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Heinrich Nordhoff, the first director of VW, called his employees "working comrades". This tone may have been well received in 1945. This example however, shows, even then, the importance of integrating each individual worker, compared to the far more difficult task of leading a group of employees in today's professional life.

How it works

Although in a future professional life, one should always consider cooperation and togetherness as something positive, the concept of a tube or a tunnel in which all of the companys employees move, is consciously implied here. There are basically, only two directions, either forwards together, or individually backwards. Yes, the uncertainty also fits in with such a concept. The tunnel provides a certain amount of fear, because failure could mean insolvency for the (middle-sized) employer, and/or the loss of jobs for the employees. The aim of the tunnel-concept somewhat resembles the aim of the company, which is of course, economic success. Both aims are clearly outlined and permit no self-deception.

If the targets of the bosses and those of their subordinates are that similar, it makes sense to develop the whole process with one another. First and foremost is the communication, both from the management level to the factory floor, and vice versa. Thereby, the workers should not be overloaded with information, and as a consequence, also be included, to a certain extent, in the decision making. This is even more important for todays employees than is motivation. Of course one must be praised now and then, but praise has an even higher quality if the employee feels that he/she is being taken seriously, particularly if the boss changes his/her opinion because of good argumentation.Surprisingly, the importance of the qualifications of modern employees has slightly decreased, compared to what it used to be. Not that qualifications are insignificant, but it is obviously easier to integrate someone who asks questions into the operation, than it is to integrate someone who knows everthing already. This does not mean that the person in question is slowing the whole operation down by asking endless questions. What it means is openness at the right time. The importance of this is, e.g., when an error has occurred. Asking the right questions, at the right time, sometimes also means having a critical look at oneself.

In reality, this can only happen inside of a certain frame-work, which one could perhaps call "mutual trust". Here the spirit of the company is reflected with which an employee should, even today, also be able to identify with. So that "life" and "work" are not two different worlds. With the build-up of trust, the boss walks a fine line between currying favour and arrogance. Suddenly, little things become important here. For example, to play down an expensive car by leaving out the model description probably makes the situation even worse.
If the fear of the much cited globalisation has taught us anything, then it is the search for intrinsic values. What we sometimes still have to learn however, is to begin the search with ourselves. 11/09               Top of page               Index
2001-2015 Copyright programs, texts, animations, pictures: H. Huppertz - E-Mail
Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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