Deer or dear in the headlight? What media attention can tell you about a CEO’s value creation
Prof. Dr. Gregor Halff
This session has investigated if we can gauge a corporate leader’s success by looking at her/his media profile. Whose stock would you buy: Can a celebrity CEO increase the market capitalization of the company? Or are leaders who shun the media limelight better at creating value? We have identified four media profiles of the CEOs heading the world’s 100 largest corporations. Research tells us that their media personality is indeed linked to the performance of their stock, but not in ways that you would expect.
Entrepreneurship in China
Dr. Jens Weinmann
Entrepreneurship in China was encouraged as early as in the 1980s, but only over the last decade has it become a major contributor to economic growth and innovation. According to the Global Entrepreneurship panel, total early-stage entrepreneurial activity – that means, the percentage of individuals aged 18–64 who are either a nascent entrepreneur or owner-manager of a new business – increased from 12 percent in 2001 to 24 percent in 2011. Still, numerous obstacles remain, including the lack of adequate entrepreneurial education at universities, bureaucratic procedures of the state-based, government-run legal system, and shortage of funding. In a practitioners’ panel, we discussed challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned, from Chinese and European perspectives.
- Ramon Feng, Chief Executive Officer, Ozfeng
- Prof. Dr. Martin Kupp, Associate Professor, ESCP Europe
- Prof. Jianwen Liao, PhD, Associate Dean of Executive Education and Professor of Managerial Practice, Strategy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, CKGSB
- Yao Xusheng, Chairman, Shanghai K-Land Investment Group
Explorers and exploiters | Innovation and execution
Prof. Matthew S. Bothner, PhD
Our first topic has brought into focus two opposite types of strategic leadership: exploration and exploitation. Explorers are leaders who are continually looking for new competitive advantages. Search and innovation are their main pursuits. They trigger the “intra-preneurial” process. Conversely, exploiters are leaders who are always seeking to refine an existing competitive advantage. Efficiency and execution are their primary goals. They complete the “intra-preneurial” process. We looked for elements of exploration (innovation) and exploitation (execution) in a famous athletic event, setting the stage for the participants' own thinking about where they – and their colleagues within their company – reside on the explorer-exploiter continuum. Using a survey instrument, we defined where participants and their colleagues stand and considered the best ways to manage the social capital residing in their relations with these colleagues.
We then considered “annealing” as an (extreme) approach to exploration and triggering entrepreneurship from within. Annealing is the process of heating metal, glass – or an organization – and then cooling it in a better configuration. To anneal ones colleagues is to “start a fire beneath them,” as a way of triggering varied, innovative responses – from which the participants, as leaders, then chose. Annealing is a process that “melts” elements of the current organization’s design and “unfreezes” existing forms of social capital among managers.
Having used a brief in-class case, our focus was on the ethical and strategic issues raised by annealing.
GTEC: A long-term, open, collaborative approach
Only three years ago, German corporations and SMEs started to experiment with a new management style called “lean start-up.” Closely following best practice in Silicon Valley, they created accelerator and incubator programs and engaged in intrapreneurship and company-building. Today, Berlin is home to a score of corporate startup programs that are mutually exclusive and have yet to prove their impacts on their respective corporate cultures. In this session, having involved representatives of GTEC founding partners RWE and Henkel, we discussed and explored a collaborative approach to digital transformation. Is it possible to learn across industries? What is the current status of digital transformation in German corporations?
- Benjamin Rohé, Managing Director GTEC - German Tech Entrepreneurship Center
- Dr. Paolo Bavaj, Corporate Director New Business Development
- Patrick Boos, Partner at d-group
- Dr. Inken Braunschmidt, RWE Chief Innovation Officer
- Dr. Thomas Prüver, StB, WP - Senior Manager, Ernst & Young
Startups are harbingers of how many workplaces in corporations and SMEs will look in the near future. Their trial-and-error approaches to establishing working business models demand small teams, agile product development, high levels of flexibility, steep learning curves, and a lot of improvisation. At the same time, the digital job market enables everyone to compete for the best talent from around the world. Together with Constanze Buchheim, Germany’s leading expert on startup HR, and two CEOs of companies that saw both rapid growth and intense pivots, this session was about best practice in finding, motivating, and keeping talent in a quickly changing environment.
- Constanze Buchheim, CEO i-potentials: Constanze Buchheim built up i-Potentials, one of the most renowned European executive search firms with a digital focus. A speaker at various conferences, she has also advised the German Minister of Economics. In 2014, she published her first book “HR Basics for Start Ups - Recruiting and Retention in the Digital Age.”
