Our guest is a highly experienced transformation practitioner, who has led many global change initiatives across different industries. Over the last 5 years led together with a team of experts, senior management and associates an agile transformation at Robert Bosch Power Tools. Within this project Robert Bosch Power Tools has been transformed into a user-centric organization based on agile principles. The company has been awarded with the “Zero Distance Award 2021” by the Business Ecosystems Alliance.
Prior to Robert Bosch, Jochen has worked 12 years for Accenture in various roles, leading client engagements across Europe with global rollouts. Latest he was working for their People & Organization unit to drive global change initiatives that focus on organizational development, collaboration and transformation.
Living Room Conversations: Bosch Power Tools with Jochen Goeser
ENSI = Ensi Stähli-Yang (Host)
JOCHEN = Jochen Goeser (Guest)
ENSI: Hi everyone! Welcome to join today’s Living Room Conversation and this is
already our 37th episode. Time really flies. We have already done so many conversations in our Living Room. My name is Ensi Stähli-Yang and you can also see my Chinese name there. I’m a catalyst at LIVEsciences and actually recently I got a few times this question: what do you catalyze? Really good question. In short I think we catalyze changes and transformations
and for me this goes really with my purpose that my purpose is to support individuals teams and organizations to move to more this human-centric workplace where people can work at their best potential where people feel they can thrive at their workplace and I think this is something really drives me to be a catalyst and to to work with companies on this topic.
And this is also our topic today about how the transform transformation journey looks like in Robert Bosch power tools and what are the insights that they get from this journey. I actually feel very excited about today’s conversation because before I moved to Switzerland I worked six years in Bosch China so I feel a special connection with Bosch and really looking forward to hear the story from Jochen. Before I introduce our guest today I want to say thank you again for
everybody joining us and please feel free to write something in the chat where you are from and also feel free to write your questions during the conversation when anything comes up to your mind. Okay then with this let’s bring our guests into the conversation today so today I’m really glad to have Jochen joining me in this Living Room Conversation.
JOCHEN: Hi Ensi, hi everybody.
ENSI: Really nice to see you again. Would you like to shortly introduce yourself to our audience?
JOCHEN: Yeah yeah hello everybody hello Ensi thanks for having me you can see my name and what I’m doing I’m actually German based in Stuttgart working for Robert Bosch since five and a half years in the power tools division really trying to make an impact with our Agile transformation and the continuous journey of really creating a different way of working for for our associates and some personal and private stuff as I said German live close to Stuttgart have four kids and all daughters so it’s like a like a like a circus at home itself and privately I really love do sports so tennis is my most favorite one and I’m really looking forward so if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the chat I’m open for any questions so let’s roll it and see thanks.
ENSI: Thank you and great to hear tennis it’s your favorite sport because I just started to learn
last year and I really enjoy it. To start our conversation Jochen ‘m very curious what is your
purpose or what gets you out of bed every day and really looking forward to no matter at work or in your private life?
JOCHEN: Yeah I think that’s a that’s a good question I think nc we know each other better than only from one conversation it seems because our purposes are really closely aligned so what keeps me out gets me out of the bed I think is really this this motivation to challenge the status quo especially in organizations and how people can contribute value not only to the company itself but also to their personal satisfaction and motivation and really bring the best out of the people so some call it human-centric some call it more Agile more value-based I think it’s not all the same but I think we stand for the same things that we really are in times where it’s really important that we bring out all the potential that humans have and they are and explore them and bring out the best in the people so that’s my purpose.
ENSI: Thank you for sharing this and I can imagine this is really a big drive for us every day. Coming to the topic of the Agile transformation in Bosch could you share maybe like a overview. I think you mentioned that this was already introduced five, six years ago and we know that you know in different companies this Agile topic or transformation could be introduced with different approaches. So I’m curious to understand how was this introduced and rolled out in Bosch was it like a big scale transformation or did you start small and then slowly introduced to different countries?
