Zühlke – Empowering Ideas


“Zühlke’s superpower is supporting everyone’s growth journey”

Eric Fehse

‘Super-energizing’ growth

Take yourself back to the height of lockdown. For Zühlke Principal Consultant (UX) Dr. Eric Fehse, this was in Singapore. By day, he worked on compliance and controls for a banking client. By night, he would often be coaching a colleague in Germany as late as 9pm. Far from a chore, he describes it as a super-energizing, rewarding highlight of his week.

Insight in brief

  • Read about Zühlke’s superpower: its growth mindset in action.
  • Learn how being a coach or a coachee is energizing and rewarding.
  • Discover the reflective power of verbalizing career challenges and aspirations.

“Career coaching doesn't feel like work to me, it almost feels like a hobby,” explains Eric Fehse. “We can be much better than a sum of the parts if we help each other. We are generous with our knowledge. That’s Zühlke’s superpower and our Growth Mindset in action. I coach twelve people currently. You get to know your coachees on a personal level and have many intense discussions. In turn, these conversations bring value to our customers, because we learn how to approach and then solve problems – and grow every time.”

Mutual learning opportunities

A cognitive psychologist, perhaps Eric has an edge when it comes to being a mentor to others. And then there’s the parallel expertise he needs for user-centered design - from dissecting how people interact with certain technologies (such as his current project developing a medical ventilation device), to analyzing any hurdles along the way, then creating solutions that speak the language of the end user and truly fit their needs. Eric’s highly-skilled day job has clearly turned him into an altruistic career coach. And yet, he admits, he thrives on the learning potential it’s created for him as well.

“I may be 20 years older than some of the people I coach, but I am constantly learning from them,” Eric admits. “They have insights and ideas that I don’t; they may know of a method that I haven't heard of. So, we both learn. It’s a win-win. Of course, I can impart my wisdom and understanding. But, I try never to tell my coachees what to do. We thrash things out together, instead of just going through more obvious questions and answers. It’s about looking at different perspectives to solve challenges. In this way we discover solutions together - and I find it so rewarding.”

Opening doors for others

A ‘founding father’ of Zühlke’s Hamburg Self-Organized Competence Unit that opened two years ago, Eric and a group colleagues persuaded the powers that be that there was no need for an Head (HCU) role within the unit. True to its name, they decided to run it themselves, and be coaches to each other. And the rest, as they say, is history – with many empowering conversations taking place since then.

“Coaches are not rockstars. But I do I like opening doors for people,” says Eric. “At Zühlke, our work starts and finishes with human interactions, even if the product we are developing is tech-focused. That’s why it’s so important we learn from each other to enable growth. I like helping people untangle in their minds both the challenges they might face and the aspirations they have – and put them into words. And coaching helps me verbalize things too and be reflective, so I can have better conversations with my customers and clients.”

The continuous classroom

At Zühlke, this kind of intentional learning is encouraged every step of the way. From open mindsets (an imperative for every Zühlkee), to more sharing opportunities like the Self-Organized Competence Unit, to career coaching or being a coachee - growth is continuous, often challenging and always collaborative.

“I try to inspire people to treat every situation as a learning opportunity,” Eric emphasises. “It’s actually possible to learn from almost everything we do and be proud and pragmatic about it. This really helps us as a company. As with any job, we may not always do the gigs that are top of our want list. But with every task, big or small, we will always grow.”

What you can gain from the Zühlke learning and development approach

Our approach strives to create intentional learning opportunities in your everyday life.

You can benefit from a cycle of continuous personal development through:

  • Frequent coaching and ‘check-ins’ with your line manager or career coach
  • Increased opportunities to learn ‘on the project’ and advance your career
  • Hands-on, relevant training courses spread out across several sessions
  • Being able to work on innovation topics that impact directly on Zühlke’s business
  • Cross-location and international learning—which may be especially important if you’re in a smaller office
  • The option to take part in individual development programs to boost your strengths and create a bigger impact at Zühlke.

Also, find out how a six-strong team of Zühlke analysts and developers won the Ecosystem prize in the Climate Hackathon and how the Zühlke culture of growth and development supports modern cloud skills:

Eric Fehse

Eric Fehse

Principal Consultant UX
Contact person for Germany

Dr. Eric Fehse is Principal Consultant, working since 2010 for Zuhlke. Studies in cognitive psychology and computer science as well as an interdisciplinary PhD form the foundation for his practice. His professional focus is on Business Innovation Consulting and Lean-Agile Product Management. The basis for his work is User Centered Design - a mindset and process that puts the user front and center and helps him create user interfaces that are as intuitive as they are effective to use. His long-standing experience in agile software development in the area of industrial automation makes him an ideal facilitator between users, developers and other stakeholders. He is a regular speaker at conferences, writes for the Zuhlke blog and is a „SAFe 4 Certified Agilist“.