"New forms of work are successful if employees have a say"

New work seems to be an omnipresent topic. Hans Rudolf Maag, Executive Head of the Liechtenstein Academy, explains what new forms of organisation are all about and how they can be successfully implemented.

Sabina Sturzenegger, Guest author
Temps de lecture
5 minutes
In spring, a small castle with red and white shutters nestles among trees and meadows above a lake.
The Liechtenstein Academy helps managers and employees make the transition to new forms of organisation. © Liechtenstein Academy

What do you mean by new forms of organisation?

Hans Rudolf Maag: A high degree of self-organisation. The business world is still largely organised hierarchically, with decisions being made along this hierarchy and thus traditionally "from the top down". At the Liechtenstein Academy, on the other hand, we have consistently relied on efficient self-organisation for almost 30 years. We promote the ability to reflect and act independently. However, management still plays an important role.

A diverse group of people stand in the rose garden of a castle and do meditation exercises in the sunshine.
Meditation is an element that can promote the ability to reflect and act responsibly, both of which are important prerequisites for working in new organisational forms. © Liechtenstein Academy

What do the new forms of organisation mean for the banking world, and in particular for a bank like LGT?

They play a crucial role. Banks have to create an environment for their employees that offers a high degree of agility and flexibility. In this respect, they are no different from other sectors. What is often forgotten is that this requires efficient self-organisation. Innovative organisational structures are needed to remain competitive and meet the demands of an increasingly complex environment.

What demands do you mean?

It's all about innovation and increasing efficiency. They are also crucial for LGT if we are to keep pace with the latest technological developments and offer innovative financial solutions. Efficient organisational structures in turn enable a bank like LGT to reduce costs, optimise processes and ultimately remain competitive.

Why is this necessary?

On the one hand, the margins on a large number of financial products have fallen sharply in recent years. On the other hand, we have seen strong growth in our organisations. This means, for example, that teams no longer necessarily work in the same place, and often not even in the same country.

Two employees look at a screen displaying photos of many people taking part in this virtual meeting.
Teams no longer necessarily work in the same place, and often not even in the same country, which requires new approaches to collaboration. © Shutterstock/PeopleImages.com - Yuri A

What problems can traditional organisational structures cause?

In principle, traditional structures have many advantages: they are familiar to employees, have proven themselves in many situations and therefore provide a sense of security. But this is precisely where the danger lies: people are oriented towards the past and do not act in a way that is adapted to the present and the future. Such structures often no longer reflect the complexity and interconnectedness of reality.

"A structure is only as strong as its individual elements."

Can you give concrete examples of this?

In traditional structures, people often think in 'silos', where departments work in isolation from each other. This makes it difficult to communicate and collaborate, and slows down decision-making. Modern organisational forms encourage collaboration across departmental boundaries and break down silos, leading to more effective use of resources and better flow of information.

How do customers benefit when companies adopt an agile approach?

Agile organisational structures allow companies to respond more quickly to change and adapt more effectively to new market conditions. This allows them to be more responsive to the needs and concerns of their customers. The result is an improved customer experience and greater satisfaction.

"Agile organisational models need to "fit" - they are not automatically "better"

You talk about innovation. What are the benefits of agile organisational models in this respect?

They foster innovation and creativity in companies and increase employee engagement. This not only leads to greater identification with the goals and values of the organisation. The culture of innovation and creativity creates space for new ideas and experiments. The exchange between different teams leads to a high level of knowledge and experience sharing, resulting in co-developed, innovative solutions and ultimately competitive advantage. However, agile organisational models need to "fit" - they are not automatically "better ".

What do you mean by that?

A structure is only as strong as its individual elements. If the individual elements - employees, for example - are unwilling or unable to fit into a new structure, the benefits of new organisational models will be lost. In other words, it only works if the whole organisation is on board. In particular, employees need to be closely supported and involved in structural change.

Man with a beard presents with three flipcharts to a group of young people.
Employees must be closely supported and involved in structural changes. Training is an important component of this. © Liechtenstein Academy

What role do technology and digitalisation play in the design of new organisational structures at LGT?

Maag: An important role, because they make new structures and ways of working possible in the first place and improve efficiency, the client experience and working models. For example, successful collaboration in virtual teams is becoming increasingly important; new technologies make it possible to lead and manage these teams effectively.


Middle-aged man with horn-rimmed glasses and wearing a dark suit with a yellow tie looks friendly into the camera.
Hans Rudolf Maag has many years of experience in organisational development. He also brings his knowledge to the LGT Academy. © Hans Rudolf Maag

About Hans Rudolf Maag
Executive Head of the Liechtenstein Academy Hans Rudolf Maag studied natural sciences, education and psychology and has managed personnel development and human resources in various international companies. He now works as a coach for managers and entrepreneurs. As a partner in family businesses, he is also involved in successful business management and organisational development on a daily basis.




Liechtenstein Academy

Thinking and acting responsibly for the long term" - that is the principle of the Liechtenstein Academy. Teams, managers and business families are trained at the Schloss Freudenfels campus near Stein am Rhein (Switzerland) and other locations. The focus is on the individual as well as on family, business and social issues. The Academy was founded in 1995 by the Princely House of Liechtenstein for LGT Private Banking.

Cut to a castle-like building with red and white shutters, surrounded by spring-like trees.
At Campus Schloss Freudenfels, teams, managers and business families are trained in accordance with the principle of ʺThinking and acting responsibly in the long termʺ. © Liechtenstein Academy
Vacant office space with cleaning machine

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Two young women "ride" on an office chair through an office and radiate great joy.

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