The idea of leader held by Porsche and Philips Lightning

Team-player and innovator: this is the ideal portrait of a manager depicted by Pietro Innocenti and Valeria Rais

The idea of leader held by Porsche and Philips Lightning

The 34th President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower, used to say that leadership is “the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it”. Fifty years after his death, the world has changed and consequently the role of leader.

The five values Porsche seeks in a leader
According to the Managing Director of Porsche Italy, Pietro Innocenti (in the highlight photo), there are several elements to take into account. «The features we seek in our leaders mesh with our company’s five values. Enthusiasm is essential, because Porsche is an emotional brand. Secondly, we value ethics and we ask our managers to hold a transparent, convincing and fair behaviour. The third value is customers first; it is a common value for all brands but our customer is special and has particular requests and expectations.

Furthermore, our leaders need to be open-minded and endowed with that pioneering spirit that marked the history of Porsche. I couldn’t find my dream car so I decided to create it – used to say our founder. Thus, we have to keep experimenting and innovating what we do.

Lastly, we want our managers
to be strongly oriented
to teamwork

This is a key-element in our world, because company’s talents are interconnected; it is essential to be able to play as a team, exploiting different professional figures. Today work is conducted more and more through processes and projects, so this is what we ask our leaders and candidates to do».

Valeria Rais, HR director of Philips Lighting

Valeria Rais, HR director of Philips Lighting

Philips Lightning relies on universal skills
At Philips Lightning, company’s values also reflect what is requested in a leader, explains the HR Director Valeria Rais. «Passion for results, Customers first, Game changer, Greater together. These are our four basic values, which we seek in our leaders».

By looking at them, it is easy to understand that they represent the universal skills of a perfect leader: he is a great team-player and a promoter of change who aims for improvement and achieves this by working with his own team and with the other company’s teams, both in the local and global market. He is strongly oriented to results and he is an innovator, ready to change even the game rules if necessary.

The final target is
to put our client
at the centre of the project

The Job Rotation programs
In order to grow talents and accustom them to hold leadership roles, Philips Lightning conceived a transversal approach, explains Valeria Rais. «In Italy, Greece and Israel, we already have job rotation programs for leaders, meant to make them experience different company tasks. This allows several internal transfers, because we consider important to make managers experience different roles and different aspects of business in various contexts. It may happen to make a move from Italy to China or to the United States, for instance.

This is our model of talent management: talents are first identified on the grounds of performance and potential; then, who gets selected enters a global-scale mapping and can be offered a position in one of the markets we deal with. For example, if the AD in Hong Kong resigns, and, according to our prospectus, one of our talents is ready to take the step of testing leadership in a middle-sized market, that person is put on the list of possible candidates for that position and will do the assessment work for that specific job».

Even Porsche regards international exposure as a strong point, allowing managers from different countries to share best practice and be influenced by each other, explains Innocenti. «This is a crucial issue. I was lucky to join the Porsche Advanced Management Program a year and a half ago, a program aimed at the highest company management: managers holding different tasks were involved in high-level master courses from international universities to develop new skills on innovation, planning and strategies.

The automotive is a sector in rapid development and it is essential to keep ourselves ready for changes: technologies evolve – for instance in the electrical industry – and people change the way they exploit cars. Our task is to be ready to satisfy them. Finally, we have other transversal initiatives such as Management Councils, Conventions and meetings between managers from different countries to share best practice and exchange ideas about international projects besides networking».

(Translated by Cecilia Braghin)


Stefano Glenzer Giornalista professionista, laureato in filosofia a Pavia e a Pisa, è specializzato in tematiche economico-finanziarie e in Corporate Communications