21 May Are you a good leader?
In 1989, 7 months before the Berlin Wall tumbled, Lou Hughes was appointed as executive board’s chairman for Opel. It was the European subsidiary for General Motors. The breaking of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989 brought in a range of dilemmas for this new leader. He had to make a series of decisions to give a firm competition to Volkswagen, which was Opel’s rival at that time.
Knowing the East Germany market was the first priority to conduct a smooth business. He ignored the traditional approach and decided to develop new strategies on the go. He worked tremendously and finally succeeded in building an automobile unit in East Germany with the aid of one of his union members. Then he gave the opportunity to the local unit leader to gain publicity, and also made the Chancellor at that time Helmut Kohl subsidize it. He also plucked fresh talents and coordinated with the local people, and recruited them to make sure that the presence of Opel could be prominent in the new market.
The story above is a good example of how leaders sometimes take risks to implement new strategies without following the traditional corporate procedure. Good leaders always have instincts that they follow religiously, and that is what sets them apart from the mediocre ones.