How To Define Company Principles And Develop A Strong Leadership Culture

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We live in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) where every step forward requires a business decision with many consequences. Principles are not only what help us make these decisions, but also what make strong leaders.

As we present our company principles, we want to share the story of how it all began. A tale of awards, growth, and internationalization. A description of how success makes you stronger and how failure makes you wiser.

Our first app, kaufDA, was founded in 2008 as a digital alternative to the paper advertisement filling our mailboxes. One year later, we were awarded Start-up Of The Year by Gründerszene. It was just the beginning of growth that exceeded our expectations. In 2011 we went global by entering the French and Spanish markets, and that same year, Axel Springer became our strategic partner. In 2012 we entered the Russian market, and Brazil became our door to Latin America. The following year, we opened our first office in the United States. In 2014 we acquired our main competitor in the German market, MeinProspekt, becoming the country’s top digital advertising platform. Bonial became our umbrella for brands in different markets. Success!

Our turning point arrived in 2017. The need to reposition ourselves and refresh our product became clear as we experienced lower growth in Germany and France. After a restructuring of the leadership, Max Biller became our CEO. Finally, we made one of the most difficult decisions to close our business in the United States. It wasn’t only about closing business but also letting people go and ceasing operations. It was a difficult time for everyone. We had to make a decision that put an end to five years of work, dreams, passion, teamwork, and sacrifices — a choice that involved accepting failure.

At this point, we made an honest self-assessment and realized that this is reality; failure is part of doing business, and the quality of leadership has an impact on overall success. So we asked ourselves, how do we create a strong leadership culture to be more successful in an ever-changing business?

Our process of stability started with our executives becoming a leadership team and developing our company principles. But why principles? We defined these principles as the foundation for our leadership culture. There are many ways to do business, but principles help us make decisions, keep us accountable, and take us into a culture of leadership practices. That’s our vision for Bonial: strong leaders.

Are you curious about our five principles? Stay tuned. In the following weeks, we will be unveiling each of them, their purpose, and how we put them into practice.

Author: Victor Boscatt, Employer Branding Manager at Bonial.

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