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:
- 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.
- 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.