December 2023

family business

Christmas is the festive season for families. Are you looking forward to spending time with your loved ones? And are you enjoying the quiet days in between the years? We also celebrate Christmas with presents on Christmas Eve, but in combination with a good Dutch tradition. After Christmas dinner, we give each other small presents, which are always accompanied by a very personalised poem. The poem is based on the recipient, their personality or specific events and is actually more important than the gift itself. While the recipient recites their poem out loud, there is usually a lot of laughter and sometimes a few tears are shed from emotion. It’s simply beautiful!

As an entrepreneur, you naturally never switch off completely. Especially in family businesses, the company often sits at the table during the holidays. We have been consulting the Dönitz family business, a display and packaging specialist, for many years and are supporting the new leadership generation to thrive after the successful succession. In an interview, the new management duo talk about the change and their motivation to inspire people with particularly beautiful and customised packaging. Which brings us back to Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

interview:

three questions for anna-lena köhler and julian röhrs, the new management duo at the dönitz family business.

Dönitz stands for customised, aesthetically pleasing displays made of paper and cardboard. Founded in 1992 by Horst-Wilhelm Röhrs, the company underwent a generational change at the beginning of the year. Since then, siblings Anna-Lena Köhler and Julian Röhrs have been running the successful family business. We have been consulting the company for 10 years, supported the succession of management to the next generation and, from spring 2023, accompanied the new leaders and their management team with the equilibrio programme. 
 
The aims of the ongoing process are to strengthen the authentic leadership style of the younger generation, as well as to develop and define binding values and guidelines for management and leadership in order to lead the company into the future together. 

The new Dönitz management duo and their team. From left to right: Boris Häntze, Julian Röhrs, Anna-Lena Köhler, Jendrik Inselmann, Grzegorz Gawlowski.

In this interview, the siblings talk about what drives them, how they experience the generational change and how equilibrio supports them in this process.
 
What is your personal motivation to continue running the company?
We grew up as a family of entrepreneurs! A sense of solidarity and responsibility towards the company and its employees has developed during this time. These values, as well as gratitude and pride for what we have achieved, drive us to continue to run the company, develop it further and align it for the future and the next generations.
 
What is the biggest challenge in the generational change?
The prerequisite for a successful generational handover is the willingness of both generations to accept the change! Mutual honesty and openness about the respective needs are important here. The generational handover needs to be planned in advance so that clarity is established for the new and old generations and employees can be informed and involved.
 
How is equilibrio helping you? 
equilibrio supported and advised us throughout the entire process of generational handover in terms of planning, focusing and implementation. equilibrio created a space for emotional and safe dialogue in which everyone involved was able to express their needs openly. 

Family businesses often face similar challenges. The owners manage and shape their company for decades with passion and skill. Their children basically grow up with the company. But when it comes to succession, conflicts often arise. It is then particularly important to clarify fundamental issues with each other and set the course for the future together. How can you hand over what you have created? Who is willing and able to take on responsibility? And what expectations are associated with this? We support family businesses in this process, create clarity and help to ensure that the next generation grows together with the team and follows its own path into the future.

Are you also in a process of change? Do you want to clarify what drives you in the new year? Or bring your team together and lead them into the future with top motivation? Register for one of our workshops.

Forellenhof – our beautiful workshop location in the Lüneburger Heide (near Hamburg) – is also a successful family business. “If you don’t go with the times, you go with time” is the motto of today’s senior manager Udo Fuhrhop, who handed over the business to his son Nils in 2018 and thus to the third generation.

the equilibrio tip for December:

christmas tree leasing.

For many people, Christmas without a festively decorated tree is unimaginable. Around 30 million trees are felled and sold in Germany every year. But why throw away a spruce or fir tree after 3 weeks that has been growing for 10 years? Renting instead of buying is the sustainable alternative. The Christmas tree is brought in a pot, picked up again after the holidays and replanted. After regular discussions in our family about whether a Christmas tree is still appropriate, we decided to lease one for the first time this year and are looking forward to our robust Nordmann fir from www.weihnachtsurwald.de/hamburg. Are you interested too? You can find many regional or nationwide providers on the web, such as www.replants.de.

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