JOCHEN: Yeah I think from a background I mean Bosch power tools is like a division of Bosch Bosch overall is a very big German-based company international global player with 400,000 people within Bosch we are 20,000 people building the best power tools you can get and all the accessories to it of course and we are based around six business units so when we started our Agile transformation after having done two free lighthouse projects to test the idea to really
question how we work how we work together we really had with the name Agile I think certain
things already put in stone because we wanted to have an iterative approach of course not a big bang and not a planned Waterfall project bringing Agile forward and so I think we have a very iterative approach based on our six business units that we have and I think the the key was really to very be very bold in terms of what we try to change so Agile not really in a small sense in terms of the method A, B or C, but rather in terms of our five pillars which means leadership do we need to do differently, collaboration culture but also questioning the organizational setup
and then process of methods of course as well but I think this this holistic picture is what we really wanted to do in an iterative approach and then see and learn from each other from the
business units from the different stakeholders so that we get better with each iteration and not really just copy the same mistakes that we did in the first iteration.
ENSI: Thanks for sharing this. And there are a few words I really like that you mentioned about ‘lighthouse’ that you actually kind of really giving inspirations and also I hear a lot of flexibility there so you are not defining any kind of Agile tools or methods but instead like really just giving some directions the big pillars and then guide people into that direction and I also hear you mentioned several times ‘iterations’ and then it’s very interesting you mentioned that you know we didn’t do this big plan because otherwise it would be like a Waterfall way to introduce
Agile which would be kind of contradictory thanks for sharing this. And you mentioned a few different pillars and I think most of time people would ask about the question around how
the leadership shift happened? How did you actually involve the leaders and then from them to really role model these new behaviors and culture you want to bring to the company? Could you share some experience or insights about the leadership change?
JOCHEN: Yeah the leadership is a tricky tricky part right because from my experience I think you definitely need strong leadership support in order to really make substantial changes change which is outside your own team, outside your own units to really have a big impact. And I think the privilege and that we had actually is that we had on the one hand side very strong support from our senior management executives to start really questioning ourselves our president especially and on the other hand side to to also have the humbleness to say we don’t know everything so we really want to change a lot but we really need you guys and people on the floor in the in the different areas in the different regions to come up with with some ideas what we should change what is really driving them nuts and how what they want to see being in a more positive way right?
And then I think our pillars of as I said earlier leadership collaboration etc. they really help to give some guidance and some structure so that people also know well the the the door is wide open on the one hand side and there are no predefined solutions but really you need to come up with your own solutions or try to to challenge yourself that you really move forward in in a way that is substantial.
ENSI: So there were actually also a lot of involvement from the people in terms of this leadership expectations and I really like the word this ‘humble leadership’ that means really like open to feedback and not coming from a position that I actually know better and I could give you some directions or solutions but instead like more like inviting and respect everybody’s perspectives.
JOCHEN: I think that’s a continuous journey right? I mean people it’s not only turning on the light and then everything is great it’s like a continuous journey I think that’s really important message from my side as well so it’s the question when are you finished is probably the the worst question you can answer because I think also thinking about life itself you know when does it finish nobody wants to think about that right it’s a continuous journey and you should also enjoy the ride in the journey itself so I think they’re also behaviors change over a certain time frame and I think there this this time frame helps you to also challenge yourself consistently.
ENSI: Definitely. Talking about this continuous journey I’m wondering how the leaders are
actually getting feedback from you know their team members? And how this kind of transparency is created? Because I can imagine in some setup, it’s hard for people to suddenly start to be very open and to provide direct feedback to their supervisors or leaders. So how is this kind of feedback received or given in Bosch Power Tools?
JOCHEN: Yeah I think when we started our journey we were as I said trying to look in a very holistic way and I think certain things we really tried to to challenge or really find solutions from the very beginning was really to put a focus on feedback. And with feedback I don’t only mean like one person giving feedback to another person but the team itself really questions how they work is this the right way, how do we behave with each other, what kind of values do we want to stand for, so I think there are a couple of key players or initiatives that we were driving and I think one of the first is that we introduced for example new roles like Agile coaches who are
really there to support teams in their development towards bringing also a better performance and more satisfaction for the employees right? So these people have actually the really the task to make the work that needs to be done also visible right that’s I think the first step when you speak about transparency that we make work visible but also creating the atmosphere that
you can speak up with things are not going well or also celebrate success you sometimes forget that as well right?
