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Ralf Specht

MD at Building Corporate Soul

Frankfurt, Germany

Ralf is an amazon bestseller author. His book BUILDING CORPORATE SOUL has achieved bestseller status in the US, UK and Germany and has been identified as the #1 HOT NEW RELEASE in CORPORATE GOVERNANCE by amazon.com. FastCompany Press calls him “a visionary business leader” and creator of the Soul System™, a framework that aligns value-creating employee action with broader corporate strategy through shared understanding & shared purpose. He introduces a new language of success into the world of business based on his mission to make the leadership behaviors which build soul synonymous with the behaviors which build success.
Ralf was a founding partner of the startup Spark44, a global marketing communications powerhouse. He was the architect of an innovative, industry-first joint-venture with Jaguar Land Rover which grew under his leadership to a global revenue of $100+m and 1,200 employees. Both during his time as COO and CEO, he successfully focused on the interdependence of the creative output with employee engagement and satisfaction.
Previously, he consulted for more than 20 years with global companies and brands such as Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, General Motors, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Puma and PWC with McCann Erickson.
His driving vision is to make soulless companies a thing of the past.

Available For: Advising, Authoring, Consulting, Influencing, Speaking
Travels From: Germany
Speaking Topics: The Business of theFuture Must Have Soul - Leadership and Corporate Culture

Ralf Specht Points
Academic 0
Author 163
Influencer 23
Speaker 0
Entrepreneur 0
Total 186

Points based upon Thinkers360 patent-pending algorithm.

Thought Leader Profile

Portfolio Mix

Company Information

Company Type: Individual
Media Experience: 15 years
Last Media Training: 09/18/2019
Last Media Interview: 08/10/2021

Areas of Expertise

Change Management 30.23
CSR
Culture 35.57
Leadership 31.67
Management 35.32
Marketing
Mergers and Acquisitions
Startups 36.35
Business Strategy 32.70
HR 33.38
Entrepreneurship 35.49

Industry Experience

Automotive
Consumer Products
Federal & Public Sector
Financial Services & Banking
Hospitality
Media
Travel & Transportation

Publications

4 Article/Blogs
TODAY: The Great Resignation... TOMORROW: The Great Application?
Korn Ferry Briefing Magazine
August 01, 2022
The broader economy looks poised for a decline, but looks can be deceiving. The metrics that matter lie deep within each individual organization.
The Problem
“Everyone” expects their business—and the economy— to deteriorate over the coming months.
Why It Matters
“Everyone” may be wrong, especially long term. Plus, the broader economy, good or bad, may not have much bearing on individual organizations.
The Solution
Zero in on key profit, process, and people metrics to determine which way your organization is headed.

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Tags: Culture, HR, Leadership

Four Types of Coworkers That You Definitely Need—and One That You Absolutely Don’t
Fast Company
March 01, 2022
The author of Building Corporate Soul explains how to identify and encourage four types of workers that are key to everyone’s success, and how to deal with the one who won’t help you.

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Tags: Culture, HR

Welcome to the age of transparency on corporate culture – Is your company prepared to handle it?
CEO World
January 12, 2022
Expected new SEC requirements will have a lasting impact on corporate culture.

“Our employees are our biggest asset” – 18 years ago, the former CEO of Xerox, Anne M. Mulcahy, made this statement at the 2003 Life Management Conference. As we enter 2022, it might become real and CEOs and CFOs need to provide more than lip service. It is expected that the SEC will issue new rules on disclosing human capital data from publicly trading companies. This will have a significant impact on the way companies emphasize corporate culture. In the age of ESG, investors are increasingly focusing on the social aspect (“S”) in ESG. Money talks – and companies will have to take action.

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

It´s time to go: The great “employee exodus” is here
CEO World
October 25, 2021
How can you retain and hire people who strengthen the organization at every level?

The numbers are scary: 65% of employees are looking for a new job according to PwC. McKinsey & Co. argue that nearly two-thirds say that “COVID-19 has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life. And nearly half said that they are reconsidering the kind of work they do because of the pandemic.” It´s time to act for corporations of any size.

