From the market leader to the fraudster
Volkswagen was hailed as the market leader at the end of July this year. In the first six months, the Group had sold more vehicles worldwide than its competitor Toyota. He is not only the world's largest automaker, but also achieved his goal of being the world's leading carmaker. Three years earlier than planned.
Only two months later, the discovery of the deliberate deception of the authorities and customers caused a massive slump in VW shares, such as the entire automotive industry and the DAX. Switzerland is now prohibiting the sale of manipulated vehicles. Focus online refers to Bloomberg that the falsifications of exhaust gas values apparently in large parts from Germany were controlled.
The intelligence service relies on familiar people of Volkswagen's US business. Since the group in the US did not have the necessary versed engineers to manipulate, probably the highest management level in Wolfsburg supervised the manipulations. Is high-performance fraud now the new brand for "Made in Germany"?
Dinosaurs VW vs. Google, Apple, Tesla
The brand VW stood so far with their performance for the image "Made in Germany". VW and Audi build excellent cars, their models are among the best in the world. So far, the challenge has been to maintain and expand 4.0's market leadership in times of digitization and industry.
VW had hitherto rather relied on old traditional technologies. So even without scandal was the danger of dinosaurs drown because no bold step into the 21. Century was dared. Tesla, Google and Apple have been in the starting blocks for some time to attack the auto industry. The younger generations are no longer so "car-affine", ie instead of car as a status symbol, rather car-sharing. Above all, sustainability and flexibility are important to you.
Market leadership with digitization and industry 4.0
What is urgently needed: impulses and talents from other industries for the digital upheaval. Global studies of personnel consulting Russell Reynolds Associates show that decision-makers in the automotive industry are absolutely dependent on the digital know-how of other industries.
However, the profiles of top management are very homogeneous. They hold 15% more in line with existing beliefs, are more perfectionist around 11%, and stick to traditional career patterns: 92% of managers are male; 75% come from the same country as you Company, 63% have been in the same company for more than 25 years. What is urgently needed are digital "change agents" at senior management level.
It is therefore only a question of time when ready-to-run competitors with good sustainable offers attack the automobile market. Instead of manipulating, VW would have had to focus on sustainable innovations for years. Whether VW sees this development, this technological crisis as an opportunity, unfortunately, is now no longer solely for debate. The Group must fight for its existence at all levels.
The German economy can not afford a weak VW group
Achieving world market leadership through deliberate deception leads to harsh consequences, which will not only affect the VW Group, but also the automotive industry. Even if those responsible are identified and held liable, the group shakes its foundations.
Penalties and claims for damages from countries, authorities and customers will use up the company's cash reserves and the group will probably start further provisions on the profits achieved. The funds will be tied for years. Where, then, are reserves for sustainable new developments. VW stands before a massive slump and even if this crisis can be mastered financially and technologically, one thing remains open: Will one still believe VW?
More dangerous is the worldwide loss of trust
Building trust takes a long time, but it can be destroyed in a second. This has now happened: worldwide customers, authorities, entire countries, their own employees have been massively violated in their own values. If, in parallel to news about the VW scandal, advertising slogans about sustainable excellence on all channels are still being proclaimed, and the truth is proven to be completely disappointing.
Then customers and employees feel not only deceived, but correctly "linked". If trust has been so disappointed, it takes a very, very long, if any, time to regain confidence. Therefore, classic German values are on the test bench: high quality, sustainability, safety, reliability, trust - not just technology.
Corporate Governance - the system has failed
Is this about value-oriented leadership or rather shareholder value? The Executive Board and Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG comply with the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code, as amended by the 13. May 2013 (Declaration of Conformity of 21 November 2014). For example, the corporate governance report, investor relations, the protection of the company, its organs and the protection of its employees can be read:
"Responsible, transparent and value-creating corporate governance: The future of the Volkswagen Group depends crucially on whether we manage to steadily increase enterprise value. The trust of our customers and investors is an elementary prerequisite for this. We strengthen this trust through transparent and responsible corporate management, which has top priority in our daily work. The German Corporate Governance Code contains recommendations and suggestions for good corporate governance. The contents of the Code have been prepared by the relevant Government Commission on the basis of essential legal provisions as well as nationally and internationally recognized standards of corporate governance. "
We need value-oriented leaders
If such "value-creating" corporate governance is not just about profit, the increase in shareholder value, then the system itself has not protected investors. Instead of profit and growth, significant losses. The commitment to a corporate governance system is not sufficient, but only the spirit, ie the people and values that carry this system. Where was responsibility, where was transparency? Where are the employees and the customers who believed in these values and relied on the statements of the company?
We can always ask ourselves what has actually gone wrong and it is easy, ultimately, to fix one or a few guilty. It does not benefit us all, as long as we
- Value only as a material appreciation, in terms of shareholder value.
- Data analysis, quarterly data analysis, and increased profits
- Confidence in technology and material market leadership.
Systems are noisy and smoke: what we need are leaders who understand ethically, what integrity and responsibility mean, for their own personal value system, for the trust of employees who want to be proud of their performance, for the customers who rightly use them Claiming values and critically questioning them up to social responsibility.
Digital transformation is not enough
Digital transformation offers great opportunities for our society. We should, however, avoid to see only the visible rational, the material, the data and the facts, but the potential for success by man, his spirit, his vision, his ethics and values, which alone become visions, indeed utopias, become reality to let.
Big data can analyze knowledge from information, habits and experiences and recognize recurring patterns of behavior. They can manipulate systems and thus humans, but they do not answer our question about the "why", the meaning and relevance of our work. However, both knowledge workers and customers have this claim. They question the meaning, purpose and vision of the company.
Value-oriented leadership as an ethical corrective to the digital world
The focus moves from the purely material consideration of rational, performance-oriented performance to a value-oriented leadership, which sees the decisive competitive factor precisely in the appreciation of the individual, social and cultural abilities of the employees. Through values and diversity, through personality. The character of the company is reflected in the character and values of the executives and employees.
We need the courage to get rid of our factual and numerical faith. Courage not to rely on the genius of data and systems. They are not the truth, are manipulatable and can not guarantee corporate governance. More humanity and responsibility is needed as an ethical corrective to the digital world.
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