Empowering People. Innovation with Value. Leadership to Excellence.
These are the themes that drive Torsten Osthus and he firmly believes that they make a difference today and will surely matter even more in the decades to come.
In this triad, he aims to pass on his entrepreneurial and personal experiences, and he has distilled the essence into four principles and a process many years ago. While building the OSTHUS Group with seven companies, he personally experienced how crucial it is to maintain this OSTHUS Compass at the core. Leading a company from 0 to 70 employees is a significant step, but building a small conglomerate with locations in Germany, USA, and China, comprising a service company and a portfolio of startups for the digitalization of Life Sciences R&D, is an even greater challenge. He encountered his limits and sometimes pushed beyond them. Ultimately, the focus on principles always made the difference: Concentrating on results, taking the next step with a clear view of the big picture, and the willingness to continuously learn and renew, even when it's personally difficult. Success, to him, is always a personal path of learning.
In the 10th grade of his school years, success was a challenge for Torsten Osthus. Instead of focusing on academic achievements, he was busy tinkering with his bike to make it faster. The result in the middle of the school year: According to his math and chemistry teachers, he got a solid F (equivalent to a low grade) in Mathematics and Chemistry. And from his Latin teacher, a F (the lowest possible grade): "Highly intelligent, but I've never seen such a lazy student."
His parents sent him to career counseling, which recommended engineering to him since his father was a locksmith at MIELE, and he enjoyed building things. With this idea, he approached his chemistry teacher hesitantly and asked him what he would think if he took Math and Chemistry advanced courses in the 11th grade. He feared that the teacher might laugh at him. However, instead of laughing, the teacher encouraged him, saying: "Torsten, if you really want to do it, you can achieve it."
This confidence deeply touched and motivated Torsten Osthus, and he approached his tasks with renewed ambition, leading to remarkable achievements. His friend, the class topper, taught him how to study effectively. He passed the 10th grade and then wrote the second-best exam in his advanced courses, outperforming his friend.
This experience significantly shaped Torsten Osthus' life journey. He realized that when someone believes in you, provides support, and you have clarity about the direction, you can move mountains.
After completing his mechanical engineering studies and obtaining a PhD in engineering (Dr.-Ing.), Torsten Osthus immediately became an entrepreneur. He founded a service company for custom software and quickly learned the difference between someone saying "Yes, I want to buy your service" and having a signed contract. Although his company grew to 10 employees, the future was always uncertain, and predictability or security were never truly guaranteed.
It was only when he consistently aligned the company's positioning with the capabilities and competencies of people and the needs of a specific market, Life Sciences R&D, that his company achieved significant growth and began attracting individuals seeking employment in that particular field. While this sounds good, the reality was that he transferred almost all customers to other service providers, focusing on a new market. This required the company to repeatedly reinvent itself. The success taught him that it's essential to cannibalize yourself and shape your future before others do.
The company evolved into a corporate group with services and product startups, employing over 120 people across locations in Germany, USA, and China. This expansion led to more investment opportunities and growth markets.
One of his companies was recognized by FAST Company in 2021 as one of the three most innovative companies globally in the field of Data Science.
Behind this perhaps impressive development, there's a lot of light and shadow. In the end, the four principles outlined in the OSTHUS Compass provided Torsten Osthus with security and guidance throughout all challenges and changing circumstances, helping him navigate safely through all waters and weather conditions.
Torsten Osthus now wants to provide this OSTHUS Compass to other individuals and organizations as a tool to simplify leadership complexity and guide it back to proven principles and a straightforward process. The Flow Index test enables individual, team, or organizational self-assessment.
Torsten Osthus himself says: "In the end, it's about knowing the direction, being ready to learn. Then everyone can take the next step, and the work will show us the way.
Success becomes inevitable then. If even one person benefits from the movement and finds their path, I've achieved something. Of course, I hope it's many. Because I've learned that the four principles transcend cultures and regions."
Every step leaves a trace.