Leadership development programs, the world over will focus on the theme of empowerment. The question we have to ask ourselves is: are we brave enough to take the risk?
When I arrived as a CEO at software AG three years ago, there was a young man responsible for PR (Press Relations) and IR (Investor Relations). He was supposed to have been fired by my predecessor three or four times, but somehow he survived.
I realized he was full of passion, but unfortunately PR and IR require distinct skills. IR requires a conservative, modest way of communication. PR is more aggressive. The sum of both created an average performance for both PR and IR. I advised him to focus, on IR- his more natural talent.
I hired a PR manager and focused him on PR. The IR manager was disappointed. I began to empower him: full trust, full responsibility, stretched targets, full support and appreciation of his work … This year we won two key IR awards, one being the No 1 IR department in the German stock index TecDAX. It was the result of… empowerment, focus and trust, my principles of coaching.
(by Karl-Heinz Streibich CEO, Software AG)