Archiv für die Kategorie „Organisation“

Im Zusammenhang mit dem Dieselskandal bei Audi wurden ein paar interessante Details bekannt.

Für den AdBlue ( Harnstofflösung) Tank hatte Audi ein Fassungsvermögen von 16 Liter konzipiert. Test zeigten, dass aber auf 1000 km 8 Liter verbraucht wurden, um die Werte zu halten. Vorgabe war jedoch mit 16 Liter AdBlue 10 000 km weit zu kommen.


Was tun?

Tank vergrößern? Ging nicht. Dafür war kein Platz vorhanden.

Also setzten die Ingenieure einen Trick ein, den sie Cycle Beating nannten. Sie führten die bekannten zwei Betriebsmodi (Straße und Test) ein, die jetzt in den USA aufgefallen sind.

Und schon hatte Audi den Vorsprung durch Technik in Vorsprung durch Betrug (Der Spiegel) ersetzt.

Within the Gemini Alumni community there is an interesting conversation going on what the reasons might be that this great consulting firm went out of the market.

Some believe that CAP, the French IT mother company, destroyed it, others believe that we did not realized the change in customer needs (from process to ERP Systems) and thus our business model did no longer work.

I wanted to add some hypothesis to this conversation which might be helpful to understand the matter.

I joined Gemini as an SVP/officer in 1992 when we sold our GTP companies to Gemini Consulting. Having this as a background for you here is my reasoning:

Quality of officers: During my first attendance in such a meeting (it was in Euro Disney near Paris) some 100 officers tried to built a profitable budget for the coming year. We failed. Reason was that a signicant number of officers had a uitilzation of ZERO. When I raised my voice that I do not want to work with officers which do no work with clients anymore David Tiger pulled me aside and coached me with the words: Believe me no client would pay any money for them.

Profitability: In all subsequent officer meetings I  attended we were telling Jalabert and jpdA we need to pay our folks a bonus but we have not earned the cash to pay it. Please help! Our business model (after all those expensive acqusitions which we paid not with Cap but Gemini money) never generated operating profit which could cover return on equity, interest and bonus. Such companies die sooner or later.

complex organisation: When GTP was bought by Gemini  we we earned interest, return on equity and bonuses (as did MAC, UR Bossard et al). Two years later  we were organized globally  in GMT, Disciplines, Processes and what have you. We were one the few companies in the wolrd which run a mail/repository system on MAC. All great stuff. Profit? Inexistent.

lack of leadership: David Tiger in his UR times was a great leader. I admired him a great deal. But I also hold him accountable for the sequence of poor leadership decisions he and Cap made: Remember: Titze failed to become head of Gemini ( he did not get the  support of the US biased GMT leaders), Valentino made the race but was cornered by Kelly and Titze (office of the CEO), Wallace followed, Davis, Hessler. In one word a nightmare.

In a nut shell: Gemini was a role model for weak leadership succession and expensive M&A.


But: I had a great time there and enjoyed client work with great folks.

Mein erster Chef in der Beratung war ein Freund klarer Worte und überraschenden Vergleichen.

1986. Außendienstanalyse für Bellinda Strümpfe, heute Sara Lee

Wie lesen aus dem Schlußbericht unserer Arbeit vor. Prosa.

In der Besprechung sind der Senior und seinen beiden Söhne.

Bei dem Standardkapitel „Einsatz des Gebietsverkaufsleiter (GVL)“ trugen wir unserer Philosophie, die eigentlich von PG stammte, vor.

Der GVL sei als Manager einzusetzten und nicht der Oberverkäufer des Gebietes sein, trugen wir vor.

Der Senior sah das ganz anders.

Wir gerieten argumentativ in die Defensive.

Mein Chef packte das für diese Situation bewährte Mittel aus. Das Mittel bestand darin mit einem weit hergeholten Vergleich den „Gegner“ zu verwirren und damit die Situation zu entschärfen.

