Eva Ayberk is an international expert and consultant for organizational design and supports leaders, teams and organizations in their development. She is a successful author and – as we think – a fantastic partner for all surfers of the digitalization and those, who want to become one.
Eva Ayberk is an international expert and consultant for organizational design and supports leaders, teams and organizations in their development. She is a successful author and – as we think – a fantastic partner for all surfers of the digitalization and those, who want to become one.
In December we followed a very exciting invitation from Google Ireland – the invitation to the Women@CE Event. The focus of this event was “Lateral Leadership” and inspired us to take a deeper look at the topic of women in the digital age.
Why is Apple’s iPhone the most valuabe product in the world? It’s not because it’s the technologically most advanced smartphone on the market. It’s because this product is designed to be intuitive and do the things as they are expected by the users and to react to how they feel. Attributes that are more considered to be female than male. Why are the high-tech and digital technology sector still dominated by men? Let’s dive deeper in this topic an have a look on surprising survey results.
This discurs about gender questions are meant to establish awareness about stereotypes and is not meant to be based on general simplifications. Instead, we believe in information and inspiration, in order to support development, diversity and equality to promote competences in the end. In this spirit: Enjoy reading!
Good news first: No, you don’t need to learn coding! While the concept of Hackathons really has its origins in the IT world, it has evolved and become a pretty cool solution finding process, far beyond a classic workshop. Guided by an experienced Hackathon professional, we did a Hackathon ourselves to gather first-hand experience. As a result, here’s an idea of what Hackathons can do for you as a leader and HR professional. (more…)
Alexander Rehm has been working as an executive coach and leadership expert for many years already. He is originally from Munich but lived in Italy for a long time and is currently living in Switzerland. He works as a coach in both countries and knows the cultural differences between them. We talked to him about his work as an executive coach, the role of executives in the digital transformation and the future of face 2 face coachings.
You have lived in Italy for a long time and still work there as a coach today. Currently, you’re living in Switzerland. Has your work as a coach and the expectations of your clients, the executives, changed over the past few years?
Alexander: 20 years ago, coaching was not an issue at all in Italy. It was more the opposite: anyone who needed a coach was “sick” in the eyes of the others. Italian companies were usually very hierarchical and once someone made it to the top, the person was quite resistant to any “advice” or coaching. Unfortunately, this has hardly changed in many companies until today. Most of my clients work for international companies, therefore their leadership culture is obviously different. The reason for coaching is almost always a result from feedback, either directly from the supervisor or through 360° feedback. In that sense, my work has hardly changed, even though the expectation of me as a coach is going in the direction of consulting. Some clients are genuinely disappointed when I tell them that they cannot only get some advice from me about what they can do better. They actually have to work on themselves to trigger the desired change.
What is the situation in Switzerland, what differences do you see between the two countries?
In my opinion, the biggest difference between the countries is the attitude. In Switzerland, coaching is a perfectly accepted tool for personal development. I think that Swiss executives are more actively taking on further training opportunities than their colleagues in Italy. As a coach, you may have less need for explanation, but the topics are usually very similar.
A very general question: In your opinion, what are currently the biggest challenges that managers in Italy and Switzerland have to face?
Leadership has so many different aspects that answering that question could fill an entire book. Therefore, I would like to direct my answer to one topic – and that is the understanding of leadership especially in the context of differences between the generations. Nowadays, we have up to 3 different age groups or generations in a company. Very hierarchical structures and leadership styles are not up-to-date anymore. Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a client who told me how difficult it would be to have a good friend as an employee. When I asked him why he thought so, he said that he would feel uncomfortable giving him instructions. So I asked him why he thinks that his other employees would like instructions. I think that’s when something happened to him…
Executive Coaching in digital times
We live in a VUCA world and digitalization has an impact on many aspects of our lives. In your opinion, how do you have to act as a leader to respond to this change? Is that an important topic for you in coaching?
What does digitalization bring with it? Change! Changes or rather the fear of it or even the refusal to face it is always a key issue in coaching. Therefore, I do not see a big difference to a merger, a restructuring, an adjustment of the business model, etc. Something I notice, however, is the lack of understanding, which opportunities the digitalization offers for the companies. It is not (more) about the replacement of the typewriter by a computer, but the integration of all digital possibilities in the business process. In my opinion, many internal but also external change managers should do a better job here.
Are you using many digital tools in your coaching and how do you see the future of face 2 face coaching?
My coaching is always a mix of face 2 face sessions and short virtual sequences. Often it is about keeping the client involved in the process and therefore, Skype or Zoom calls are the ideal tools. But I am a bit concerned about the large number of offers on the subject of speed or telephone coaching. What makes us coaches, is the ability to hear between the lines – and that is not possible without the perception of body language in my opinion. So I think that also in the future, coaching will be a good mix of digital and face 2 face coaching sessions.
