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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung | September 29, 2018


The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung article, “Job and Opportunity," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Joachim Bohner on how some companies are balancing their core business with new, innovative initiatives. A translated excerpt of the article is below.

Sebastian Koepl is neither an entrepreneur nor chairman of the board. Nevertheless, his working conditions are reminiscent of both: “Presently, I can decide how and where I work and how I proceed in detail thereby,” he says. Actually, Koepl is just a normal employee of the telecommunications giant, Vodafone. Koepl’s colleague, Joscha Schulte, also appreciates the benefits of his current working environment. Like Koepl, who entered professional life four years ago after his studies in Leipzig, he is to be found only sporadically in the office. Instead, during the normal working time, he visits consultants or meets other start-up founders, to develop ideas or test the marketability of concepts.

Koepl and Schulte owe their working conditions to a founder initiative recently launched by Vodafone Deutschland. Under the snappy title “Uplift Me,” the subsidiary of the British mobile phone company wants to breathe more entrepreneurial spirit into its staff: In this project, some of the 14,000 colleagues here can sometimes distinguish themselves as young entrepreneurs. The requirement: An exciting idea. The employer in Düsseldorf takes the financial risks of the undertaking, by releasing them in part from their other duties and provides them with access to internal resources.

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But according to professionals, anyone who wants to provide such special treatment to innovative employees runs the risk of problems with the other colleagues.

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New investigations of the ambidexterity perspective, meaning the varying development speeds in companies, indicate at least that they are accompanied by huge challenges to management.

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To resolve such conflicts, headhunters are in the meantime looking for entirely different management personalities than previous, states Joachim Bohner, Managing Director at the personnel agency Russell Reynolds Associates: Agile and mentally flexible in dealing with contradictions and increasing insecurity – this is now the decisive qualification, if companies are operating particularly innovative units in addition to the core business.

The entire article in its original German can be found here.

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Job and Opportunity