«Many CEOs character traits are the same as those of psychopaths.» – part 1

Leadership! – Interview with Jack D. Wood

Why is continual higher learning like the GEMBA the appropriate way to battle an increasingly complex global economic environment?

I don’t think you want to ‘battle’ the complex global economic environment; I think you want to understand it so you can work within it without fearing it and without losing your humanity.

Executives and the business press today overestimate the importance of technology.  Companies, and countries, fail not because they don’t have technology or money or because of the perception of complexity, they fail because of failures in leadership.

The CEIBS GEMBA, like the IMD MBA that ran from 2001 until 2012, was unique in its focus on leadership.  Without first-rate leadership, businesses cannot compete and public sector organizations will flounder.

Usually it’s the other way round….

That is right. Most employees entering businesses have technical skills and technical training.  They end up working in companies for five or ten years, and then it becomes clear that their technical skills and technical training are not enough.  They need leadership skills.  These managers are trained in a cognitive and rational way, and they look at situations as if organizations with people ran like an engineering system.  But businesses don’t run like automobiles.  They are full of people.  And these people have to be treated differently than you treat circuits on an assembly line.  Military organizations actually work differently: first you become an officer, then you learn how to pilot an airplane or command a ship. Leadership skills come first and technical skills come later.

You mean that in industry there is a big gap between technical training and leadership training?

In industry you end up with technically trained people who after ten years end up managing people at work and having families at home and none of their technical skills help them to do either.  Leadership and behavioral skills are central.  So why is there a leadership focus on the GEMBA? If you can get the leadership stuff right, you will be positioned to have much better decision-making in all business areas–whether it’s a question of accounting, finance, operations, whatever. If you don’t get leadership right, you always make a mess of all other organizational decision-making.

However, not everybody is born to be a leader…

There is a widespread misconception about the distinction between ‘leader’ and ‘leadership’—the one is a formal role and the second is a behavioral process.  Conventional thinking mistakenly assumes that the person on top of the organization is ‘the leader’.  But leadership is a process that occurs throughout the organization.  A German HR exec was planning a program for young high potential managers, and she came to see me and asked me what I did.  I gave her my assignments and readings.  A few months later she came back and said that she liked my readings and assignments but could I remove the words ‘leader’ and ‘leadership’ from the material. I asked why she wanted me to do that. She said that she didn’t to want the young managers to come back from my course and think that they would be leaders. I said, “Let’s go to the kindergarten and look through the big window.” It was a wall of glass. Behind it were dozens of kids. I asked her if she could see any leadership being exercised among the children in the kindergarten? She said yes. Some of the kids were organizing the others, initiating games, leading. And so I said to her: Ok, let’s talk about what leadership is and what it isn’t.  There is a difference between a ‘leader’ which is a formal role, and ‘leadership’ which is a process that occurs at all levels of an organization—or any group, including one’s family.

Is your personal-development aspect, similar to the one which you established at IMD, which distinguishes the GEMBA from other EMBA programs?

All business schools that ‘teach leadership’ focus on a personal or individual level.  Mostly the focus is in the classroom and sometimes there are a few hours of personal ‘coaching’. The main differences with leadership work I do is that we don’t just focus on the personal, individual level, we work on the group and organizational levels—and we work in depth.

All leadership is exercised in small groups. Even if you are a President or a Prime Minister you still work in a small group.  So, we focus on the small group. Most schools and organizations do individual coaching but in fact you never work with somebody as an individual only.  If you’re thrown into a group, and you think it’s just a collection of individuals with their own traits, you just don’t understand the unconscious dynamics of how the group works. If you don’t understand why people are subgrouping, why the agenda on the table is not the real agenda but the agenda under the table is, then you’ll never be an effective leader.

But is leadership not mostly about motivating people?


Traditional ‘leadership’ is based on dominance, hierarchy and obedience. But dominance is not leadership.  Dominance—authoritarian behavior—is a kind of archaic or primitive leadership.  It works with baboons but it doesn’t work with humans very well—unless there is a crisis.  This is why authoritarian leaders create and exacerbate crises, to permit them to behave in an authoritarian manner. This is true in Switzerland, the US, Russia, China, everywhere.  Dominating your subordinates with your formal authority may bring compliance, but it will never bring commitment.  Authoritarian leadership is the same everywhere.   The collective desire for dominant and authoritarian leadership is more pronounced in times of insecurity and fear. Today is an example.  And it’s dangerous.


