9/25/2017 | 1 MINUTE READ

Learn from the German ‘Hidden Champions’

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The success of individual Hidden Champions is based on their leadership and strategy.

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robot work centers on shop floor

 

Browsing the internet isn’t always productive. But when you find the occasional good read, you often want to share it with people you know will appreciate it as much or more than you. So when I read “Why Germany Still has so Many Middle-Class Manufacturing Jobs” on Harvard Business Review’s website, I felt compelled to share it with you, our PM readers, since there may be lessons to be learned from the Germans that you might be interested in knowing.

Did you know that 48 percent of the mid-sized world market leaders (“Hidden Champions,” a term coined by Hermann Simon) come from Germany, even though only about 1.1 percent of the world population is German? This statistic grabbed my attention. Reading further, I learned about what can be attributed to their success and how U.S. companies might emulate them. The success of individual Hidden Champions is based on their leadership and strategy. For instance, the leaders of these companies stay at the helm for an average of 20 years, and the leaders are more likely to come into their top positions at a young age.

Other reasons for their success include characteristics that are more difficult or impossible to imitate outside of Germany, including German history, scientific competencies, the country’s unique apprenticeship system, tax advantages and its international openness. Learn more about Hidden Champions’ “secrets” in the article and why the per capita number of Hidden Champions is nowhere near as high as it is in Germany.

I’ve been reading up on Germany lately because of my pending trip to the parts2clean show in Stuttgart at the end of October. Look for upcoming coverage in PM or here online regarding my discoveries at the show.

 

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