Guest SpeakersLearning From Leaders

Leadership & Business Model Innovation – Jim Hagemann Snabe, Siemens and Mærsk

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Leading industrialist and chairman of Siemens and Mærsk, Jim Hagemann Snabe, alongside Dreams & Details co-author and CEO and partner of the Dreams & Details Academy, Mikael Trolle, presented their innovative new management model at an exclusive conference hosted by EU Business School Barcelona. Challenging many current management theories, both speakers enthralled the 700-strong audience with their radical new leadership model.

The Dreams and Details leadership model assumes that we are living in extraordinary times where the speed and the extent of change is so dramatic that continuous improvement is no longer sufficient. Organizations must challenge the fundamental assumptions of their business models and reinvent themselves from a position of strength. Taking key learnings from the world of sports, the model advocates empowerment and creativity turning business professionals into high performers.

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Reinventing Business Models: Speed is Key

The business environment has undergone rapid transformation since the start of the fourth industrial revolution; it has seen some of the most successful and established companies, like Kodak, go under. It has also seen market leaders like Nokia and Blackberry fall behind in sectors where once they were industry leaders.

Now speed is key. Large companies are experiencing problems, size means complexity and complexity often means lack of speed. Large multinationals need to adapt and evolve; they need to be as nimble as startups even when they’re at their peak. Only then they’ll be able to remain relevant and successful in the rapidly changing world of global business.

Successful companies are hesitant to implement change when they are doing well. However, according to these top executives, the best time to react to change is before it happens; ensuring the organization stays ahead of the curve and does not become irrelevant.


“All industries will go through a dramatic change. All assumptions will no longer be relevant.” -Jim Hagemann Snabe

Linear, results-based business models of the past no longer work and companies, regardless of their size, need to function as startups. This means being disruptive, creative, adaptable and “doing things differently”. The duo holds that companies should challenge their assumptions while they are successful and not wait until they are failing.


Ditch the Plan: The Mindset Change

The leadership principles described in Dreams & Details are challenging conventional ideas about leadership. The model discards the use of a plan which, in itself, is limiting. “We were constantly trying to reduce the opportunities for human beings to be creative and come up with new ideas because we had these detailed plans of what to do next and we would celebrate if we were on plan. And what if the plan is wrong? What are we celebrating?”  Employees need to be inspired, to be innovative. Mr. Snabe encourages continuous learning and needs to teach young people to challenge the rules instead of following them blindly.

Entrepreneurship is essential and should be encouraged by management. Employees will be more innovative if they know that their ideas are valued. Thus, comes the next wave of decentralization where more attention is given to new ideas rather than stale, old ones.

Empowered teams are likely to think outside of the box and come up with innovative ideas that would have been stifled by ridged planning. Thus, the Dreams & Details model aims to introduce the ‘dream’, an aspiration to inspire a complete organizational reaction. This requires a new perspective and model of leadership to not only implement change but to inspire a whole organization to reach for the dream.

innovative business model 

Leadership & Successful Digital Change Management

To successfully manage the changes and navigate the evolution of factors such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence, leaders need to readdress methods of management and, most importantly, make the most of their human capital. The alteration in mindset comes from being curious and the desire to continuously learn, gaining new knowledge from the people within the company.

“I believe that great leaders build the people around them. They don’t have the answers all the time; they enable people to find the answers, and therefore empowerment plays a very important role in my kind of leadership” -Jim Hagemann Snabe

They believe that the key to remaining successful is to react when the company is in a position of power, to empower employees to lead innovation while all working towards a common dream. Achieving the dream and not being restricted by a plan will ensure that organizations successfully evolve and flourish along with the change to a digital business world.


Leadership of the Future

With the use of big data, 5G and machine learning becoming the norm, the next generation of successful companies will be the combination of digital and producers of physical products. To successfully lead companies, it is essential for the leaders of tomorrow to explore unconventional methods of leadership.

We are the first generation with the ability to solve pressing humanitarian and environmental problems. We have the technology at our disposal to ensure clean water for all, produce and utilize renewable energy and to alleviate poverty globally. To ensure that we use this opportunity optimally, we need to embrace the revolution and implement new management models. Only then it’s possible to successfully navigate the digital revolution and keep organizations current and relevant.

EU Business School hosted this exclusive event to keep the leaders of tomorrow up to date with the latest trends in leadership. This event is part of the influential ‘Learning from Leaders’ series which plays a key role in the exclusive, hands-on, experiential business education provided by EU. This allows students to gain insights from top executives like Omar Berrada, CFO of Manchester City FC and Thierry Geerts, CEO of Google Belgium and Luxembourg, into the latest business trends, strategic concepts and the day-to-day running of some of the world’s biggest businesses.

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