And then I think from the other areas I think with feedback is also how people are being giving feedback in terms of what they should achieve I think there we also have changed a lot where we moved away from individual targets where one leader talks not ideally but once a year with his employee and if he achieved the targets that he were set in in January and already forgotten about so we changed actually to team targets so the team is responsible for achieving first thinking about what they want to achieve then putting them transparent in place and then also challenge themselves if they have been achieved so it’s also very trying to be very ambitious here and I think that also creates an atmosphere of feedback right? Because we speak about and challenge ourselves what kind of accrete targets we want to set so I think these are some
not only soft but also some hard elements on how you can create a feedback culture and then I think it’s the third point is probably also something where we continuously still learn and adapt and and try to get better is that giving feedback is easier when it’s a positive feedback like yeah the weather is nice and you look great it’s a bit more challenging if it’s not so it’s if it’s whatever you want to call it constructive feedback or feedback that is might be a bit challenging and and there I think we also really put a focus that well first it’s important to really put the positive feedback out and then also try to balance it out with the constructive feedback right? So it’s also a different ratio if you want to be very negative at the very beginning I don’t think you can have really open ear from the people that you want to give feedback to so I think it’s a learning journey but there it’s also not rocket science right how do you want to receive feedback is probably a good starting point on how you should give feedback.
ENSI: Yeah definitely I think you mentioned really a few great points, that first of all
like there there is a person like an Agile coach or maybe another role which is there to support the team through this journey and about this open culture is really for like as a foundation we need to have this psychological safety or with a safe space to feel like I can address things directly and I really like you mentioned about this team performance instead of individual performance and this is also something I think we can maybe dive a bit deeper on this topic because Agile transformation can touch many aspects of the companies organizations and teams. And one thing I think many companies are exploring is how does this influence performance management and this feedback culture so not this yearly performance review with your direct manager instead maybe we have more regular feedback sessions together with the team with peers so it’s not only like one leader or manager is deciding whether I have a good performance or not and yeah and also I think about constructive feedback in our setup not sure if I mentioned so LIVEsciences, our company is very self-organized we are to your organization and there is something we actually talk very often is how do we address tensions? And I think this tension is also part of us giving feedback to each other but also to the system maybe our structure, our system is not working well, how do we address these tensions and then there are different ways to to give feedback like this nonviolent communication or star so there are different models that help us to address tensions or constructive feedback in a more respect respectful and candid way to each other.
JOCHEN: Yeah I think that’s really good insights and I think life sense has much more much more in their portfolio than than what we’re doing when it comes to feedback but I think
the really what we put a focus in that we don’t stop giving feedbacks with ‘you are’ and ‘you are this’ and ‘you are that’ neither in the positive no in the bad way but really trying to put when you give feedback to say I to say when when I look at this and that what you did I feel or this is my opinion this is what I envision. And then I think it moves the conversation hopefully from a less personal thing to a more talking about topics thing and I think that’s that’s one element. But
coming back a little bit the structure and how we try to organize feedback I think is important because we spoke about this yearly conversation that your leader is doing and I think it included in a one-hour session probably not only your individual targets but also what you need to learn in the future and where you want to self-develop towards and I mean everything was put in this one conversation. And I think we split it into three parts actually because we said from targets we move to these team targets there’s a separate workshop where the team actually speaks about setting team targets. And we also moved what we call competence camp into the team to say you know once we know as a team the targets we need to look into our faces together to say do we have the right competences on board to really achieve something meaningful towards our targets and then we as a team make a decision on whether we want to put further competencies on our team on individual team members on some team members do we want to get some competencies from outside from other teams or outside PT or outside Power Tools.
And the third one I think is also very crucial because we are still all individuals right? And we want to develop ourselves as well so we also include included a new dialogue format called individual development dialogue where it’s not about if you achieved your goals or not or what the team wants to learn but it’s rather where you initiate as a associate a conversation if you want with your leaders or with other peers or with other people you work throughout a certain time period to get feedback on where they see their strengths and potential improvement areas and where you can then also self-reflect with the people or for yourself whatever you choose on what you want to develop towards so I think it’s we’re still all individual and it’s not like a team, team, team right? So you want to develop further as well so I think we try to balance that out with the different formats.