What would be a more behavioral approach?


If you understand what drives people’s unconscious behavior, you can exercise leadership in a deeper, more effective way. Nelson Mandela’s name comes up often as a great leader. Mandela spent 27 years in prison. He went into prison as an angry young man, but after a while he realized that his anger way toxic to himself, so he became curious about why the whites treated the blacks so badly. He started talking to his jailers to understand them.  He learned that the reason whites treated the blacks badly was because they were afraid of the blacks—that’s why whites were persecuting blacks.  And when he got out of prison, his advisors were telling him they could not take revenge on the whites. But Mandela said no, and he addressed the fears of the whites, not the bitterness of the whites. That’s why he was a remarkable leader, because he could address the unconscious and irrational elements.  Robert Mugabe in former Rhodesia did exactly the opposite, and Zimbabwe is a mess now: same kind of history, same kind of resources, same legacy of white rule, different black leadership, so different results—success in South Africa and failure in Zimbabwe.


Not everyone has what it takes to be Nelson Mandela…


Well actually almost everyone does.  In today’s environment you get a lot of would be leaders playing to fear and exaggerating it, basically manipulating people into supporting them because of fear, so that they can justify behaving in an authoritarian manner. Hitler and Stalin did that. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are examples today. It’s an old trick: generate and exacerbate fear among the people, and manipulate them into following your fabricated solutions—it’s narcissistic and pathological.  There are lots of ‘top executives’ who operate this way too.  There is a lot of current research that identifies that the character traits of many CEOs are the same as those of psychopaths.


If you exercise leadership today, you can’t understand things by only working on yourself—like getting personal coaching—because you’re trapped in a system that you don’t understand.  Of course you have to understand the psychological dynamics that drive you, but you need to understand what drives those around you too.


And how shall we escape the system in which we are trapped?


That is why I approach leadership as an essential element in a wider system, like a family is a system. Years ago psychologists realized that working with an individual patient had little effect because the patients would improve in the clinic and get worse at home and they found out that it was the dynamics in the family that made them ill in the first place, not some pathology inherent within the individual patient.  They understood something was going on in the family system that was making that individual sick.


So they started looking at families as a system.  Similarly, we look at groups as a system.  Most of us worked in groups and teams. At IMD there were many MBA students who were former military officers—former American green berets, British and Swiss officers—they told me that the way we did leadership gave them insights that they never had on how groups and organizations worked.  They said the lenses we provided them clarified things that they never were clear about because in most organizations you just plough through learning about ‘what you’re supposed to do’ without ever understanding what is underneath. That is what we train in the GEMBA: to think psychologically; to look under the surface.


Your leadership module will start in two weeks (26 Sept 2016). Can you say something in this context about the first module without blowing it?


Organizational life revolves around a core of leadership.  The core of the first module is leadership because when you understand deeply what leadership is and what it is not, then this will make your decision-making in all other kind of business functions more effective. We try to put in place a foundation for understanding and exercising leadership responsibly that will carry participants forward for the rest of the program and for the rest of their careers.

(end of part 1 – part 2 coming soon)


Jack Denfeld Wood

Jack is Professor of Management Practice and Organisational Behaviour at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, China; Emeritus Professor of Leadership and Organisational Behaviour at the International Management Development Institute (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Visiting Professor at the Moscow School of Management (Skolkovo) in Russia. Jack has Swiss and American nationality. His academic publications and areas of special interest include the role of unconscious processes in leadership and followership, group dynamics, and ideology. Along with his academic work and organisational consultation, Jack is a practicing psychotherapist and a diploma candidate at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich. He is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Academy of Management (AOM), the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI) and the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA).

– See more at: http://www.lorange.org/en/person/Academic/jack-denfeld-wood#sthash.8D3MUe2S.dpuf

Industry 4.0 executive requires new learning models transcending the traditional MBA programs.


The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Industry 4.0 is based upon a number of new principles one of which will be explored in this article as it also relates to executive learning and knowledge development.

15 years ago I began exploring the seminal Hobart Paper by Sir Douglas Hague titled BEYOND UNIVERSITIES, Douglas was the founder of the Manchester Business School and an innovator and patron of Business Education at Oxford University in the UK. My meetings and discussions with Douglas led rapidly to the realization that business education was in need of serious change and it would be more successful in aligning the university with business and those who studied and analyzed the nature of business, executive learning and how knowledge could be developed to meet the rapidly accelerating digital world that was unfolding.

