As the customer service initiative becomes part of the cultural and business fabric of Kuehne + Nagel, Buhl’s pondering the question we began with: What makes a change effort successful? Why did this work where others didn’t?
Buhl’s at an unfair advantage when it comes to answering the question. Having led and supported enormous transformations in leadership roles at other companies, he sees one element at the white-hot center of success: The appetite of a key leader to take a risk.
“You have to get yourself allergic to problems that aren’t being solved, challenges that no one is tackling,” says Buhl. “For me: We’re going to make Kuehne + Nagel into a learning company. We’re going to invest in getting smarter all the time, and attracting people who are insatiably curious, who want to drive innovation efforts from every angle.”
For Buhl, and to any change agent wondering how to start, here’s the launchpad: “It’s not acceptable for any of us to fill a role in a company, whatever it is, without asking what could we be doing better. We’ll all look back on our lives and ask, ‘What did I do?’ To answer that question well, we’ve got to put something on the line.”
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