Economy and honor!

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A letter from ... Rudolf X. Ruter. The sustainability and corporate governance expert is convinced that credibility and reputation are the currency of our future.

Despite the misconduct at Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank and DFB/Fifa (to name just three concrete names), which is currently much discussed in Germany, I am convinced that respectability is still widespread in the German economy. More and more and especially younger managers are committing themselves to a clear sense and value orientation and saying goodbye to arrogance, avarice, indulgence, anger, gluttony, envy and inertia to change.

I have the impression that transparent, responsible and sustainable corporate management is becoming increasingly important to society. The number of German reputable supervisory and advisory boards within the several thousand members of all supervisory bodies is also growing continuously. Especially traditional family businesses have been setting a good example for centuries. As early as 1921, Robert Bosch (1861-1942) saw corporate responsibility not as an end, but as a condition of economic activity: "It's better to lose money than trust. The inviolability of my promises, the belief in the value of my goods and in my word were always higher than a temporary gain for me."

The role of the Supervisory Board and its personal respectability are becoming increasingly important in ensuring that companies continue to act in accordance with this standard.

The Honourable Supervisory Board is responsible for appointing, supervising and advising the Management Board. It may have to intervene in its decisions by refusing its consent to transactions for the benefit of society. Through a continuous development and training process, it ensures that all stakeholders accept the company's sense of purpose and values and thus guarantees an "ethical" company.

The respectable supervisory board enables others - its shareholders, its supervisory board colleagues, the management, the employees - to successfully shape the future of the company by preserving what has been tried and tested. Necessary changes are adapted in such a way that the company retains its creative power during and after the changes and develops further.

Of course, the Supervisory Board does not always have the right answer. But he can ask. When it comes to asking the right questions, each individual member of the Supervisory Board is challenged.

The current discussions and undesirable developments show how important it is for organisations and companies to act according to the principle of the respectable businessman, the handshake, the straight, deep look into the eyes of our contractual partners. The honourable Supervisory Board demands these values and the guidelines of long-term and sustainable corporate management and ensures that they are anchored in day-to-day business.

Each member of the Supervisory Board is personally responsible for the effective and efficient monitoring and advising of the Company. This is the only way for the Supervisory Board to fulfil its dual role as controller and advisor.

Honorable supervisory boards are prudent and strong-willed, cautious and fearless. They do what needs to be done. Not only do they have a strong will to make decisions, they also assume entrepreneurial and social responsibility themselves. They live by the maxim never to take risks which in the worst case are only "settled" at the expense of others, but at the most at their own expense at the expense of their own entrepreneurial assets - even as a system-relevant company. Honourable supervisory board members are honest and reliable.

Supervisory boards that satisfy diesen Anforderungen are always a shining example and independent in all aspects. You have the courage to address business misdevelopments. And they are able to put themselves and their previous decisions to the test. As the German playwright Christian Friedrich Hebbel (1813-1863) recognized: "It often takes more courage to change one's mind than to remain true to it."      ®

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