A number of years ago I started sending my innovative periodic bulletins and commentaries on technology and business to Peter Lorange, who, after successfully building the Swiss University IMD into a significant institution had founded his own revolutionary graduate school of business on the shores of lake Zurich in Switzerland. The Lorange Institute has emerged as a fasting moving and quick adapting prototype of executive learning for Industry 4.0 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

One of the principles of the Industry 4.0 emergence is the need for rapid reconfiguration in manufacturing systems, all manner of services platforms and infrastructure and, all supply and distribution chain evolution.

The Industry 4.0 executive is going to require new learning models that transcend the traditional business school executive education and MBA programs. We will need to step “beyond universities” as Douglas would have said.


Under the continued influence of Peter Lorange and the innovative leadership of CEO Philipp Boksberger, The Lorange Institute has aligned itself with the China Europe International Business School where the emergence of the world’s fastest growing economy is adopting the Industry 4.0 framework and is aggressively engaging with the technology leadership of European companies and institutions.

As a European leader for global Industry 4.0 and Fourth Industrial Revolution learning, The Lorange Institute is creating a portfolio of innovative executive learning models that are themselves rapidly reconfigurable with non-traditional faculty and both academic and industry leading thinkers on all aspects of the business models for Industry 4.0.

This model of “lifelong learning” that was developed by Peter Lorange and that is now effectively executed by Philipp Boksberger, goes well beyond the “custom or traditional executive education models” available in even the most prestigious international universities.

Rapidly reconfigurable executive learning requires boldness and a keen anticipation of the future. Lean yet intellectually deep and operationally efficient talent is required to develop and manage the continually changing requirements that maintain pace with the rapidly emerging world of Industry 4.0.

As an Associate Fellow, my work at Oxford University is with the Oxford Praxis Forum Research Centre an innovative and somewhat radical exploration of how executives learn. The OPF was seeded by Douglas Hague and since 2012 led by the innovative thinking and sometimes radical approaches of Marshall Young.

In my own company, The Brenva Institute, I provide briefings and tutoring to senior executives globally on the leading and managing of the complexity of the rising Fourth Industrial Revolution and digital convergence.

Today, as member of the executive faculty of The Lorange Institute, I am part of a continually morphing set of approaches to practical and practitioner based learning that engages even throughout the same day innovative seminars, industry engagement and a quest for the next content and knowledge delivery configuration that will be required to support what will be the next great technological and commercial era in the history of civilization.

The world is changing and most of what we assumed was required from business education is passing away.

Almost all business schools and universities are still tied the Third Industrial Revolution models and strategies for business, economics and management education; and their executive education models fare no better.

Douglas Hague challenged the world to think “beyond universities” in 1992.

More recently Peter Lorange has challenged the world that unconventional life long business learning was the key to success.

Invention and innovation always occurs “on the margins” of companies, industries and yes, universities. Rapidly reconfigurable education must also be undertaken more frequently as the changes in technology, business, commerce, economics and politics dictate a new awareness and commitment to continual learning.

Senior executives, their companies and industries who seek to be successful in the transitions and transformations underway need to be a part of these new radical mutations that are redefining the nature of how executives learn, and what innovative and renewing learning approaches will be required to successfully anticipate and manage in the future.

We are entering a new world where economic power and technological leadership will be changing and shifting across continents and oceans. Both globalization and localization will build new global and domestic economic and business models.

Rapidly reconfigurable executive education must be a part of your future individual and executive team’s knowledge strategies as machines become your co-worker and circular ecosystems replace organizations.

robert-glazeRobert Glaze

is a meta-technologist and global senior level practitioner, speaker and executive tutor in the Business of Technology, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Digital Convergence.

He calls himself a developer of the concepts of Digital Industrialization,the Digilithic Era, Management in the Digisphere and The Coordination of Complexity.

He has served as a strategic advisor to first pan european broadband networks, first global continent to continent broadband networks, manufacturing, digital services and technology industries CEO’s, COO’s, CTO’s and CISO’s.


