Cultural heterogeneity, far from being an impediment to corporate success, constitutes a source of global value creation. This was the result of the two-day congress, „Transcultural Leadership Summit“, held on the campus of Zeppelin University (ZU) in Friedrichshafen. More than 190 participants – among them corporate leaders, experts from academia and business, and students – convened to share their ideas on leadership in globally operating enterprises. This year’s country of focus was China.

The conference was jointly initiated by ZU students and Prof Josef Wieland, Director of ZU’s Leadership Excellence Institute Zeppelin (LEIZ). LEIZ is generously funded by the Karl Schlecht Foundation (KSG), while the conference’s main sponsor was Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG. In his opening speech, Prof Wieland stated: “In the present, companies have to face not just economic risks but also demands arising from cultural heterogeneity.” Therefore, one objective of the conference was to give participants an understanding of leadership challenges which companies need to meet in order to remain competitive in the globalized world.

Not just ZU students but also participants from various countries including China and Russia discussed what will be required of tomorrow’s leaders. The conference provided a platform for interaction between industry representatives, students, and academic experts. Attendees gained new insights from exposure to different perspectives, long-standing practical experience, and critical questions.

Having piloted successfully in 2016, the “Transcultural Leadership Summit“ will be repeated in 2017, with a different country of focus. Isabelle Yu, student project head of the conference, concluded: “I feel we succeeded in laying a sound foundation for future events, and in initiating a new thinking with regard to cultural heterogeneity.”