Lost In Transformation

Balancing People And Purpose In Transformation: How To Create Impactful Change Together

January 13, 2022 MING Labs Season 2 Episode 44
Lost In Transformation
Balancing People And Purpose In Transformation: How To Create Impactful Change Together
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

"Transformation is always driven either by urgency or vision. Vision is very rare […] but urgency is rising at pace. Every day things become more urgent because every day complexity arises so that the old way of working becomes obsolete. And the necessity to dig into more sustainable ways of working becomes clear.” 
This episode features an in-depth conversation about balancing people and purpose in transformation. Christian Kugelmeier from VORSPRUNGatwork takes us on his journey of helping a client with their business transformation, focused on making it personal and sustainable.

Christian: (00:03)

One of the common denominators that we find is just personal fear. I'm fearful of opening up. So this transformation can't happen. And the good thing is, I mean, transformation or just change is always driven either by urgency or vision. And vision is very rare. There are very few people who see the chances are, but the urgency is rising at pace. Every day things become more urgent because every day complexity rises. The old way of working becomes obsolete. I mean, clearly, and the necessity to also dig into more, just sustainable ways of working becomes clear. 

Christine: (00:42)

Welcome to the Lost in Transformation podcast series dedicated to the complex world of Digital Transformation. We feature guests from large corporations, startups, consultancies, and more to shed light on the success factors around Innovation, Transformation, and adjacent topics. We share firsthand insights and inspiration from experts for all the intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs, and anyone curious about Digital Transformation. 

Christine: (01:11)

Hi, I’m Christine, the Marketing Manager at MING Labs, and today, I am talking to Dr. Christian Kugelmeier, who’s the Co-Founder at VORSPRUNGatwork. With his company, he’s supporting clients in their high-impact business transformation, and today, he specifically shares the journey of a personal and intimate sustainable transformation that really focuses on people and purpose. We hope you enjoy this episode!

Christine: (01:38) 
Hi, Christian, I'm very excited to have you on our podcast today, on Lost in Transformation. Thank you so much for taking the time as well. Yes, you are the co-founder at Vorsprung at Work, which is basically an organization that's focusing also on the impactful transformation also of business systems, mindsets, and so forth. And I'm very excited to hear more about your work and your journey, especially in the field of sustainable transformation today. And, to start off, I think we can jump straight in. I'm happy to learn more about yourself first. Could you share more about your background and experience? 

Christian: (02:15)

Yeah. With pleasure. I pursued a reasonably successful career in HR. I think I was a board member by the age of 37 in a billion Euro company here in Germany. And while I was on my career path, I sort of started to collect several impressions of how work is being dealt with these days. And you know, as the longer I work, the more critical I became towards the way that we organize work and which led me to at the end, just letting my career goal in founding this business, because I do believe that there's a need to, you know, fundamentally work differently and organize work differently, which is now what we've done for the last six years that the company's existed. And, we are firm believers in the human being, as in the human being is at the core of everything and that everything that that can be replicated is gonna be digitized anyway. 

Christian: (03:06)

So we believe that we are drifting into an age of technology, and into the age of the human being at the same time and to organize business systems exactly that way in digitizing everything that can and be digitized and leaving the rest to human beings and organizing human beings accordingly. So there can be, you know, freedom and entrepreneurship and innovation. That's at the core of our business. We wanna make business work more successfully, more sustainably. It's not about just earning more money. It's about ecological, economical, and social balance and to lead companies onto that path is what our company's all about. Myself, I'm 49 years of age, with three kids, six, nine, and four months. And I'm blessed with a wonderful life. It's very intense, especially now with a little Karla being there, but it's very joyful and just I'm a very happy human being and lovely to walk on this planet and make a difference, and great to be connecting with you. 

Christine: (04:05)

That sounds lovely. Very inspiring also to hear about your path, basically how you connect also humans and technology and really focus on that human part also. Working on a lot of people, topics, as you said like you have a background in HR as well, and then coming into the field of entrepreneurship as well. I think, really interesting to hear about that. 

