Hidden Champions – Europe’s model for the world

More than 1500 companies in German speaking Europe are either top-3 on the world market or top-1 at the European market. They employ more than 5,6 million people and generate a turnover of about 900 billion Euros.

The German management thinker Hermann Simon calls these companies  Hidden Champions. Fredmund Malik speaks of entrepreneurial managed enterprises (UGUs – unternehmerisch geführte Unternehmen).

The success of these companies is based on different factors but two principles seem to be valid for most of them:

  1. Customer-orientation is of over-riding importance. Hidden Champions pursuit the strategy of “social specialization”, they focus on specific problem solutions for specific customers. Worldwide.
  2. Hidden Champions use modern management practices to cope with proliferating complexities. Activities are based on clear values, flexible goals and open strategies. Open communication, self-organized units, effective customer feedbacks, iterative approaches, and networked organizations are ever more common proceedings.