ENSI: That’s really a great approach about this team target so it’s kind of a collective feeling that it’s not about my success, your success, it’s the team’s success. And I love this idea about this competence camp I think this at some time over kind of overlooks or not focused on to say hey these are our targets or things we want to achieve do we actually have enough in our hands or in our toolbox to help us to achieve that and then and based on that you also have this individual development where you give people flexibility to find out where do I want to develop and also opportunities to get feedback to say hey actually these are the feedback I get I think it kind of help you to emphasize or to resonate what you think about yourself and also how the others are perceiving you.
JOCHEN: I think that the important part here is perhaps I could just jump in here is and just that we get that also it’s clear how we approached these topics actually at the beginning we created so it was not an idea from one person or from an HR team sitting in the corner to to change every processes so we actually had like what we called at the beginning an HR lab where basically people from HR and regular associates said what should we change in our HR processes and these are the solutions that came out. So it was also kind of a sprint design planning whatever you want to call it where people said we need to change everything also in HR in the processes and we invite our internal users, our internal things, our internal audience to create with us together so I think that’s so that yeah it was not an idea of one two or one team it was a an effort to involve as many people as possible also for this part of the solutions.
ENSI: Definitely. I think you mentioned a good point here internal customers and we have questions from the audience also on this direction. So from Bianca I’d like to know how has customer care changed specifically since you implemented this Agile program?
JOCHEN: So yeah Bianca, a great question and perhaps I mean we spoke about now the insights and the transformational journey but we haven’t spoke so far about why did we start the journey overall right? And there the customer really is at the core and our journey was really to say we want to create a user-centric organization we don’t use the word customer on intention because the users imagine our power tools the big drill drivers and hammers and what have you not we really wanted to make sure we were develop products and listen to the needs of the users who use our products and that’s not always the people who buy them right? If you’re a construction worker on a job site actually you use the tools that your employer gives you or also we have a lot of retail customers like all these big brands who buy from us but actually they are not using the tools right? So we really want to get much closer to the user and there I think the customer care is an ongoing still change a lot when we speak about the user care right? The really people who use our tools because now we have much more possibility to be really much more closer to the user with the digitalization you know we have direct feedback on amazon and all these big online players on how our products are perceived by users we have much more interaction directly from our users also which is amazing so I think the the work itself changed significantly and I think we tried to involve many more people not only the number of people but the variety of people to get direct user feedback for right? So that’s the people who develop the products but also the people who actually need to repair them or work with the warranty stuff, yeah.
ENSI: Thank you Bianca for the really good question and thank you and to share your experience with this. Yeah and I think we we mentioned briefly like how was the approach to introduce this topic I’m also curious, how is because Bosch is a big company, even for poor
tools you have different affiliates in different countries so how is this cross-country collaboration ongoing and how do you actually encourage this kind of cross-country learning and exchange and also in under the brailler of this Agile transformation?
JOCHEN: Yeah of course I think they are perhaps we need to reuse the word humbleness I think as a German-based company you need to first be humble enough to say the best ideas might not come out of close to Stuttgart so perhaps there are a lot of good ideas already outside of the in the Bosch world in different regions as you know we are globally spread you worked in China we have Latin America, North America, Africa so there’s so many people trying to improve how we do things so the first thing is really to have like in old worlds you would say change agents I think we relied a lot on our Agile coaches high masses in the different regions and countries to be like really ear to the organization what is driving them in Latin America what is driving them, what is bothering them, in Asia Pacific and bring all these people together on a regular basis so the pre-COVID we met really three four times a year in a specific location now it’s more digital of course perhaps we move back again to meet more in person. I think we need to be flexible here but really bring those people who have a close ear to the organization very very good together build a trust for a relationship and then really also to not try to be dogmatic on what you want to achieve and everything needs to come from the project from the program it’s rather making those things that are developed and done already in the organization visible you know does the person in Casablanca know what’s going on in North America and what the solutions that they develop there that might help him or vice versa. So I think it’s not about creating a platform for sharing and creating a platform for really having transparent collaboration across different regions and cultures.
ENSI: Yeah and it’s really important to kind of not only learn best practices but also learning so that we don’t fall into the same chat and for that this cross-country or global collaboration is really valuable. We have another question from the chat if you wouldn’t mind sharing. I’m curious about what happened in your upbringing that started you on your journey?