Christian: (04:27)

May I just add, I mean, whenever you are talking about HR, you obviously think of humans, but I actually exited HR because I felt HR had nothing to do with humans. HR was administering, people, but it wasn't, you know, looking for the potential or supporting the people. It was much more of an administrative job than really being able to dig into the potentials of people and foster innovation. And, that's actually why I decided to explore what HR's role was in the Tayloristic system of how we organize work. And there it's just really the administration of human beings. And not as I said, the bettering of performance of organizations by virtue of digging into the potentials, which is why I left HR. I left HR because I think HR does nothing for humans because it's not meant to because the actual task of HR is exactly not that in the Taylorism system. So that's a bit of my background. I was very critical of the actual system in place. 

Christine: (05:21)

Yeah. But that's good. I mean, I think in the end that led you to where you are now, basically co-founding also, at VORSPRUNGatwork where you've also been working with a lot of clients and helping them with their transformation journeys. And there you are pretty much seeing firsthand, you know, the before and after and how the changes can impact their businesses. I think this is a super interesting field to kind of understand the change in more detail here. If we picked one specific client of yours, could you let us know a bit about them and explain how things used to work for them before they worked with you before their whole transformation journey started? 

Christian: (05:59)

I'd like to pick our client Elobau. We're in a very large transformation scheme with them at the moment. They're from the Allgäu, which is in the south of Germany and they're about a thousand people. And what they do is that they produce things like operator controls, machine safety devices, level measure sensors. So it was a very technically driven business. And, obviously, now I've been inclined to tell the story that before we came, everything was bad. Now that we are there, everything is good. That's not the case. This has always been a very outstandingly, successful company that has been, you know, ecologically extremely aware. And they've been climate neutral, I think since 2011. So very, very early because they have an extremely conscious founder who's caring about the environment and the people a lot. And they were always very people-centric and always very driven about, you know, not doing harm to the environment, especially. 

Christian: (06:51)

And, they turned to us, I think because they, they also realized, you know, the complexity out there just has just become so absurd that their structures don't foster their business success. And, they came to us cuz they felt they couldn't solve their problems anymore. They had grown very quickly and they hadn't had sufficient structures in place to counter the complexity out there. And, which is exactly the path that we are on right now. We are making them complex, robust, you know, putting the humans in the center and still taking care of their business system works better than what it used to. That's sort of the big scope. 

Christine: (07:29)

I think that's really interesting to hear also what you were saying that it's not a company that started from scratch, they didn't have anything in place. They were actually really aware of their impact. They were very conscious, also focusing really on the people, but you were helping them, you know, to go a step further, and transform even more in terms of their sustainability. I think that's really exciting to hear and you've already touched on a couple of factors, but what would you say served as the main catalyst for change for you really act and take on such a big transformation journey? 

Christian: (08:02)

I don't think Elobau was able to solve their problems properly. We came into the company, I think in 2015, 2016, we had just found it and they asked us to set up a new remuneration scheme for their production lines. They had about 500 people working in production, still on a very old established remuneration scheme that basically awarded mass in this particular amount of time. And they found they had quality issues and they couldn't find a new remuneration system for their employees. And they tried everything. They tried business consultancies, they tried universities and they just couldn't work it out. And because they found and CEO at that point, Michael [...] believes in the people, he said, our people have to be able to do that themselves. Why can we not find our own remuneration scheme out of ourselves? And he found us cuz he said, okay, we need somebody to facilitate that process of finding it ourselves. 

Christian: (08:59)

And that's where we came in and we constitute a [...] group of volunteers out of the production to find that system. I mean, people who had never, ever worked in HR who know nothing about remuneration schemes, we facilitated that group 12 to 14 in people. There were, I don't remember the exact number, people who sometimes barely spoke German, but they in a process that took about a year to one and a half years found this new scheme that's now in place. And that works excellently. The quality has improved the satisfaction of the employees with that system about their own remuneration has improved. And they finally now found what they were looking for, but it had to be their own, it couldn't be installed from the outside. They had to dig it out of themselves and that's what we helped companies do. And that's exactly what we helped Elobau do. 

