"Experiences are not inherited - everyone must make them alone"
A good and solid education and further training is part of the necessary tools to successfully exercise one's profession. However, a personality is defined not only by the certificates it has obtained, but also by the experiences it has gained in the course of its life. A successful entrepreneur such as Richard Branson (Virgin) only has a secondary school leaving certificate and is now a billionaire. No consultant in the world can fall back on the knowledge that Richard Branson has acquired through the build-up of many companies. His career, with all its ups and downs, successes and failures, has shaped him and made him a visionary entrepreneur.
THE DECISIVE FACTOR IS WHAT EXPERIENCE WE ARE ALLOWED TO GAIN IN THE COURSE OF OUR LIVES AND WHAT WE CAN DERIVE FROM IT FOR OURSELVES. And the more colourful a biography is, the more experience you can pass on.
The 80s: The customer is king
If you already dreamed at school of becoming a business consultant, studying business administration is more or less a must. I studied in Kiel and was happy about practice-oriented professors. Despite mathematical gaps, I was fascinated by investment calculation. When I was studying marketing, I was particularly interested in how to optimize customer benefits.
After successfully completing my business administration studies, I initially gained three years of practical experience in my parents' retail company. The advantage over a job in a external company? You can get all the information you need, you can look everywhere and you know all the employees from childhood on. Within a very short time I learned the business from the bottom up. And I quickly came to the conclusion: "The customer is king!
AN INTACT CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP WITH A RECOGNISABLE CUSTOMER BENEFIT IS THE BASIS FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE COMPANY.
The 90s: The secret of success is to understand each other's point of view.
Finally, the step into business consulting took place. As an assistant I started my career in Hamburg with a well-known consulting company. My practical experience catapulted me quickly up the career ladder. The borders opened up. At the age of 30, I took over operational responsibility for the privatisation of the trading organisation (HO) in the former GDR as part of the Treuhand. A huge task. Over 20,000 sales outlets, more than 200,000 employees and only a few months' time. Worst experience: Thousands of "Besserwessis" who came to the East as consultants and only accepted their point of view. Best experience: The close cooperation with the employees of the former trading organisation.
MOST IMPORTANT INSIGHT: TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER'S POINT OF VIEW.
Then followed international privatization projects throughout Eastern Europe for other consulting firms. Clients included the Treuhandanstalt and the World Bank. Warm hearted Russians, helpful Ukrainians, hospitality, enthusiasm for culture and modesty: the range of positive personal experiences is broad and lets the current political situation appear in a different light.
The new millennium: Why consultants are often unable to help
At the end of the 90s I returned to my former consulting company and took over the executive management in the Cologne headquarters. More than 100 consultants, subsidiaries, shareholdings and an operative consulting business, which mourned the opulent returns from the reunification period and had slipped deep into the red. Restructuring and reorientation! The operative business recovered quickly and brought many new mandates. Bitter insight with some orders: Fighting symptones yes, but research into causes would be better not. Means: Reduce costs and push sales. But continue as before. The inevitable consequence: The problems return regularly as long as owners and managers do not develop the will to change. But there have also been many positive projects in which new concepts have been successfully launched onto the market. And always when everything focused on customer benefit.
The financial crisis, a new board of directors and the question whether that was all.
THE TIME TO QUESTION EVERYTHING AND TO START SOMETHING NEW IS RIPENING.
2010 and following years
Withdrawal from business consulting and looking for new tasks. Together with friends, two start-up companies were founded during this time - in the health sector and in the technical sector. A lot of equity, but also bank loans are invested. It starts to rain. The house bank demands its umbrella back because collected investor money does not flow in time. Another new experience. And a look behind the bank structures makes the facade crumble. A book project is born.
What about today?
Develop, test and implement business ideas with partners: This requires passion and a long breath. To dare to tackle new topics without thinking about restrictions, to have only potential customer benefits in mind, these are valuable experiences from which existing companies also benefit: At entrepreneur conferences, in coaching projects, at speeches or through supervisory board and advisory board mandates, which I perceive in limited numbers.