Our experience

our experience

Please take a look at selected project briefs where we could support leaders in their accountability to develop both, their organization and their people – with a special eye on the return on investments of time and budget.




The German branch of a renowned global producer of beverages with over 10 000 members of staff and over 80 products took a decision to improve the effectiveness of its middle management, thereby rendering its leadership culture more robust.

  • Numerous discussions with key staff (Management, HR) yielded an impression of current and future challenges, of current management culture and of the history
  • Three seminar modules based on system-oriented management were developed and augmented with pragmatic models, for hierarchy-spanning participation by more than 500 managers
  • To improve the relevancy and effectiveness of the programme, adjustments were made after a pilot phase

Apart from a shared concept of management in the organisation, managers were also put in a position to develop solutions to their current challenges and to guide their staff more effectively.

The positive ROI may be demonstrated by just one point: studies have generally shown that staff prefer more effective management and a more robust culture of management. If these measures succeed in reducing the rate of voluntary resignations by just 0.1%, the positive financial benefit to the organisation amounts to € 600 000 p.a. (assumption: average annual salary per member of staff is € 60 000).




When creating their decentralised sales organisation, a company in the energy sector decided to become market leader in this fast growing market. This demanded a high powered sales organisation, including all managers, staff and external partners.

  • Two workshops introduced the Sales Managers to management skills relevant to their situation and also allowed them to develop solutions to problems relevant to their organisation (e.g. management by objectives processes, control of external partner agencies via business objectives
  • 4 coachings between workshops and per Sales Manager served to reinforce competencies for implementation of the individual development stepsand also to discuss specific current challenges
  • The many successes and acquired knowledge were finally demonstrated to the entire team and ways were defined how that which was learnt could be maintained.

The major success of this exercise was evident in the increased effectiveness and productivity of the Sales Managers. The shared management conceptallowed them to now independently develop their organisation further. Success in the field of sales and especially in cooperation was soon evident.
A different aspect may here serve to demonstrate the positive ROI: every Sales Manager confirmed that his management performance had improved – and at reduced effort. In concrete terms, they were now able to dedicate at least half a day more per week to additional topics. This translates to an increase of 10% in management productivity. To the sales organisation in turn, this increase in productivity translates to approx. € 160 000 p.a. (for 20 Sales Managers with an assumed annual income of € 80 000).




Three divisions of a global IT organisation with a staff of 9 000 were merged in order to bundle the different software development sections and improve efficiencies.

  • The first task within the framework of restructuring the organisation was its orientation: the mission of the new section and a consolidated strategy based on the strategies of the different business areas
  • Decision and information processes were defined for the new management team, both in terms of the operational business and risk management and of strategic decision making
  • Feedback and communication channels were implemented to inform the staff and also to encourage active feedback
  • The ultimate success factor, however, is having the suitable skills and relevant know-how available in the right place and into the future. Skills management and knowledge management processes were defined and implemented based on strategic, but also pragmatic, workforce planning

Even considering that the basic business of the organisation (the specific projects) has not changed much, it is imperative to provide orientation and a sense of self-awareness of the organisation. This was first evident with middle management and project leaders, whereafter it rapidly spread to the entire staff: a significant increase in commitment and motivation was in evidence.
This will yield results. If each manager and project leader can save just one hour of meetings per week thanks to clarity of objectives and management processes, savings are possible in the amount of € 400 000 p.a. (assumption: approx. 110 managers and project leaders, € 750 daily rate).
This leads to more satisfaction and confidence in the organisation among the staff as well. If clarity and confidence in management renders just 15 minutes of discussion of the latest rumours unnecessary, then productive time in the amount of € 300 000 will become available
(assumption: staff complement of 800, annual income of € 60 000).

client voices

I have been working with step 5 on many different projects and really appreciate their ability to master a wide range of leadership and transformation topics – from strategy development and implementation over organizational design to leadership development and organizational culture.

I experienced Christoph and Michael as valuable collaboration partners who don’t shy away from pointing out potential blind spots to their clients.

In their work as experienced coaches and consultants, they are pragmatic, resource-oriented and solution-focused. They address topics and deal with challenges holistically, always in light of the pertinent context and relevant interdependencies.

Katja Manuela Egger,
Global Learning Partner
ABB (Robotics and Discrete Automation)

Sebastian Schulte-Eickholt

“Through a sequence of workshops step 5 supported our management team in aligning on a common direction and in making the common values more explicit and clearer to us.

The high level of personal competence, the empathy for our situation and the always goal-oriented approach were particularly convincing.

As an innogy Change Team we have also benefited from a conscious transfer of knowledge from step 5 to our team.”

Sebastian Schulte-Eickholt,
Chief Operating Officer, Head of Transformation
innogy (Energy industry)
Vincenzo Grande

“In addition to his excellent professional skills, Michael Schwarz impressed me above all with his comprehensive understanding of the conception of human being. In the joint development of our strategic orientation, including the implementation plan, he always made sure that we never forgot to put people first in all areas and processes involved. Working together has been a profound experience that has changed the way I think, how I work, how I perceive my environment, the way I look at my own actions”.

Vincenzo Grande,
Head of Strategic Planning & Business Development
Thommen Medical (Medical industry)

The cooperation with step 5 is characterised by a high level of subject matter expertise in the areas of organisational development and organisational learning, an uncomplicated and pragmatic working atmosphere and a pleasant cooperation. The consultants quickly succeed in establishing contact with a wide range of stakeholders in the company and quickly enjoy the trust of even critical decision-makers. The systematic learning and teaching approach of step 5 creates business-oriented learning experiences beyond standard leadership courses in a business-distant training laboratory.

Michael Zaugg,
Senior Vice President Human Resources
YPSOMED AG (medical industry)

“First of all, I would like to mention in particular the trusting and open relationship that was established very quickly when working with step 5. This was the fundamental prerequisite for the successful and goal-oriented development of a management training program.

By repeating and intensifying important topics, the content that was developed by the participants was deepened. step 5 thus adapted the content from one seminar part to the next together with the participants.

In addition to a common understanding of leadership in the organization, the managers were able to develop solutions for their current challenges and lead their employees more effectively.

In the process, we found a greater understanding of the “profession” of management, more self-confidence and trust in the employees, as well as personal responsibility”.

Swen Koch,
Head of HR
Possehl Electronics (manufacturing industry)

step 5 has supported me and my team throughout our journey to become an agile team since 2017. Their input has been tremendously helpful to support us focus on the right things, measure our progress and grow along the way. Aside from a great support and trustful relationship we have built over time, I most highly value that the tools they proposed to us really work and support what is really needed

Fabian Birzele,
Head of Bioinformatics & Biostatistics
(Pharmaceutical industry)

step 5 supported us following a major acquisition as part of the post-merger process. They convinced us not only with a structured methodical approach, but also with their social competence and great personal commitment.

You made a significant contribution to the success of this complex merger project

Stefan Helsing,
Chief Operating Officer
Coltene (Medical industry)
Thorsten Schroeter

My management team and I have already been able to take advantage of the coaching of Christoph and Michael in various situations. Be it in organizational development or the integration of new managers. Each time, the reflection, the application of models and finally asking the right questions in an uncomplicated and people-centered approach helped us a lot. Thank you very much for your continued valuable support!

Thorsten Schroeter, ABB Switzerland (Industrial sector)