JOCHEN: Hm, in my upbringing? So if I’m not mistaken that means what happened with me in my youth that I’m doing now this stuff that I’m doing so a private question I think what happened there I think there’s a strong belief in me that by intention first people are trying to do good in the world so I think that’s that’s something that probably is a deep deep thing I believe in. And I think sometimes organizations or companies are not supporting that in the best way possible that they also bring the best out of them. And I think that’s really something where a lot work has been done recently a lot of work needs still to be done I think when we look at all the challenges we face not only from from individual but organization or societal at least even I would say not at least so I think this this yeah this experience or this trust that people want to do good in the world for the vast majority of number is probably the the most thing that brought me to that hopefully I answered it correctly George if not, you ask his follow-up question.
ENSI: Thank you George for the question and thanks Jochen for sharing this. It’s really beautiful said I can’t fully resonate with that. Now comes to a question that I actually got asked many times or more like a statement that many people think okay Agile is more for you know IT for software and maybe for indirect areas to to implement but for direct areas like manufacturing site like shop for it’s it’s impossible because we have production line, we have really fixed schedules and there is also like legal safety requirements so there is some statement that it’s almost impossible to be Agile or to implement Agile in direct areas. What’s your experience with this and how would you respond to this statement?
JOCHEN: First I want to give hope to everybody who questioned that because I think you
can do that a lot actually I think you cannot do anything if you have a very very narrow definition of Agile. Which means like in a setup like in a plant or whatever where there are a lot of surprises every day whoever has worked in the plant there is always a price coming up so it’s not like only plan, plan, plan and execute but I think it’s not the time for only using scrum as a method right it’s not the method itself when you when you have this bachelor more envisioned with giving people the autonomy and the empowerment and feel them appreciated for the support and the value they bring to the organization then you have a lot of things that actually help. And I think their manufacturing is no other than any other area of of a manufacture of a company, of an organization and you really lose a lot of potential if you don’t look into that
area. I think what we did is just to give you two examples. I think we really tried to connect people in the plant more closely with those people who develop the products for various reasons. First, for the reasons that people who develop products think about how they can produce earlier than later. Secondly to also have more appreciation not of feeling more closer to the user and the business when you connect more blunt people to those indirect purpose. We also have initiatives in many I mean we have a program which we which is about leading differently or having shop etcher elements on the shop floor really which we do on a very successful way in many of our plans and there’s a also a waiting list for other plants who want to join on that so I think where we really think about how do we want to work with each other how we want to treat and speak to each other how do we want to bring all these great ideas that are in people’s minds together and we have and there last but not least I want to highlight that you actually find very good improvement areas from one factory worker in Malaysia that might have an impact for every other plant that we have in Mexico or in China or in Europe and they can really learn and imagine this appreciation from a worker that’s sitting somewhere making an impact in one plant having an impact in multiple plants with his work I think that’s yeah that’s the best boost of energy and confidence you can give people to bring out the best of them on them.
ENSI: Definitely. That’s really encouraging I think for them to see that oh actually just one idea from me can bring so much impact across the world a different plant and have a positive impact on the product. So how I think you mentioned that you are implementing in like some sites and then there are other sites that are interested so is it more like a pelleting experimenting approach? Or how would you see this?
JOCHEN: I think the specific program that I tried to hint was really for putting focus on we call it leadership at the shop floor and when we speak about leadership at the shop for that it doesn’t mean that the leaders tell the shop floor what to do it rather means encouraging also every associate from the shop floor to the leaders in the plants to really have leadership elements in every single aspect of their daily life.
You can lead in a lot of different ways it’s not only the decision making power to have a workflow approved or vacation or cost center approved right it’s about leading as a role model leading to support each other but also leading on how you come to work every day I think there are a lot of people really need to be encouraged to to really bring out the best of them so I think that’s what what I specifically meant with this specific program which is incorporate into our transformation journey.
ENSI: Thank you for sharing this. And I think I also hear this self leadership that every employee could have and to take accountabilities and to share ideas where they see there is improvement and we know that actually most of time because they are so close to their work and they actually see the best, where we can improve at their workplace. So I think that that’s a really amazing example and give our audiences our other companies some inspirations that and I really like what you mentioned this definition of Agile it’s not just to introduce like canvas from whatever method it’s also more of this self leadership side like taking accountability is more open to share feedback so there is much more to those masters and rituals and I really like this aspect. I think then it opens a lot of possibilities right? That you can actually try it out everywhere it’s just focusing on maybe different aspects of ideas.
