Adaptive Leadership and Lifelong Learning Drive Change at Volkswagen
What is it like to be the only private sector executive in a room full of public sector and nonprofit leaders? According to Falk Bothe, Director Digital Transformation Office at Volkswagen Group in Germany and a recent participant in several Harvard Kennedy School executive education programs, it is enlightening.
“To tap into the knowledge of a room of experienced leaders of diverse backgrounds, transfers learning exponentially,” said Falk. “For corporate participants like me, the insight into government and nonprofit leadership challenges was highly valuable and helps me do my job better.”
For his role at Volkswagen, learning new skills and adapting for the future is more important than ever. Cars today must provide much more than just transportation. Customers expect the vehicle they purchase to provide everything from global mapping to mobile communication to entertainment amenities. In addition, Volkswagen has shifted from an era of mass production to increased personalization.
In order to help Volkswagen transform and continue to innovate the product, Falk embraces the need for leadership to continuously to develop the employees and ensure they are embracing new tools and technology in the office.
“Based on adaptive leadership approach my team and I developed a Digital Transformation Simulation, which created internal dialogue and change,” said Falk. “This simulation builds a foundation for mindset change and transformation projects. So far, it has been facilitated over 40 times for more than 1,400 participants inside and outside the Volkswagen Group.”
A commitment to lifelong learning drives Falk to help employees challenge themselves and look outside their day-to-day work to find new solutions. Falk has completed three executive education programs, Leadership for the 21st Century, Leadership Decision Making, and Mastering Negotiation at Harvard Kennedy School.