„Das sei so“, meinte mein Chef forsch, “ wie der Unterschied bei der Offiziersausbildung in der polnischen und der Deutsche Wehrmacht.“

Der Senior war nicht beeindruckt. Vielmehr erklärete er ruhig, dass er als Offizier der Wehrmacht, diesen Vergleich für unbrauchbar und nicht zutreffend halte.

Wir blieben in der Defensive.

Diese Form des Entlastungsvergleich habe ich mir gleichwohl gemerkt und mehrfach, wenn auch nicht immer, erfolgreich eingesetzt.

The book „Evolution und Kultur des Menschen“, Fischer Verlag 18721, displays four Gestalten of different organisational design principles.

I found them very helpful and would like to share them with You, Dear reader.

First Gestalt is what the author Volker Linneweber dubs a robust organisation. This organisation is able to react to turbulences in such a fashion, that it will come back to a balance pretty fast. Think of the lower half of a cycle. A ball i.e. organisation pushed upwards would come back at the lowest point of the cycle after a few iteration .

Organisations with these kind of characteristics are often found in midsize firms such consulting boutiques.

In my time with Gruber, Titze & Partner our organisation was like that. There was a joke about one of our senior partners, Dr. Wolfgang Titze.

Imagine Dr. Titze gets a call from the CEO of BMW, one of our largest client at that time. The CEO tells Dr. Titze he may have a piece of work for him. Dr. Titze asked him right away, when the piece of work has to be finished.

The CEO is surprised and asked: „Don’t You want to know what the work is about?“. Our partner replied: „We will make it.“ The CEO joked and said:  „could you try out the Erdinger Moos?“. This was the countryside in the North East of Munich where later the new aiprt was built.

The second Gestalt is the sensitive organisation: we see those organsations quite often. A new leadership comes in place, launches a new strategy and the organisation as well as the results go south.

I remember well when we were asked to help Milupa, a producer of baby nutrition, the find the organisational response to the trade concentration. We felt that their independent but exclusive sales representative partners was kind of old fashion. We stronly recommend to move to a captive sales force. What we did not realized at  that point in time was that the whole Milupa organisation would react very sensitive to this. Actually the organisation lost the success track and was finally, much smaler,  bought by Danone.

In terms of visual think of the upper half of a circle. The ball ist at the zenit. A tiny push would bring the ball down with now return.

Next Gestalt is a special variation of the first one. The organisation is able to buffer some noice from out- and inside. If it gets to much stress it turn to the second Gestalt. It is nick named „organisation with limited tolerance“

The visual will be two mountains with a valley where the ball sits. If he get pushed above one of the hills it gets out of controll. Smaler pushs the organisation is able to digest and return back to equilibrium.

As an example comes German Telekom into my mind. When the company was turned from a civil servant organisation to a stock company the organisation dealt fairly well with the development of the digital mobile business, with the new competition in the fixed line business and it did well to integrate the eastern German countries into its organisation.

Pretty unclear though is how  this organisation will react to the threat of Web 2.0 or the semantic web with their new business models.

Analyst at the recent share holder assembly told the CEO that they are not convinced that he has a compelling answer to this challenge.

The last Gestalt is what every manager hates. This is an organisation of which you are not able to predict how it will react to a threat. The management team does not understand the cause and effect logic of their implementation.

Well, one would say, if this is the case we need to change the leadersip team.

Hang on.

My experiece is that this case is pretty much the rule out there.The pity is that management is not strong enough to accept that ambiguity. More so they dreams up the illusion of  controll.

My favorit case is BASF powder coatings. This business was restructered many times to cope with fundamental changes in the market place ( more colors, smaler volume per run, shifting production site to East). Management team suppose to have each and every time a cause and effect formula. Due to my observation, which the team did not like, they were unable to openly state that they don’t know what any given action would lead too.

The Gestalt is named unpredictable organisation. Think of a straight line. On it a ball. If somethings hits the ball you don’t know ehere it will go. It may turn to the better; it may do the opposite.

Competition forces companies to synchronize mission, delivery system or design of the value chain and the competitive environment.  

