Everyone probably has a different idea of their ideal organization. Depending on preference, it might be more hierarchical or cooperative in its structure. The fact is that many organizations and companies in Germany are still set up with a strict hierarchy. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as good managers and team members can achieve and create a lot in any type of organization. Particularly successful medium-sized companies – where there are a lot of hidden champions – tend to have hierarchical structures.

So where is the actual challenge?

a) Top management is not automatically top management
b) Teamwork instead of lone wolves
c) Cooperation, dialog and networking instead of power and control

a) Our observation is that skilled workers are still working their way up the career ladder. So it’s only fair that these very good top skilled workers are rewarded for their knowledge and good work. However, top management is not always necessarily top management. For some, working your way up a company means being able to sell yourself and having the highest levels of the hierarchy in the palm of your hand. These are not necessarily bad qualities. Quite the opposite, as being able to sell yourself and your own interests is an important skill. But if protecting your own interests and your own progression is your only motivation, this damages the area of management and the organization as a whole.

An (hierarchy) all-rounder with the unifying quality of specialist and non-specialist areas and motivation to balance the department’s and organization’s potentially contradictory aims is hard to find.

b) Management teams are all too often home to lone wolves that are either experts in their fields as described in a) or simply excellent at self-marketing. The, in some cases complete, neglect of teamwork is one of the huge downfalls in any organization defined by lone wolves and silo thinking. A business will achieve little with this kind of management. Internal power struggles are damaging to the important cooperations between departments, divisions and teams.


c) Do you know what the greatest driver for power and control really is? It’s not by design, but we can often observe that fear is the driving factor. Now, this fear doesn’t officially exist, it’s denied. Officially, discourse may cover concerns or maybe worries at a maximum. From our experience, those with the greatest power and control tend to be the biggest proponents of the status quo. Of course, appearances are often kept up and people often claim to support the latest change. However, some wait in the wings until the true activities can begin with the primary goal of securing their own power and exercising control over everyone and everything.

If a management team already shows these tendencies, there are two options. Either a special, intense transformation of management development with team training and one-on-one coaching, or more drastic measures. Especially before transformations, it’s very helpful to first find the all-rounders with qualities and networks that can nudge things in the right direction from the very beginning. One thing’s for sure: this means taking a clear position in advance and courageously assigning the right people to vital positions.