The 2014 Central/Eastern European Meeting took place in Munich over the days of 26-27 June.
Hans-Gunther Barth (Munich), from our host firm Rath, Anders, Dr. Wanner & Partner, reports on the event, with some added comments provided courtesy of Ulrich Viefers (Dusseldorf):
Thursday 26: One has to go half a year back, to the time when we planned the schedule for the meeting; we were focused on finding a week with no exhibition, political, cultural or other event in Munich, in order to be able to provide affordable room rates……… what we had not in mind, was the 2014 Football World Cup, meaning everybody rushed out of the city towards their television screens at home, at exactly the same hour as when our bus (many participants, small bus… I believe this is German sarcasm –edit SH) left for the Cloister Andechs.
So, the unavoidable happened: on this short trip, the bus got stuck in a traffic jam with Ulrich Viefers getting more and more anxious, eagerly waiting to arrive at the TV-equipped restaurant. Well, I have never seen Andechs, one of the most famous points of pilgrimage in Germany, this empty; because there was NO TV SCREEN… nowhere!!!
OK, so 1:0 for West-Germany (Ulrich) against the rural South; the argument, that the Benedictine monks look at the world outside the walls of the cloister as something scary, was not accepted.
(Ulrich) – A short walk through the historical buildings preceded a typical Bavarian dinner on the terrace with a beautiful view of the landscape. Unfortunately, however, the view could have been so much more beautiful with a screen of Germany playing football against the USA ; an argument lost on the rest of the delegates, coming from countries who were not being represented in the World Cup and with Hans-Gunther not interested in football!
Friday 27: We had very lively conversations about a number of insights into our firms and our daily work; in general we followed the bullet points of the Agenda. I had the impression that the format of the meeting fuelled discussion and the ‘sharing experience’, as well as comparing different situations, which helped a lot in regards to mutual understanding of the participating firms.
Each firm provided a brief presentation of their firm and recent activity, leading to further debate on topics including the current market situation and challenges arising from economic and regulatory developments, staff recruitment, partner succession, bonus schemes for partners and staff, and strategies for growth. The discussion showed that we are all facing almost the same problems and challenges. It seemed to me, however, that the more you move from East to West the focus switches from “market situation” to “staff recruitment”, but this is just a tendency. (Ulrich)
To finish the morning session, Iulia Lascau (Bucharest) presented a very useful exercise on Business Development.
After lunch, delegates were treated to an excellent presentation on Social Media, by an advisor in this field for our firm, as a means of gaining new clients and, more particularly, of gaining new staff. For me, the highlight of this was a short analysis of our firms’ social media situation, which had been prepared in advance of the presentation. Since all the other participants had been graded much better than us, this was an eventual nice ‘farewell’ to end the BKR EMEA region’s CEE meeting of 2014.