After a successful launch of the "Leadership Connect - Connect Days" program in February at BorgWarner in Kirchheimbolanden, the second event now followed, this time in the district of Kusel. KOB GmbH welcomed us in Wolfstein, manufacturer and world market leader for elastic medical special textiles.
The visit started with a production tour of the traditional company which was founded in 1903. During this tour, it was possible to see all the individual steps, from the cotton bale to the finished product with the customer's logo on it, and it became clear how much value is placed on high quality and hygiene standards and efficient production processes at KOB.
After the production tour, various topics in the area of leadership methods were taken up in the spirit of the Leadership Connect Days program. Dr. Christian Ferck, Chief Financial Officer, encouraged all participants to participate in an open, direct discussion in which the challenges for both sides as well as corporate visions, missions and strategy were addressed.
Giving feedback, but especially being able to accept feedback - a topic of great importance for both USAFE and KOB managers. Managers usually pass on their feedback to employees, but it is equally important to know how to receive feedback. KOB recognizes the importance of this issue and offers its employees special training on how to handle positive and negative feedback. Communication with each other is the be-all and end-all. In 1:1 meetings, the needs of the employees and their individual strengths and support requirements are addressed.
The aspect that makes the Leadership Connect Days so interesting is not only the insight into the topic of leadership methods and the many aspects in this regard, but also into the everyday life of companies in a wide variety of industries and their challenges. The shortage of skilled textile workers is a problem that KOB has been struggling with for several years, as there are simply no skilled textile workers available and they have to be sourced from abroad, e.g. Portugal. Equally problematic for KOB, as for many other companies, is the change of cohorts or generations: More and more people are retiring, and there are no young people to fill their jobs afterwards. And what's more, how can employees identify with a company's product that has no direct visibility and yet can be so important, even life-saving?
In the end, USAFE and KOB agree: finding the correct definition of leadership and applying and communicating it to daily operations is no easy task. However, the quote at the end of the discussion sums it up well: "It's not a revolution, but an evolution!"
We sincerely thank the representatives of KOB for the insights into their production and management processes and are happy about the successful outcome of the 2nd event of the Leadership Connect series!