Christian: (09:46)

And obviously, they became quite intrigued by that way of working. And they said, well, what can we do to replicate that out of ourselves? I mean that need for at work for the rest of time. Can we find at the end of the day, a system that allows us to evolve all the time to solve problems all the time, to be able to act, and to be able to transform whenever it's needed? Like how do we find an agile fluid system that enables us to do that? And that's exactly the path that we are on with them right now to establish structures within the organization that enables just that, that make them performant and transformable at all stages. So, now we're working with the two co-CEOs that are leading the company at the moment and their leadership team. And we have, you know, a learning platform installed with them now. So they can sooner or later, or like gradually move into that new system of permanent transforming ability. 

Christine: (10:42)

That's great to hear. So basically you are also there to enable the people, to give them structures at hand that help them do this on their own, even though when you are at some point, not there anymore, and really make them drive this forward themselves. And you were also talking already about the people there, that you are working quite closely with the people. It's very people-centric also, you mentioned the company's very technical. You work with people that are not in HR. Could you tell us a little bit more about the people that you were working with? You know, what kind of departments were they in if we can, you know, put them in those brackets or how can we imagine your collaboration? 

Christian: (11:22)

Well, back in that project that I was talking about, they were all production workers and they came from all sorts of areas out of the production, but they were predominantly women who were like, what they're doing is they're welding things together so that these devices work properly. So it's a really, it's a very, very manual task. And when I founded the business, I was thinking, okay, we are really primed to be a white-collar business, white-collar people are gonna be working with us. And now our legacy is mainly blue-collar. Like with them, it was blue-collar workers with the automotive industry that we've worked very intensely with that was mainly blue-collar workers. So they were really from blue-collar departments. And now that we're working with the entire company, it's really from across the board, it doesn't matter which department people are coming from. 

Christian: (12:06)

What's so amazing about this company is that they really love their company. They suffer from it at the same time, cuz they've established a system that's really overheating constantly, which is what we're trying to prevent in the future. But they're coming from all sorts of backgrounds. I mean they're sometimes they're engineers, they are legal people. They are production workers, supply chain management, it's from all areas. And really what we try to focus them on is what is either actually for, you know, the purpose issue. What's the vision, what's the mission? What are the principles that you wanna be working with? And you know, where's your long-term plan that we're working towards and people connect to it, no matter what department they're from. And that's always what I find really intriguing. I mean, people, we all have an individual purpose in life. 

Christian: (12:49)

I don't know what yours is. I'm sort of looking for mine and I'm sort of on my way there, but when you're entering a company you're being paid, and the exchanges that you're trying to foster that collective purpose, every company's there to solve the customer's problems. And we are at the moment, we are really digging towards the higher cause and purpose of Elobau. And we are really gradually getting there and connecting people to it and then making sure that people can, and they live their very individual purpose. So they don't just, you know, leave their soul at the gate where they enter the premises, but they can live as individuals within that context. And at the same time foster the purpose of the enterprise. So these two purposes need to be balanced: individual purpose and collective purpose need to be balanced at all times, which is what we're doing. 

Christian: (13:32)

And it's completely independent of any type of history. And that's the huge transformation on the human side as well. Cuz we used to perceive work as something that, that we sort of do and that we get paid for and you know, whatever it meant we would do to not get fired or something. So it was something very inhumane, okay, we are doing this and we're pretending to like it, but a lot of things suck and we don't really like them. We don't really want them. And now we're entering a working world where, where everybody can really contribute out of his or her core. And that is the change that that's also very character bound. It takes a fair bit of personal transformation. We always say, there's no organizational transformation without personal transformation because the uncertainty that we're in today's markets just prompts us to sometimes just say, I don't know. 

