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Participants of the workshop at the building block tower

Values built to last

Building blocks, quiz cards and bamboo canes — all Dürr Group employees complete a two-and-a-half-hour workshop to explore their company's sense of identity. CEO Dr. Jochen Weyrauch joined a team from the production department at their workshop.

The tower, which initially consisted of 60 building blocks, now looks like a skeleton with only half of the blocks remaining. Who wants to pull out the next block? The Group’s CEO bends down and moves a piece of wood. Tension rises, the tower starts to wobble. Seconds later, the blocks are on the ground. The group cheers. Jochen Weyrauch smiles: “I specialize in making unstable things collapse.” 

The atmosphere is relaxed at the values-competencies workshop in Bietigheim-Bissingen. Over the past few months, hundreds of teams worldwide have completed these workshops. Many others are set to follow over the coming months. The goal of the exercise is to engage with the Group’s  → corporate statement

Starting on this day is a team that normally manufactures painting robots. The three women and seven men carry out different tasks. Some manufacture the components, some assemble them, and others program the software or check the quality of the end product. What one person does has an effect on the others. This requires trust, responsibility, respect, curiosity, cooperation, and courage. These values of the corporate statement are explored in depth during the workshop. 

CEO Jochen Weyrauch accompanies the team at the workshop. He wants to observe what the staff associates with the values. Over the last two years, he has personally driven the development of the corporate statement. 

Shared vision provides direction

Why is a corporate statement so important? “The world is undergoing profound changes. This constantly gives rise to new challenges to which we must respond quickly,” says Weyrauch. He believes that conventional decision-making processes are too long for this. “Going forward, employees must be even more capable of thinking and acting proactively.” To do this, they need a compass to point them in the right direction. This is provided by the corporate statement. 

The exercise with the tower is all about courage. The winning team is the one that pulls out the most blocks without causing the tower to fall. But who wants to be the person responsible for the inevitable collapse? Courage is important to take on this responsibility. 

Do such scenarios also exist in day-to-day work situations? This is what moderator Katja Stiber wants to find out from the participants afterward. “When we admit our mistakes,” suggests one employee. Others think that “disagreeing with superiors” or “pushing through changes in the production process” also requires courage. In the second step, participants are asked to come up with recent situations where the team has lacked courage and why.

On course

A new corporate statement guides the Dürr Group in navigating the challenges of the future. 

The Group spent more than a year developing a corporate statement at various levels. Around 80 employees with different roles, backgrounds, and lengths of service took part. The results were consolidated and summarized. The definitions for the company’s purpose, vision, and mission were then finalized. 

The company’s purpose combines responsibility for future generations with environmental sustainability and economic efficiency for industry and trade. Cutting-edge technologies facilitate customers’ safe and resource-efficient production of goods for billions of people. 

The Group’s vision is to achieve excellence in resource efficiency in mechanical and plant engineering through sustainable solutions. This is to benefit customers, society, and the environment. 

The mission states that the people in the company take center stage. The Dürr Group offers attractive jobs and helps staff in their further development and in taking on responsibility. Innovations ensure that the Group is the technology leader in its markets. 

Six values form the basis of the corporate statement: curiosity, courage, trust, cooperation, respect, and responsibility. During a workshop, employees find out which skills are necessary to embody these values. 

Gentle exercise with a hard cane

In the second exercise, the team focuses on “cooperation”. To warm up, the participants are instructed to place one long bamboo cane on the tips of their index fingers and slowly lower it to the ground. The cane must not tilt or fall down. This means everyone must bend their knees at the same time, which requires sensitivity and cooperation. 

After this exercise, a new round of questions begins: Where has the team worked together well, or not so well, recently? What were the reasons for this? Soon the conversations turn to important everyday matters such as short communication channels, shared experiences, and product testing. Above all, trust, expertise, and respect for other opinions have enabled good cooperation in the past.  

Card quiz with Group products

The final exercise is about “curiosity”. Here, the participants must guess Dürr Group products depicted on quiz cards. 

During the subsequent discussion, the conversation turns to major projects that the Dürr Group implements for automakers. Several team members express that they would like to be informed more quickly about how satisfied customers are with the result. Weyrauch nods. “An important tip that I’ll take on board.”

Going forward, the group aims to continue thinking outside the box to maintain their good cooperation. One participant adds that, depending on the situation, you also need courage to let go of responsibility and relinquish control.

Always on an equal footing

The Group’s CEO Dr. Jochen Weyrauch talks about key values and true moments of happiness

You joined a robot production team at the values-competencies workshop. What did you learn?

Weyrauch: I was impressed by how open the discussions were and how strong the awareness is of working together in a global group and sharing the same values. 

Do you believe that values are becoming more important in the corporate world?

Weyrauch: Absolutely. Aside from healthy financial figures, companies need an identity that everyone shares. If you don't know who you are as a company, it is hard to achieve a common goal. 

At the workshop, you were on an equal footing with the participants. Is this an everyday occurrence or an exception for a CEO?

Weyrauch: I always try to engage with other people on an equal footing. I listen to arguments and we make joint decisions whenever possible. But it goes without saying that I must personally stand behind a decision, as I am ultimately responsible. 

Which value is most important to you in life?

Weyrauch: I wouldn't narrow it down to a single value, especially since values overlap. Successful cooperation is only possible with mutual respect. Courage and responsibility also go hand in hand. I try to align my actions with a framework of values. 

Does a CEO need to have courage?

Weyrauch: Courage is an important trait for fulfilling this role. We make decisions based on known facts. However, the broader parameters can change. That's why I sometimes feel unsure when making important decisions. You do need courage in situations like that.

You once said that you wanted to open a motorcycle store in Paris after leaving school. Would you still have the confidence to do that today? 

Weyrauch: Why not? I now understand much more about running a business — admittedly, a somewhat larger one! But I probably wouldn't get a start-up loan from the bank anymore due to my advanced age…

At what point in your career did curiosity play an important role?

Weyrauch: Curiosity is always important. Without curiosity, you stop evolving. My curiosity has been particularly sparked whenever I have taken on a new responsibility and have thus been able to learn a lot of new things in a short space of time. But it is very important to maintain curiosity in everyday life as well.

Who do you have great respect for?

Weyrauch: For people who take a clear stance, even if their point of view leads to controversy. Of course, I know from my own experience that it is often necessary to find the right balance between consensus and controversy.

For example?

Weyrauch: To promote sustainability and climate protection, we must take bold steps while simultaneously strengthening the industrial core of our country. This requires entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, but also a consensus in society in order to drive sustainable change. 

Are you planning to go into politics?

Weyrauch: (Laughs) No. I am very happy with my current position. 

Are there people you trust blindly?

Weyrauch: Of course, I would trust my wife, my mother, or my children blindly. But I assume the question is aimed at my role in the company. There, I put a great deal of trust in everyone at the outset. However, anyone who leads a company must never blindly rely on others, otherwise they would not be fulfilling their responsibilities. 

What does happiness mean to you?

Weyrauch: Happiness means being at peace with myself. This includes health and living in a good environment. For me, happiness often lies in the little things.

What are they?

Weyrauch: Honest and open encounters with people, just like today at the workshop. Talking and listening to employees. Moments of exchange where you also have fun together. Those are moments of happiness for me. 

Martina Bausch
Officer Online Magazine
Corporate Communications & Investor Relations
Dürr Aktiengesellschaft
Carl-Benz-Str. 34
74321 Bietigheim-Bissingen

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