search for the cause. With this one can then go new ways, be it only partially (in projects / in the area) or also generally. Executives and project managers who cannot deal with this are a problem that can only be solved by top management.

The safety nets must be dismantled across all hierarchical levels. This includes senior management as well as other levels such as division managers and project managers. Trust must once again become the centre of work in an organisation. Without trust, we remain in the old models.

Disclaimer: In this article I refer to having to justify everything exactly in advance. I do not question the sense of a functioning risk management system. I still believe that a functioning risk management system is not only sensible, but also vital for survival.

German version here.

Newwork Needs Trust

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Intro

Especially around the topic “NewWork” there are many ideas and tools. Not a day goes by without invitations to “Design Sprints”, people get together to “Dailies” and you are “agile” everywhere. The topic is so omnipresent that even the Hamburg company XING has named XING after it. Recently, someone asked what the most important tool was. I mean: trust!

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Trust!

Actually, it’s a shame you have to emphasize it that way. In the meantime, mistrust has grown in the organizational structures, mainly driven by middle management. This has nothing to do with the inability of the individual, but rather with the fact that it is precisely the abilities in micromanagement that are promoted.

In order to try out new things, it is necessary to promote trust, and in many cases to establish it anew. However, it is not only middle management who cannot do this alone. Trust must be promoted and demanded from above. This includes not challenging the project or division manager to be able to speak at all times. He does not have to know at all times, he has to be able to obtain the information.


Conversely, employees also have to trust each other to the extent that they can independently approach their project manager or manager when problems arise, without fearing any restrictions.

This also includes promoting empathic values. The best counterexample is a manager who rhetorically asks “He wants a simple answer to a simple question, yes or no”. Thus he delegates decisions to a level which does not want that again.


The tools and tools behind it are secondary: You can do and try out many things that you should. Some things will make sense, some will make sense. Which of these can only be decided individually in the organizational structure and best of all with the help of the employees.

However, trust must be exemplified by top or senior management. If the managers themselves fight with distrust, it will be through the different hierarchical levels. The tools behind this are fashionable and largely irrelevant. The epicentre is: Again more about trust, about managers, about project managers, but also about employees.

German version see here.

London Big Ben House of Parlament

Agile Micromanagement

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Intro

Today I wanted to deal with my (admittedly empirically not relevant) experience about new leadership styles. Especially with young executives I increasingly experience that the style is more authoritarian, but agility and NewWork tries to shape the external image. This is the pendant of pseudo agile for Management styles.

Agile micromanagement?

What is striking? Individual elements from the agile environment are taken up and consciously communicated to the outside world. However, central conditions are not fulfilled. The most important of these is trust.

For NewWork it is not enough to include

😘

in the work instructions

When dealing with new working conditions, it is not enough to just set up a table football table or to use the new “Duzen” [german] to pretend a closeness that is not lived.
Newwork for me (I unfortunately don’t know a central definition) means, among other things, creating new freedom for employees. There are still goals for this, but it is no longer checked on a step-by-step basis what the status is like. The boss (manager…) is there to avoid problems. Conversely, this also means that employees have confidence in their manager.


Newwork also means checking process steps for meaningfulness. Especially in large corporations, measurements and excelsheets have established themselves where nobody knows what they are good for anymore. A manager who has understood this actively questions whether everything always has to be right. A pointless work instruction remains pointless, even if you garnished the mail with “…… that would be totally sweet” during forwarden.

Every organization gets the leadership it deserves

Let’s come back to the entry mentioned “Agile Micromanagement”. In many cases, managers are conditioned in this way: On the one hand, there is the expectation that managers, especially from middle management, are always meaningful. But this is where the will to change lies with top management: this trust must be lived from the highest hierarchies.


The middle management reacts with the hybrid model quasi out of self-defense: On the one hand micromanagement is expected, on the other hand one wants to be agile. Often, by the way, the same management encourages this through some kind of innovation. I would be careful to point out the senselessness as an evangelist: As a rule, you can’t change organizational structures from one day to the next.


Agile methods and NewWork require New Management: The executive as mentor and coach in mutual agreement with the employees. And the epicentre is trust, which can and must only be lived from above. And this can only be exemplified slowly by top management. Top managers have just been deprived of empathic traits and what do we do with toxic executives?

Added value of Digitaltransformation

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Today I stumbled across a tweet by Christian Müller which I found very exciting:

Executive, female, late 50s: You: “The whole digital world, where is there still value added?” Me: “What do you mean by added value?” You: “Well, produce something that can be touched.” – That, too, is a subjective reality in times of digitalization.

(Tweet by @CMueller80)

Does digitalization bring added value?

Does digitalization bring added value?
I can understand the thoughts in the first step: The biggest “winners” of digitization to date are AirBnB or Uber, for example. However, it is precisely such companies that have taken existing business processes and generated added value for the customer with smart applications. The process itself is the same, but exactly these new market participants are participating and taking margins.