Online tools can, of course, add some value to a coaching session but what makes a good coach is the ability to hear between the lines and this is not possible without the perception of body language.
You have worked in an international environment in sales and marketing for a long time. What was the reason to start working in the field of human resources development and specialize in leadership development?
At some point, everyone is wondering if this is it and what the reason is to get up every day. I was able to live out my passion for human development as the head of a European organization. The results were so encouraging that I – within the group – reoriented myself towards leadership development. The establishment and leadership of the company’s Academy inspired me to live my mission as an independent coach after many years.
Where do you see the biggest challenges in leadership development in the next few years? On the one hand for coaches, on the other hand for executives themselves.
Leadership development will (have to) go even more in the direction of personality development. Business schools like IMD in Lausanne or INSEAD near Paris have been recognizing this for a long time. They offer a good mix of management knowledge as well as best practice examples and intensive coaching sequences in their programs. In these sequences, e.g. the results of a 360 ° feedback are discussed in small groups. The coach has a rather moderating role here. The participants are taught coaching techniques based on current practical examples, which help them to strengthen their self-perception. I believe that all of us – leaders and coaches – will need to be even more flexible and willing to learn in the future.
Our interview partner
What are your favorite coaching topics?
Life crisis, leadership problems, the lack of (self) motivation, reorientation, location determination and difficult top managers who believe they know everything but still feel that something is missing.
What motivates or drives you in your job?
I have a strong need to work with leaders, to help them find access to their own issues and to keep them involved in the process. I want them to not only think about possible solutions but accompanying them with the implementation of those solutions.
Do you have a personal motto or slogan?
My mission is to support leaders finding their own purpose
What serves you next?
Why do I do what I am doing? What do I contribute and what is the point of all of this? Many of today’s leaders are asking themselves questions like this. In a time where everything changes so fast and nothing seems to be permanent, it is only natural to deal with such issues. Anita Berger is an expert when it comes to engagement and motivation. She told us why the question of meaning is such an important issue and why the purpose of a company plays a crucial role.
The coaching industry is undergoing major changes caused by topics such as AI, VUCA, and digitalization. A few years ago, when we had a leadership problem, we were hiring a coach who can help and the problem was solved. But it’s no longer as simple as that. Inge Simons is working as an executive coach and told us more about the changes within the coaching industry and why it is becoming more and more important to work with the individual in its whole team.
Laurie Santos is originally from the US but has been living in different European countries and the Middle East for several years. She is still working as a coach and trainer in Kuwait. She gave us some insights into the business world in the Middle East, the current challenges for organizations there and the view on international leadership development.
Let’s say I have a leadership problem. The solution? I am looking for a coach who can help me solving this problem. But, nowadays coaching is no longer as simple as that. Like in many other industries as well, the coaching industry is undergoing major changes caused by topics such as AI, VUCA, and digitalization. Central for the coaching industry is, that there are no longer stand-alone challenges. Executives have many connections to stakeholders, systems and the environment, where only the best coaches can really provide support.
About the author
Inge is an experienced executive coach and facilitator who works with senior leaders and leadership teams across different industries and countries. The most important thing during a coaching session for her are impactful conversations that enable leaders to make some positive changes within their organisations. She focuses on increasing connectedness and impact as well as successfully navigating change. Her work experience ranges from managing complex international projects and programs through to managing culture and change processes and has intimate knowledge of starting up as well as integrating businesses. She has almost 20 years of international business experience and is working together with MDI Management Development International for about 4 years already.
From the individual challenge to a transformational coaching
Like almost every business sector, the coaching industry is undergoing major changes as well. The challenges are changing and so must the solutions, we offer as coaches. Many things have changed since I started working as a coach.
In the past, I worked a lot with individuals and their specific challenges. In a coaching session, we focused on current leadership topics and talked about them. Nowadays, we not only work on the challenges from one person but of the whole system the person is connected with. Instead of solving one specific problem or improve specific competencies, I am rather confronted with a complex system of connections, relevant stakeholders, different interests and structures. As a coach, you have to think beyond the individual. You have to think systematically. This skill was not that relevant in the past.
Generally speaking, coaching is changing towards a partnership approach, such as many other business fields as well. The key is that the coach and coachee really work together as a team. As a coach, you must be able to understand the person as an individual but at the same time as a part of a company and society. During a coaching session, you must permanently switch between these two roles. You can’t ask your coachee to tell you the topic you’re working on today. One could simply say: the individuality has increased massively in recent years when it comes to coaching.
