Dealing With An Unexpected Future

On April 29 2021, TRANSEARCH hosted its traditional business lunch, offered again as a virtual event due to the current ongoing situation. The event offers leading executives the opportunity to freshen their contact list and, following a presentation, invites them to join in the discussion.

On this occasion, Mr. Erich Harsch, CEO of Hornbach Baumarkt AG, was guest speaker. Mr. Harsch framed the topic of "Dealing With An Unexpected Future" as follows.

Personal responsibility / personal responsibility of employees

Mr. Harsch considers large or complex hierarchical structures to be an obstacle for the company. Removing the hierarchy levels under the stipulation "only as many as necessary" leads to better and more direct communication. Organisations that only depend on their superiors, turn the boss into a bottleneck. He illustrated personal responsibility with an upside-down pyramid, in which the foundation consists of the board of directors, who attach great importance to the employees' own control rather than external control. Good leaders give employees more freedom.

Self-orientation skills

Working and acting independently leads to agility. The fewer instructions there were, the more decisions would be made. This requires a competence and ability that has to be learned, practiced and developed. In this context, Mr. Harsch asked of leaders "Don't be a puppet player: if the threads are cut, the puppets are incapable of acting".

Culture and attitude

Instead of intensive instructions, which lead to "know-how", place more emphasis on the purpose of the task, the "know-why". Because this is how willpower and energy arise.

The management question is related to the development of personal responsibility and this is related to trust. Trust in employees is good, but not sufficient, because trust has to develop through experience. With conditional confidence and the acceptance that people get 20% wrong at the beginning, Mr. Harsch has had a much better experience. Because with confidence, people approach tasks intrinsically motivated, usually do more than 80% correctly, learn and thus contribute to the success of the company.

Dealing with technology

Forward-looking infrastructural preparation is important in these times. New technology must be understood as the infrastructural foundation in order to be successful. Video conferences, which have already proven to be cultivated, change user behavior: a faster and more intensive exchange of information, mutual learning and coordination as well as coordinated action are possible, which - if used correctly - leads to competitive advantages.

The unpredictable will also happen in the future. For this reason, cultural framework conditions should be created for people so that they are able to deal with the unexpected.

According to Mr. Harsch, one should take care of "being", not "appearances", in order to do the things that seem really important to one and not what others expect. This embodies authenticity and creates a positive corporate image in the market, which in the end, with a high degree of probability, leads to a positive development in sales and earnings.

Original article in German "Business Lunch im Frühjahr ein".