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Designed to Win

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Designed to Win

What Every Business Needs to Know to Go Truly Global

Leaders Press,

15 min read
9 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

DHL succeeds with a human-centered approachand positive values.

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Concrete Examples
  • Inspiring


How does DHL succeed where other courier companies fail? Since the 1970s, it has offered delivery options in far-flung locations – including some that other courier services don’t reach – and operated according to values its leaders see as timeless and cross-cultural. Po Chung, author and co-founder of DHL International, explains that part of the company’s success hinges on its human-centric approach. It values special customer service moments robots can’t replicate. DHL’s pioneering path offers multiple lessons for designing and developing a strong global company, including Chung’s clearly written, accessible advice for leaders who want to create holistic growth. 


DHL’s success lies in valuing its workers’ humanity and giving them permission to make mistakes.

In the 1970s, DHL excelled as a start-up when competing courier services failed. Its success stems from its three values: time, reliability and speed. It set out to deliver to remote locations, such as Bali and Kathmandu, that executives visit. The company grew quickly by creating a culture that valued learning. 

As DHL expanded, its leaders embraced four tenets:

  1. Give employees at all levels decision-making power to further their career development and create a positive team atmosphere.
  2. Teach your team members to think systematically and strategically.
  3. Create a culture of transparency around mistakes, so people can learn from their errors.
  4. Let everyone know that the company embraces family values, since many global workers share these values.

In today’s service economy, successful leaders prioritize self-actualization.

The 21st century ushered in a new postindustrial service economy based on knowledge, creativity and information. This shift moves ...

About the Author

Po Chung is DHL International’s co-founder and a co-author of The First 10 Yards: The 5 Dynamics of Entrepreneurship.

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