Some support and some grit. That’s how KLU alumnus Andreas Streubig (International Summer School SCM 2012) fulfilled his dream. The seasoned manager at Hugo Boss has recently started a new undertaking: qualifying himself as a coach and organizational developer. We talked to him about traditional and new career paths, the question of meaning, and the power of the many.
After an almost 30-year career in large corporations you’re reinventing yourself and starting a side business as a professional coach and organization developer. How did this come about?
Andreas Streubig: In around 20 years at the Otto Group in Hamburg and a good four years at Hugo Boss AG, I kept coming across things that limit the efficacy of a team or a person. So I started to address the question of what is needed for organizations and process participants to collaborate well and effectively. In order to leverage and share these experiences, I trained as a coach.
You’re about to finish your coaching training. Did anything make an especially positive impression on you?
Andreas Streubig: There are eight of us in the course from all over the professional universe – younger and older, employed and freelance – an exciting melting pot. Good cooperation accounts for at least half of learning success.
What challenges have you encountered?
Andreas Streubig: Such training is intense. For starters, it’s a challenge to reconcile studying and work. I still work full-time in a top management position at Hugo Boss, commuting between south and north Germany – that limits your availability. Apart from that you have to confront your personality, and you see through your own game at times.
How have you managed to juggle your high responsibility job and your studies?
Andreas Streubig: It’s no cakewalk. It only works if you’re willing to use a great deal of your spare time. Of course, I had support, too, for which I’m very grateful. First of all from Hugo Boss, because of course the company takes interest in its employees’ personal development. I also used the option of extra educational leave. So the recipe could be: some support and some grit.
You fulfilled your dream and are already working part-time as a coach. Who can come to you?
Andreas Streubig: Well, honestly, I’m just getting started. With the combination of my professional experience and my fresh knowledge of coaching, tools, and processes, I help individuals and teams flesh out their roles in companies, so they obtain greater impact for themselves and the company. Ultimately, it’s about self-efficacy, an essential factor in personal satisfaction and happiness.
What division are you responsible for at Hugo Boss?
Andreas Streubig: As Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Responsibility & Public Affairs, for one I’m responsible for corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, and charity. Central questions here are: As a company, how can we create value consistent with the environment and society? And how as a company do we operate as a “good citizen” in the society that surrounds us? In the second division, public affairs, it’s a matter of processes of social and political opinion formation and decision making on all topics relevant to us as a company.
How does your job at Hugo Boss benefit from what you’ve learned in your coaching training?
Andreas Streubig: First, if I know who I am and what I’m capable of, as a manager I’m productive and resilient. Second, there’s a kind of hackneyed, over-simplifying claim about the manager as coach I’m rather critical of. But certain coaching skills and techniques are helpful in working with team members. And third, in situations of conflict extra tools help find solutions off the beaten path.
You were given good advice. What advice would you give people today who want to change career paths?
Andreas Streubig: In my coaching training I met some young people who are really in tune with their inner voice and ask themselves the right questions: Does what I aspire to have the potential to make me happy? What really matters to me, for my satisfaction?
Then again, there are a lot of young and older people who haven’t gone through this process of personal realization. And I’d like to encourage them. Career paths today are often more flexible than before. Let’s use that.
You’re an active networker. We’ve noticed that in the KLU alumni network even almost 10 years after you attended the summer school. How important are networks for careers?
Andreas Streubig: I’m a big fan of the proverbial power of the many. In this sense I’d encourage anyone who has the chance to learn, work, laugh, and fight in groups or even networks to do just that. It holds great opportunity.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Andreas Streubig: We have to accept that not everything in life is predictable. It’s perfectly fine to be uncertain at times or to veer off course. The wind probably just blew too hard or unexpectedly from the side. I advocate maintaining a certain resilience for such occasions to help us deal with such unforeseen developments. Then next time you’ll know how to do things better.