Successfully Strike New Paths

Gallery Owner Lybke: “Only Those Who Take Risks Can Successfully Strike New Paths”

lybke_eigenartDuring his Leipzig Leadership Lecture on November 22, 2016, Gerd Harry Lybke inspired the audience at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. Germany’s most renowned gallery owner, who runs the Eigen + Art galleries in Leipzig and Berlin, led a discussion with students, professors and other HHL faculty members about entrepreneurship and leadership, focusing in the development and organization of his galleries, his relationships with the artists and art collectors as well as the business aspects of art.

Being one of the key figures within the New Leipzig School genre surrounding painter Neo Rauch, the 55-year-old also talked about the time of the reunification of Germany. In contrast to other gallery owners from East Germany, Leipzig-born Lybke did not exhibit in West Germany at first, but launched temporary exhibitions in Tokyo (1990), Paris (1991), Berlin (1992), New York (1993) and London (1994). These exhibitions, which where rather unusual, quickly led to international recognition; ‘Judy’ Lybke was born as a brand together with his Eigen + Art gallery.  Lybke had a piece of advice in this context, recommending, “Know the message which you want to communicate to world,” and, “do the things you can do best.” Looking at the political change, the gallery owner said, “Just like back then, we need heroes today. However, nobody wants to be a hero. Rise. Only those who take risks can successfully strike new paths.” The best way of doing that, according to Lybke, is by working in a team. He also drew parallels between artists and HHL students. Like the artists, the students would have to anticipate what people need in the future by establishing new business fields and start-ups.

Lybke described the role of the gallery owner as the artist’s manager. “I let him do what he does best – art,” Lybke concluded. Conflicts could arise if the gallery owner also was an art collector. Does he personally collect art? Lybke quickly responds, “I do not collect myself. I am surrounded by art every day.” In addition to good fortune, Lybke explained his success was mainly based on the performance of a team of 27 people, which he leads with a lot of heart and soul, clear structures and transparent communication channels.

On the way to the Leipzig Leadership Model: The Leipzig Leadership Lecture at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management

lybke2With its Leipzig Leadership Lecture series, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management offers a forum for executives from both the public and private sector to address relevant leadership challenges. HHL would like to share these findings with its students, professors and staff. The lectures are embedded in an academic discourse which started with the annual HHL Forum “Rethinking Leadership” and continues to develop.

The declared objective of creating a new Leipzig Leadership Model has now become a reality. On December 6 and 7, 2016, HHL will present the Leipzig Leadership Model to the public for the first time. In doing so, HHL wants to develop a new understanding of leadership, which moves away from the pursuit of short-term profit maximization. Responsibility and sustainability must play a greater role in teaching in general, not just as part of individual ethics lessons. While this is the long-term goal for HHL, each lecture also gives students, professors and members of staff the opportunity to find an answer to the question often asked: “What does it take?” During a Leipzig Leadership Lecture, executives from different industries and with the most varied backgrounds describe the skills and abilities which they acquired during their careers and which prepared them for their current roles.

About the Author

Lis Schulz
Online Marketing Manager at HHL