HR leaders have to provide compelling arguments for two pressing questions at the same time – stopping the exodus and finding a way to a make hybrid work something that really works. But the buck does not stop here. If CEO´s and their boards do not finally get their act together on their company´s purpose and key strategic pillars, HR leaders are getting themselves into a vicious circle. Their success will only be short-term as new joiners will go as quickly as they came. Especially when it comes to Millennials. They are “three times more likely than others to say that they were reevaluating work” according to McKinsey.

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

2 Books
Beyond The Startup: Sparking Operational Innovations for Global Growth
Radius Publishing
May 03, 2022
The greatest challenge of any startup and growth company is the transition from an early stage startup to a robust organization complete with a driving culture, contemporary leadership, organizational infrastructure and twenty-first-century operating methodologies. Ralf Specht provides inspiration, wisdom, and lessons gleaned from his role and experience in creating and scaling Spark 44, a Jaguar Land Rover joint venture from concept to an award- winning global marketing communications company with well over a thousand employees in 18 countries in a few short years. In the high interest topic of startups focused on the beginning stages of entrepreneurship, Beyond the Start Up fills a void in the entrepreneurial discussion on how to scale a second stage startup laying out, in practical terms, the tools and practices that made Spark44 a global powerhouse.

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Tags: Startups, Culture, Entrepreneurship

Building Corporate Soul: Powering Culture & Success With the Soul System
Fast Company Press
February 22, 2022
To succeed, the business of the future must have soul.
Building Corporate Soul answers the most pressing questions for leaders today: How do I build and sustain a human-centric performance culture?
At a time when 10,000 baby boomers retire every day, 79% of employees quit their jobs because they don´t feel appreciated at their workplace, and 69% of millennials see a lack of potential for leadership development in their companies, Building Corporate Soul sets out to transform the performance and value of organizations— and to make soulless companies a thing of the past.
Ralf Specht’s unique framework, The Soul SystemTM, aligns value-creating employee behaviors with corporate strategy through shared understanding and shared purpose. Based on the latest research and real-life cases, this actionable framework shows how to build a culture at the workplace that is both human centric and success driven.
Specht proves that leadership behaviors that build soul are synonymous with the behaviors that build success. His performance ranking, The Soul Index, confirms that companies that operate within this framework outperform their peers by a factor of 2,6 compared with Dow Jones over 5 years.
Building Corporate Soul helps leaders at every level move beyond their current thinking and create an environment in which business goals are well understood and corporations walk their talk. Both this shared understanding and the subsequent shared behavior are critical to turn a company´s purpose into a real means to an end: superior success and a truly motivated workforce who is proud of their role inside the organization and of its impact on the local community and society overall. You´ll see how companies of all sizes (startups and legacy corporations) have made this happen. You´ll also learn how every leader, no matter the industry, can ignite (or re-ignite) the corporate soul in their firm.

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Tags: Management, HR, Business Strategy

7 Media Interviews
5 Things you need to create a highly successful startup
Authority Magazine
June 27, 2022
Authority magazine interviewed me to learn about what separates highly successful startup that operate at scale from those that do not get there.

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Tags: Startups, Leadership, Entrepreneurship

Why You Might Have Lost That Promotion
All Work
March 25, 2022
Why You Might Have Lost That Promotion: A Q&A With Author And CEO, Ralf Specht
It can be extremely discouraging when you don't get the promotion you were perhaps expecting. Author and CEO Ralf Specht reveals some underlying reasons why you may have been passed over – and how to set yourself up for future opportunities.

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Tags: HR, Leadership, Management

Global Agency Founder to Help Companies "Build Corporate Soul"
Enterprise Engagement Agency
February 28, 2022
Ralf Specht, founding partner of Spark44, an international ad agency he helped grow into a $100 million plus company with 1,200 employees, now turns his attention to promote “a framework that aligns value-creating employee action with broader corporate strategy through shared understanding and shared purpose.”
Building Corporate Soul

To regular readers of ESM, the theme of Building Corporate Soul: Powering Culture and Success with the Soul System sounds familiar. Corporate soul, the author Ralf Specht writes, “is a function of aligning value-creating employee behaviors with corporate strategy through understanding and shared purpose.”

