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New Leadership

Leading in a Hybrid Work Environment - Interview with Dr. Christian Nitschke

From November 3, 2022October 23rd, 2023No comments

For Dr. Christian Nitschke, hybrid work is the logical continuation of the development of real and virtual worlds with people at the center. The most important learning of the last few years has been the respectful and appreciative interaction with one another to enable user-centered cooperation. As Location Head Stuttgart at Kaiser X Labs, he brings valuable experience on leading in a hybrid work environment, onboarding, and online collaboration. Here, he shares this experience with us in the context of three questions.

Onboarding in hybrid work models

As an executive, you changed jobs in the middle of the pandemic. What are your insights for onboarding in remote or hybrid work models?

Dr. Christian Nitschke: "In sum, the formula for success was a mixture of organization, support in the transition, exchange of information and a bit of luck that there was a bit of time between the 1st and 2nd wave for me in terms of timing.
But first things first: After getting to know each other at the executive and management level had already taken place in advance (partly physically, partly remotely), getting to know the team was a mixture of hybrid event, remote appointments and getting to know each other in person. Interestingly, for me, this mix created an almost completely real world experience. On top of that, it was still possible to spend a few days at the KXL studio in Stuttgart, especially during the first months in the summer of 2020, which allowed me to "sniff the new air" and also find my new haven.
A particular plus point was the extensive exchange of information with my buddy - KXL provides every new employee with a buddy to help them find their way around, especially in the first few weeks. At the same time, there is also an onboarding checklist, which for me included getting to know all the relevant stakeholders as one of the main topics.
In conclusion, I have to say that getting to know each other in person is certainly an advantage, but a hybrid mix also works well. In the end, it comes down to two things for me: Taking time for onboarding and listening to the different people!"

Creativity and innovation in digital worlds

You manage an area where creativity and innovation are key. How do you manage to do that as a team in a hybrid work model?

Dr. Christian Nitschke: "From my perspective, two issues come into play here: technology and culture or vice versa.
Technology is the enabler here. You need the right collaboration tools to be able to work creatively with each other in both a remote and a hybrid setup. This point alone is a challenge in terms of data security as well as from a compatibility point of view, for example when working with other companies.
And that's where culture comes in: everyone involved has to be incredibly disciplined here, whether in preparation, execution or follow-up. In face-to-face events, you can capture a lot about the group and regulate it if necessary. A pure remote event requires very clear rules (raise your hand, chat, etc.) and in the hybrid world, both sides have to find each other and the most promising thing here, besides good technology and clear organization, is mindfulness of each other."

Maintain online relationships

How do you maintain your relationships and networks?

Dr. Christian Nitschke: "From my point of view, network and relationship management is the most challenging point - especially in pure remote setting. Here I would like to distinguish between existing relationships and networks and the opposite.
Existing contacts require a certain continuity and a lot of attention when the network is then activated. But basically it is like with good friends...a question of mutual appreciation!
Building networks works best through existing contacts (through which one is invited/introduced to these networks) or through small group events. Here, focus is important: just being there is not enough, a certain investment of time as well as personal time is necessary."