But coaching is not only about strong individuality and a partnership approach. It is about changing things. A coaching should not only transform the coachee but as well the economic environment. Coaching is more than just working on the coachee’s skills.
And: as coaches, we must be faster, more agile and we must adapt our methods to the challenges and needs of our time. So far, as coaches, we have worked a lot with 360° feedback and various analyses. This is actually not so effective because you’re looking into the past with those tools instead of working into the future.
As a coach, you have to be much more agile these days to look into the future and not the past
Responsibilities as a Coach – Living a partnership approach
The partnership approach, we’ve been talking about earlier, involves certain responsibilities. The times where you went to a coach and spent one hour with him/her are over. As part of this partnership approach, you as a coach have to support your coachee as good as possible, also beyond the coaching session. In my opinion and regarding leadership development, this sentence applies more than ever “The heroic CEO is dead, long live the leadership team”. This is the reality and the reason why my work as a coach has changed. I still have coaching sessions with individuals, with senior leaders, but I work much more with teams and groups of people than a few years ago. Individual coachings are more an additional measure from time to time. This development is exciting and challenging at the same time. You cannot coach someone for a few hours, get paid for it and you’re done. But you can achieve a completely different impact and experience successes together with the individuals and with teams. This change is taking place throughout the whole training and development industry. In most companies, more than 50% of the employees are millennials by now. They have different needs and a much more personalized and individual working approach. In my opinion, the time of training programs, as we know and realize them today, will be over soon.
Excursus: Artificial Intelligence in Coaching
The Singularity University has built a new app that makes diagnoses, highly complex diagnoses and sometimes even better than most doctors. Some people may start asking themselves: why should I still go to a doctor? Tomorrow we may be sitting at home, uploading our data via a chip and someone will tell us what to do. In my opinion, this will be the reality in less than 20 years.
AI also affects the coaching industry. If you ask Alexa or Siri “How should I deal with my conflicts?” they will have a lot to say. One effect: you no longer have to tell your coachee all the basics because they can find them on the internet. Another effect: many average coaches will probably lose their jobs because they have been replaced by Artificial Intelligence.
What moves executives today
Nowadays, we have this interesting phenomenon that children learn a lot in school they don’t need later in life. Meanwhile, other skills remain on track. For example, the ability to quickly work together with people you’ve never worked with before – beyond nationalities. That’s a skill you cannot cover or replace by the internet or AI – unless we will all be robots at some point. This is a key challenge for today’s leaders. Everything has to be fast, you face a new situation with new teams and stakeholders and you do not even have 6 months to incorporate. You immediately have to get used to the new situation. In this case, we as coaches, can support them with questions such as “Who am I?”, “How do I affect people?”, “What kind of impact can I have?”
We learn so many things in school, but one of the most important things we don’t – for instance, the ability to work together with different people from different countries.
Nevertheless, the interpersonal relationship is still the focus of the coaching – in all possible forms. Of course, that has a lot to do with communication, whose challenge has increased with the complex systems, we live and work in. People no longer work alone, isolated in their personal “silos”. There is always a connection with partners, not only within the company but also on the outside. This is the reason why everything about cooperation is one of the most important topics during coaching.
Equal to the interpersonal challenges is the time, we currently live in, and all the challenges it brings. Complexity, overextension, the flood of information, aggressive competition, and constant disruption are just a few keywords. So many things are happening at once nowadays. As a leader, you must make sure that your business is running. At the same time, you must be aware of the changes which might come. The speed of change is enormous. Not too long ago, people were starting to talk about VUCA – now it’s here!
When working on a senior level, the question of meaning is central and more present than ever. People are wondering and asking themselves if their work really adds value to the world. “If my life comes to an end, will I be satisfied with what I did in my life?”
Coaching in times of disruption – a conclusion
We all come from areas where it is said over and over again “This is the agenda.” Based on this agenda, things get told, questions asked and on certain actions will be agreed on. But we all know that many of these actions are never put into practice – whether in a meeting or a leadership program. Now, when we think about what makes coaching meaningful and successful, it’s the following: the moment you take part in coaching, something must happen. We must change our mindset from “I am asking a few questions” to “I am doing interventions right now!” Such an intervention does not have to be big, it can be – for instance – just a sentence that triggers something in the coachee. What’s important is that something is happening and that you try to make a difference in this exact moment.
As long as this happens, as long as coaching creates impact, it will persist – still in times of AI – but at a different level with higher quality.
Dear Inge, where do you see the purpose of your work?
