15 März 2024

Corporate Rebels: Promote a culture of thinking differently

Posted in Führung, Leadership

Corporate Rebels: Promote a culture of thinking differently

How Corporate Rebels Awaken Companies from Their Slumber and Why It Requires Courageous Leaders. Gabriele Fanta, CHRO at the international technology group Körber, on culture and leadership as key tools for employee acquisition and retention.

The working world is changing. The growing shortage of skilled workers is driving companies to reposition themselves in the battle for top talent. Long gone are the days when a foosball table, a fruit basket, and the option to work from home were enough to attract candidates and retain employees. What's crucial is the company's lived culture, which is the most important currency in the talent war and makes the difference in which employer an employee pledges their loyalty to.

Especially in times of VUCA (an acronym for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity), a fitting culture is more important than ever. It's the magnet that attracts and retains innovative and high-performing individuals.

Company culture requires courage and role models

In addition to flexible working conditions, employees expect a modern and appreciative leadership culture. At the same time, many employers value innovative and entrepreneurial thinking among their employees. Körber, therefore, focuses on promoting a culture of different thinking in both employee recruitment and development.

This is already ingrained in the approximately 75-year history of the technology group. The founder and entrepreneur Kurt A. Körber has always questioned the status quo, tried new things, and registered over 200 patents from this mindset.

To continue this success story, what's needed above all is courage. Courage for open dialogue, for a constructive error culture, and the sovereignty to tolerate dissent. Leadership plays a crucial role here, as they set an example.

The question of how much nonconformity leaders can display is increasingly discussed as a success factor. Leaders who bring unconventional ideas and have the courage to try new paths are the engines of future company success.

Corporate rebels: Nonconformity as a driver of innovation

Körber focuses on both leaders and teams: An important tool is the five leadership principles, two of which are particularly relevant to culture building. The principle "We promote diversity" encourages the acceptance of a variety of opinions, appreciating diverse impulses, and empowering and affirming employees.

Together with its approximately 13,000 employees, Körber is currently developing complementary team guidelines to further shape the company culture. This should appeal to people who are excited about this culture and leadership on an equal footing, so-called "Corporate Rebels."

These are the critical voices, the dissenters in companies, whose ideas drive innovation. People with new ideas, critical suggestions, and proposals for change are often branded as troublemakers. Yet, it's exactly these individuals who often make a significant contribution to the company's future viability.

The second leadership principle crucial to culture is "We are entrepreneurs." Entrepreneurship inherently requires a certain willingness to take risks, to make mistakes, learn from them, and create something that has relevance for the customer. Only then can a culture of positive failure emerge, offering opportunities for disruptive talents rather than setting strict boundaries.

Bringing one's personality to work

The goal should be for everyone to contribute their individual personality, thus adding to the company's innovative strength and success. Once again, and especially, leaders are called upon: They must be able to act trustingly, creating an environment that promotes the development of each individual and considers his/her personal needs. As more people in the corporate context can trust that they can be entirely themselves, the "cookie-cutter leadership" no longer works, and opening up to different thinking becomes almost a necessary outcome.

Flexibility over established thought patterns

Critical voices within the corporation are needed for real innovation to emerge. Identifying them is not always easy. Looking inward makes sense because once these disruptive talents are found within the corporation, they can be used to drive cultural changes in other areas of the company, for instance, where a more traditional culture is still lived. What disruptive talents often bring is an increased level of flexibility. So why should they only operate in specific areas and not have an impact in various parts of the company? Freedom is a significant factor for Corporate Rebels.

When looking to find disruptive talents externally, it's essential during personnel selection to consider how conformist someone is or leads. Overall, identifying these talents takes a lot of time and resources. However, their potential to advance the company by challenging established thought patterns and introducing innovative ideas makes the effort worthwhile.

About the person

Gabriele Fanta has been leading the Human Resources department as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) for the technology group Körber since 2020. She is responsible globally for HR, personnel development, and employer branding. Before joining Körber, she worked at Daimler, McDonald's, and most recently as the head of the global HR department at Sixt. She is one of the 40 over 40 in 2022, making her one of Germany's most inspiring female leaders of the year.

Source: hrjournal.de

Note: The article was automatically translated using ChatGPT-4 by OpenAI

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