Oliver Gernstl

When we joined the Scaling Up program a year and a half ago, we were already very curious about it because we had spent three years witnessing how a company run by a friend of ours, Berlin Cuisine, consistently achieved annual growth of 100% or more. And since some of the workshops happened to take place in our own facility, I took advantage of this unique opportunity to get a first-hand impression of what Ralph Chromik was actually doing with the team of Berlin Cuisine led by its founder and managing director, Max Jensen. I soon realized that the ways of thinking and acting underlying his approach and the tools he taught also had the potential to help our own company, which had been launched back in the early 1980s, take a giant step forward.

First, however, I had to communicate my enthusiasm for the idea to our other two directors, namely my father, Franz X. Gernstl, and Fidelis Mager. Fortunately, they quickly gave their OK, and before we knew it we were with Ralph in our own Scaling Up kick-off at beautiful Lake Tegernsee in Bavaria. I was eager to see how my father, who is skeptical about consultants in general, would react to the two-day workshop. But once again I was surprised, and naturally also proud, that at the end he gave it the maximum possible score of 10 points.

That broke the ice. We then learned to focus, to say no and to assess our ability to meet deadlines more realistically. As a result, today we have much more clarity in everything we do. This has had a calming effect on the team and given our organization the momentum that Ralph referred to in our first talks, although at that time I didn’t really get what he meant. Now I know that it’s a powerful force driving us forward.

What I immediately liked about the scale up approach is that the process aims at enabling staff to work more independently and accept responsibility for their actions. This freed me and our other two managing directors to concentrate on what is actually important for the company, and permitted us to be less involved in everyday operations. And precisely that is really paying off. 2017 was the best year in the company’s over 30-year history, and we are on track to set a new record in 2018.