JOCHEN: Mhm. Very good, cool.
ENSI: Okay so there is a question and from Alejandro oh I read it I remember my grandfather’s tool set he was very proud of his Bosch tools. He used to say that he wished he could have worked there and the question is how has Agility improved on that for employees since that time?
JOCHEN: Okay well first shout out to the granddad of Alejandro very much appreciated. He was such a proud person to own posh tools so I think I mean we we also look at how our employees are satisfied with how they’re working how much people we can attract to being Bosch power tools as their first choice when we look for jobs rights we did also start this Agile transformation to really increase our internal employee satisfaction but also to be more attractive for external talent and for those two elements I think we can currently be very proud because we have really interested in our from external talent into our company but also when I speak to people they feel yes it’s empowering and and really giving they’re very proud to work for Bosch power tools and I think that’s that’s also a good thing to know that what you’re doing is not only criticized in certain areas or something but it’s really something which brings value to the employees and as I said in the beginning it’s a continuous journey once you move forward you find other areas where you can improve but it definitely helped us to yeah to engage the employees much more.
ENSI: Definitely. Also for me personally I feel like Bosch poor tools are is the really creative division that you have a lot of innovative products. And I’m wondering how this Agile or Agility supported or even encouraged more innovation and creativity there.
JOCHEN: You mean within power tools?
JOCHEN: Yeah, I think innovation is one of the key elements why we started it. You know we want to be more innovative and I think the question is how does more innovation come into play? And I think they are really much more experts on an innovation than I am to be very honest but I think I’m a strong believer that the more diverse the people are from a background that you bring together around the table the the better innovation comes the best the better innovation comes out of it and with background or diversity I not only mean you know gender or background or cultural background but also functional backgrounds. You know if you have been trained as as a marketer for five years in university and you just now sit together in a room with five engineers to come up with the best ideas that really not only challenges you but brings out very good discussions so I think it’s it’s also this diversity aspect and our cross-functional teams that we created is by far one of the most most positive things that people also give us feedback on you know these cross-functional teams that you’re not sitting in an own that you’re not sitting in an engineering department and being assigned to projects and then you don’t really have a clue what the marketing person says and you’re annoyed and now you’re you’re stuck in a positive way with different people from different backgrounds and you cannot escape also in a more positive way than it sounds with escape to really come up with some
cool new ideas and implement them.
ENSI: This sounds really amazing and this gives me this picture of like bees kind of flying around and it is pollinating effect that you you get information knowledge from different teams and then this gives you also more inspirations and then you give these ideas back to the different teams and I think this cross-learning is really valuable for employees. And I think we talked a lot about, you know, a lot of positive effects on employees and organization. I wonder what were actually the challenges in this journey or any point of failure that happened during the journey?
JOCHEN: I mean yeah we spoke a lot about positive things as you said I think there’s always
learnings along the way which you could have, would have done others indifferently and I think that’s that should not disencourage anybody to start. But rather and I also think they are part of the game so it’s not like if you would know everything of course you wouldn’t have made them but a lot of things you don’t know there are certain things I guess where we me personally or other people probably as well made some mistakes but I think some key learnings which I think is also valuable is I personally did some mistake for example by putting also people in boxes too quickly you know? I mean Agile is sometimes contributed to young people to fresh people, fresh
from university whatever I think I found many positive surprises where actually also very experienced people at Bosch actually were really interested by the values that are that Agile brings that very well connect with also they are not new right so I think that’s that’s really bring some things forwards and then also from a perspective on if you want to have a holistic journey of course you could always question what should you start earlier or later I think one learning from me personally was also that the we changed a lot in the organization, we changed a lot in in roles and we also needed then to change a lot in our procedures and processes right?
This is probably not the most sexy thing for somebody speaking about Agile transformation but it’s really valuable that what you write down as rules and processes should not be too much. That’s the first step right? Perhaps you need to keep it try to keep it lean but what is written there is actually really also to be followed right? So Agile is not chaos it’s not anarchy it’s it’s trying to to really be lean on that but also change your existing process and procedures is was probably yeah an exercise that took quite a lot of effort but I think that really establishes also within the organization a certain commitment and trust that we really mean it’s serious what we do right?
