3 questions to smart minds

What is a good corporate culture today?

For this 3 questions to Prof. Dr. Peter Fankhauser

Photo: Prof. Dr. Peter Fankhauser
24. April 2024

How can mana­gers make their teams more successful? How can a company or orga­niza­tion be trans­for­med today? Chan­ging hier­ar­chies and making teams stron­ger in the process. What is it all about and what phases are many compa­nies in today?

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Prof. Dr. Peter Fankhau­ser, CEO of MANRES AG, previously CEO of Thomas Cook and other large compa­nies, most of which were in phases of change.

1. What makes good leader­ship today?

Today, good leader­ship is charac­te­ri­zed above all by the ability to deve­lop an inspi­ring vision for the company that employees can really iden­tify with and find meaning in. This includes clear commu­ni­ca­tion, the accep­tance of other opini­ons and a strong feed­back culture.

In addi­tion, a mana­ger must first and fore­most define them­sel­ves as a person, authen­ti­cally and not as a func­tion­ary, slip­ping into a role and leaving the person like a coat in the checkroom.

2. How can you change a culture? Or estab­lish a new culture in a company?

Cultu­ral trans­for­ma­ti­ons take time. Culture is the sum of all the habits of the indi­vi­du­als in a company. If you want to change a culture, you have to start with these beha­vi­oral patterns and change them. This is only possi­ble if you replace the old beliefs with new ones. And this begins with a change in beha­vior by each indi­vi­dual. And of course the CEO and the other mana­gers are the driving force here through their exam­ple. He must be aware of this. A CEO is constantly under obser­va­tion. You could almost say: the look on his face when he gets out of the eleva­tor in the morning defi­nes the mood of the company that day.

3. What values apply today? What has chan­ged? What phase are we in? (in the compa­nies and soci­ally, that always correlates)

As a CEO, you must be able to convey meaning, inclu­ding the meaning that a company brings to society. Meaningful­ness brings orien­ta­tion! — In a world of uncer­tainty and uphe­aval, trust and soli­da­rity are core values that a CEO must embody, and this can be achie­ved through authen­ti­city, empa­thy and appre­cia­tion. Be a role model!

But you also have to demand these values and act consis­t­ently if you disre­gard them. Even if this leads to a sepa­ra­tion of employees. It is not uncom­mon for mana­gers to no longer feel comfor­ta­ble and at home in a cultu­ral trans­for­ma­tion. In these cases, it is more honest to part from each other in all decency. Saying good­bye is always a gate­way to the future.

About Prof. Dr. Peter Fankhau­ser,

Prof. Dr. Peter Fankhau­ser is CEO of Manres AG; 20 years of expe­ri­ence as CEO of medium-sized and large compa­nies, mostly in turn­around and restruc­tu­ring phases, but at least in serious phases of change. Career mile­sto­nes: CEO of major inter­na­tio­nal subsi­dia­ries of Kuoni AG, CEO of the LTU Group, CEO Necker­mann Reisen, Thomas Cook Germany and later Conti­nen­tal Europe, CEO Thomas Cook UK, Group CEO Thomas Cook plc.

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