Exponential or nothing
Sounds like one of these dumb commercial catch phrases – but “exponential” has been the mindset of courageous disruptive and consequently successful leaders along the history.
Some renowned examples: Steve Jobs and his Iphone, Fleming and the antibiotics, Mary Barra and her transformative leadership at General Motors, Mark Zuckerberg and his social network revolution: Facebook, Melinda Gates and her contribution to a sustainable world with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Sakichi Toyoda and his strong ambition to contribute to society, Jeff Bezos and Amazon business’ model, Sheryl Sandberg and her global movement Lean In – and most outstanding – Elon Musk and his disruptive contributions with Space X, Neuralink and Tesla.
They had a vision – and they made it real by exponential thinking. Would never have worked without.
Paul Hartmann’s exponentiallity
But have you ever heard of Paul Hartmann sen., an entrepreneur in a small town in southern Germany in the 19th century?
Like a lot of other factories in a structurally weak area, his father´s company produced textiles. When Paul took over, change was his program and he did change the company completely – against all odds.
He had a strong interest in medicine. His vision was to help healing wounds. Consequently, he collaborated with Sir Joseph Lister of Glasgow to develop an antiseptic wound-dressing. In pre- email, pre-Internet and pre-Facebook, however, they met the challenge! Paul Hartmann sen. became the first entrepreneur to produce modern wound-dressings the industrial way. He ran the risk and – by thinking exponentially and making his company future-proof, thus. His credo was humanity and quality – and earning money, of course. He wasn´t a saint and he had to pay salaries.
This year HARTMANN, now an international group with around 10,000 employees and operating on all continents, is celebrating their 200th anniversary. Thanks to Paul´s exponential thinking, they are still there. All the other textile producers around them are gone – they had to close down as they didn´t get the exponential message.
Sounds like a “Once-upon-a-time story”, but the company, where I have enjoyed some of the most wonderful years of my professional career, has continued Paul Hartmann´s way of thinking in the course of the years, they have continued being innovative – one fundamental ingredient of thinking exponential.
Exponential or nothing.
Happy Birthday HARTMANN!
Jonathan Escobar Marin
Jonathan Escobar Marin is CEO and Partner of Actio Global Consulting, co-founder and Partner of the firm High-Performance Organization Global Alliance, co-founder and CEO of Inn—Be, a start-up dedicated to High-Performance Education, and member of the advisory board of the OpEx Society and the AXIOM Groupe.