Christian: (14:22)

And even a CEO obviously is allowed to say, I don't know, cuz he just can't know. And the times are passed where the CEO has to pretend to know everything and to be able to command and control the company that just that paradigm has outlived itself, because of the complexity out there. So for a CEO to be showing himself or herself vulnerable, and say, okay, you know, I just don't know, let's dig for the best solution. Let's see what we can muster up as a collective cuz individually I have no idea, you know, that takes guts and that is a paradigm change cuz obviously we're coming out of a world where, you know, there's great managers who manage their company who are in charge, who is on the command bridge or whatever all these metaphors were and that's just completely outdated. 

Christian: (15:07)

And that means personal transformation. And it's very hard for the people at the top as well. Cuz I mean they find they need to surrender to the extreme insecurity that's out there, which is maybe also in them, and to then find personal security and also ooze that to others as, you know, I don't know the solution, but I'm safe as an individual. I can convey that safety to all of you let's work at this together. And that's a bit of the aim of the exercise as at the end of the day. So it's a very, very personal matter. And you know, people, we always find that it's pretty difficult with engineers cuz engineers have tend to not open up. They always have that very causal idea of this works that way. And then that works that way. And this works because of that and you know, the complexity and the difficulty of explaining is that's really hard for them, but there too, we've managed to sort of break up these boxes and make people not also think, but also feel for themselves and for their environment. So it's just a great process that we're in, it's a very [...] confidential work with them. It's very intimate and that's what's great about it. You know, it's not technical, it's not about Excel sheets. It's really about humans and about the way we perceive the world and that's exciting. 

Christine: (16:17)

Yeah, it sounds like it. 

Christian: (16:19)

I'm sort of getting carried away cause I love what I'm doing and I love the client and we've just got a great partnership going and it's not always smiling, but can't be, but it's just awesome.  

Christine: (16:29)

It's fascinating to hear how you were talking about the purpose is how you're actually really listening to the people that you are working with and really want to connect their personal purpose with the companies and really bring it together. So it's not just going to work and then, you know, leaving afterward and just getting the job done. I think this is really fascinating as you said, like a very intimate and personal matter. But also good and great to dive there. And I think, I would also kind of like to circle back on your approach, how you basically work with the client overall and how you especially drive sustainable transformation together. You touched on a couple of things already, but could you just guide us through your first approaches of how you go about working throughout the journey? 

Christian: (17:14)

Well, we have a high-impact business transformation system in place that we've developed. And that basically revolves around the idea of just having a sustainable business. It's about, you know, the balance of economic, ecological matters and social matters. So these three elements always need to be in balance. And then we're talking about the experiences because the company is made of clients. It's made of employees, it's made of suppliers, that's basically the company universe and to keep all these interests and balance so that the customer, we always talk about customer-centric organizations. I think that's just false. Cuz if you only focus on the customer, you may as well give away your products, and that sort of doesn't work. So you have to take care of your employees as well. And you have to take care of the entire universe around you, which is maybe your suppliers. 

Christian: (17:59)

And to keep that in constant balance, that's the end of the exercise, these three things in constant balance and economic, ecological, and social matters, social balance as these six balances always need to be looked at. And what we basically do is when we enter a company, we find this little team of volunteers that I was talking about with you. I mean, that's one of the ways of entering into a company. We have no set standard cuz every client is different. The needs are different, the legacies are different and you need to just differentiate when you look at it. But that high impact business transformation system we've made good experiences with creating already very sustainable impressions within the company, just from work. We're never coming from a particular method or frame or anything we say we need to create value for your customer immediately. So we always considered a little working group or volunteers like I was explaining with Elobau and these production workers that have a business problem that the company hasn't been able to solve so far. 

