Handing over one’s own business is a challenging topic. Many entrepreneurs find succession difficult. Even if, like one of our clients, they deal with it at an early stage: Frank S., a medium-sized entrepreneur in his early sixties, had started to deal with the issue of succession in his mid-50s. So, he was well on time. It was clear early on that his only son would not take over the company. So how to proceed? Sell the company? In order to get this complex decision right, Frank S. called in an expert.

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Finding staff, retaining staff: What used to be an everyday routine is now a supreme discipline in management and HR departments. More than ever, staff retention is an important key to corporate success. And in the highly competitive labour market, it is a real challenge, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Attractive and transparent development paths play a key role in employee retention.

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On 16 December 2022, the Whistleblower Protection Act (HinSchG) was passed in the Federal Parliament. Based on the Whistleblower Directive, it guarantees whistleblowers better protection in their professional environment against reprisals such as dismissal or defamation. The next plenary session of the Bundesrat is on 10 February 2023. If it approves the HinSchG, the law can be promulgated in February. Since a law comes into force three months after promulgation, in this case it would probably be the end of May. In the first stage, the law will apply to all companies with 250 or more employees and, from 17 December 2023 to all companies with at least 50 employees.

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The corporate world is changing dynamically and with it the challenges for leadership and management. Managers are constantly confronted with new tasks as a result of the permanent changes. In order to successfully cope with change, focused further development is essential. Structured development of executives is best achieved using an individually designed development model. It ensures that leaders are best equipped for current and future business tasks and challenges.

Systematic development of executives in medium-sized companies is currently the exception rather than the rule. Leadership development therefore offers many companies a great, previously untapped opportunity to strengthen their team, find new talent and successfully move the company forward even in phases of major change.

Supervisors play a Key Role in Employee Retention

The structured development of managers is an important basis for the company’s future – and for staff retention. According to a recent Personio study*, 46% of employees in small and medium-sized companies across Europe are planning to change jobs in the near future. One of the most important reasons cited for this is a lack of appreciation. Leadership style, social skills, empathy and corporate culture are key factors in determining how much employees identify with the company and feel comfortable there. This means that supervisors play a particularly important role in the onboarding process.

Success is no coincidence

Reflecting on oneself, deepening one’s own competencies, learning, networking, motivating … In times of such rapid and major changes, a modern manager is characterized above all by the willingness and ability to develop further. This applies to younger managers as well as to experienced ones. The concrete design of the personal development model depends on many individual factors such as the management level, the area of responsibility or the personal experience values. A younger manager who wants to prepare optimally for taking on greater management responsibility will set completely different priorities in his development model than an experienced manager who wants to drive major change processes in the company.  The earlier a development model for leadership and management is implemented at all levels, the more promising the results. After all, developing leaders systematically takes time and is an ongoing process.

Leadership Development with Structure, Empathy and 360° View

How can a manager be developed in a goal-oriented manner? When implementing the development model, it is important to look at the individual framework conditions, corporate culture and goals and link them to the internal guidelines for managers. For this purpose, we develop an agile development model. First, the initial situation is analysed and relevant competencies as well as strengths and weaknesses of the executives are identified. On this basis, development areas and goals are defined, and an individual leadership development model is elaborated. The development model is tailored to the individual starting situation of the executive in order to ensure optimal learning and successful transfer to practice. It will initially be launched as a pilot project and, after the test phase, will be successively implemented as a professional infrastructure in the form of coaching, training, and learning-on-the-job elements. Managers can thus achieve their individual development goals in a targeted and efficient manner. The training effects are permanently evaluated and assessed to ensure the best possible development results.

THE MAK`ED TEAM sees leadership development as an essential part of successful business development. We develop agile leadership development models that are easy to implement and focused. Executives benefit from our high level of expertise in corporate business and our interdisciplinary, experienced team.

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 *Source: Personio study “The Great Value Shift”, 2022

Orders cannot be accepted because production does not create enough output? The complaint rate is increasing? The company is in a tight financial situation because too much liquidity is tied up in the entire production process?

Many medium-sized manufacturing companies are currently in a challenging situation. Weaknesses in the structures and processes of production thus become even more apparent. Of course, no production is perfect. If it is viewed and optimized according to the principles of lean management, significant improvement results can be achieved. Lean Production creates a customer-oriented, lean, and resource-efficient production process and strengthens the competitive position. Lean Production aims to avoid waste at all levels in production processes, to ensure good quality, to keep delivery times short and costs low.

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One comes, one goes – and if one doesn’t go, one is too many. This statement already says a lot about why succession in family businesses is demanding. It takes a successor who is willing to take on responsibility and it takes an entrepreneur who is willing to put responsibility in the hands of his successor. The path to succession is crucial because it involves answering many questions. Systematically addressing the issue of succession in the company at an early stage ensures success – even if the result will most likely be different than expected.

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Sooner or later, undesirable developments in a company become apparent in its earnings situation. Once there, it is usually only a matter of time before the company’s liquidity is also affected. So, if there are negative deviations in sales and/or earnings compared to corporate planning, if the results are below those of comparable companies or even negative, it is imperative to take countermeasures. Precisely because time is usually of the essence in such cases, it is crucial to proceed thoroughly and professionally.

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It is increasingly important for medium-sized companies to meet sustainability criteria and to make this visible. In the overall economic structure, they are always part of a larger supply chain and thus bound by the sustainability requirements of other stakeholders. Demands on SMEs also come from banks and insurance companies. This is because the ESG criteria that a company implements are playing an increasingly important role in the financial sector against the backdrop of sustainable finance and are important when lending to an SME. In addition, the expectations of customers and employees are becoming increasingly concrete. But how specifically does an SME go about thinking, acting, and deciding in terms of sustainability? The topic of sustainability is complex. There are 20 important sustainability criteria, which include, for example, “innovation and product management”, “resource management” or “employee rights”. Therefore, the key question is: Where is the topic of sustainability relevant in the company at all?

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Every company knows that it is no longer possible without digital tools – especially in HR management. But how do you implement such a digitization step in a medium-sized company? One of our customers, a medium-sized mechanical engineering company with its own production facilities and around 150 employees, decided to take the step forward with us and digitize its HR processes.

The particular challenge was that, at the start of the project, a lot of data and information was still in paper form and very little in Word or Excel. In addition, the company’s resources for this project were very limited. Despite the hurdles, the software was successfully implemented, and the entire company benefited greatly. Many processes have been automated since the system was introduced, which has freed up valuable personnel and financial capacities in the company. Managers, HR managers and employees benefit from greater transparency and 24/7 access to the data they need for their tasks.

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As hosts, we look back on a successful “Event & Dialogue” 2022 and on a varied evening with inspiring exchanges and exciting discussions. It was an all-around successful event last Wednesday, July 20, with owners of medium-sized companies and HR professionals. After getting to know each other and the opening speech by Martin Auer, Managing Partner of THE MAK`ED TEAM, on the topic of “HR: Digitalization in Practice”, Claudia Weber from Deinzerconsult moved on to the agile salon method.

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