A value chain which is not well tuned absorbs to much management capacity, know- how as well as finacial resources.

C.K. Prahalad and Garry Hamel suggested to think of two families of competences: Core  and complementary competences.

The second family of competences is ideally brought to the company by partners or strategic alliances.

They are non core to the corporation but they leverage to core ones.

Core competences qualify for the following statements:

  1. provides consumer benefits
  2. is not easy for competitors to imitate
  3. it can be leveraged widely to many products and markets.

They are found in various flavours: 

  1. matter know-how
  2. coordinate diverse production skills
  3. integrate multiple streams of technologies
  4. reliable process
  5. close relationships with customers and suppliers
  6. product development
  7. collective learning
  8. commitment to working across organizational boundaries

Companies like the framework alas most of the time they fail to distinct the competenceies in the two families.

In my experience a company is unable to manage more than 6 core competences.


It goes without saying that the key reponsibility of leaderhip is to develop and maintain a unique portfolio of competences and symbiotic realtionships.

A property right is the exclusive authority to determine how a resource is used. This includes the right to the services of the resource as well as the right to delegate, rent, or sell any portion of the rights by exchange or gift at whatever price the owner determines.

The definition, allocation, and protection of property rights comprise one of the most complex sets of issues that an organisation has to resolve.

The market values of property rights reflect the demands of the rest of the market.

The fundamental accomplishment of the concept is that it eliminates destructive competition for control of economic resources. Well-defined and well-protected property rights replace competition by violence with competition by peaceful means.

A corporation is a shared property rights system. 

 In a limited liability corporation, shares are specified and the rights to decide how to use the corporation’s resources are delegated to its management.

Each shareholder has the unrestrained right to sell his or her share. Limited liability protects each shareholder’s wealth from the liabilities of other shareholders, and thereby facilitates anonymous sale and purchase of shares.

In enterprises such as Joint venture or partnerships each member’s wealth is uniquely dependent on each other member’s behavior. Property rights in the group are usually salable only if existing members approve of the buyer.

It is obvious that the property right system faciltates the solution of  key organisational matters such as decentralisation,  profit center, process based organisation, holding design  and core competencies based units.

Essential to shape an organisation, says Peter Drucker, is a „theory of business“. It articulates key assumptions that drive behaviour and dictate decisions. Assumptions are spelled out who the customers and the competitiors are. Strenghts and weaknesses are articulated as well.

The theory has to fit reality and the assumptions have to fit with each other.

It must be known and understood throughout the organisation and, the most challenging part, constantly be tested.

It is a hypothesis and never lasts  forever. Which is why so many companies getting in trouble.

Alfred Chandler helped us to distinguish different phases in which the cooperation as we know it unfolded. First we saw in the early 1900s the split among ownership and managment. Example being Siemens with the help of Deutsch Bank. In the early 1920 followed the introduction of the command and control organisations which we still find in our days took place. All the tools such as budgets, controlling and the key distiction between policy/startegy and operations were then introduced by du Pont and GM.
Today we  intend to put in place another evolutionary change to our organisations. We depart from the command and control based organisation and move to a knowledged based one.
The challenges for values, behavior and structure are still to be met. The most recent financial crisis provides a great proof how far we are away from the kings road.


The Brit Ronald Coase introduced the concept of a contract as a building block to design organisations. A firm is a hierarchical network of contracts. Market transactions are based on contracts as well. A contract creates cost (ex ante: say negotiations and ex post: say contract controlling). This cost is called transaction cost. Total cost of a service then is a sum of the cost of delivery and cost for the transaction. In different words:  transaction cost is the price to get access to benefits a market provides. Organisations and markets tend to organize themselves in such a fashion that sum of both cost categories are low.

It is obvious that this logik is at full swing at concepts  like relationship management or web 2.0

Nineteenth century Britain brought together the three big ideas behind the modern company:  it could be an artificial person, it could issue tradable shares to any numbers of investors and those investors could have limited liability.

April 2019
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