Christian: (18:56)

And we're going through a process that entails, you know, design thinking elements, SCRUM elements, and you know, all the methodology that at the end of the day, solve that business problem. And that little group has the complete power to do so. So it doesn't just work on a concept that then at the end, the CEO decides on or somebody they have the full accountability for what they're doing. And that's all very rare to give full accountability to a working group, to be able to solve a problem. And you know, they obviously feel very empowered. It's very entrepreneurial cuz I mean, if they fail, they also bear the full responsibility of having failed. So it works both ways. It's very entrepreneurial and we just derive learnings from that way of working cuz the problem at the end of the day almost always gets solved and then the company can ask themselves, okay, we hadn't been able to solve that problem prior. 

Christian: (19:46)

What made it possible to solve that problem this time? What does this way of working actually mean? How is it different from our default system? And when you've worked that out, when you have all the learnings from that particular process, you can say, okay, what's wrong in the structures that inhibit us from working like that on a day-to-day basis. And you always touch on things like maybe the remuneration system or the promotion system, people are scared to do to really go into an accountable way of working because it always means risk and risk has been the career killer. Number one, you just don't take risks. You just want things to work out. You just don't wanna be accountable for a mistake, which is already, you know, if you, if you know that the next step on your career ladder requires you not to make mistakes, you're trying to not make mistakes. 

Christian: (20:32)

And when we've found like some finding like that, we could say, okay, maybe we need to change the promotion system. And the moment that you're changing these very big parameters within the company, like the remuneration system or the promotion system, behaviors change, cuz we believe that we're all part of social systems as in the companies, a social system and we all behave intelligently within the system. So after we've made our experiences, we derive the learnings and then we adapt the structure for the company to be able to work more entrepreneurial. That is really sort of the big scope of what we do. 

Christine: (21:05)

That's really insightful to kind of understand how you guys come in and also to see, okay, you don't have like a set approach. It really depends on the environment of the client that you're working with. I think that really gives a good context to understand it here. And I really like that. You also highlight how you actually question your approaches as well to see, okay, you know, we didn't come up with this before. What is actually the driver now to really understand, okay, why is it working that way? I think that's a really good takeaway. 

Christian: (21:37)

Maybe one more thing to the high impact business transformation system, we always distinguish, and I was saying to use customer centricity doesn't work because you need to focus on yourself. Every company in the world has a business system and an operating system. The business system means that you're in touch with your clients. So everything that happens at that intersection is very relevant for your business. That's the business system and your operating system in the operating system, you make sure that you can actually perform towards the business system. And so the business system is everything that happens from, with the outside and everything. The operating system is what happens on the inside. And the juncture of both is basically your identity and both systems feed that identity. And you keep learning from one system, keeps learning from the other at all times. So when you're saying, and I was saying it primarily that we don't have a set approach, there's a framework in place. That's the same all the time. The beliefs are always the same, just what we do, the exact action that is extremely up to the client situation, but the actual framework and the underlying principles and ideas and the framework is always the same. 

Christine: (22:45)

Okay. That's a good explanation also to have this in mind. Okay, you have that business system, you have like the operating system kinda distinguish. That's great. And also you were already telling us a little bit about, you know, what are the challenges when you come in, what are the problems that people were facing at the example from Elobau as well. Overall, what would you say are quite common challenges in terms of sustainability or on the road of the sustainability transformation that you see that affect the business? Is there a way to kind of say, okay, these are those, or are they just, you know, very different? 

Christian: (23:21)

Obviously, a very common phenomenon that we're coming across is just human fear, and human fear is responsible for many, many worries in this world. And for leaders to be able to acknowledge, you know, managers who've maybe let their company for decades to be able to acknowledge, you know, I'm not controlling this anymore. This has gone out of control. I really don't know what to do. I'm in troubleshooting mode all the time, all I'm doing is defending myself. And how do I get outta this? Just to acknowledge that there's a problem that's sometimes hard. And really what we feel is that when leaders start to open up and, you know, display a willingness to learn and to listen, everything changes. And that really is an attitude that we seek. We really only want to work with customers that have that type of learning attitude cuz when you adopt that type of attitude, everything becomes possible when you step away also your personal fears. 

