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Frank Dopheide starts purpose agency human unlimited



Frank Dopheide starts purpose agency human unlimited


On February 2nd, 2020 Frank Dopheide will start his new agency human unlimited in Düsseldorf’s Medienhafen. Attention: Frank was most recently the spokesman for the management of the Handelsblatt Media Group and thus also the top boss of sales management. So we are not objective. So if this interview seems somehow Spanish to you: just ask him yourself [email protected]

The term purpose is currently used in an inflationary way. You are now founding an agency that focuses on this topic. Why?

FRANK DOPHEIDE: I noticed that the economy, with its focus on profit and shareholder value, has lost the majority of its people. Number one: your own employees. 60 percent of employees are no longer tied to the store they work for. Number two: the customers who only go where they can get something cheapest. And number three – and that’s the dangerous part – social acceptance.

Does that have any noticeable consequences for companies?

We had at the banking summit Larry Fink, the world’s largest investor, manages $ 6.9 billion and is invested in every DAX company. On the evening before the summit, Larry called all the DAX CEOs over and talked about Purpose for an hour. It struck me that digitization is no longer the danger for large investors, and China is no longer the danger, but social acceptance. Declining acceptance is threatening because it is incalculable, and in this respect the big investors are now looking at the topic of purpose and demanding that companies in the future document not only profit and sales but also social value.

What would such a social value be?

This value could measure how many jobs a company has created, what its products have done for the world and how sustainable it is.

human unlimited

Start: 02/02/2020 Permanent team: eight people, including designers, storytellers, researchers, strategists, project managers, sociologists Business model: Purpose in 100 days including communication program for the CEO and energizing schedule Costs for the customer: EUR 200,000 Target number of customers: a maximum of ten Customers. If one goes out, the next can come in.

Starting customers: Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Kienbaum, Media Pioneer Publishing, Telekom Deutschland, UniCredit, Xella

You just said yourself that customers go where they can get something for the cheapest price. Do you think that social value is more important to people than price?

Yes. Check out the millennials. You don’t get them for salary anymore. You don’t get them for certain offers anymore because of Greta & Co. There is a change in social values. Because the pressure is now also coming from the big investors, something can change. The companies have finally optimized themselves. They have outsourced everything they could outsource. And they have a problem because they lost people. How do you want to lead one when nobody is around? How are you going to sell something to someone when there isn’t any more? So, and that’s why companies now need a new guiding principle.

And that’s why the new agency?
Exactly. We deal with three topics: One is purpose, i.e. what is the reason for a company? The second topic: If we have the reason, someone has to bring it into the world, that’s the CEO. CEOs have to communicate very differently than before. Namely like people and not like functionaries. They have to learn that.

Intermediate question: Can CEOs do that?
Some are talented. But there are many, and most of them come from the legal and CFO context that you think are autistic. In times like these, when the transformation and uncertainty are so great, communication is a competitive advantage.

And the third topic?
… is the energization. So how all over the world companies can still energize their own people. Human unlimited is also called human unlimited because humans differ from animals in that they can change themselves and their world. People can believe in the most absurd things. For example, I think Schalke could become champions. When people lose faith in their own actions, in what they do every day, then everything is gone. Then commitment is gone, then creativity is gone, then empathy is gone, then the willingness to take risks is gone, then inventiveness is gone. That is why we also deal with what companies need to change so that people can rediscover the belief in what they do. And with how they communicate it well, tell it well, because people love storytelling.

Why do you think the McKinseys, Boston Consultings and other consultancies can’t?
Because they think too schematically, because they are process-oriented, because they still think “human resources” – as if we were a resource that can be built. They all forget about vulnerability, sensitivity, fearfulness. We believe that people are “the next big thing”. We have to take people back into perception. Number one is the customer, number two is the employee, number three is society.

Does every company have a purpose at all?
The UN has formulated 17 smart goals for sustainable development, and if a company isn’t touching any of them, it should ask itself questions. Companies have to question themselves and they have to do it differently than before. It is not a calculation formula, it is not optimization, it cannot be solved in an Excel table and with Powerpoint charts. That is why we believe that a new form of offer is needed that has not yet existed – with people who actually come from creativity, who have empathy and communication skills, who can visualize, verbalize and thus make certain things tangible.

Why do companies need an agency to find their purpose? If they are genuinely longing for meaning, they should be able to formulate that same meaning.
It’s a bit like couples therapy. So: You already have something inside of you, but you need someone who looks at it from the outside, and who sorts things a bit and triggers things so that you can find your own way.