Mihai Boldijar, Bosch Romania: “A manager must never forget to show empathy and support whenever needed”
“A manager must be a leader. A strong but friendly figure that people look up to, an individual capable of inspiring others, and that can successfully and smoothly navigate throughout the changing times and the high uncertainties, empowering people and leading intrusively along the way,” Mihai Boldijar, General Manager of Bosch Romania, told The Diplomat-Bucharest.
“Aside looking over the team and making sure all wheels turn in the same, right, direction, a manager must never forget to show empathy and support whenever needed, spark enthusiasm and acknowledge success. He is indebted to his team to constantly adapt the business strategy to the continuously changing business environment, explore innovative solutions, take risks, and nurture valuable new ideas and initiatives.”
What do you think will be the main business drivers for business growth in your company in 2021?
We put our faith in innovation and trust that AI and connectivity, research and development, intelligent climate-friendly solutions for health, living, industry and mobility will help us drive business forward in 2021. Furthermore, these new technologies will assist and help design and launch new, fascinating products and services. At Bosch, we believe that digital and sustainable is the path to walk on, and industrial AI can improve the lives of people and help limit climate change. In addition to improving energy efficiency in manufacturing, Bosch is systematically adding connectivity to its products for buildings and mobility to help consumers save energy. Moreover, I believe the mobility solutions segment will continue to be a main driver in ensuring business growth in the coming period, and the development of new powertrains will see to confirm this affirmation. Perhaps one of the most important aspects worthy to be mentioned is that no matter the plans and projects we will be developing, the company will ensure CO2 neutrality in all its business sectors. 400 of our locations worldwide are carbon neutral since 2020, thus making Bosch the first globally operating industrial enterprise to achieve net zero carbon emissions with respect to the energy it produces and the energy it sources externally.
In addition, we are determined to make CO2-neutral mobility possible, be it through an electric drive with electricity from renewables or through advanced internal-combustion engines with CO2-neutral fuels, such as renewable synthetic fuels.
Will we assist to a Great Reset-oriented strategy in business or returning to business-as-usual?
If the “usual” you are referring to has the same connotation it had in March 2020, I trust business-as-usual does no longer exist. What we can discuss now is the new normal – a syntagm that has lately become the most appropriate form on normality we know. Hence a major part of white-collar associates has shifted to remote work and major companies embraced online activities during last year’s lockdown, we are most likely to witness a new approach in the way of doing business. Last year many paradigms have shifted: consumer habits changed, e-commerce has reached its tipping point, digitalization was adopted even by the latest boomers and for a couple of months the smog cloud covering China and the pollution from Venice’s canals could not be seen anymore – and this was something that made a whole world realize that CO2 neutrality is a must. The Great Reset in business is actually about evolution: new skills are needed – sales skills, digital skills, extended knowledge, and the cultivation of interpersonal skills as well, maybe now more than ever. The market intelligence also needs to be adapted to the new players that are arising, changing the competitor’s landscape in the process. Let us not forget that ever since the beginning of time, disruptive events, crises of any sort, revolutions – be it agricultural, scientific, industrial, etc., acted as a catalyst for progress. Is this exactly this type of events, together with the human ability to rapidly adapt to change, that worked as a trigger in transforming hunter-gatherers into sapiens and will lead to further transformations in the future.
What is the flag-ship project of 2020 in your company?
Despite the pandemic and the heath crisis, in 2020, Bosch thrived in more than one sector where the company is present. We have successfully completed several flag-ship projects, not only on a local level, but also global wide. As far as our projects in Romania concern, we scored relevant results in the research & development field – results that have culminated with the inauguration of the new headquarters of our Engineering Center in Cluj; we also achieved important break-through in the mobility solutions sector, and managed to continue our production activities even when the timing favoured less the ongoing development of the automotive industry; we continued our endeavour to becoming carbon neutral and our Power Tools division managed to launch new products to the market. Moreover, we have continued to implement Industry 4.0 solutions within our facilities. We rely on IoT and AI and actively contribute with top technology, products, and solutions, whenever the opportunity, to remarkable projects designed to shape the future and connect people, as well as cities.
What kind of workspace culture & values is to be consolidated in your company in 2021?
For Bosch, the health, safety, and wellbeing of its associates remains a top priority. After a tumultuous 2020 wracked by the COVID-19 pandemic we have recognized the importance of our employees’ abilities to independently work from home, sometimes with limited resources and support. Going into this new year, self-management is still going to be a critical feature while navigating society’s “new normal”, and we will continue to support and encourage our colleagues in any ways that we can, regardless their location, by developing new apps and programs destined to benefit internal processes and team interaction, boost productivity, efficiency, and creativity even in the work-from-home mode. For more than 130 years Bosch has been relying on the lifelong learning philosophy: it is a core value that we not only cherish but has also helped the company thrive during some less serene moments, and that we will see to consolidate even more in 2021.
What is a manager’s role and skills in order to maintain and enhance a team’s cohesion?
More than an executive, a manager must be a leader. A strong but friendly figure that people look up to, an individual capable of inspiring others, and that can successfully and smoothly navigate throughout the changing times and the high uncertainties, empowering people and leading intrusively along the way. Aside looking over the team and making sure all wheels turn in the same, right, direction, a manager must never forget to show empathy and support whenever needed, spark enthusiasm and acknowledge success. He is indebted to his team to constantly adapt the business strategy to the continuously changing business environment, explore innovative solutions, take risks, and nurture valuable new ideas and initiatives.
What kind of skills and capabilities need to be improved in your company / team in 2021?
I am a keen promoter of the Japanese Kaizen principles, and much fonder of the 80/20 approach. I strongly believe that even if everything seems to work well in a particular moment, you can always make or do things better. Large organizations such as Bosch, can do things better only if there is a full alignment and a shared vision of the management board in respect to the decisions we are going to take, and this is an aspect we intend to continue working on and improving on a daily basis.
In term of general business & teams’ core-values, which are your 3 power words for 2021?
Considering last year as a whole, when searching for a word-trio complementary to a new year resolution destined to sum-up all past events and accomplishments, as well as a direction for 2021, the best power words for overarching focus and thrive in the year ahead are Confidence, Resilience and Trust.