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News from the Elite Graduate Programs

Future Leadership Series – A Discussion with Stephan Kretschmer

Last year, the CDTM future leadership series was delighted to welcome Mr. Stephan Kretschmer, former German military official and former head of the German military establishment “Zentrum Innere Führung”.

Mr. Kretschmer gave important insights into his views on leadership in both a military and business context, placing particular emphasis on the similarities between the two worlds. During the two hour event, the CDTM community had the opportunity to inquire and discuss the future of leadership.

Mr Kretschmer was driven by the desire to have an impact, leading him to join military forces as opposed to pursuing an academic career. A leader’s success is judged not only by the ability to pursue and reach his goals, but also in the way that he assumes responsibility for whatever happens under his flag. The importance of not leaving any white spots in ones own understanding of the matters at hand, and never let anything slip out of ones control merely out of slackness or the unwillingness to learn. The ability to be well informed and resolute is important to build trust in any organization. In a start-up, building trust is essential from the very beginning, which is why full understanding of any aspect of the project is important to any entrepreneur. In this context, potential as a leader is even much more important than performance. In a greater organization, trust and leadership positions have to be earned, through success, logical and coherent communication and openness to others. For those interested in new challenges, the topics change as one assumes a leadership position, but the principles stay the same. So one should always opt for a leadership position, if one is driven by the desire to change the game.

The discourse and subsequent discussion made clear how many lessons from the military are in fact transferable to leadership problems in politics and business today. To go beyond the operationally necessary and stay open to knew knowledge are traits that any leader in any field may benefit from. The CDTM community thanks Mr. Kretschmer for his insight and looks forward to welcoming many of you at the next future leadership series event.

Text and pictures: CDTM

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