Best of HR –®

Frank Westmeier, currently working for a Düsseldorf real estate company, has had a varied professional career. In the interview he reports how the colorful Curriculum vitae affects his leadership style, what that means for HR work and employer branding and how Guide in Future must change.

Among other things, Frank Westmeier was hotel manager on a five-star plus cruise ship for Hapag-Loyd, where he oversaw services at the highest level while managing the whole Welt traveled For Siemens, he headed the regional coordination function in the group's own catering division. As key account manager of a nationwide project for Telekom and Sodexo, he restructured and optimized the range of services for 267 locations, turning a cost center into a profit center. He is currently responsible for the services in shopping center management and a hotel.

Corporate structures are changing radically - what do you think is leadership in the 21? Century?

Since we in Germany, as a country poor in raw materials, have to concentrate more and more on services and their specialization, it is important to understand the markets and their needs already recognizable before the desire at customers arises. We need to know today what the customer will need tomorrow. Therefore, service concepts apply, but also the associated ones Industries, in which the services are to be provided, require enormous flexibility. You can already see that today, where buildings are no longer erected rigidly over the long term, but are constantly being rebuilt as needed. Personnel service providers or facility management form theirs Employees customized. This has the consequence that Executives not only have to have an enormous wealth of experience - ideally from different industries - but also have to be able to direct their employees to the right one for them through empathetic leadership Workplace where he/she can ideally develop himself/herself and is thus useful for the added value of the company.

I'll just use myself as an example: I see myself as a manager in operations and sales. For me, the area of ​​activity takes a back seat because as a “helmsman” I am mainly occupied with it Company and to advance and optimize their products or services. I don't see myself primarily as a renovator, but rather prepare market-driven products and service-oriented services on the shortest and most sustainable path to the customer.

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Specialization is also important for managers. I want despite more diverse Tasks not be misunderstood as an all-rounder. My focus is on sales. Here I am most interested in: trade, consumer goods and services. But here I am flexible about which product it is.

What qualities should a good leadership bring?

Professional, life experience, a stable Personality and a large wealth of skills serve as a basis for facing new challenges with an open mind and flexibility.

My Success as a manager is therefore based on life experience on the one hand and solid operational and sales knowledge on the other.

What training is needed for this?

A service-oriented sales management role is mine Opinions to be considered independent of the industry. If you know your customers and their needs, many industries are open to a multifunctional service and sales manager.

As long as you don't have to fall back on in-depth specialist knowledge that is typical of the sector and for which a specialist degree is required. The tools of the trade as well as the qualification as a manager, for example, I acquired my knowledge through a private technical school and practical studies. In addition, I have continued to educate myself.

And what makes a good salesman?

The basis for success in sales is good knowledge of human nature. In addition to extensive product knowledge, it is important to implement attractive marketing strategies with efficient sales processes. It doesn't matter at the present time Sinn To strictly separate sales and operations. The Solution In connection with Sales 4.0, I see it from experience in a technically broad-based Team, which handles both areas with an overview and is therefore optimally active for or in a company.

Service remains service no matter whether sales or operational. My ambition is to be at the customer's front of the market and to identify trends. This is where the process of sales product placement begins. In the end, it depends on the learned craftsmanship, which is flexible and meets today's requirements. To always go with the times, follow their innovations, be better still one step ahead.

Your CV actually looks a bit colorful - is this the secret of success of successful managers? And is there a common thread?

“You can only see my work, no matter where, if it is NOT done”. This guiding principle applies to all industries that are related to services and are therefore concerned with the well-being of people. At least for me there is not much secret, but rather solid tools and a lot of experience. Above all, it helped me to have this experience in different tasks.

For example, I have successfully managed operational restructuring processes or adapted outdated operational processes to today's conditions, including digitization. Because that sharpened my awareness of the needs of customers. Employer branding and Business We must not forget development as a strategy for success here.

How does your own CV affect your management?

Based on my many years of experience in personnel management, I am now of the opinion that empathy is essential in this area and I usually always have an open ear for my employees. Team building, team leadership and Change Management play an important role in this. Controlled, where possible self-responsible actions of my employees have motivated them to higher performance and thus the company sustained gives higher results.

In principle, however, I also positively oppose the key figure-based personnel management, as long as it is not abused against the employees as a means of pressure. I consider you to be an essential control in the business context.

What are the benefits of empathic leadership for employer branding?

It is a question of presenting itself as a company more attractive through its own specific marketing concept. This alone is not enough. Executives must not only present the corporate identity to the employees, but a great deal of empathy is necessary, especially in the sensitive service sector.

Employees must be sensitized to use their own perception to position the products with foresight and to initiate all necessary processes in connection with this. He/she should have the opportunity within the structures specified by the employer to personally choose the Company to engage and identify with.

How do you manage to be teamplayer, coach and at the same time leadership?

For me there is a healthy and goal-oriented team of young professionals and “old hands” who maintain a lively exchange of experiences.

Both can learn a lot from each other. Professional experience meets contemporary-influenced, modern “youngsters”.

Does age play a role in this context, especially with regard to your own age?

I do not know it myself! I know boring 30-year-old couch potatoes and fit and digitally affine fifties and sixties. A youthful and disoriented indolence is created here by an enormously energetic and life-affirming worker and Motivation outbid.

Due to the current life expectancy, 50 is now no longer a high working age! Especially since 67 is to be worked. Many examples show that more and more people want to work beyond their retirement age.

And do you see yourself more as a summiteer or couchpotato?

Good cue, just now spontaneously participated in the Düsseldorf relay marathon in terms of charity, my alert mind stimulates me, also in matters Work-Life-Balance to keep the scales.

This seems to me to be an essential part of my success with increasing life experience.

What are the strengths of your work?

Through good friends, family support and a healthy one Contact to me and my body - but the latter only in recent years.

My life experience also provides the basis for my leadership work from my personal ups and downs.

And how exactly does your personal work-life balance look like?

First, I have my professional responsibilities more awareness given as my personal goals. I later realized that it was for Job and private matters, it is more important to shape and expand the path accordingly than solely via that Objective think.

Here is my active room for design. From this I draw today all inspiration and motivation. I am always interested in adapting my way to today's situation and to keep it as short as possible. Child rearing, loss of loved ones and unpredictable job loss have helped to rethink. Important in this context is to me that I, with today 52, by no means at the end of the journey see. I still have 15 years to the possible retirement, but would like to continue working. Especially the work path is an important stage for me, which is the most important part of the way of life alongside personal interests and relationships.

How do they manage to reconcile these opposites in today's fast-paced world?

This is not a question of time, but rather a question of inspiration and the motivation to face today's conditions and demands. Especially with regard to digitization, the fast lane is no longer enough to make progress. Rather, it is important to involve its employees actively.

A service-oriented sales management function is, in my opinion, to be considered independent of the sector. If you know your customers and their needs, many industries are open to a multifunctional service and sales manager.

How important are career changes today?

In my opinion, it is important to remain faithful to their personal and professional goals, and to accept new challenges and professional changes.

For me, the journey to work is a flexible matter, which we, as those who walk, massively and sustainably with our Competencies and learned tools should shape the way forward.

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