Portrait of Hans Habegger
How it all began:
Perhaps it was because my parents moved around with me every two years during my childhood and my youth. Every two years, a new environment, getting used to new people, always having to prove myself again. Already there changes and upheavals became a prominent component of my frame of reference.
And so, just as I zigzagged from one residence to the next one, that was also how my career path went. Studying engineering at the Telekom (still was the German Federal Postal Service back then) is not exactly the logical step after successfully passing the modern language school-leaving exam. Thus, the upheavals continued.
Also after my study program. However, I did not want to become a civil servant. A misunderstanding led me to join the Marketing Division of a global electro-technology giant. After less than one year, I was supposed to manage the division, opined the Managing Director. No, said, the Sales Director, I want Habegger in the Sales Division.
Typical training (and not just once): 4 weeks of product training, then out to the customer. Sales training? Wrong. Sales successes? Yes, indeed. Was probably not avoidable….
Right from then on, I myself made decisions about my own breakouts. Quit my job without having a new job lined up. A year later, was hired by a competitor. Big expectations because the Managing Director was the former Sales Director at the first company. Failure was pre-programmed.
After that: EDP was the industry, sales service the job. After a brief period, then no longer Sales Engineer, but rather Business Manager. Larger Division, new services, more staff. Then from Business Manager to Service Project Manager on a large nation-wide project: German Futures Exchange. First electronic trading platform in Germany. Bringing more than 60 banks into the network in a very short period of time. Only doable with other logistics solutions at that time. It worked well.
Already divorced twice by that time. Upheavals also there, enough…
After 7 years, the just-liberalized telecommunications industry came calling. Everyone wanted to become a global player. Development of the German branch of an English telecommunications group. Director of Sales and Marketing. Quick growth and quick end. After two years, a “strategic reorientation” of the group. The next company: A joint venture of smaller players in the same market. Development of the German branch. Task: Acquire major customers. Then merger with an industry giant, an American company. In both business units, there was a Director of Marketing, thus one who was redundant-me.
In 1996, it was then time for a radical breakout: Becoming independent as a Sales and Management Trainer. Working internationally, speaking English and French fluently. No more interest in management, in power games, in the strategic disrespecting of employees. No more interest in value propositions hanging on the walls of the conference rooms nobody is keen on keeping.
Instead preferably genuine respect: “I’m OK–you’re OK”. Learned, understood, newly reconsidered, understood differently. In other words: Training to become a Transactional Analyst beginning in 1993. Part-time to complement my job. My psychological/ethical basis today as a Trainer and a Coach. Systemic? Indeed. It is important to see and understand the individual in his context. That is style-defining. I just cannot conduct training sessions via a shotgun approach.
15 years ago, I met Dieter Winkler. A large project at an institute, an English-speaking Trainer was needed. His uncomfortable question: “What doesn’t one see in you?” He still opines today that my answer was good, but I don’t remember it.
Two years ago, then the joint discovery: We fit so well together that we want to be uncomfortable together. Together at a company. At over age 60. Both of us.
Did we need courage to deal with this discomfort? No. Only a great desire to bundle experience, tackle projects, support people at companies to become even more successful and thus satisfied. The sequential order isn’t so important in this case.
Bottom line: Always dare to try something new. Make your own decisions. With a generous portion of humor created through upheavals.
By the way: The Silver Wedding Anniversary is close!