Christian: (24:13)

And when you start to seriously trust yourself and trust your surroundings within the company, everything changes. And you know, for the most part, especially in extremely big companies, you know, managers have just lost that particular sense for themselves and for their surroundings, they are so focused on their own career and not failing and to not jeopardize maybe their pension or anything. And okay, this has worked for 30 years. It's gonna work for another five, that phenomenon we're coming across all the time that obviously inhibits working with us. Cuz I mean we sense that and then we say, okay, this doesn't make much sense, but the moment everything opens up, transformation becomes possible and sustainability becomes possible. Cuz I mean stating the obvious when people just look after themselves, not their surroundings, that's not very sustainable and people want to be feeling safe at work. 

Christian: (25:00)

They wanna know that they're contributing to the world. They wanna look back on their careers and say, this has been a worthwhile time. In this company I've done something meaningful for the world and for leaders who are in charge of their systems to be able to enable that sensation within all employees, that's the aim of the exercise and not many people can do that. And you know, one of the common denominators that we find is just personal fear. I'm fearful of opening up. So this transformation can't happen. And the good thing is, I mean, transformation or just change is always driven either by urgency or vision. And vision is very rare. There are very few people who see the chances out there, but the urgency is rising at pace. Every day things become more urgent because everyday complexity rises. The old way of working becomes obsolete. 

Christian: (25:45)

I mean clearly and the necessity to also dig into more, just sustainable ways of working become clear. And just when you're looking at all the [...] discussions, as in companies, you know, carbon footprint, all of a sudden becomes relevant. You know, the social sector becomes relevant. Amazon, great company on the customer experience side but on the supplier experience, on the experience of the employee side, probably a disaster. I mean, I don't want, I probably wouldn't wanna work in an Amazon, you know, distributing parcels. I dunno, but customers are looking at this nowadays and the entire perception of how we do business and how we lead ourselves within that scope changes. And if you don't open up, you know, to this balanced idea of not only looking after yourself but also looking after others and looking after the planet, I think businesses are doomed. And that's exactly what we're trying to push businesses towards. Although you can't push 'em, they can only push themselves and you can help them on the way to become, to really, to dig, dive into that paradigm. And it's an incredibly different paradigm from just, you know, perfecting your bottom line. It's a completely different game, a completely different ball game. So to open up any individual and any company for the chances out there in sustainable business is somewhat a quest. 

Christine: (27:05)

Yeah. I think that's a very impactful quest, a very impactful task to help them in their push. As you said you can't do it alone. It's also up to them to really understand that. And I also really like how you highlight that shift in the landscape, how the perceptive is changing, how people are also taking a lot of different things into consideration to really understand, okay, what are the challenges like you were saying? You know, the human fears, also a very, very big thing that probably influences all of your working aspects. So really interesting to understand this here and now that we've also kind of looked into your with Elobau kind of understood, okay, this is how you actually work together with them. These are the challenges that you see. I wanna kind of take a step back and now look at your journey at VORSPRUNGatwork, and your experience working with change in terms of sustainable behavioral or other contexts. I can imagine there's probably a lot of things that you learned along too. What would you say all in all is your biggest learning or your biggest takeaway from the journey? 

Christian: (28:10)

That's a wonderful question that I haven't been asked ever. My biggest learning, I guess, as an entrepreneur, is that you cannot alter behavior. People will alter their behavior, but you can only give impulses. And because we always think that we are making a huge difference and maybe you, we are, but we are only making it because other people let you, as you will never convince anybody because people convince themselves. And to be able to just offer, you know, heartfully offer something and then it to be taken or to be rejected. That to me is my biggest learning of the business. As you cannot convince anybody of anything, they will convince themselves. And all you can do is heartfully, openly, warmly offer and they take it or they don't. And that brings a lot of peace too. Cause I mean, when I guess people like you and I were very convinced of what we're doing and that's, you know, certain strength and intensity in how we bring things forward. 