In my opinion, however, these success stories are only the tip of the iceberg and do not symbolize the actual upheavals associated with digitization:

Digitisation is accompanied by a number of new technologies which not only affect the end customer but also enter production. Here are a few examples

IoT: Internet of Things: This is about networking all kinds of things. This includes not only everyday objects, but also machines and shelves. Logistics can thus be optimized considerably. In production, maintenance can be improved.

Big Data and AI: Networked with the point before, a lot of data can be collected, but also analyzed. Techniques such as neurological networks help to process the data and draw conclusions from it.

3D Printing: 3D printing can also be mentioned in the context of digitization. It still has the charm of a gimmick for nerds. However, the technology is developing rapidly. There are many conceivable areas of application in production, up to “Just in Time Printing”, i.e. the time-accurate production of components. This technology has so much potential that production could again become more attractive in high-price wage locations such as Germany.

What is reflected in the tweet is the perception. The best-known companies do not produce anything, but only use familiar business processes. However, these best-known examples are not representative of what digitization means for companies. There are also many possibilities in production that are not always so well known.


It is highly recommended for every company to deal with digitization: So not just apps, but: Where can we use new technologies and how can we use it?

The Global Female Leaders 2018

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Intro

We are proud to be Partner of the next year Global Female Leaders in June 2018. Especially in Germany, the gender pay gap is Reality and so, Networking of Global Female Leaders is a must have for the future. It is this year in Germany.

Global Femal Leaders 2018

The global female Leaders 2018

Global Female Leaders Summit 2018 – an international economic summit for women – will take place for the 5th time from the 3rd till 5th of June, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.

The intention for this international economic summit for women was to establish a global network of high-ranked female executives and thus to provide a platform for women to share a variety of thoughts, perspectives and solutions – we establish the “Davos for women“.

And we are on the right path; more than 250 high-profile women from the business world, and more than 60 internationally renowned speakers were present this year and had an inspiring dialogue. The dynamic developments of globalisation, the effects of digitalisation, the incredible possibilities of artificial intelligence, the working worlds and our values ​​in leadership are topics which be our central challenge over the next few years. At our summit, we learn not only from each other as people working in the economy, but also about geopolitical risks. The motto of the 5th summit is: “The Values ​​of Leadership in Times of Transformation, Disruption and Artificial Intelligence”.


To learn more about our summit and to get some impressions from previous events please visit our webpage:
http://www.globalfemaleleaders.com

Some of our high-class speakers in the past were: Cherie Blair, CBE, QC, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Martina Hund-Mejean, CFO, MasterCard, USA, Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland, former First Vice President of the European, Labor Politician and Member of Parliament, Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications, Government of Finland, Janet Henry, Global Chief Economist, HSBC UK, Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the European Commission, European Commissioner for Budget, Human Resources and Security.;

Do we see us, there? Registration is opened and can be reached here.

Upcoming Conference on Family Business

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Upcoming Conference on Family Business

The purpose of the Conference is to present examples of good practices for the transfer of management and ownership. There will be two representatives of German corporations Underberg AG and Werhahn KG (Stephan Werhahn, our GIoD Board Member) coming to Slovenia, who will present their path – the growth and development of the family business. From their experience, they will present their domestic practice of transferring management and ownership, the importance of values for successful management and business, and the challenges of growth and expansion to foreign markets. They will also present the principle of sustainable entrepreneurship and how they see family entrepreneurship in the future.

Continuity in german boards –

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Intro

In the last week there was an important decision for the continuity in German boards: The participation of employees in the German Boards is compatible with European Law. so the continuity of the German composition of boards is guaranteed.

history

Since 1965 in Germany are the half of the members of the board sent by employees. The German Konrad Erzberger saw in this very special law a discrimination: Only German employees are able to participate this law. Employees of other countries aren`t represented with this law. With this commencement the petitioner got the wrath of the German unions: They are often financed by the fee, their members got by participating the supervisory board.

In the case of TUI the law was called: Is this participation legal with European law? The German Courts sent this case to the European Court. Since Friday, the result is published: The German Law is compatible with the European law. The experts saw this in may this year in their report, and now the European court has followed this view: It is quit right, that different countries of the European Union follow different ways for stakeholders and law for companies:

 In that context, EU law does not, in the field of representation and collective defence of the interests of workers in the management or supervisory bodies of a company established under national law, a field which, to date, has not been harmonised or even coordinated at Union level, prevent a Member State from providing that the legislation it has adopted be applicable only to workers employed by establishments located in its national territory, just as it is open to another Member State to rely on a different linking factor for the purposes of the application of its own national legislation.

The Association for German Leadership has appreciated this decision:

The cooperation with employee representatives in the supervisory boards has proved successful for the majority of specialists and managers in Germany.

explained the president Ulrich Goldschmidt. The German participation is a great advantage for the location of Germany and has proven in the past 52 years. Now the European Court has obtained  legal certainty.