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The world of business is changing at a very rapid pace. Let's not get too distracted by the contingent efforts of resurrecting our beaten world economy. Let's not just revamp usual methods. Let's look broader and deeper. Let's look at the global MEGATRENDS. They clearly tell us what we will be needing more of; and how to get ready!
According to a study published in June 2013 by the European Commission, Europe still lacks childcare provisions; only 30% of children under the age of three are enrolled in formal childcare. Germany lags behind this already low average with only 25% . An inspired leader with intelligence, foresight and a big heart, Ms. Uthmann-Rothkötter has taken it into her hands to provide employees and neighbors with the opportunity to combine family and career, by creating an establishment that not only provides a caring and fun space for children in the Emsland area, but also inspires the German community at large to learn and grow together with their youngest generation.
When we hear the word “conflict”, we often think of “fight”, i.e. something bad and unproductive. So we find the idea of creating positive change from conflicts to be a totally foolish or even a preposterous one. But is it? The word conflict maybe often used as a synonym of war in breaking news, but it´s also equally often used to describe disagreements or challenging differences of opinion that might disrupt harmony and destabilize. But wait: don´t all businesses desperately need to bring disruptive alternative perspectives to the table, in order to stimulate innovation and growth? So how can we shift paradigm and actually use conflicts to bring about positive change?
“Hidden champions“ are highly successful companies that the general public does not know about, but that are global market leaders in their area of activity. They focus on doing one small thing well with passion, not on managing complex processes; they do not compromise on principles, but are flexible in execution; they are innovative, tightly connected with their customers and retain lean organizations with high loyalty. They can teach us about strategy, leadership and fun.
A former canoe and catamaran national champion, Giovanni Calabria is no new to winning. In a little more than a decade of hard and inspired work he and his team have grown the family agricultural machinery business from a small local player to the global market leader of an expanding niche. A text-book example of what Prof. T. Levitt (Harvard Business School) called “Hidden Champions”, he is driven by a relentlessly burning “inner flame” of passion.
The type of leadership that brings sustainable business success, the one that Jim Collins calls Level 5 Leadership, can be described by the mirror/window metaphor.
When successful, the Level 5 leaders look out of the window and credit everyone else; when faced with criticism or failure, they look in the mirror and take responsibility. The opposite behavior is unfortunately more frequent.
How can we foster more of the Level 5 transformational leadership that leads to success?
“An entrepreneur owns a business, a manager owns a job” is a saying that sits well with Derk.
Like most entrepreneurs, Derk thrives in risks and uncertainties, looks at mistakes as learning avenues, and drives his business ahead with determination and passion. Yet the most remarkable trait in Derk’s charming personality, and the secret of his business success, is a rare combination of reservation and ambition; Jim Collins would say he is an example of Level 5 Leader.
When I asked Chris, during our lunch in Milan, what was the secret of his success, his answer was: “Boots on the Ground”. Then he smiled and added the necessary clarification “We are credible, we are transparent and we are trusted.
This concise statement resumes the essence of Chris leadership style.
We are all aware of the benefits of simplicity in business: a simplified and focused message attracts more customers, a simplified process flow increases productivity, simplified procedures decrease occurrence of errors, and simplified arguments improve our negotiating skills. In all these cases and many more it is easy to see that simplicity means reducing (the unnecessary or the noise) in order to add (value, effectiveness and quality).
The benefits of behavioral simplificationare maybe less obvious to grasp, although