ESMT Update June 2017
The theme of this ESMT Update is analog to the ESMT Annual Forum: agility. This broad topic covers many different areas of business and technology. Rooted in programming methods of IT, the scope of agility has grown tremendously to include leadership, HR, and industrial processes, such as supply chain management. As “just in time” was the buzzword of the 1990s, agility expresses a core need of all organizations today: flexible structures and processes that nurture change and growth in a disruptive environment.
When I think of agility, I often picture great football strikers of the past. For example, Jürgen Klinsmann brought not only his energy and flexibility on the pitch but also his agility as a trainer. When coaching the German national team, he implemented change against much resistance, thus catapulting the team back onto the global stage. This is the type of agile and innovative leadership needed in today’s organizations, and some companies are at the forefront of this new management style.
Daimler, for instance, launched its internal program “Leadership 2020” in January 2016, focusing on eight leadership principles to redefine processes, become more flexible, and remain relevant. Agility is one of the eight principles defined. As large corporations promote agility as a part of a new corporate culture, small organizations, especially startups, embrace the notion from the beginning – because they have to. ESMT Berlin works together with multinational corporations, with companies from the “Mittelstand,” and with startups, learning from and with them, and supporting leaders from all types of organizations to meet the challenges that come with our accelerated world. We have placed a distinct focus on digitalization – including digital strategy, transformation, and cybersecurity – offering executive development and tracks in our degree programs to enable leaders to understand and manage change, drive agility, and promote innovation, to name but a few areas. We as a business school must also strive for agility. Within the framework of a larger strategy, we continuously redefine our short-term goals. We are still a relatively young organization, and leaders within ESMT benefit from being allowed to make autonomous decisions and act quickly. As the first part of our mission states: “ESMT develops entrepreneurial leaders who think globally, act responsibly, and respect the individual.” And entrepreneurial leaders must be agile – promoting creative ideas, flexible structures, and cross-organizational functions. I invite you to turn the page and take a closer look inside this ESMT Update.
President, ESMT Berlin