Unternehmensführung: es geht um Menschen, nicht Systeme.

von Hüseyin Özdemir

Durch meine fast 30-jährige Erfahrung in den Bereichen Führung, Strategie- und Organisationsentwicklung sowie Coaching, stelle ich als Experte in diesem Bereich immer wieder fest, dass der einzelne Mensch im System zu wenig berücksichtig wird, was fatale Folgen für den Unternehmenserfolg birgt:

Steigende Fluktuation, schlechtere Leistung, Motivationslosigkeit und fehlendes Commitment des einzelnen Mitarbeiters. Oft wird zwar an den Folgen gearbeitet, aber das Hauptproblem wird nicht ausreichend beachtet oder erst, wenn das Kind schon in den Brunnen gefallen ist.

Ich und mein Team, werden genau dann von Firmen engagiert, wenn z.B. aufgrund schlechter Ergebnisse einer Mitarbeiterbefragung oder anderweitiger Probleme, die Herausforderungen für das Unternehmen so gross sind, dass sie es alleine nicht mehr stemmen können.

Die einzelnen Unternehmen haben zuvor schon vielfältige Massnahmen getroffen und Ihren Angestellten unzählige Angebote offeriert; dennoch werden diese entweder nicht angenommen oder es führt nicht zum gewünschten Ziel.

Executive MBA – immer populärer

In fast allen Fällen, kristallisiert sich heraus, dass die Problematik auf die Leadership Ebene zurückzuführen ist. Im BWL Studium werden zukünftigen Führungskräfte kaum oder sehr mangelhaft mit Theorien zu den verschiedenen Führungsmodellen vertraut gemacht, und wie diese umzusetzen und anzuwenden sind, wird gar nicht erst erprobt.

Junge BWL Absolventen werden somit nicht auf Ihre Führungsrolle vorbereit, und dieser Zustand ist im heutigen Zeitalter nicht mehr haltbar. Dies ist mit ein Grund, weshalb Executives MBA`s immer populärer werden.

Es ist ein Irrglaube, dass Führung und Tagesgeschäft einfach so nebeneinander herlaufen können

Erst dort werden die Führungsverantwortlichen mit der Vielschichtigkeit Ihrer Rolle, den gestellten Erwartungen an sie und hilfreichen Instrumenten und praxisnahen Modellen vertraut gemacht, die sie innerhalb dieses Studiums erproben, vertiefen und anwenden können.

Durch eine Feedbackstruktur, Erkennen der eigenen Defizite und das Arbeiten daran, mit Tools und dem Austausch mit weiteren Führungsverantwortlichen aus anderen Unternehmen, werden die angehenden Top Manager in ihrer eigenen Rolle bestärkt.  Dieses neugewonnene Wissen und Können trägt er in sein Unternehmen.

Das ist es, worauf es ankommt: An sich arbeiten und sich weiterentwickeln.

Gute Führung benötigt Zeit und ein klares Rollenverständnis

Die Führung von Menschen ist eine anspruchsvolle Aufgabe. Oft müssen in Unternehmen erst wieder neue Strukturen geschaffen werden, damit die Führungskraft überhaupt, neben dem Alltagsgeschäft, wieder Zeit hat, seine Mitarbeitenden zu führen.

Es ist ein Irrglaube, dass dies nebenherlaufen kann. Nein:  gute Führung benötigt Zeit und ein klares Rollenverständnis. Fehlende Führung oder fehlerhaftes Führungsverhalten wird von den Mitarbeiteten früher oder später, direkt oder indirekt, abgestraft und dies wiederum spiegelt sich langfristig in der ganzen Unternehmenskultur wieder.

Es ist oft ein langer und emotionaler Weg, verlorengegangenes Vertrauen und starre Strukturen, die aufgrund von schlechter Führung über Jahre geprägt worden sind, wieder hin zu einem positiven und offenen Miteinander zu entwickeln.

Um die Executives in Ihrer Rolle und in Ihrer Führung zu unterstützen, haben wir in Kooperation mit dem Lorange Institute of Business Zürich eine aus ähnlichen Angeboten herausragende Ausbildung entwickelt, um die oben genannten Führungsproblematiken anzugehen.

Zielgerichtete und lösungsorientierte Weiterbildung

Die Weiterbildung ist zielgerichtet und lösungsorientiert aufgebaut. Teilnehmer werden befähigt, ihr Führungsverhalten unter vielen Gesichtspunkten zu reflektieren. Dabei versuchen wir, die Existenzberechtigung vieler Wahrheiten zu berücksichtigen und, unter Berücksichtigung des Kontextes, Handlungsoptionen aufzuzeigen.