ENSI: Yeah thanks for sharing this insight and fully resonates with you there that actually
this Agile change touch different points of the company like you mentioned that also changed how people give feedback or how to set team targets how to kind of also performance management would be different and process tools but also I guess like it’s a lot also about behaviors like how people will show up and speak up so it’s really attached different aspects and all of them are important.
We have another question from the audience from Patricia; ‘This is very interesting for me. What is your next big step for the future of Bosch Power Tools?’
JOCHEN: I think the question we ask ourselves now our next step is like we never started Agile for the sake of being Agile. There’s always also a business context behind right? So to create really a very sustainable business and achieving very good results at the end as well so I think that the question for us is now how can we make it really sustainable, that the people can bring out their best potential and that you create really high performance. So I think this is really something more to make it sustainable and connected with the new and upcoming and not known yet business situations that will come up over are now there or even come up over the next period of time right? I mean the last couple of years have shown us clearly one thing that well nothing is really plannable sometimes right so we need to be really flexible. I think this adaptive nature of needs to be really really embedded into the organization and there we try to play also a part for our power to its division.
ENSI: Yeah I really like this and sustaining and the kind of reinforcing part of the change that maybe sometimes we all tend to fall back to the old way and maybe start more like Waterfall planning again and then it’s important to kind of really reinforce this message and these behaviors and then go forward. Thank you, Patricia. And then we have another question also from the audience about how open were like, coming back to the beginning when you introduced this concept, how open were people with this idea of becoming Agile?
JOCHEN: Well yeah I mean this is my personal or not only my personal but I think the thing is there was definitely an openness for people to for something new but also not hundred percent of the people. So the question is like it’s when you speak about the people it’s actually much more than one right? And you have a very diverse picture. And the tricky part is then not to neglect those people who are basically perhaps not open for it but really encourage those ones where you see the the file in their eyes to to really change something substantial so really identify those ones who are on the hook with you from the beginning to make substantial changes because to to be also quite frank when you start something like that the majority of the people are actually just not bubbled right? So it’s not like the maturity to people loves you and the majority of people hates you. The mature people is basically full of work and has something to do. So it’s more that you focus on those people who are very encouraged by what you’re saying because these are your biggest supporters for making the change bigger. And then really not only convince I would say but bring those people who are silent also into the boat right? So that they find interest in it, I think that’s the journey you need to take.
ENSI: Yeah and just following thank you Menard for the question. And just I have a follow-up question on this so I understand there there are like this motivation from the people but on the
other hand how are you actually supporting the people and enabling them during this journey
in terms of learning and that they really understand and knows how to do it? So you mentioned about the Agile coach and I wonder if there are other things in place more on the enabling side?
JOCHEN: Yeah I think at the very beginning but that’s already quite some time ago right we’ve also said yes HR is also a new method for the majority of the people so we want to make sure that certain basics in terms of methodology and methods. People get trained so we also trained all people in certain HR methods so that’s I think one learning aspect with the implementation of new roles we also made sure that those people who get these roles or apply for these roles are actually also trained according to these roles. And then it’s more like a continuous involvement in learning where you always need to be eager to find solutions for the current challenges that you’re facing right? We still open up courses for people who are new joiners. We get an introduction for all new journals that they know what they’re up to when they join us right? But I think it’s very individual then on what you need to become better at your job right and it’s not so much in the foreground than the new method or Agile itself but it’s kind of trying to be embedded into the culture that’s our goal
ENSI: Thank you for sharing this and I think you mentioned the interesting aspect about actually from the recruiting part. Has this Agile journey actually changed anything in terms of hiring and recruiting what kind of people you are looking for?
JOCHEN: I think it changed and in that the process itself we changed. So that was perhaps it’s it’s one thing to speak about so we we introduced team stuffing so in previous time it was like
the manager and if yeah if HR was lucky they were also involved in the hiring process it’s an HR guy and the leader we changed that we said no actually the team that is looking for somebody they need to create a staffing team. So meaning a team of 20 it’s not like everybody but they select a certain number of people that go through the recruiting process together to find the best candidate. It fits not only into the manager’s eye but also into the overall team perspective I think that’s an advantage for the team they know more people know what might come but also for the people who get recruited because they have more insights in where they will be working and not only into the speaking to the one-on-one with the manager.
