Event Review

Shaping next:land
(De-)Constructing Leadership

Organizations are ever more called to find new answers for the challenges of a fast-moving, disruptive world. We are all becoming witnesses of a workplace revolution that fundamentally questions how organizations work. A new paradigm of leadership is on the rise. But is it really? 

In June 2022, we co-hosted SHAPING NEXT:LAND together with WELSER PROFILE: Two days of exploration among leaders and top executives to unpack the future of leadership. We are all witnesses to a rapidly changing world of work that fundamentally raises the question of how organizations will shape the future.

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To get glimpses of answers to these questions, we invited an inspiring mix of evocative stories from leaders on this journey to next:land and created space for exchange and exploration among peers. 

Gerald sharing next:leadership principles (c) Gerald Prüller

Anna co-facilitating group reflections on leadership principles (c) Gerald Prüller

Participants from various organizations sharing their experiences (c) Gerald Prüller

Gerhard co-facilitation the conference opening sequence (c) Gerald Prüller

Behind the Scenes: Insights from next:land Pioneers

Talking about next:leadership is one thing. Walking the talk and immersing yourself into the experience of shaping an organizations’ journey into new ways of working and organizing another. We invited pioneers who have been on this path for quite a while now to share what this journey taught themselves about leadership. All of them truly believe that there is a change needed in the way organizations work and will share why they do so. We were able to look behind the scenes at four companies and learn how they designed their organizations and management differently.

Thomas Welser, CEO of Welser Profile, and Gerhard Luftensteiner, CEO KEBA (c) Gerald Prüller

The CEO of Welser Profile, Thomas Welser, and the KEBA CEO, Gerhard Luftensteiner, shared insights on their transformation journey, in which the classic hierarchical company organization was replaced by a new DNA. The journey led both companies to an agile, low-hierarchy, role-based organization. The classic manager no longer exists in these companies. Each employee is equally responsible and assumes leadership in self-chosen roles for which she has passion and competence.

Anna Zarudzka & Piotr Majchrzak, Co-CEOs of BOLDARE, a Polish IT company, and Vivek Menon, Sales Leader of Danfoss Power Solutions, reported on their companies' transition towards self-organization and agility.

And: You can read more about the challenges of leadership at BOLDARE in this interview!

Vivek Menon, Sales Leader of Danfoss Power Solutions (c) Gerald Prüller

What are key insights from the journey to next:land?

  1. “We have had a restructuring process in our company every few years in the past. In 2015, we decided to really look behind the scenes: If we want to position ourselves for the future, what should we keep and what should we change? During this discussion, we realized that if we continue as before, then nothing will change at the core. The way HOW we lead, HOW we shape the organization is the core problem. We have to go there.”
  2. “The greatest challenge in the transformation of a company shaped by engineers was, in addition to their special features, paying particular attention to the 100% correct application of the self-organization tools and methods, in particular to enabling a cultural change and a different understanding of leadership. As an engineer, you quickly get stuck with the methods and try to perfect them. If I were to start the transformation again, as a first step I would pay particular attention to the underlying principles in the understanding of leadership and the changed attitude. Building on that, I would then bring in the tools and methods.”
  3. “As a CEO, I had to learn a new core competency, namely not making decisions immediately when I was asked for my opinion and assessment. The people with expertise should make the decisions – those who are close to the topic. I've always been better at doing this.”
  4. “The future and increasing dynamics require different success factors than those that applied in the past: We must follow the principle of ‘evolutionary learning’ in the future. It's NOT about: What is the best structure, the best set-up, the best way to lead? Instead, the question is: How can we ensure experimentation and ongoing trial and error and anchor this as the central DNA of the organization of the future? This is the only way we can meet the constantly changing requirements.”

Insights about the future of leadership, Graphic Facilitation (c) Chiara de Eccher

A big thank you to all participants & speakers who joined our first SHAPING NEXT:LAND event to discuss and reflect leadership principles, organizational transformation and stories from the field by next:land practitioners.

Some resonances by participants:

  • "I am in this business for 25 years. This is the first time in recent years that I have no idea what might be coming next. Thanks to this day, I have a glimpse again of how it might go on."
  • "Purpose is the key: Why should I go to my company every day? Why should people go there every day? If you get a good answer to this question, many things go automatically. Based on that answer you will be driven, even in complicated times like right now."
  • "Yes it's about delegating authority, but I think the word 'empowerment' is overused. Ask yourself and be honest: What were the last 5 decisions that your team executed that you didn't agreed with?"
  • "It's so inspiring to get insights from different organizations, their problems and challenges, a great experience!"
  • "We started our transformation ~4 years ago and I learned that it’s a marathon - frustrating phases are a part of it, that’s the nature of it. And it’s good for me to feel that I am not alone."

Shaping next:land

hosted by dG in collaboration with Welser Profile

The family-owned company Welser Profile has a history of more than 350 years and is a global player and technology leader in individual profile solutions made of steel, stainless steel and non-ferrous metals. Welser Profile manufactures customized solutions for virtually all industries with production sites in Austria, Germany, and USA and worldwide sales offices.

Welser Profile is undergoing a major cultural change. Starting from the rediscovery of the purpose of the organization, Welser is gradually reshaping the entire organization - with the clear vision of becoming an adaptive organization that will remain successful in a highly dynamic environment over the next generations. 

Find out more at www.welser.com

Hosted by Welser & dG: Thomas Welser with Gerald Mitterer, Anna Wohlesser, Gerhard Hochreiter
Speakers: Thomas Welser (Welser Profile), Gerhard Luftensteiner (KEBA Group), Vivek Menon (Danfoss Power Solutions), Anna Zarudzka & Piotr Majchrzak (Boldare)
Graphic Facilitation: Chiara de Eccher
Fotos: Gerald Prüller
Event Logistik & Comms: Karl Teufl, Hanna Spegel

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