Roland Dürre
Thursday November 21st, 2013

Interview

Here is the – non verbatim – text of an interview I gave a short time ago during the DOAG2013 for DOAG-TV. The questions are in cursive type.

You are managing director and co-founder of InterFace AG and full-time manager – both on the job and in your private life. You researched management models very intensely and developed your own model as you went.

Was there no existing model that might have met with your approval? And what model would that have been?

I think every entrepreneur or manager has to find his or her own ”Management Model“. Mine was inspired by the ”St. Gallen Management Model“, in particular the approach introduced by Hans Ulrich with its „8 Theses on the Change in Management” from the 1980ies. Another huge influence on me and my way of thinking is Rupert Lay, who was the Nestor of ethics in management of the last century.

You can hear a lot about leadership methods in the media. When speaking about it, terms such as entrepreneurial culture, ethics, morals, philosophy appear – these are words often used synonymously. Do they all mean the same thing?

That is exactly the problem: they do not all mean the same thing. In fact, you should only talk about these things after having read up on them and thoroughly informed yourself. Unfortunately, we live in an era when people like talking about things they do not understand. Just think of the term freedom – what does it mean to be free? Or the term sustainability.

What is expected of management today?

Management means taking exemplary responsibility, both on an operative, strategic and normative level:

  • Operative means your behaviour, “what you do” – that is to say the actual interaction between all the stakeholders of an enterprise.
  • Strategic means “leading” – that is “how” and in what way it happens.
  • Normative is for taking entrepreneurial responsibility, for the “why”.

It seems like a leader must be quite flexible when trying to balance writing black numbers and ethics. How do you manage this in everyday life?

Mainly, there is a conflict between successful numbers and “ethical decisions” when “the leaders” think in terms of short-time success. The more you look upon things on a long-term basis, the more ethically responsible balance of values will pay.  It seems that there is always a problem due to the fact that material values seem to be consistently easy to identify, whereas immaterial values basically cannot be counted. That makes the balancing process necessary for a decision difficult, especially if the shareholders decide their priority is the material: the shareholder value.

Communication is a powerful tool – often neglected. What forms of communications do you use at InterFace AG?

Nowadays, you cannot do anything without the internet and social media. But communication as a basis for collaboration must be ”hybrid“. That means we have to combine “Face2Face“ meetings with those in the virtual world. And that is what we try to do at our enterprise.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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