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Why Creative Businesses Must Build Up the Next Generation of Leaders

September 26, 2018

A Conversation with Michael Conrad and Christian Lürzer

Creative businesses are evolving rapidly under new technology, trends, and globalization, making it even more challenging and exciting to prepare for the future. In this climate, it’s vital to empower developing leaders with the mindset and skills to analyze complexity, implement creative solutions, and turn these changes into an opportunity for long-term business success. With the recent launch of the Lürzer's Archive Scholarship for our Executive MBA in Creative Leadership, we spoke to Berlin School President, Michael Conrad, and Lürzer's Archive CEO, Christian Lürzer, about the about the impact creative leaders make to the long-term success of a business and the importance of investing in education to enhance creative and commercial potential.

Why is it important for a business to educate its future leaders?

CL: Investing in education is so important. If you want to grow as a person, you must continue learning. Otherwise, you stay still. The same applies to companies.

MC: Just like in sports, a company is only as strong as its bench-strength. If you are a leader and you have not prepared for succession, then you risk the future and opportunities of your company. Surprisingly often, companies look outside their business to see who is qualified to take over, instead of grooming leaders who are familiar with the company’s values and DNA.

What are upsides to facing disruption and change?

MC: Big change – like expanding to new territories or even facing a merger or acquisition – can breathe new life into a company. But in the end, its success depends on leadership.

CL: Change can be an amazing opportunity for a creative business. The EMBA taught me that it’s also a chance to check and re-check your business model and make sure you’re still relevant, still competing.

What is unique about the way creative leaders deal with complexity?

MC: Creative leaders thrive in analyzing complex scenarios and are more comfortable developing alternative strategies. Therefore, they can create alignment and have the ability to oversee implementation.

Why is it important to engage creative leaders when it comes to long-term, commercial decision-making?

MC: Creative leaders are not always involved in long-term strategic discussion. For instance, in large organizations, many big decisions, around mergers and acquisitions, happen for financial reasons, and often deal with lawyers and financial professionals behind closed doors. Creative leaders are the lighthouse keepers of company culture and creative vision. When you merge, you see two cultures coming together, and without creative input as part of your change strategy, you put company culture at risk as well as the product and essentially the people that culture represents.

What is the biggest challenge being faced by media companies in the digital era?

CL: In the digital age, the biggest challenge we’re facing in media is looking at how to get people to pay for content. Instead of looking for quality sources, people want to read anything that they want to read, and they want to read it ‘now’. This is the danger of ‘clickbait’ media and we’re even seeing it have a polarizing effect on attitudes and politics. As media companies, we need to ask ourselves, how do we get readers to rediscover the value of quality, in that environment?

How does the Executive MBA empower creative leaders?

CL: The Berlin School gave me a new perspective. It allowed me to be more than a creative. I developed structure and knowledge around numbers, finance, and strategy. It also taught me to empower people to be better creatives and decision-makers.

MC: By their DNA, creatives have the desire to see change and disrupt the status quo. Our Executive MBA, tailored for creative minds, gives them the ability to lead people and understand complex business situations. This combination unlocks huge potential to make an organization a success.

How does a diverse and global classroom strengthen creative leaders?

CL: Being away from my own business and in a classroom full of people from both my own industry and totally different industries, I have learnt so much from others’ experiences. It’s a place to test out ideas and where you can always ask for a new perspective. 

MC: As industries and companies evolve, diverse leadership enables businesses to adopt a global perspective and embrace new and greater challenges for their teams and clients.


Could you be our next Lürzer’s Archive Scholarship winner?

Lürzer’s Archive Scholarship applications are now open for the March 2019 intake here.

If you have any questions about your application, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our admissions team. Best of luck!