In 1935 Tazio Nuvolari won, what later should get named the “impossible victory”. With an, at that time, technically inferior Alfa Romeo P3 he made the best race of his career and bet the complete competition on the world’s most difficult race-track, the more than 20km long Nürburgring, known as the “green hell”. This is an example that beside strong teams, sometimes one single person can make a difference.
A typical task for a manager of a racing team is to have on the one hand a perfect functioning team, and on the other side to integrate the most talented drivers, who in many cases, not directly had been team-players.
Enzo Ferrari mastered this task using his emotional intelligence, varying between different leadership styles, creating a myth and implementing unifying symbols.
In the investigation for my book I discovered that this was one of his most fascinating skills, to have drivers and team working together on the highest levels. Hereby Enzo’s different approaches maybe had been instinctive, but they had been perfectly aligned to modern leadership- and psychological theories.
This situation is not just for motorsports relevant, but also the business life, especially for IT companies. Millennials are used to their independence and often do not want or can concentrate on just one task at a time. For this they need flexibility, but also a special approach to make them part of the work-team. As employers depend on these highly skilled experts, they must offer an attractive environment. On the first look it might be also an impossible victory to create a working team with strong individualists, but the work of Enzo Ferrari shows, that it is possible.
The 80’s had been easier, as most of the times money was enough to motivate the people. It was the decade, where people looked for the fast way to get rich. Yuppies, Wall Street, Miami Vice and the iconic Ferrari Testarossa characterized the temporal pop-culture.
Today life is more complicated, many employees expect more from their work than just money. They want to be satisfied with the output of their tasks, as their job should be a part of their life. So boundaries between private and business-life have to vanish, private and company values have to be compatible. The smaller the gap between these two values, the less the company have to compensate a negative gap with higher salary.
Answering the question, if it was difficult to get the four times Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel to join to the Ferrari team, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne replied that it was not too difficult, as Sebastian always had been a big Ferrari fan. Here the Ferrari myth paid out, as normally drivers have two goals in their career: 1) becoming Formula 1 champion and 2) becoming Formula 1 champion with Ferrari.
As not all companies have this kind of company myth, it is the big change for a human resources, compliance or ethics departments to ensure that company values are relevant and lived in the company. Further it has to be explained, how company values connect with private ones, and how values matter for the work-environment and later sustainable success.
With this compliance and ethics show their value for the business, as employees want to be proud of the company that they are working for.