The perfect storm
What makes successful companies successful? Sebastian Fuchs answers.
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I am sure you have wondered many times about this question and while every day there is new examples coming up that there is not one answer to the question I would like today walk you through two concepts that I strongly believe are tied together and ultimately drive success for companies:
Strategy and Purpose
Having worked in many different roles during my career I had many of these light bulb moments but one thing that was always a guiding light to me was the overarching strategy of the business I was in and how to accomplish it in the region I was in. Take my first company Jaguar and Land Rover which had a clear focus on Premium Automotive markets, it was inherent in anything we did that it was not meant for everyone but for people that wanted that British superiority and all the halo that came with it. Jaguar used at that time the claim “The Art of Performance” and Land Rover “Beyond” in both messages it was clear what the customer had to expect and it was the guiding light for all employees. A mandatory “Green Blood” injection was what the intro tour in the UK factory for employees was called and even corporate credit cards at the time got branded for the team members. We were all living the brand. When it came to purpose it was a different time as I am now talking about 2001 to 2007 and businesses where at that time not focused all that much on doing the extra mile so for that part it was still all well with a pure strategy focused on the product.
Moving on in the different stops I have taken at Hyundai and Europcar I had similar experiences, but a game changer was my time in Volvo.
Now to better understand you have to know a little secret about the all mighty Swedish Car producer that has lately celebrated success after success. Way back in 1958when they invented the seat belt Volvo took a very mindful step of releasing the patent to this life saving technology because they recognized that it was so much of a changer that it would be unethical to make money from such a product.
Source: Motor Vehicle Safety
This has ultimately led to a safety spirit and purpose within the company and the teams have over the years evolved this to taking care of not only humanity but also the environment we live in. This very clear purpose and strategy has subsequently let to many very brave decisions by the board of Volvo over the years that I was able to witness. Be it the decision to accept responsibility for all accidents that happen with self-drivingcars,or ending the engine development for internal combustion engines.
Now you might say, yes that is all fine at the heart of the company working up in Gothenburg but I can tell you that this spirit was lived in all the 30 plus countries I visited during my time with Volvo – be it Japan, China, the USA or Lebanon – teams from Managing directors to sales teams and all the way to the customer front with the dealer staff, there was brought alignment.
So how to define this game changing purpose and strategy and what comes first? Well I can tell you about a recent venture that I am working on and what we did:
Be stubborn, insist, and believe in your dream, if challenges get brought up address them with a detailed analysis and the necessary attention.
Formulate and refine the strategy and the purpose on the go – in my case it was the strategy first and while testing the concept the purpose actually developed and become clear. Purpose can come in many forms, but it is a light house that you need to manifest with your teams and make sure it is lived and breathed each day!
Take the example of Red Bull, an energy drink that has added a wonderful purpose with its extreme sport divisions to it and with that expanded its business model into manyfold possibilities with an ever-growing reach. Now this might not always be possible but one thing is given:
Get your Strategy and the Purpose right – anker it with your teams and let them live it, it will become the reason for people to go to work, drive results, stand tough times and just LOVE what they do.
What else can you want as a leader of a business?
Sebastian Fuchs, Managing Director Manheim and RMS Continental Europe
Marketing Manager – Europe
Phone: +44 (0)7767 845 896
Thought Leadership Sponsored by RMS Automotive