Struth spoke at this year's Management Briefing Seminars, an annual conference sponsored by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). More than 900 auto industry, academic and government leaders attended the conference near Traverse City, Mich. They discussed some of the industry's greatest challenges and provided perspective on where the industry is headed.
"We asked Dr. Struth to join the panel titled, "Automotive Strategy: Leveraging Leadership, Maximizing Momentum," to share Bosch's story, as the company is highly regarded in the industry as having a continued strong focus on innovation," said Jay Baron, president and chief executive officer of CAR. "His remarks provided tangible examples that other companies - both large and small - can adapt."
Struth pointed out that Bosch maximized its momentum during the economic downturn of 2009 and is preparing to do so again with the escalating finanical crisis in Europe: "The lessons from the past and the uncertainty that lies ahead, demonstrate the urgency and relevance of balancing short-term needs with long-term goals."
Struth said that maximizing momentum does not happen by will alone, but as a result of skillfully crafting these three elements: long-term strategy, diverse product portfolio and globalization.
Monitoring megatrends is a key strategic element: "We monitor megatrends so that we anticipate, rather than react," Struth said. "We investigate future market demands - something 20 years ahead or more - to better undertand how they will impact our business. Trends like increasing energy efficiency, caring for an aging population, and increasing urbanization have impacted Bosch's increasingly diversified portfolio decisions."
Bosch uses megatrend data to draft scenarios on products and services so that the company is ready as soon as some of these scenarios materialize.
Struth said that Bosch relies on its strong values-based foundation to guide its actions: "If associates can rely on and articulate what their company stands for, then their thinking can rise to a higher level and they can do their best work - and that's what momentum is all about: maximizing the energy, power and creativity of people."
While putting long-term strategy and values in place is essential, Struth emphasized that leaders bring the strategy to life:
"Bosch's leadership believes it is our responsiblity to ensure that hte foundation remains strong; lead with integrity as stewards of the company values; foster innovation and reward associates who take the risk to advance the next big idea."
Effective leadership, he said, has the potential to "energize associates to reach farther than perhaps they ever thought possible.
"Simply stated: Mutual trust releases energy and power."