Christian: (29:00)

And that always has a type of threatening to the outside world, especially when I'm talking about fear, a very open human being. And when I'm displaying my openness towards somebody, I'm inviting somebody to also open up. But that is very fearful to many people cause they haven't learned to lead themselves that way. So I've become much more prudent in my approach towards others. As you know, you should be open to me as I'm, you know, that sucks and you know, just being able to heartfully offer and just wait for the reaction. And you know, the grass won't grow quicker when you pull it, it just grows. And some grasses grow quicker. Some grasses grow slower, they all grow after all, but you just, you can't force anything. And in, you know, in our business, this is long term business. This is not quick and dirty. 

Christian: (29:45)

There's an Excel sheet, you optimize your costs, and let's go. It's not that, we're talking about very, very fundamental behavioral change in the world. It's a paradigm change that we're helping to perpetuate and you need patience and patience is a virtue and you cannot push what we are doing. You cannot force it upon the client. You have to just work with the client heartfully and patiently. And then sometimes the client does lose patience and say, this is not going quick enough. And we need to then remain calm and keep oozing that security in the insecurity of the world, security within insecurity. That's also big learning to be able to be the rock for the client, to keep believing that all these things are possible. So it's, I guess it's a mixture of all these things and I've learned to become, you know, very heartful. I think it's not a mind thing. It's really, it's a very full-body thing. Awareness and calmness and just patience. 

Christine: (30:41)

I think those are really great takeaways. I really like also that grass analogy that you say, okay, you can't force it. I think I can imagine you in your role or with VORSPRUNGatwork, that this is exactly how you work together with clients.  You know, you are the enabler, you wanna bring out the best in them. You wanna help them drive their transformation, but obviously, you can't do it for them. You need to work together with them. I think that's really nice learning or take away from your journey there. And now basically talking about the learnings, all the successful initiatives here, I think, on the other hand, working with transformation or in the field of transformation, implementing initiatives that are relatively new to the company or also to the industry that you're working in, I can imagine that that must be difficult too. Do you have maybe a mistake in mind that you made or anything that didn't work out the way you expected it to? 

Christian: (31:34)

Well, I've learned to not expect anything anymore. Things will just come the way they come. But, as an entrepreneur, I must say that you know, we are very purpose-driven and maybe on the entrepreneurial side, we haven't been conscientious enough in establishing our own, you know, solid, clear structures to be able to scale. That's a very intimate thing with VORSPRUNGatwork. We're still rather small, although the business opportunities are huge. And maybe only from that point of view, I guess we've not fully used our potential, but on the market side in working with clients, I think we've been pretty good and there too. Maybe we at the start of our business, we've expected too much from our clients as in that things would go more quickly, but we just got taught and things take their time. And, really if I'm looking back at one mistake, it's maybe just being too impatient at first and also maybe being too intolerant with the clients, as in what you don't learn this, you're stupid. 

Christian: (32:33)

As in, you know, you should be learning more quickly sort of crap. And that's what I mean is that type of attitude doesn't serve anyone. So, and to just, you know, step back and watch the world, feel yourself, feeling the other, realizing that it's always a path and some paths are being walked more quickly. Some paths are being walked more slowly and it's always good the way they are. And, that's why I really I'm shy away from expectations because everything just plays out the way it plays out. And all you do need to do is be connected with yourself, which makes you able to connect to others. And that's really always what it boils down to. And really one mistake was maybe not being connected enough with ourselves and with the clients. And, but we're on our way, 2021, 2022 coming up, we're looking at a bright future, the market is huge. The necessity for sustainable business becomes an absolute must. So I think we're in a good business and it just needs good self-leadership to get through it. And, you know, not expect too much, as I said, be connected to yourself and everything's gonna be okay.
Christine: (33:32)

That's great. You can always turn them into learnings as you just summarized it as well.  Having this patience, connectedness, not expect too much. I think that's overall a very good takeaway. And yeah, now that we've talked about your journey, I also wanna kind of look into the future, looking at your work and driving transformation together with the clients. What is your future outlook there? Is there anything you're especially looking forward to, you've touched a little bit on 2021, 2022 coming up. 

