Franz Gsellmann (1910 - 1981), a simple farmer from Edelsbach near Feldbach in Eastern Styria, made only one journey in his life, which in 1958, at the age of 48, took him to Brussels for the first world exhibition after the Second World War. He sets off on the journey with his rucksack, top secret so as not to cause unnecessary head shaking in the neighbourhood. Once in Brussels, he stands in amazement in front of the Atomium, the 165 billion-fold magnification of an iron crystal structure. Returning to Edelsbach, he begins, like a man possessed, to build "his machine", the nucleus of which is a replica of this atomium. Until his death in 1981 he tinkered and worked on it. For 23 years he canvassed the flea markets as far as Graz and collected things that had been thrown away or had become useless from the neighbours. He finally has 2000 parts at his disposal, which he incorporates into his "world machine" and thus creates completely new things from the old.
Whoever visits the world machine today may shake his head over so much uselessness and futility, but perhaps he will also stand still in amazement and recognize the uniqueness of this work: a person realizes the dream of his life with passion and enthusiasm. Many people cannot get beyond dreaming in their lives... Blaise Pascal said that all people are born as originals, but most of them die as copies. Looking at the life of Franz Gsellmann there is no doubt: he was an original! In the way he let himself be infected by the Atomium, he encourages us not only to dream of life, but to live dreams. Franz Gsellmann encourages originality! And this is exactly what we can use in all situations in life. This also applies to the question of ethics in companies. The topic is booming, and the need for it has become a topic of discussion even more so since the economic crisis, right up to the executive floors of large corporations, but the attempts to implement it can hardly get beyond wonderful formulations in glossy brochures. And these revolve around the question of how people can motivate other people. Frederick Herzberg had already drawn attention to this question in a trade journal in 1968. Since then, it has become increasingly clear that in companies where the mood is right, the performance is also right.
A good and strong corporate culture is the non plus ultra for top companies with a wide variety of styles. In many areas, the value of "human capital" has therefore overtaken that of monetary and physical capital in the meantime. To achieve this, however, it takes managers who are passionate about the ethical issues of corporate interaction. Their passion must not only be for production, but also for the people in the production facilities. For this, they need a great passion for people and a creative potential in the creation of living and working conditions that make life worth living for everyone involved. The prerequisite for this is the need to like the people we are dealing with. Those who do not like other people are incapable of working with them, and even more so will be incapable of getting along with their employees as a superior. Years ago, Ingo Kleist, the SPD's spokesman for domestic policy, demanded the following on the ideal profile of a new police chief for Hamburg: One would have to find someone with the dignity of an archbishop, the selflessness of a missionary, the perseverance of a tax official, the experience of an auditor, the manpower of a coolly, the tact of an ambassador, the genius of a Nobel Prize winner, the optimism of a shipwrecked man, the resourcefulness of a lawyer, the health of an Olympic fighter, the patience of a nanny, the smile of a film star and the thick fur of a hippopotamus.
It will not be easy to find such a wonder-wuzzi, but: Such a wonder-wuzzi is in every human being - again and again, just not always in the ideal daily condition and not always available. In business, such a person is called a "supportive leader" and is understood to be someone who helps other people to regain their strength and develop their potential. What you need to be able to do is not to be in love with your field of expertise, but to be able to pass on your enthusiasm to others. Wherever we look: Society and, of course, the economy needs people who are active in communities, groups and companies with visions that encourage, inspire and inspire people. Africans say: "Words are beautiful, but chickens lay eggs", and when it comes to questions of ethics for business cooperation, it seems more urgent than ever to not only make words, but to lay eggs.