- Dirk Graber, CEO misterspex: Dirk Graber studied business and management in Marburg, Hong Kong, Moscow, and Leipzig and graduated from HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. Before he founded misterspex, he worked as a consultant for BCG. He has also held positions at eBay, Jamba, KPMG, and Commerzbank.
- Benjamin Thym, CEO barcoo: Stuttgart-raised Benjamin Thym started out at BCG where he and his fellow co-founders came up with the barcoo concept. They moved to Berlin in 2009 to develop the biggest mobile product guide in Europe. New features and business models made it necessary to revamp the team, currently 60-strong, repeatedly.
Next generation leadership
Nora Grasselli, PhD
Business is in constant acceleration. Economies and industries are being turned inside out. Our customers and collaborators are increasingly networked. Traditional corporate hierarchies are no longer sustainable. Do familiar approaches to leadership still work? In the absence of a roadmap and rulebook, how do today’s managers lead to success? In the interactive session Next Generation Leadership, we discussed modern approaches to leadership with CEOs of successful startups. How do they operate in the permanently changing, unpredictable environment? How do they lead fast-moving, hierarchy averse, work-life-balance-focused followers who are seeking a calling not a career? Is there a new, different leadership emerging?
- Heiko Genzlinger is a business leader with more than 20 years of experience in the advertising industry, with a strong emphasis on sales, sales management, and business development in the digital world. He has been the CEO of Trademob since 2014. Prior to that, he was managing director and vice president sales at Yahoo Germany.
- Moritz Kreppel is the co-founder and CEO of Urban Sports Club. After working at the European Commission and Parliament he spent three years as consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. In 2014 he co-founded the German Entrepreneurship Circle, an entrepreneurship initiative of the Alumni of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. Kreppel developed Urban Sports Club to create a fundamentally new market for sports activities by aggregating a multitude of sports clubs into a single membership and is now rolling it out to major cities.
- Niklas Östberg is the co-founder and CEO of Delivery Hero. He has been responsible for building several market-leading online food ordering companies in Poland, Finland, and Austria. Founded in 2011, Delivery Hero now operates in 34 countries, has more than 200,000 restaurants connected to its service, and is valued at $3 billion.
- Arul Ramadurai recently the CEO of ExcellGene SA, a privately-owned Swiss biotechnology provider in the field of protein manufacturing. He has more than 15 years of experience in the healthcare and energy industries, managing operational and commercial teams. He has also coached a number of privately-backed enterprises.
Peer coaching: A brief introduction
Prof. Konstantin Korotov, PhD
This session familiarized the participants with the benefits and limitations of peer coaching as a development instrument. Peer coaching is suitable for use in business schools, large organizations, peer networks, business incubators, etc. The session involved a discussion of the method, an ESMT videocase with a demonstration of a peer coaching intervention, and a presentation of ESMT executive education materials that can be used for teaching people to use peer coaching. Participants received the ESMT book Peer coaching practice for managers: An executive education companion.
The new intrapreneurship challenge: Embracing digital disruption
Prof. Joe Peppard
“Digital” is one of the most disruptive forces confronting organizations and their leadership teams today. Organizations of all sizes, including the public sector, are being impacted by the inexorable advances in digital technology. No industry, it seems, is immune to the realities in which business models, business processes, value proposition, customer experiences, products, services, and management practices have been – or are being transformed by – digital technologies. CEOs and their CxO colleagues play a pivotal role in determining whether or not their organizations exploit the innovative opportunities provided by digital technologies. In particular, realizing value from digital initiatives requires the leadership team’s attention and oversight. The leadership team sets the tone for these initiatives, and their active participation determines whether their organization optimizes a return from spending on IT. Most do not seem to understand this, or quite know what they should do. This interactive session explored how organizations can embrace digital disruption. In particular, it focused on how to ensure that any initiatives focused on digital technologies have real business impact.
Trial and error: Setting sail for your move beyond the familiar
Dr. Johannes Habel
When you move beyond the familiar, you face considerable uncertainties: Would a new marketing campaign attract new customers? Would your sales force be more productive if you increased variable income? Would a new change initiative facilitate employees’ buy-in? This interactive session introduced the participants to a method for making decisions when facing such uncertainties: conducting scientific experiments. They learned how these experiments work, got to know companies that regularly increase their profits using experiments, and discussed how they might benefit from experimenting themselves.