Ingo Kallenbach

New leadership and working culture: instructions versus cooperation

Leadership and working cultures are changing dramatically with significant consequences for the recruitment, retention and performance of all employees. Successful pioneering enterprises show where the way will lead in the future. For decision makers in companies this raises central challenges that need to be mastered while offering chances at the same time.

If you google the term “agile management“ you receive 402,000 contributions (state: June 30th, 2015). That is a whole lot! The working world is  getting more and more agile. If you enter the term “new work“, it becomes somewhat confusing with more than 1 billion hits. Are these merely vogue words with relatively little innovative substance, see also “lean leadership“?
We don´t think so. The working world is really changing: It is becoming more agile, interconnected, “free“lance, flexible, flat, democratic, transparent, 4.0-industrial. More digital it sometimes already is. By far not in many companies, but something is moving. Wohland, Pfläging, or Laloux say hello, just to name a few names. Over the last years we have always pointed this out (see also e.g.  our REFLECT Note of May 5th, 2013). Organisations such as Semco (BRA), Svenska Handelsbanken (SWE), IT Agile (D) or Buurtzog (NL) are pioneers in this field, demonstrated by the internationality of this movement. 

Which challenges does this pose for you as a manager and HR director?


  • The vote will take place by foot even more so in the future: high-potential employees will leave the company even faster if they don’t find suitable framework and working conditions.
  • The recruitment of top-level employees will depend on the working and leadership culture of the company even more frequently than in the past.
  • Existing leadership concepts often no longer seem to fit the time. A new consciousness and reclassification is pending.
  • Outdated processes and systems therefore must be adapted to the new working world: performance reviews, evaluation systems, competency management instruments, talent management software etc.
  • Many executives are dissatisfied with their own type of leadership and would like to lead in a different way (usually “more modern“), but they don’t know how (study managerSeminare 2015, 202).


If you as a decision maker want to meet these challenges actively and successfully you will not be able to avoid facing the approaches of the “new working world“. One book recommendation you will find in the current issue of our REFLECT Notes, see Laloux’s “Reinventing Organisations“. To top this off, here is a link to a video of one of our consultants, Frank Widmayer.

Change Management