An open election of new agile leaders

We have grown considerably in recent years, but the number of department heads has remained the same. Flat hierarchies are extremely important to us, but so is flexible and fast decision-making. In order to remain effective and responsive in the future, it was time to add new members to the management team. Instead of traditional top-down selection, we were only willing to consider a method that reflected our corporate culture of participation and transparency. We opted for an open election of the roles.

In an open election, the members of an organization make a joint decision on filling positions. By exchanging arguments and integrating objections, a consensus is found that is "good enough for now" and "safe enough to try" for everyone involved. For us it was the fourth open election but the first on this scale. That's why we brought in sociocracy expert Christian Rüther to guide us through the process.

Who can best fill the role? Courage to engage in open dialogue

At the beginning of the year, all tracetronic colleagues were invited to nominate suitable people for the role of engineering division manager. Discussions were held with all the proposed candidates in order to take a closer look together at our requirements and expectations. Following the individual interviews, seven out of more than 40 nominated colleagues accepted their nomination and stood for election.

The election itself took place over two days. From the very beginning, the entire process was characterized by openness and transparency. It was encouraging to see the commitment and authenticity of everyone involved. The real challenge was to select the most suitable candidates from a large number of highly qualified candidates and to openly address any objections – no easy task.

The dialogue on both days was lively and once again demonstrated the diversity of talent in our company. Open discussions, consideration, and respect for all parties involved were crucial to the process. In the end, two new division heads were elected. In the coming weeks, they will work together with the "old hands" to transition into their new roles.

What have we learned from the open election?
  • Openness to feedback and critical thinking strengthens our collaboration and promotes growth.
  • The open election is not an ordinary feedback round, but a structured decision-making process.
  • The diversity of highly qualified candidates confirms the breadth of potential in our company.
  • The choice leads to a solution supported by everyone, which is essential if we want to embrace our values of flat hierarchies and cooperation on an equal footing.

We’re proud to have taken this innovative route and are convinced that it strengthens us as a company. We would like to thank everyone involved, especially our coach Christian Rüther: “tt is the largest company I have ever had the privilege of supporting in a divisional manager election. In my sociocracy projects, it is usually towards the end that the top managers face an election. You started right away. Thank you for your courage and for being pioneers!"