Paul when I last spoke to you, you were as always full of energy and genuinely interested in how I was doing and helping out with some good advice. That is probably the way I will remember you - Paul - the most. You were an inspirational example of a manager & colleague with an absolute natural, sincere and personal interest in your team members that went far beyond the professional relationship. You always had an open ear for me and made time for a talk if needed. Be it in an office, during a lunch or dinner or with a nice glass of wine at the bar. So working in your team for 10 years was a joy and privilege. It was you Paul, that had the courage to recruit me end of 2005 from a total different industry and provide me with the opportunity to take up my fist GM role with Sennheiser. I will always be very grateful for that chance you gave me !
I still remember clearly, the 1st. job interview. It was a room filled with 2 recruiters, an assistant and you. Quite a challenge to be across 4 people at the same time and of course I was a bite nervous. However, your open style and genuine personal oriented interest, put me at ease very quickly. The interesting things I realised only on hindsight, is that without dominating the conversation, you clearly set the atmosphere. In all the years working together and all meetings with you, you were a great example of how Mike Myatt describes an important trait of leadership: “Leaders know that there is far more to be gained by surrendering the floor, than by dominating it”. You were such a good listener & smart networker and with that a helpful example for this impatient and eager & direct manager from the Netherlands. In the end I felt so at ease, that I dared to ask the ‘bold’ question how German the culture of Sennheiser was, because I was afraid I would not fit in well in a formal environment. You started laughing loud, complimented me on the courage to raise this and assured me that this was not at all the case, certainly not in your Global Sales Team. What a relieve that reaction and I still guess this was a reason for being the one to be chosen in the end.
Paul you had a wonderful serving leadership style but in one area where you always took a clear and strong lead. When successes needed to be celebrated, the team needed a boost of motivation or at the notorious Sennheiser global sales meeting or GMMs, you made sure it was a real party. A host that ensured good food, good music, nice drinks and the right atmosphere. “Work hard, play hard” as they say. On top of that you were always the first to gather around the piano to sing till late in the evening. Even as a student I already loved those evenings singing around the piano, so also in this case I was keen to follow your lead Paul. It still puts a big smile on my face if I think of you and all of our team together like that. This was not just a team of colleagues but a team of friends that respected each other, that had each other’s back and that was proud and strong to conquer the competition and the storms ahead, while also having lost of fulfilment and fun. And let there be no doubt, it was you Paul who built that team and with your personality, style, professionality and outstanding leadership, you created this unique team spirit and success ! That is why you were and will remain to me “O Captain! My Captain!”
O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
---- By Walt Withman in 1865 ----