We have experienced decades of technological development in which products, the new patent, and price were important. Today, however, leadership and orientation are in demand because we live in a time of profound, fundamental change at breathtaking speed. It is therefore a question of the socio-political responsibility of managers to ensure that their employees have a promising future despite the incredibly rapid pace of technological development.
It is a misunderstanding that only those in the business world who act tough are successful. Rather, it is a matter of creating a balance between material and immaterial values. For this you need a living organization that is always centered on people. Without these people as individuals, the common goal of an economic success of one’s “own” organization cannot be achieved.
Absolutely. What is important for this, apart from integrity, is the authenticity of the leader, who is characterized by the fact that they really mean what they say and support it internally. Only by living a set of values directly can they function as a role model. You don’t learn to be a role model at a business administration school.
In order to complete what is generally understood as business ethics and is being sued for in many places, there is a lack of seriousness alongside integrity and authenticity – and these qualities are all equally important. Behind this is that what you as an executive outwardly represent for the company must be reliable, credible and verifiable to the reality of life.
I believe that business leaders must first find their own private, individual orientation – also in order to draw security from it. In this sense, the path to business ethics is always also a path to the inside.
Such a view must be part of the corporate philosophy and culture. And then to develop it successfully, deep into the company, can take years, sometimes decades. But only on the condition that this attitude starts at the top. It also holds true for business ethics that the stairs are to be swept from top to bottom. It does not mean that corporate leaders place high demands on subordinate levels. Anyone who acts in this way fails to recognize that an executive has much more power and many more instruments than a normal clerk to turn business ethics into living reality.
It’s no longer just about technical skills and maximizing profits. These are still the tasks of a company, but these are no longer enough. We need a new, also spiritual project in which the economy of the future is more than what we are currently experiencing. And what are we experiencing now? That we in the so-called industrial nations have achieved the highest possible wealth that has ever existed in the history of mankind; that at the end of all these assets, there is simultaneously a lack of contentment, of finding happiness, of finding meaning. The Greek philosophers have said that man strives for eudemonia, that is, for a fulfilled life. Currently, however, we see a society outside that can afford any form of mobility and experiences many forms of material well-being. At the same time, we see a society that suffers from senselessness and loneliness and registers a marked increase in suicides worldwide – all signs of an unfulfilled human life.
First, there is the fact that Europe is centered on issues of prosperity and material wealth. One could call this hedonism, or at least unlimited consumerism. And as meaningful as it may often seem, no one is against wealth, but they are not creating a meaningful life by being against it. At this point, I consider it a central task of managers in companies to actually make meaningful adjustments. Not because the company is a family, but because people spend most of their waking hours in companies with their superiors and colleagues.
I exclude the possibility that companies are like families.
The company should not be shaped by a family spirit, but by a spirit of solidarity. We all know enough examples of German companies in which it is not the spirit of togetherness but the spirit of antagonism, mobbing, hostility, cheating and lying that prevails. And that is poison for the meaningfulness of human life.
Undoubtedly, flexibility and capacity for change vary gradually from individual to individual. But it is also quite certain that changes in the conditions of survival – of their companies and of their own workplace – will force people to adapt to this process. It is the task of a manager to support them in this process. Not regulations, not strategic management, but giving people support and solidarity in order to achieve common goals.
“What you as a leader outwardly represent for the company must be reliable, credible and verifiable.”
Correct. And the creative force is to be found where someone has voluntarily stepped up to the top ranks of a company. This is not a privilege, but a category of responsibility with maximum magnitude. I have the greatest respect for the CEOs of our companies when they take on this role of assuming responsibility. There is something else you can learn from Indset: it is precisely these disappointments that you spoke of. We understand disappointments to mean that it hurts to realize that something is not what it looked like. In the truest sense of the word, disappointment describes the abolition of deception. The abolition of misinformation, fake news, seduction, ideological disorientation, radicalism, xenophobia and human rejection. These are the things that we must prevent from coming to life in our companies.
We are currently designing an in-house university that will offer employees from all hierarchical levels the opportunity to participate in a discourse that is absolutely essential. The aim is to impart competence and knowledge in order to implement this new ethic into everyday life. The term “applied philosophy” describes this even better than “ethics.” Applied, because it enables managers to use the right language, instruments and platforms to reach even large groups in their organization and ultimately shape the entire corporate culture for all employees. This requires steep learning curves. And I’m already predicting one lesson: in the future, business success will only be truly sustainable in an ethically oriented, moral environment. Everything else is intermezzo for the quarterly report. And of course, it has a short lifespan.
Health economy or health service is a singular area of life that affects everyone from premature babies to palliative care. The prospect of becoming a patient increases with our ever-increasing life expectancy. At the same time, much of what belongs to life is subject to social ostracism. Phases of being handicapped, for example, and everything that means feeling pain, suffering and dying. We have a big problem with that and more or less secretly strive for immortality. Today we know that being able to die and being allowed to die is also a blessing. But this can only be combined with human dignity if one asks oneself the question: What comes after death? What about eternal life? What happens to our soul? Questions that are of fundamental importance in every world religion, but which are increasingly taboo in Germany.
Yes, that seems to me to be getting a little lost, even on companies. To have a sense of responsibility for res publica, i.e. for this society from which one has ultimately received a great deal, and for the fact that one must also give something back to this society for reasons of decency and fairness.