In the context of enormous changes caused by digitalization people often speak about the new VUCA world, which is short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. The basis for every decision and even of existence in this business world is unstable, uncertain, complex and often ambiguous, sometimes even paradoxical. ERGO Group and HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management made this challenge for companies and executives the topic of a joint panel discussion in Düsseldorf. Professor Ulrich Lehner, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ThyssenKrupp and Telekom, and Dr. Achim Kassow, Chairman of the Board of ERGO Deutschland AG, led an intensive discussion about modern leadership. Their talk was moderated by Professor Stephan Stubner, the Dean of HHL, and based on the Leipzig Leadership Model, which offers a compass by searching for the purpose, the ‘why’.
What good can a company do to society?
ERGO Chairman Achim Kassow believes that we have long been living in a VUCA world, commenting, “The 20th century was pervaded by uncertain times. Just think about the two world wars, the Cold War, the German terrorist group Red Army Faction in the 1970s, the Peaceful Revolution and the Wall coming down.” Ulrich Lehner is also not alarmed by the disruptive force of societal developments and calls upon people to focus on the topics that are significant for humanity and the future. He says, “Ecology is the topic that we need to tackle.” Both experts see it as a personal and strategic challenge that the separation between professional and individual matters no longer exist in an ever-changing labor market. Professor Lehner, who is also the Chairman of HHL’s Board of Trustees, emphasized the entrepreneurial challenge of questions of values and work culture, commenting, “What spirit needs to rule a company so that it is respected by society? What good can a company do for society?” In his experience, the tone set by the executive is generally the deciding factor.
Sustainable dialogue between theory and practice
“Rethinking Leadership — Purpose in a VUCA World” was the title of the event and the HHL Alumni Chapter Meeting hosted in Düsseldorf by ERGO on January 25, 2018 and attended by 50 guests; among them HHL alumni, candidates interested in studying at HHL and current Master students from the Cologne study location of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management at the STARTPLATZ start-up incubator. The intensive exchange was kindly supported by ERGO and organized under the leadership of Simon Meier, part-time MBA student of HHL (P12C) as well as current Executive Assistant of Dr. Achim Kassow.
The talk was part of the systematically and sustainably planned dialogue between theory and practice with executives from the economy, science and politics held at HHL within the framework of the school’s research on key topics such as trust, change, sustainability and responsibility. The Leipzig Leadership Model, which arose in this process, is geared towards further development and the ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ as clearly-defined dimensions. These dimensions offer orientation to executives in rapidly changing environments.
Kirchgeorg, Manfred; Meynhardt, Timo; Pinkwart, Andreas; Suchanek, Andreas; Zülch, Henning:
Das Leipziger Führungsmodell: the Leipzig Leadership Model.
2. revised and enlarged Edition. Leipzig: HHL gGmbH, HHL Academic Press, 2017.
ISBN 978-3-9818509-3-2 (EPUB)
ISBN 978-3-9818509-4-9 (PDF)
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