Jay Cross and Karl Knispel “Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today” answered this question at the Online Educa Conference 2011, the largest E-Learning conference in the World, which took place from 30th of November till the 2nd of December at the Interconti Hotel in Berlin.. One of the main parts of the conference was the Business Online Educa, in which research approaches were mixed with life examples of business. Within the BSEL Research Project InterComp SME 2.0 we also combine research and business to develop real solutions for Small and Medium sized Enterprises. If you want to develop your own management skills, feel free to join our Consulting Forum with Harald Kjellin from the Stockholm University on the 20th of January, 2012, 2-4 p.m., room B 1.01.It was very entertaining to listen to the story of Karl Knispel from the Metro group. He started with the question: Do you know, where your fish you have eaten today at the Interconti hotel comes from? No? Well, you haven’t really asked this question because you trust the Interconti Hotel to purchase some high quality fish for you. If your stomach would be aching right now, it could have been, that you twitter or post on Facebook right now: “Had a very bad fish today at the Interconti!” Companies are extremely crystalline today, there is no space for avoidable mistakes. Any comment about a bad fish could jump up online in seconds! And the consequences of such a post could have an enormous effect both the image and the business success of the company or the hotel. How does quality and trust belong together? How is it possible to build up responsibility for a high quality throughout the whole working process?
According to our fish-story, Karl Knispel described how the Metro group tries to ensure a constant high quality of each fish for each customer. The hotels sign a contract with a wholesaler such as the Metro group to ensure, that they are able to constantly deliver high standard of quality. So what does the Metro group do? The metro Group makes sure that throughout the fish delivery process each employee who holds the fish in his hand, also takes the responsibility for a fresh and healthy – although sadly dead – fish! Starting with the fisher who sweeps the fish out of the sea onto the person who puts the fish inside a metro store shelf. How has he done this? To train the staff in the store he takes a blended learning approach. But how? There are only 4 computers for 100 store people with just a few computer skills? He relies on the word-by-mouth method, the informal learning. Just a few employees train online. One tells the others about what he or she has learned and they share their knowledge. This worked quite well and the Metro group will extend this approach.
Karl Knispel also underlined an organizational change for the middle management in the future. Meaning, the pressure comes from the bottom and not any more from the top management. The role of his middle management changes from being “just” a leader, who usually handles the working process from top to bottom. His middle management develops from being a leader to a coach. The management struggles with this new role. The Metro group trained their middle managers by using role play and feedback methods, an approach, which Harald Kjellin, from the Stockholm University, has been practicing very successful with his students for the past several years. If you want to learn from Harald Kjellin come to the Consulting Forum on the 20th of January 2012, here at the BSEL.