Specht says he knows that many books already focus on values and principles. His book, he says, is designed to provide “a strong outline for implementation.” In 12 chapters, he provides a step-by-step implementation process CEOs and business leaders can use based on his own management experience and research on other companies.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, Culture

Making soulless companies a thing of the past
Odgers & Berndtson
February 22, 2022
To coincide with the launch of his new book, Building Corporate Soul: Powering Culture & Success with the Soul System, we spoke to author Ralf Specht, founding partner and former CEO of Spark44, the global joint-venture marketing agency.

Never thinking that he’d do so, the messages from well-wishers about the strong culture he had helped to shape at his company propelled Specht to write the book because as he puts it, “I wanted to give something back”. Contemplating corporate culture, an article he read in the Harvard Business Review inspired and led him to the idea of ‘soul’, a concept he felt could be applied to all organisations.

A fascinating insight on how to maintain a strong culture through all phases of growth across sectors and companies of different sizes, the book explains why corporate soul lies at the heart of increased worker happiness, greater commitment and improved business performance. Companies that have achieved that level of corporate culture have made the leadership behaviours that build soul synonymous with the behaviours which build success.

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Tags: Culture, HR, Leadership

Looking to improve your chance of promotion in 2022? Here are 5 pitfalls to avoid if you want to climb the ladder, according to experts.
Business Insider
January 23, 2022
Getting promoted is no easy feat and is never guaranteed.
Sometimes, however, you may be ruining your own chances of climbing the career ladder.
Insider asked three career coaches about the most common mistakes people make.

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Tags: Culture, HR, Management

Companies Need To Look Beyond Purpose To Find Their Soul
Forbes
December 23, 2021
The concept of “purpose” in business — while receiving a lot of attention lately — has, as Ralf Specht points out, been around for some time. And, while he is anxious not to question its value, he suggests that it has become a little too much of a focus in itself. “Very often it feels like, once you get purpose sorted everything will fall into place,” he says. “For me, purpose is a means to an end.”

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

Organisational success driven by employee engagement and corporate culture
Economic Times - HR WORLD
November 16, 2021
According to the 2021 Soul-Index, the first global performance ranking focusing on corporate culture, companies that outperform their peers are characterised by higher employee engagement and motivation scores – and at the same time higher approval rates for their CEO.

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

13 Podcasts
The Official Do Good Better Podcast
dogoodbetterconsulting
August 23, 2022
Today's 5-Star Guest is Ralf Specht, best-selling author and business visionary. FastCompany have called him “a visionary business leader”: Ralf Specht is the author of amazon – bestseller “Building Corporate Soul” and “Beyond The Startup”.

He developed the Soul System, a framework powers culture and success for any business. His books introduce a new language of success into the world of business based on his mission to make the leadership behaviors which build soul synonymous with the behaviors which build success.

After two decades with McCann Erickson in various executive roles, he was a founding partner of Spark44, an innovative, industry-first joint venture with Jaguar Land Rover. Under his leadership as CEO, Spark44 grew to a 1,200 people business in 18 countries.

His driving vision is to make soulless companies a thing of the past.

Connect With Ralf/Links to Books: https://ralfspecht.com/

Business Soul Check Here: https://buildingcorporatesoul.com/

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Tags: Change Management, Culture, HR

Deliberate Leaders
Deliberate Directions
August 22, 2022
In our latest Deliberate Leaders Podcast episode, Ralf Specht discusses managing company growth with a purpose-driven organizational structure.

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Tags: Culture, HR, Change Management

The Advocates TV show
RVN Television
April 09, 2022
Ralf Specht joins us for this episode of “The Advocates” on RVN Television to talk about his groundbreaking book, “Building Corporate Soul,” and to offer insights on how you and your organization will profit by joining him in his Advocacy to “make soulless corporations a thing of the past.”

