HGS Concept has introduced the G20 approach to the Chinese automotive industry. At the end of April 2016 Mauricio Espinosa, together with Gundula Schramm, presented the concept at the Beijing Motor Show.
The G20 concept is as simple as it is ingenious: Accompanied by a moderator, a group of entrepreneurs exchanges ideas and experiences so that each member benefits. The concept has been operating with great success in Europe and Latin America for two decades already, in the US for 70 years. Now HGS Concept has introduced the G20 approach to the Chinese automotive industry market. At the end of April Mauricio Espinosa of the G20 Inc., together with HGS CEO Gundula Schramm, presented the concept at the Beijing Motor Show. The first group of ten has already been established. Mauricio Espinosa has many years of experience as a moderator in guiding G20 groups in other countries. A conversation with the two pioneers:
How should we imagine the establishment of such a G20?
Gundula Schramm: It starts with an entrepreneur who, as a founder, gains new members. These are usually companies of a similar size to his own, but that are not his direct competitors. These partners in turn propose other new prospects to the founder. So the circle keeps growing up to a maximum of 20 members. Each group will be accompanied and advised by a qualified moderator.
What kind of companies might be interested in the concept?
GS: Membership in a G20 group is worthwhile for any established company that seeks exchange and comparison with similarly situated companies, and which is willing to continuously improve.
Mauricio Espinosa: An important component is long-term organization. In countries where G20 has existed for some time, there are groups that are over ten years old, and they therefore have a good working network.
What is the role of the moderator?
ME: Experience shows that the success of a G20 group stands or falls on the competence of the moderator. An international car manufacturer has already tried it twice in Mexico without any moderation - and has failed both times. A first attempt in China also failed some time ago because of a lack of qualified moderators.
One can therefore speak of controlled self-organization?
GS: Regulation by the moderator happens on several levels. He or she has a complete overview of their own group and knows the benchmark values. Learning about other, more successful groups, works as an incentive to improve performance.
And within the group?
GS: There, the moderator has three tasks. He prepares and attends the group meetings; that’s two to three times per year. He also gives monthly feedback to the companies based on their KPIs. And he is available for coaching on site when needed.
It is clear that these tasks place enormous demands on the moderators. Firstly, in terms of their experience in practice. For example, some worked as general managers of car dealerships before switching into the moderator’s role.
Also they need to bring a high degree of sensitivity. Especially when giving feedback about the participants' key indication figures, a moderator's critical questions and constructive suggestions are essential in order to identify weaknesses and to initiate improvements.
This means it’s about a realistic assessment of the company.
GS: Exactly. If someone presents a great idea, it arouses the curiosity of the other participants. They ask questions, they want to know more - maybe they even visit the company in order to see for themselves. Thus, over-optimistic descriptions are detected early - a proven remedy against self-deception.
ME: A member of our Mexican group reported that, before joining, they hardly saw any potential for optimization in their company. Meanwhile, the company has increased its profits by more than 300 percent! As a decisive motivation the manager attributed "the obligation to demonstrate his ability for improvement to his group colleagues".
What is this obligation in concrete terms?
GS: An example: At each meeting participants are invited to present a promising idea that they have tried out themselves. The members choose the best out of all the ideas, and the winner gets a - reasonable - cash prize, consisting of contributions collected from all the participants. Even if only one of them wins the "jackpot", everyone benefits by gaining access to an exclusive pool of ideas.
With its basic but significant idea G20 is paving new ways for companies in China. How do you see the potential of the concept in the country’s market?
GS: For players in the Chinese automotive market G20 offers a valuable opportunity to exploit synergies and to improve management skills. As we have seen in our presentation of the concept, both encountered growing interest by innovative entrepreneurs in the country. Right now they are experiencing how competitors are obstructing one another by means of traditional constraints. They tend to distrust their neighbor, are reluctant to exchange data or they let the investor make the decisions.
Against this background, the positive reactions to the G20 concept are a signal towards change. The first group has begun its work and, moreover, numerous providers want to introduce the concept to their platforms. This marks a significant first step.