Swarm instead of whale

Cracking new times at Daimler?


In an interview with Wirtschaftswoche, Daimler CEO Zetsche explains how the company is reinventing itself (in part). Decision-making processes are radically questioned, hierarchies made more permeable, swarm organization introduced. And this despite the fact that the company is currently particularly successful. Unusual?
At least courageous. If things go well, you might be more relaxed and able to devote yourself to new ideas without pressure. I am always amused by the management tourists who make their way to the Silicon Valley, but apparently this was the impetus for an exciting process. They put together a “team” of 144 employees at different levels and sifted through ideas from 1,000 employees. The result was “prototypes for the culture of the company in 2020” with many revolutionary ideas.

The boss is convinced that Daimler “will soon be a fundamentally different company” . There will only be two decision-making levels left, even if all other hierarchical levels are not abolished immediately. Open spatial structures, 360-degree feedback, strengthened professional competence are the keywords.

I can well imagine the process, I have experienced similar things myself several times. You challenge a circle of highly motivated young employees to really live out their ideas and present them to the management. Zetsche: “The young employees who presented the results were very authentic…. It was simply fantastic to see what potential we have and how it carries our people away.

I like to believe. But the actual work is still to come. A sociologist explains that automobile companies like few other companies remind more of a whale than a swarm, and a whale is hardly a swarm.

What makes you optimistic: When the young employees presented their results, Zetsche said the top 100 managers were enthusiastic, “which is not always a matter of course in this circle.” If this enthusiasm was not played, then you can be really excited…