Fit for Fifty - MBH prepares for the challenges of the future
Agile organizational and leadership culture as the key to corporate development
// Agility, Corporate Culture
With a fundamental renewal of its organizational and leadership culture, the Ibbenbüren-based mechanical engineering company MBH is meeting the challenge of being positioned for the future with technical and organizational excellence, even in its anniversary year of 2027. Complexity, VUCA, Generation Z and New Work are just a few of the global trends that management Björn Hassink and Heike Hassink-Lah and their leadership team have to face. Under the programmatic title "Fit for Fifty", they have set out with the organization and culture experts from noventum to further develop the organizational and leadership culture of MBH using agile methods.
Technology evolves - culture evolves
Founded in 1977, the family-owned company MBH Maschinenbau & Blechtechnik GmbH with its 230 employees is an expert in mechanical engineering, sheet metal technology and sheet metal processing. In recent years, the company has invested in a large high-tech machine park in order to be able to realize individual parts, small, medium and large series even faster and more efficiently - and thus provide customers with competitive advantages.
The technical demands and possibilities for MBH are constantly evolving. Faster and greater demands of the market, however, also determine the business and thus in the future an "even leaner management and responsibility culture is indispensable", the management gives a direction to the future development of the MBH culture.
The corporate culture consultants from noventum consulting were to moderate this development and brought the concepts for a corresponding development workshop, which brought more than 20 executives to the table on the topic of corporate culture development.
Managers should inspire
In particular, the management's wish list included empowering the management circle to inspire all MBH employees across generations with personal responsibility and role model function in order to be able to develop the full performance potential. External moderation and the use of some agile methods were also intended to strengthen the collaboration culture already during the project work.
In the first step, noventum's tried and tested Hercules method was implemented. The individual steps are
- Clarification of goals with the main responsible persons
- Implementation of an online corporate culture check
- Development of theses that envision a desirable future
- Entertaining reflection of the theses with the business game Eigenland®.
- Filling an action memory (backlog) to approximate the desired future
- Participative assumption of responsibility by executives and multipliers for the most relevant actions
- Agile change management to check the progress of the measures introduced and to successively implement further measures
Corporate culture is leadership culture
A two-day workshop with executives and other multipliers from the company laid the foundations for further committed project work. Management development proved to be a particular field of action. To this end, the desired topics were identified with 22 managers from production and administration and trained in team workshops. The collection and condensation of the training topics was carried out participatively and systematically with the noventum FK-E analysis tool. This mix of digital group tools and the trusting individual and small group exchange on site contributed greatly to the leadership team growing further together and establishing common standards. The shear focus topics trained were:
- Change Management
- Communication I & II
- Decision making
- Result and goal orientation
- Intergenerational cooperation
- MBH's preparations for its 2027 anniversary year in particular and the company's future in general have gained direction and momentum thanks to the "Fit for Fifty" project. noventum Managing Director Uwe Rotermund, who was personally involved in the MBH project, is pleased: "I would like to thank Björn Hassink and Heike Hassink-Lah and their management team for embracing the agile way of working that is new to MBH and trusting us to test this path together."
»I was really impressed that the production tough guys brought so much positive energy and momentum early in the project as part of the novel collaboration using agile and digital methods.«
Jan Patrick Helmchen
Interview with Managing Director Björn Hassink
What prompted you to put the topic of organization and leadership so systematically on the agenda?
With the ever faster and greater market demands, a lean management and responsibility culture is indispensable. We are facing the same major challenges as other companies, shortage of skilled workers, energy prices, increasing competition ... We want to act flexibly and quickly, and this requires
- Managers from the office and production to work together as an overall team,
- responsibilities are transferred to the skilled workers in the production process (flat hierarchies),
- agile decision-making and implementation processes are used,
- a common leadership culture must be established.
How do you assess the benefits of this project for your company?
The benefit for us is very high. The further development of teamwork alone increases the motivation of everyone involved and moves us forward together. As a medium-sized company with around 230 employees, we have always had short paths to each other. The fact that this can be done even better, to work bindingly, transparently and together, is a great first experience that our development project has brought with it.
»Many thanks to Uwe and Jan for the professional moderation and "cool" cooperation. It was a lot of fun!«
What are the benefits for your customers?
We can react even faster and more agilely and adapt processes or tailor them more individually to the customer. With improved process flows from order acceptance to execution to sustainable documentation for components with special requirements, etc., we generate these benefits and, of course, also stand up well to competition as a supplier. Our claim for our customers is: fast decision-making and agile implementation of solutions. At this point, we are just getting much better.
And what is useful for your employees?
Our employees are just as much in focus as our customers, and we have tried out and established a few things for the methodology of our work.
The introduction of the F4F (Fit for Fifty) Kanban board has significantly increased transparency and participation opportunities for everyone. A large number of projects have been initiated and executed via this board. I have the definite impression that with such methods and such a culture, we can retain employees and attract new employees and trainees.
We have installed another Kanban board for topics relating to the efficiency of internal processes and for process optimization of our customer requirements and technologies. Here we are right in the middle of our value creation process with the new methods and our employees are supporting this change with great commitment. This is about their work, which they do with pride and expertise, and about how they will work tomorrow.
What stood out to you in this project or what surprised you the most?
As I said, as a medium-sized company, we have always had a very good sense of cohesion. However, all managers from production and from the office have become even more welded together since our project and have since worked together even more intensively, coordinated even better or planned preventively much more intensively. "Surprised? - perhaps rather enthusiastic!
»We noticed an extraordinary quality orientation at MBH and the sense of excellent organization and transparency using agile methods. This is still the exception for medium-sized manufacturing companies. And that's why we also firmly believe that MBH is "Fit for Fifty" and will master the foreseeable major challenges.«
Your project is entitled "Fit for Fifty". What are the concrete next steps in your project?
Do you now feel fit and well positioned for the major challenges that are on the horizon?
Yes very much! The last few years we have been well on our way and have invested and changed a lot. In the last few days, we had another strategy meeting together with noventum. Future scenarios for growth in the coming years and new technologies were on the agenda for 2023. At the end, we dedicated ourselves in detail to our joint cross-generational leadership culture. Now we have brought a whole new dynamic to our further development and can look forward to our 50th birthday with self-confidence. And to the next 50!
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