Publications and thoughts
The Supervisory Board as a Coach
Teaching at INSEAD
This has been a brand new and very rewarding experience! Teaching at my former business school, in a highly innovative and challenging format, after only one session on campus going live three consecutive days on Zoom - overall just great and so rewarding to engage with students and share experiences!
PDF-Dokument [183.0 KB]
One year in the Hydropower industry
After joining Voith Hydro as Executive Vice President for Business Development I have spent a really exciting first year in my new position. Hydropower is a both traditional and very innovative industry with sustainable products that are indispensable for an environmentally friendly development of a society. I am willing to engage in any discussion about the future of Hydropower and why it is one of the best renewable energy sources that we have.
Here is my first interview on some of these issues:
Diversity, "women's issues" and the quota
In these days everybody is discussing how to increase the diversity of management teams. That diverse teams perform better seems to be widely accepted, but the way how to get to more diverse teams - particularly gender-diverse teams - is highly controversial.
For the last ten years I have been responsible for the Women's Initiative and the FlexTime model for a top professional services company and have also advised clients on "women's issues". Take a look at my thoughts on these topics and why I think that a quota will not help at all...
Paper Demand Forecasting
Since 1993 I have been providing demand forecasts for the global pulp & paper industry. Initially being laughed at for somewhat pessimistic outlooks, now even critics have to admit that there is a tangible influence of electronic substitution on graphic paper grades.
Similarly we see some critical developments in packaging grades where also a decoupling from GDP growth can be observed. In our BCG reports on the topic, all of them under my supervision, we have investigated these trends for paper as well as adjacent industries.
Take a look at the most recent BCG report on graphic paper substitution:
Poetry and Strategy
Is there an intellectual connection between poetry and strategy that ought to be recognized and could even be exploited? Is the beauty of poetry exclusively for elevating the mind or can it also be helpful for understanding strategic connections?
In short: should a manager read poetry for the good of his business?
A team from BCG's Strategy Institute - took an unusual approach to answer this question: we invited managers to read poetry with us. We discussed poems, in the US, England, Germany and Japan - with surprisingly similar experiences.
We realized three things about the effectiveness of poetry from these experiences:
- The individual artistic pleasure of a poem and the beauty of its lines are worth the experience in and of themselves. This was not unexpected, and many people are already familiar with this experience
- For the second point I would like to address the role of language. A poem is like the future, full of vague hints, a mixture of facts and opinions, unclear forms and incomplete models, with multiple meanings, open and emotional, highly interpretable and often controversial. It allows a multitude of paths, detours and escapes. Thus, different readers will not necessarily agree on what the poem is really about . Why should this realization be important for managers? Language plays a decisive role in convincing other people, whether employees, customers or the public. Language points in certain directions and diverts from others. The language used in strategic exploration has an effect on the answers that will be found.
- The third and for us most surprising insight from this project consists of the social function of poetry. The discussion of the poem allowed us to easily enter into a profound conversation with people we scarcely knew and, as a result, know them better. As part of the discussion, all the participants allowed others to see inside them, to put themselves in the role of the other people, and understand their perspective. Isn't that something that we managers continually need to do, if we are to convince other people?
I want to take you on a trip. The book is - to put it very simply - a book about writing a book, a book about writing a book about poetry for executives. As you gradually get to know poetry, I openly share the doubts that came to my mind as I read. We conduct a continuing dialogue with an imagined critical manager. Poetry and doubt are not bad travel companions. Doubts accompany readers who are hungry for knowledge and ready to learn, who know that they are not starting something simple and hear the siren songs of the realists who already know the answers. But if readers have enough patience to engage themselves with the poems, the value of poetry can become clear.
That is the experience I hope for you to have when reading this book, you can find it here.