Then when it comes to recruiting I think of course we also see like other companies a new need for different talent that might have not have been in power to us yeah especially in digitalization or new ways of new systems in engineering and so on and so forth I think we’re really looking for people with new skill set and there I think this this more open and inviting atmosphere I think is also helping us to get find the best talent that is out there.
ENSI: That’s a great example. This team kind of team- how did you say-?
JOCHEN: Staffing, staffing.
ENSI: Yeah team recruiting team stuff yeah I think that’s a great example that the team can already interact with the potential candidate and already have a feeling like hey can we work well together or not? And this is always a mutual choice I think that’s also very nice for the candidate actually to see what he or she is getting into and off maybe after a couple months and
to feel like no that’s not what I imagined. I think this is really an approach. We have an interesting question from Julia. I would like to know if you use agility with your mentioned four kids?
JOCHEN: So I think well it’s definitely also very you need to be very adaptive as well so that’s that’s definitely a good hint Julia that it that it helps. I do not bore them with boards or really sprint playing on a daily sprint- daily sprints or whatever stand-ups and so on and so forth.
Actually what we try to do with the feedback stuff but I don’t try to be the Agile dad at home I try to move it into the regular rhythm so far but I think what is important perhaps it’s no disconnect between the private and business life for me. Because when you look at the HR values I think it resonates very well with how my wife and me would like to raise our kids and giving feedback and stuff so you find a lot of elements where you can play around but perhaps I don’t put my Agile coach t-shirt on at home so trying to trying to beat that.
ENSI: Thank you Julia for the question and thanks Jochen and I think for me I think kids are actually the most Agile people in the world. Like they’re really Agile they’re really open very
flexible so there are a lot we can actually learn from them and maybe to get inspired to say hey actually this is something we can implement at the work like just to see how they play how they interact with each other I think they are really a source of inspiration for us.
ENSI: Yeah and I think we are almost coming to the end of our conversation and thanks a lot for all the sharings. Maybe instead of me asking a question, is there anything you feel like hey I really want to share this with the audience, anything comes to your mind?
JOCHEN: I think the only thing I would like to highlight is I usually when I speak to people they always say well you could do it but we cannot there are these requirements and these requirements and I think it’s not a question of if you can do it but if you want to do some change right? So I think the only call out I would have and probably it’s a very good thing in this community is we really need to be very bold to change and move forward and I think we should really well work together that to create very positive examples and I think it’s it’s not an easy ride but really a fun ride. So be bold and try to move forward. That’s my message at the end.
ENSI: I love this idea so we can always do it and the question is if we want to do it and I’d love to mention about this community I think that’s also the beauty of a Living Room Conversation or the other communities we have at Teal Around the World where we actually really bring in experience from different companies like with you so we can learn from each other.
Because every company is on their own journey. We all have our learnings challenges and really good practices that we could kind of bring back to our own context and experiment with. So thank you very much Jochen for sharing all these stories and experience and I think I can talk like whole day with you about this journey there are so many things we can touch but I’m sure there will be other conversations in the future that we can continue to talk about this. I also want to say thank you to all the participants today audiences and with your really good questions and inputs. Thanks a lot for joining us. Any last words from you Jochen?
JOCHEN: No I mean yeah I think I said everything if you want to find out more about us Robert Bosch Power Tools you find us on all channels LinkedIn websites or connect with me on LinkedIn happy to answer all the questions afterwards. Thanks a lot Ensi for this nice hosting and yeah very well thanks a lot for having me.
ENSI: Thank you and thank you very much from me as well. I really enjoyed our conversation. And for the audience today we have some upcoming events and we also have soon the next
Living Room Conversation with Dirk which is on 28th of September and next month on 13th October we have the Teal Network Team Meetup. So there we also have really interesting topics to discuss with all of you and we are looking forward to seeing you there as well. So with this thank you again Jochen for joining us today and we wish everybody a very nice day, evening,
morning and hope to see you soon again!
-End of Transcript-