Organisationen und ihre Kulturen sind komplexe Systeme. Wir begleiten Menschen unter Einbezug der persönlichen, der team- und der organisationalen Ebene. Durch kontinuierliche Selbstentwicklung der Teilnehmer werden deren fachliche und persönliche Fähigkeiten erweitert.

Ich persönlich sehe sowohl diese persönliche Auseinandersetzung mit dem eigenen Führungsverhalten unter Berücksichtigung des organisationalen Kontextes als auch die berufliche und auch persönliche Weiterentwicklung als Erfolgsfaktor für eine gelungene Führungsfunktion.


Systemisches Denken, also unser Selbstverständnis und unsere Haltung, begleitet uns in der Beratungs- und Coachingarbeit. Systemisches Denken und Handeln ist auch der Coaching-Ansatz dieser Weiterbildung: Executive Coaching „Next Level Leadership 2.0“.

2016-08 Dr. Hüseyin Özedmir_xs.jpeg
Dr. phil. Hüseyin Özdemir, Dipl. Oec., Geschäftsführer oezpa GmbH. Akademie und Consulting. http://www.oezpa.de
Unsere zertifizierten Absolventinnen und Absolventen der Weiterbildung werden befähigt, als interner und externer Coach praxisnah und lösungsorientiert auf Ihre zukünftigen Aufgaben zuzugehen. Durch kontinuierliche Selbstentwicklung der Teilnehmer werden deren fachliche und persönliche Fähigkeiten erweitert.

Innerhalb des Executive Coaching „Next Level Leadership 2.0“ Basics Programm erwerben die Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer wichtige und grundlegende Kompetenzen für die Arbeit als Leading-Coach.

Aufbauend erstreckt sich dann unser Executive Coaching Advanced Programm. Den Schwerpunkt kann die Teilnehmerin bzw. Teilnehmer selbst wählen. Hauptaugenmerk liegt hierbei auf und den immer grösser werdenden Anforderungen als Führungskraft und ihren Herausforderungen, gerade im Zeitalter der Digitalisierung, der Internationalisierung und der Globalisierung.


Programm am Lorange Institute of Business

Unsere Executive Coaching Weiterbildung „Next Level Leadership 2.0“ soll Ihnen bei der Gestaltung dieser Herausforderungen Wegbegleiter sein.

Mehr unter: http://www.lorange.org/de/lernen/partner-programme oder clicken Sie auf den Banner.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-08-29 um 11.58.31

How much Growth trough trade with China?

Dear reader

I wonder if you are aware that the trade between Switzerland and China accounts for 4% of the annual Swiss GDP. And did you know that the Chinese manufacturing labor costs (2014) were higher than those in Romania? Chinese labor costs rose by an annual average of 17% in 12 years. The old rule of thumb that China is [only] a manufacturer and [only] sells in Europe is not true anymore.

China is an economy that increasingly focuses on services and that is one reason why many Chinese companies are suddenly investing in Europe. There are, however, obstacles for Chinese companies when they are trying to enter other overseas markets. They often need to overcome hurdles such as claims of ideological incompatibility, concerns that they are threats to national security and suggestions of unfair competition.

All these questions formed the background for the CEIBS 2nd Europe Forum on May 20 in Zurich (which was the second of four stops: Munich, Zurich, London and Paris). From early in the morning, some 240 people gathered at UBS’s renowned conference center building located a stone’s throw away from the legendary “Paradeplatz,” the heart of Switzerland’s financial center.

CEIBS 2nd Zurich Forum- Photographed by Fanning Tseng For Y!PE-2
The morning was filled with talks and panel discussions; the afternoon was rounded out with excellent presentations such as the one given by Nicolas Musy. He is the co-founder and President of the Board at Swiss Center Shanghai. He drew on the findings of the Center’s latest survey, which included interesting and surprising insights such as the ones I have mentioned in the first paragraph.

CEIBS 2nd Zurich Forum- Photographed by Fanning Tseng For Y!PE-4
You’ll find a longer summary of the morning sessions on the CEIBS website (including the speeches by H.E. Geng Wenbing, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, People’s Republic of China to Switzerland, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, State Secretary and Director of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and Prof. Ding Yuan, as well as two panel discussions).

CEIBS 2nd Zurich Forum- Photographed by Fanning Tseng For Y!PE-35.jpg

In the morning, Prof. Ding Yuan said that the main motives for Chinese companies to go abroad were to obtain resources and skills that they can then use to perform even better in their home market. In the afternoon, the challenges for foreign companies working in China were the subject of four workshops.

