For almost twenty years Frank has enjoyed the company’s cultural diversity.
Almost twenty years on from joining Professional as part of an internship program, Frank still thrives on the cultural diversity of the company – something he’s experienced first-hand having worked in Europe, the US and Latin America.
Originally from Germany, he’s concentrated his career within Sales and Product Management positions and now heads up the Electrolux Professional business in the Middle East and Africa.
What’s your biggest learnings from living and working in different countries?
Cultural diversity is a huge value. We all have different experiences and our journeys are so different so we can always learn and develop by listening, interacting and working together with people from different backgrounds than ours. The sum is always greater than the parts if we work together towards a common goal and I have countless great colleagues, many of whom I now consider to be also true friends.
Another thing – food unites everyone, everywhere on this planet! We all like to eat well and enjoy ‘breaking bread’ together. Therefore, our business is future safe!
Still, the pandemic has impacted business everywhere – how do you see the recovery in the MEA region?
The recovery will probably come slightly later than in Europe, but I am certain that business will pick up again very soon. There will soon be a shortage of supply, not demand. Even though the lockdowns across the globe have accelerated digital interactions and changed the way of doing business forever, there is still no real alternative to doing business face-to-face.
Especially in my markets, business is conducted between people and built on relationships. Trust is an essential part and can only be forged face-to-face, preferably whilst breaking bread with your business partner
What are you most proud of during your time with the company?
I’ve had the opportunity to achieve many career goals but, above all, I am most proud about growing as a human being and staying a decent person along the way. It also makes me very proud to have been able to contribute in some way to the success of a few of my colleagues.
And as an organization, it is a great source of pride to see what we have achieved since I joined in 2002 to becoming an independent company in 2020.
What conditions are most effective for your learning and development?
We have employed the 70/20/10 principle for a while which I think is spot on where 70% of knowledge is gained from job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others, and 10 percent from training.
Learning by doing, having the opportunity to take up a new challenge and grow into a new position, with the necessary tools and guidance through more experienced managers is the most effective way of developing skills and competences.
Simply reading about it in a management book or through an MBA class is not enough. Clearly, the 10% of ‘classroom education’ is necessary to set the foundation, but the only way to make any craft your own is by doing it – you need to drive the car and feel the road to actually get anywhere. From my experience at Professional, you can provide this kind of opportunity to the people you work with.
What gives you energy and keeps you passionate?
People. I love people; working within a team, knowing that I am contributing to achieving a result that is important for ‘us.’
And dreams. Sure, we sell investment products we realize large kitchen and laundry projects, but we also sell many dreams. Chefs who have a vision of their new restaurants are not only thinking about the investment, they often have a dream. Seeing that dream in their eyes and being part of that journey is very energizing.
Why Electrolux Professional?
We spend so much of our lives working and, for those born lucky enough to have the privileges of choice and education, I think we owe it to ourselves to work somewhere we truly enjoy. Electrolux Professional is such a place.
I have yet to visit any of our offices around the world and not meet extraordinary people, all of whom I can learn something from. The culture within our organization is very aligned to my own and I feel at home in our company.
Tell us something about yourself that people wouldn’t necessarily know!
Aside from work, I have two big passions – triathlon and live music, specifically Springsteen. I have probably seen Bruce play close to 50 times since 1985, in many different countries across three continents.
Triathlon is a more recent passion, which was actually passed on to me by an Electrolux colleague. To date I have complete two Half Ironman distance races and am currently training for my first Full Ironman race later this year.
As my partner likes to point out, with the money I have spent on Springsteen tours and bicycles over the years, a normal person could have bought a couple of mid-sized cars – but then she did not choose a normal person!