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Tags: Leadership, Culture, Business Strategy

Suki Thompsons Podcast
Let´s Reset Podcast
April 07, 2022
On this week's Reset the Podcast, I sit down with Ralf Specht, a man driven by a very clear and very strong mission - to make soulless companies a thing of the past.

In our conversation, we deep dive into what it means to build a culture from the ground up. Having founded and run a successful creative agency for more than 8 years, Ralf shares his insight into the critical need to create, what he describes as, "an environment where amazing things can happen", not only for the benefit of the people, but also the success of the company.

Ralf has gone on to write a book which details the different elements which form the foundations of a culture set to thrive. He shares with us the key ingredients of his 'Corporate Soul System', explaining why the "shared purpose", "shared understanding" and "shared behaviours" form the backbone of an upstanding organisation.

We talk energy, engagement and inspiration and why human capital is truly the most important asset to business success.

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Tags: Business Strategy, Culture, Leadership

What's the point with Bill Ellis - Building Corporate Soul with Ralf Specht
Bill Ellis
March 24, 2022

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Tags: Management, Leadership, Culture

Keys to Building The Kind of Corporate Soul That Makes a Difference
The Leadership Podcast
March 02, 2022
Ralf Specht has been called “a visionary business leader” by FastCompany Press, and he is the creator of the Soul System, a framework that aligns value-creating employee action with broader corporate strategy through shared understanding and purpose. Ralf is the author of, “Building Corporate Soul.” Corporate soul means integrity, shared purpose, shared understanding, and behaviors. Listen in to learn how “soul” can make a difference with talent attraction and retention.

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Tags: Management, Leadership, Culture

Building Corporate Soul with Ralf Specht
As Told By Nomads
February 22, 2022
In today's episode of the As Told by Nomads Podcast, join me and Ralf Specht as we discuss the different elements that answer whether your business has a soul or not. Technically, every business is a people business. How? As you tune in, Ralf lays down his thoughts on how crucial work culture and employee empowerment are to a business's success and how he breaks down the whole discussion in his book, Building Corporate Soul: Powering Culture & Success with the Soul System.

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

Charge Podcast
CHARGE PODCAST Gary Wilders
February 21, 2022
Ralf Specht is the author of “Building Corporate Soul”. He developed the Soul System, a framework that powers culture and success for any business.

After two decades with McCann Erickson in various executive roles, he was a founding partner of Spark44, an innovative, industry-first joint venture with Jaguar Land Rover.

His driving vision is to make soulless companies a thing of the past.

See publication

Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

Meet the Macs Meet the Macs ✓ Claim Let's Talk About Building Corporate Soul! With Ralf Specht
Meet the Macs
February 18, 2022
A co-founder of communications company Spark 44, Ralf Specht has spent the last couple of years plumbing the depths of …. corporate soul! (and how to make soulless companies a thing of the past). Ralf’s new book Building Corporate Soulwill launch on 2/22/2022. He was kind enough to join me for an extremely wide-ranging conversation and a bit of a sneak preview.

Our 50-minute sojourn touched on soft factors, hard reality and shared purpose. Along the way, he shared some surprising insights on organizational forms and on weaving corporate fabric. An offhand remark about “exchange programs”, for example, once led to just such a thing in his company’s own geographic matrix. The cost? A month’s Airbnb rental. The benefits? Incalculable! Spirit, shared behaviors, belonging. Soul elements.

Combining topics as mundane as flip charts (“Flip the question if you’re not making progress!”) and as uncommon as soul building (“it’s defined by employees,” he emphasized, “not management”), Ralf deftly tacked toward the OC Tanner waypoint before gybing downwind to his own soul index. I’m looking forward to the 22nd.

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

Great Places to Work with Ralf Specht
Life Blood
January 27, 2022
LifeBlood: We talked about creating great places to work, what’s causing the Great Resignation from an employer and an employees perspective how to create a company with soul where pole love working, and a framework for putting it in place with Ralf Specht, visionary business leader, speaker, entrepreneur and author of Building Corporate Soul: Powering Culture and Success with the Soul System.

Listen to learn about two companies doing it right!