The first was on the challenges of working in private and China’s state-owned enterprises. It was presented by John-James Farquharson, Head of Corporate H.R. at Conzzeta AG, Zurich.


He explained how SASAC, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, supervises 117 companies worth 15 trillion USD and highlighted a few specific state-owned enterprise (SOE) characteristics, like the fact that they tend to discuss the numbers and top-down objectives whereas Western companies usually know the numbers and discuss objectives. And the fact that they are caught in the dilemma of being profitable while keeping people employed. If any company starts working with an SOE, they must be able to deal with organization complexity and ambiguity and also be willing to spend time in remote places.

In addition, Angela Qu, Group Vice President for Supply Chain Management, ABB, spoke about supply chain management challenges in the Chinese market, Peter Lennhag, President of Asia Pacific Executive Advisors, unveiled his six winning strategies for companies in China, and Jean-Luc Meier, co-founder of “Strategic Expansion Solutions,” spoke about corporate diplomacy in China.

You’ll find more pictures and a video on our website.


Peter Lorange

Hiring strategies: how to find talents among Generation Y / Millenials

Dear reader

A few weeks ago we organized a workshop on millennials called „Generation Y“ with speakers such as book author Steffi Burkhart („The Y-Mindset“) and Generation Y speaker Simon Schnetzer. (there is a picture gallery on our website)

Generation Y Millenials Workshop with Steffi Burkhart and Simon Schnetzer

Both Steffi Burkhart and Simon Schnetzer emphasized that millennials were literally everywhere – not only in media, blogs and the like. More than that, millennials are likely to make up have of all employees by 2020 and rising.

Steffi Burkhart und Simon Schnetzer über Generation Y

This is more than paying with numbers. Let’s think about what it means for the recruiting process.

Professional services companies have always known that people are the sources of their competitive advantage. That is the reason why they invest heavily in them. Millennials have an entirely different approach to job searching, using mobile phones and social media platforms at the expense of desktops and job boards.

The question is: how can employers reach out to millennials? The answer is as simple as challenging: a compelling employer brand is essential.

Employer brand strategies are increasingly multi-channel to appeal to digital natives. Career sites must lead with a highly visual brand message. Disruptive recruitment marketing campaigns and gamified elements challenge conventions.  And finally, real people stories shed light on life inside the company and give the company a human face.

A leading example for a millennial employer branding strategy is the german SAP.

Over the past two years, the company has increased its appeal to millennials by changing its communication style, pushing out a strong brand message and increasing their visibility and transparency.

As a tech company that doesn’t have a public-facing product, SAP knew they had to improve the way they communicate, increase their visibility, and up their transparency to appeal to the younger millennial.  Here’s in brief how they got there:

They merged the branding department with the global sourcing team. By merging the two divisions, SAP was able to communicate better with the talents they were trying to attract by addressing their concerns, challenges and needs ahead of the game.

They redesigned their careers website and changed the model to a much more visual one with a tailored approach and pushed new brand messaging out on social media.

They democratized their college recruiting process and started using big data to inform the process. Now with upwards of half a million active members in their talent community, SAP has a big talent base to build from going forward.

Some may complain about these developments and think with nostalgic memories of the ‚good old days’ where people were hired with a printed job advertisement and the telephone. In such I case I to refer to Charles Dickens who wrote in the „Tale of two Cities“ ‚It was the best of times, it was the worst of times‘. That’s why I say: it depends on us whether times are the best or the worst. Also when it comes to recruiting millennials.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange

(Sources: jibe.com E.Smykal / brandcap.com S. Matthews / jennyjedeikin.com)

What’s the link between Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann and the Lorange Institute?

Dear reader

What an honor: Swiss President Mr. Johann Schneider-Ammann ended his three-day official visit to China with a keynote speech at the Sino-Swiss Innovation forum hosted by the China Europe International Business School.

The forum explored the new opportunities for innovation and cross-border investment available for China and Switzerland in an increasingly globalised and digitised world.

Johann Schneider-Amman duales Bildungssystem

President Schneider-Ammann spoke of the “ingredients” that had earned Switzerland a reputation of being “one of the most innovative countries in the world” – its vibrant private sector, funding agencies such as the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Commission for Technology and Innovation, the Swiss educational system and the country’s “world class research institutions”.

