Interview with Dr. Christian Terfloth: What makes Jowat a future-proof company?

Dr. Pero Mićić

Interview with Dr. Christian Terfloth, Member of the Board Jowat SE

Best managed company! This is the third time in a row that Jowat has received this award. What’s behind it? And who is behind it?

Jowat SE is one of our clients and has developed excellently in recent years. Jowat is a German family business and a true hidden champion from Detmold. There are some very interesting details you can learn from Jowat for your business. The Jowat case is good evidence that industry in Germany and Europe will certainly continue to enjoy solid global standing for a long time to come. I spoke with one of the board members, Dr. Christian Terfloth, about how he and his two fellow board members have made Jowat a future-proof company.

What can you learn from Jowat for your own business?

Jowat has not been awarded three times as ‘best managed company’ for nothing. Dr. Terfloth leads his company together with two colleagues on the Executive Board as an equal triumvirate. None is a CEO, or in other words, all three are CEOs. This is an unusual solution that can provide a lot of stability. After all, if the CEO always ultimately decides everything, there is a greater risk of mistakes.

Jowat is focused on adhesives for professionals and is extremely competent in this field. Second, Jowat fans out this focus into countless specialty applications with over 650 products. And third, Jowat operates globally with the triad strategy . This combination of focus and differentiation makes Jowat resilient and a future-proof hidden champion by comparison.

Jowat sets itself goals for future viability and sustainability without being obliged to do so, and sets them even more ambitiously than most. This fits into the picture of a solid long-term orientation and is a factor in Jowat’s future security.

The fact that Dr. Terfloth has been a member of the Management Board for twenty years is also typical of many hidden champions as family-owned companies. Many believe that permanent change and fresh minds are needed for the future. No, continuity, also and especially of leadership, is a strategic success factor. With such long time horizons, you have skin in the game, so you put your skin on the line when you make strategic decisions today. Christian Terfloth and his colleagues know very well that they can enjoy the effects of their current decisions and actions as well as their omissions in the long term – or they will have to pay for them.

The experience and continuity also ensures, as Dr. Terfloth says, that the people at the top still understand the business. That they understand their products and how customers use them in depth. This leads to decisions of the highest quality.

And continuity has another advantage. “From Jowat you retire”. That may sound dusty. And yet this ensures a strong attraction for employees in the Detmold region and also at the other locations. In addition, typical of medium-sized companies, Jowat is strongly committed to the community at its main location.

Jowat has long and very credibly networked with universities, schools and institutes and conducted research collaborations. The Adhesive Research Award, which they have been offering for 27 years, is literally a magnet for new talent.

Jowat is investing in a future radar, on which we advised them. They use the knowledge of the future outside and inside their organization to identify opportunities and threats at an early stage and – this is often underestimated in terms of its effect – to have a jointly supported uniform image of the future as a point of orientation for strategy and also for day-to-day business. Such a common picture of the future can then be permanently compared, reviewed and adapted by everyone to events on the market. After all, future image does not mean that you create it once and that’s it. On the contrary, a shared picture of the future only creates the right attentions for signals in the here and now. It is not about forecasting, but about ongoing diagnosis, about a future radar.

And Dr. Terfloth strongly advises companies to underpin their strategy with scenarios and solid assumptions about the future to expand thinking and determine a good future-proof path forward.

If you want to equip your company with a future radar and make their strategy more solid with scenarios; we have been doing this kind of thing for over thirty years :). We are happy to present you examples of our projects.

Follow these links as well:

► The Future Strategy Program for SMEs

► Free video crash course THE FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS
► BUSINESS WARGAMING for robust business and future opportunities
► KEYNOTES by Pero Mićić for your employees and customers

Have a bright future!