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

Building Corporate Soul with Ralf Specht
Leaders Of Transformation | Conscious Business | Global Transformation | Leadership Development
January 17, 2022
What is the key that fuels the most successful companies in the world? Our guest this week is Ralf Specht. Ralf was a founding partner of Spark44, a global marketing communications powerhouse. He architected an industry-first joint venture with Jaguar Land Rover which he grew to $100m in global revenue and 1,200 employees.

Previously, he consulted for more than 20 years with global companies and brands such as Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, General Motors, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Puma and PWC with McCann Erickson.

In this episode, we discuss the secret ingredient that contributed to his success – building corporate soul. What is it, how do you know if you’ve got it – or don’t – and what it means for your business going forward.

Ralf Specht, called “a visionary business leader” by Fast Company Press, is the creator of the Soul System, a framework that aligns value-creating employee action with broader corporate strategy through shared understanding and shared purpose. He introduces a new language of success into the world of business based on his mission to make the leadership behaviors which build soul synonymous with the behaviors which build success.

His driving vision is to make soulless companies a thing of the past.

See publication

Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

Building a Workplace that Nobody Wants to Leave
A SEAT at THE TABLE
December 05, 2021
One of the biggest shifts brought on by the pandemic is the number of people who have opted to quit their jobs.

The media has handily named this the ‘Great Resignation’ and whether the number of people leaving their posts is quite as high as the headlines imply, there has certainly been a surge in the number of people who are disgruntled and find their work - well somewhat soul crushing.

Have so many companies become terrible places to work? Or have employees simply raised their expectations as to what work should be like? Either way, what can today’s leadership do to reduce turnover and create a work environment that supports people - and productivity?

To gain greater insights into the current situation that’s driving workplace turnover, I reached out to Ralf Specht, creator of the Soul System and author of Building Corporate Soul: Powering Culture & Success with the Soul System.

Ralf was a founding partner of Spark44, where he was the architect of an innovative, industry-first joint-venture with Jaguar Land Rover, which grew under his leadership to a global revenue of $100+m and 1,200 employees.

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

Why Business Must Have Soul
PJ Stevens
November 08, 2021
n this, the 15th Episode of PJ Tips Leading Business Change, we are joined by special guest Ralf Specht discussing 'Why Business Must Have Soul'
The purpose of these podcasts is to inform and inspire listeners through practical insights from exceptional leaders. So it is with great pleasure that in this podcast we meet and hear from Ralf Specht, who, together with a couple of colleagues, founded the global Customer Experience Agency SPARK 44 ten years ago. Spark 44 went from start up - with no Head Office - to 4 global offices in year one, to 19 offices in 18 countries within ten years. 
There is much to be learned from Ralf, working in what was in essence a 'virtual' start up, where zoom was normal as the teams connected, communicated and operated globally. Spark was set up with one P&L, to avoid competition for revenue, and to give customers the best experience the business could offer and 'make amazing things happen'.
Ralf shares how they moved from an idea to a business plan, to running a business in a few months and with four global offices in just months. The start up was a Joint Venture with Jaguar Land Rover, and was the first JV of its kind in the industry.
In the podcast Ralf talks about the purpose and culture of Spark 44, how they set about creating a culture - from start up - where people could have challenging and creative conversations safely, make amazing things happen whilst working remotely in many aspects. In addition, Ralf gives practical insights into leading across many countries and cultures. 

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Tags: Culture, Leadership, Management

Blog

Opportunities

1 Business
Your company has got its culture - has it got soul?

Location: Virtual    Date Available: April 06th, 2027     Fees: 10,000

Submission Date: March 08th, 2022     Service Type: Service Offered

Ralf Specht is the author of Building Corporate Soul. He developed the Soul System™, a framework which powers culture and success for any business.

After two decades with McCann Erickson in various executive roles, he was a founding partner of Spark44, an innovative, industry-first joint venture with Jaguar Land Rover. Under his leadership as CEO, Spark44 grew to a 1,200 people business in 18 countries.

His driving vision is to make soulless companies a thing of the past.

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Ralf Specht