It was November 2007, and DHL Express was facing an existential crisis. Our performance across all major markets was deteriorating, and without a fundamental overhaul, our losses were posed to threaten the profitability of the entire Deutsche Post DHL Group. Three hundred and fifty company leaders had gathered in Cincinnati to confront this challenge head-on. As the meeting began, a beating heart appeared on an immense screen at the back of the stage. Strong and steady at first, the pounding heartbeats grew further apart, faltered, and then ceased altogether.

You could have heard a pin drop.

I knew I had the crowd’s attention. Now I needed to convey that we had only two choices: act or face extinction.