With innovation being so important to both countries, the Swiss President added that CEIBS, with its “world-class expertise in education,” has a role to play in promoting ties between the two countries and he said he was „pleased that CEIBS now has a European campus in Switzerland thanks to the acquisition of the Lorange Institute, which gives us a strong base for cooperation in innovation management and we look forward to welcoming more CEIBS students and alumni to discover the Swiss innovation economy.”

I could not have said it any better especially when I think of the study project, which explored the issue of Smart Manufacturing and which has already been completed in Switzerland and Germany since we have become a member of the CEIBS Group.

There is a longer report about the visit of the Swiss President on our website.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange

Building bridges between Europe and China

Dear reader

Some time ago I announced that I would share a few personal thoughts about our deal with CEIBS, the China Europe International Business School.

Repeatedly, I was asked about my motivation for this move. Now, why did we choose this option? There are two reasons that I would like to explain in greater detail. One reason is personal, the second reason is strategic.

The personal reason has to do with my age. Soon I will be 73 years old and, as any business owner, I am interested in the ownership’s succession. The idea of an international network was always very important to me and this idea is key to understanding the Lorange Institute of Business which has no permanent faculty and is, therefore, closely connected with many other business schools in Europe and overseas. One of these business schools is CEIBS in Shanghai.


Signing the contracts with CEIBS Dean Yuan Ding, our CEO Ph. Boksberger (top left) and CEIBS President Pedro Nueno (back middle)

A key person in my international network is Pedro Nueno. He not only holds the Chengwei Ventures Chair of Entrepreneurship, but has been a member of the CEIBS Board of Directors and Chairman of the Academic Council of CEIBS ever since 1994. He was also a fellow of mine when we did our doctorate in business administration at Harvard in 1973. So, you can see the need to think about ownership succession, the idea for both a long-term and sustainable strategy for my business school (and its employees), and the fact that a key person in my international network is not only a friend of mine but plays an important role in a business school in *the* market of the future, China, proved decisive for me to take action.

The latter brings me to the second reason for my decision. As I just said, China and many other countries in the so-called Far East are the markets of the future, not only for commodities and consumer goods, but also for education. Europe is a somewhat saturated market for postgraduate or continuing education, whereas China is growing. We are, on the one hand, interested in being a player in this market. On the other hand, CEIBS is looking for an entry to the European market, which is part of their vision: to become the most respected international business school by linking East and West. This strategic move will help to strengthen CEIBS’ position internationally. In addition, this helps the Lorange Institute of Business to develop its competences when it comes to China and the rest of Asia.

I feel that this move will further enhance our concept of the ‘business school of the future’ by strengthening the international network of faculty members and business competences with an added focus particularly on key future markets. As of autumn 2016, our new Global Executive MBA will be offered at the Lorange Institute to become a major hub for Chinese-focused business in Switzerland.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange

Let’s solve youth unemployment

Dear reader

Employment is one of the key issues of today. Usually, we talk about human capital management, talent retention and alike. But there is a form of wasting talent that affects us all: youth unemployment.

The problem: 60% of surveyed employers across Europe cannot find young candidates with the right soft skills & competencies. 7.5 million young people across Europe are out of a job, training or education. 2 million jobs are vacant and cannot be filled, limiting the growth potential of employers and creating instability for societies.

eYe Training

For this purpose the Circular Society, a Swiss-based for-profit enterprise that applies a business approach to solve social issues and which aims at creating sustainable business and societies, has designed the eYe-training curriculum to find jobs for unemployed youth in Portugal.

Carsten Sudhoff is the founder and CEO of Circular Society and one of the project originators. I know him personally and we, the Lorange Institute of Business, are a partner of Circular Society. Consequently, this partnership resulted in several events that we organized together. The latest event was about interconnected leadership.

As a partner, we also support  the foresighted initiative eYe-training to solve youth unemployment and we recommend that others take there cue from the various supporters.

Kind regards,
Peter Lorange



“I figured I couldn’t be fired on my first day”

Dear reader

Have you ever asked yourself, what courage has to do with leadership in organizations today?

Andy Boynton*), Dean of Boston College’s Carroll School of Managementand Margareta Barchan**), faculty at the Lorange Insitute of Business, asked this question Paul Polman, CEO at Unilever when they sat with him at Unilever’s London headquarters.

Paul Polman knows what courage is. Not only did he become CEO in the heat of the global financial crisis in January 2009 but what he did on his first day required far greater daring.

picture Paul Polman CEO UnileverPaul Polman, CEO

He declared that Unilever shareholders should no longer expect to see quarterly annual reports from the company, along with earnings guidance for the stock market.

