By Kathrin Köster

No career people, but ‘gardeners’

Kathrin Köster: Bechtle has a green logo, but I am surprised to hear that you are talking about gardening :-). Could you explain the background?

Jürgen Schäfer: It’s related to our hiring practice. We have to have the right people on board.
I remember our former staff advertisement campaigns starting with: “You have competencies X, Y, Z etc.” This has changed. We are focusing on personality now. Is this person passionate? And what about?

Kathrin Köster: And what does this have to do with gardening?

Jürgen Schäfer: I think that our organization needs to be very sensitive to help new hires to find their passion. I compare it to gardening. We need people who have found their passion, whether this is an internal training program they have designed and conduct, or whether it’s a network of subsidiaries they develop and strengthen. When they feel it’s their responsibility, they take care of it. They feel ownership. They grow together with their mission, driven by the passion to make it as beautiful as they can.

It’s our responsibility to help everybody find their garden, their personal mission. This makes everybody an entrepreneur.

Especially in times of fast-paced change, we need entrepreneurs. Especially people who don’t count hours but are passionate about getting the best out of their mission.

Kathrin Köster: And what is the problem with ‘career people’?

Jürgen Schäfer: In our experience, ‘career people’ tend to be selfish. They are often driven by status and follow a pre-set program: They fight their way up the career ladder. This might be good for them, but can be counterproductive for us as a team. I have seen teams falling apart just because of this “Me first” – behavior. And revenues went through the floor. I can’t accept this.

Kathrin Köster: That’s good news for people who strive to find their own way, their real passion. Thanks for sharing your insights.

Jürgen Schäfer is the COO of Bechtle AG, a Germany-based B2B and B2G IT company that sells IT hardware and software, as well as related services to business and public-sector clients. Jürgen is the head of the e-commerce unit with roughly 1,500 people operating in 14 countries through 24 subsidiaries with revenues between 5 and 200 million Euros. Overall, the e-commerce team achieved revenues of 1 billion Euros at the end of 2017.