Christian: (34:01)

Yeah. There's something I'm looking forward to and then I'm actually enjoying right now already is the fact that all the crockery is starting to be exposed. I mean, when you're trying to master the challenge of transformation by virtue of a method like agile or design thinking, whatever it is, you'll always fall short and it becomes more and more clear that it's an extremely holistic endeavor that you have to be embarking on. If you're talking seriously about sustainability and you know, all the complexity reduction, you implement this method, you're gonna be good, you do this, you're gonna be good. That's just about to disappear. And I feel that the belief and this type of business are also diminishing. And so that wholeness and that complete approach that I'm talking about that I feel is the only way to sustainable business that becomes more and more attractive. 

Christian: (34:52)

So that's the hope that I've got that people realize that it is a very holistic activity and I'm repeating our transformation is always personal transformation. And my hope is that more people realize that it's also very much about themselves. I mean, all of life is about yourself. As you know, you are making the decisions and, and you know, that self-leadership, that's something that becomes more and more conscious. I believe in business, you know, that people realize that it's up to them. And we feel also like a huge pool from, you know, just for, you know, for learning, you know, our academy is doing well because people realize they wanna learn. And, you know, just the ability of humans to adapt to their surroundings is really challenged in the 21st century. I mean, this is very vastly different to what it was 40, 50 years ago, this world. And people realize it and people are now embarking on that journey. 

Christian: (35:44)

And, you know, it's great for people to do that, and to be able to make a difference with that in that process is great. And I feel we're at a very good spot and being very holistic always means not being able to be pinpointed to something. I mean, when you're selling agile, you know, people know you're selling agile when you're selling holistic transformation, people are like, what, like how can we understand this? And it's always a bit difficult for people to understand what you're doing. And there's a challenge for us too, cuz that holistic approach needs to be still explained very concisely for people to be able to buy it and there too, or by the way, I'm now realizing that's where we made a mistake too. We just thought we'd be much more easily understood than what we are and we're not. So being concise, being clear, being precise is something that's very important to be able to be bought in the market. And I'm hopeful that, you know, the holistic transformation becomes more and more attractive to companies cause it's a must. You're not gonna be sustainable if you don't fully work on yourself in the entire scope. 

Christine: (36:42)

I see that as a very exciting outlook for the future, as well as you were mentioning the holistic approach, not really focusing on empty methods or best words or stuff like that, but really making it something useful and impactful. I think this is really fascinating. 
Christian, thank you so much for sharing all about your journey and your expertise and driving transformation, and especially for sharing your journey with Elobau and their sustainability transformation. Really exciting to hear how to implement real sustainable change and what challenges and approaches you mentioned along the way. It's been a real pleasure having you on and thank you so much again. 

Christian: (37:20)

It's been a pleasure for me. It's always very intriguing also to listen to oneself. There are always new things coming up and there are new learnings to be taken from and it was awesome. Thank you very much, Christine, I'm looking forward to the next touchpoint, wherever it may be, whether it's in Singapore or in [...], doesn't matter, it's always great to be. 

Christine: (37:38)

Thank you for listening to this episode of Lost in Transformation. If you enjoy our podcast, please subscribe to our channel and leave us a review on iTunes. Join us next time for another episode of our podcast.

Christian's background in HR and why he left to create greater change for employees
Solving complexity problems at Elobau
Helping Elobau find their own remuneration scheme
"There's no organizational transformation without personal transformation" - finding the purpose of Elobau
Apply tested frameworks but always adjust solutions to your client's needs
Why customer-centricity alone doesn't work: You have to focus on yourself too
When leaders stop fear and start to open up and listen, everything changes
The biggest learning: You can't alter behavior until people want to do so themselves
Build the ability to scale, and be patient with your clients
Christian's wish for the future: Holistic transformation as the only way to be sustainable