„Put your money somewhere else if you don’t want to buy into this long-term value-creation model, which is equitable, which is shared, which is sustainable.” he declared.

I highly recommend this article in FORBES co-authored by Andy Boynton and Margareta Barchan about Unilever’s 10-year Sustainable Living Plan, which seeks to decouple the company’s growth from its environmental footprint.

I wish you good reading!
Peter Lorange

P.S. Click the links in the text or Paul Polman’s picture to get to the Forbes article.

Picture Andy Boynton* Andy Boynton
is Dean of Boston College’s Carroll School of Management, one of the world’s leading business schools, the author of several books and co-creator of DeepDive™, the world’s leading methodology for helping executives harness the power of teams to significantly improve problem-solving speed, innovation and results.

Picture Margareta Barchan** Margareta Barchan
has been involved in several successful start-up ventures, including New Angles, a strategic sustainability consulting company and Pioneers of Change, a young professional leadership organization. Margareta is the past CEO of Celemi International, a global learning design company, which she co-founded, and for which she was named Sweden’s Business Woman of the Year. She continues to serve the business and nonprofit sectors in director capacities.

PopupOffice – a Swiss company claims to evolutionize the office world

According to the New York Times, studies show that people who work at home are significantly more productive but less innovative. However, employees, especially younger ones, expect to be able to work remotely. And over all the trend is toward greater workplace flexibility.

The outcry surrounding a decision by the new Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Mayer to end work-from-home arrangements has shown just how strongly many companies and employees have embraced remote work, but it also underscores tensions between workers’ need for flexibility and their need for visibility.

PopupOffice is the name of a Swiss start-up company which follows the office nomad trend. Office nomads are often self-employed brain workers without an office of their own, sales representatives who travel a lot or home office workers who like to work in an office-like space for a change.

The business idea of PopupOffice is to rent not only office space but also prominent locations which are temporarily available such as galleries. Moreover, clients of PopupOffice become users who will have the opportunity to connect with other clients thus creating an “analog network” in combination with a digital booking tool.

We at the Lorange Institute of Business supported him with a Zurich Living Case. Below you find and interview with PopupOffice founder Mathis Hasler.

Peter Lorange

PopupOffice Logo
Mr Hasler, you signed up  a so-called Living Case, a case study. This is quite unusual for a start-up company?
“Indeed. We founded PopupOffice in March 2015 but started  team building in 2014. The reason why we needed the second opinion was to do with the fact that we hadn’t yet been successful. We were an empty shell. That is why we had to harden the shell. The case study was our hardening agent.

You put your business case under the microscope?
You could put it like that. The results of the case study give our business model a seal of quality. The Lorange Institute is a strong brand and an innovative business school. The market analysis is essential for discussions with potential investors.

How did you find out about the Lorange Institute?
Thanks to my network. A former workmate suggested that our business model should undergo a market analysis and recommended the Lorange Institute of Business. I was very keen on this idea. Students from the Executive MBA program, all with a great deal of managerial experience, write an analysis about our business case. They do it during the course ‘Modern Marketing” in only twelve days. Where else would you receive a paper written by experienced leaders in so little time?

How well matched were you, the innovative start-up company and the established business school?
Very good indeed. The Lorange Institute has proven to be more than a business school. An international faculty meets master’s course students from all over the world and together they build a network. Their innovative spirit and the idea of a network match with the idea of PopupOffice. Our offices are different from the currently used co-working spaces in so far as they become a means of communications and eventually a sales channel. The first is important with regards to the employer branding. Moreover, our customers become users with a profile. To book an office space they log in and after booking the space they become visible to other users. PopupOffice is an all-in platform.

What aspect did you find most  positive in cooperating with the Lorange Institute?
The Living CaseTM study was part of a twelve day marketing block. I even participated in the course for three half-days in the course. We discussed aspects of so-called disruptive innovation business models, which suited the idea of PopupOffice. We are a bit like Uber or irbnb and are trying to break into the real-estate and office market.

Final question: Were you to order a Living CaseTM again what would need  to be different from this one?
Let me put it like this: as a start-up every investment must have a direct return on this investment. In this respect the case study was a delicate matter because all we would get was a paper. Would we be ever capable of quantifying the study on our excel sheet? I therefore wish the business school had given our business even greater visibility in its network.

PopupOffice Work where life happens