Firstly my work is enormously exciting and complex and consistently an adventure. Methodological I always start to work with the principle “We start with the end in mind”. This means that I always try to find out where we have to go. Actually, we never know where the journey of development will bring us and what will happen. That all happens unbelievably fast and this is what fascinates me. I like the complexity and I like working intensively, starting the journey anywhere and find out what it needs to support a person, a team or a company on their way. Most important for me is knowing to have an impact on people and the organization I work with and to make some change. Especially when I think of my kids and their kids. Primarily, I work in the organization sector, in government as well as in non-government and I would like to leave not just chaos for the next generation. I am trying to support the people as good as I can so that they can advance the organization in their way. Therefore, we are all helping to create a better world.
What serves you next?
Many of today’s leaders are asking themselves the question of meaning: Why do I do what I am doing? What do I contribute and what is the point of all of this? Anita Berger accompanies organizations internationally as a consultant in organizational development. We talked to her about the importance of the question of meaning and why the purpose plays a crucial role nowadays.
The digitalization forces almost all companies to change significantly. The technological progress led to some main changes in our society. Based on Khan’s work, we identified 6 core changes: Interconnectedness, the abundance of information, the increased complexity and transparency, less hierarchy and more empowerment and man-machine cooperation. Gunther Fürstberger explained what these changes mean for organizations.
What are the consequences of the digital revolution when it comes to leadership? One thing is clear: a new leadership approach is needed and agile leadership could be the answer. In our agile leadership model, we summed up, what you need to be a successful agile leader in today’s world: the right mind-, tool- and skillset.
We are living in a world that is constantly changing. Due to the digitalization and globalization, we are much more connected, which has its benefits but can be challenging as well sometimes. John Livden works as a trainer, mainly in Norway, but as well with international companies. We talked to him and wanted to know more about the current challenges for leaders in Norway, the influence of the digitalization for leadership and development measures and his outlook on the future.
About the interview partner
John Livden works as an executive coach and leadership trainer. His passion is to work together with people and help them succeed. He enables people to discover their uniqueness and possibilities, inspires them to take charge and full responsibility for their own lives and help them grow into their full potentials as leaders/managers and human beings.
According to your opinion, what do you think are currently the biggest challenges for Norwegian companies when it comes to leadership and how can they master them?
John: I think that the biggest challenge is actually the gap between management and leadership. Managing the projects, the people and the organization takes up so much time for leaders. My experience is, that a lot of leaders really feel this pressure. There so many things they have to do and the thoughts they have in their mind. I think that one solution to this problem could be the implementation of new agile leadership styles, where the leadership tasks are not only with the leaders but also with other employees of the company. This has a lot to do with coordination and cooperation between people and the way they work together. Successful leaders should be able to manage the complexity around them and still find time to actually build relationships, to communicate and to be there for their employees.
You are working with international companies and leaders. What are the most important skills when working as a trainer on an international level?
I think you need to have a good radar. You can’t know everything because you are not native. You have to be aware that you are working together with people from another culture. Try to find connection points and try to understand the differences. And probably most important, always pay respect for their culture. Keep in mind that there could be cultural elements that are inhibiting the learning process which leads to conflicts. In this case, sometimes cultural differences can be a hinder for development. As a trainer and consultant, you have to be aware that you have challenge things from time to time. Make sure to know how to do this in a good way.
What would you tell a trainer who has her/his first training in Norway? Do you have any tips?
I think, when we are specifically talking about Norway, it is important to understand, that the Norwegian culture and the Norwegian working-culture is very different from, for instance, the German or even the Danish one. Actually, many people see the Scandinavians as one entity, but there are differences between Norway, Sweden, and Denmark as well. We should definitely be aware of this. It is really interesting to see the differences the way people make decisions, how they approach problem-solving, discuss and handle conflicts. For example, the difference in the overall picture between a Norwegian and a Danish, when it comes to a business setting is following: The Danish has a much more continental influence on their business style and is more business oriented, as well as a little bit more formal and hierarchical. Of course, we do have hierarchies in Norway as well, but we have a much more egalitarian view on the work life. The power distance between the managing director and the genitor often seems lower. This is as well a difference to Germany or Austria. They are much more formal in the way they are working and how they are addressing each other. But I think this will also change with generations. In Norway, we are very informal in general, also in the workplace. Some people can also experience it a bit rude, when you really meet in eye level and people speak their mind, in some cases more freely.
The working-culture in Norway is very different from, for instance, the German or even the Danish one. The power distance between the managing director & genitor often seems lower and the view on the work life is much more egalitarian.
The influence of e-Learning in leadership development
So you said that this informal/formal way of addressing will change with generations. We can already see many changes between the generations in companies. Keyword: digital natives and digital transformation. How do see this? How does the digital transformation influence the work life in Norway already?
I think, when it comes to the Norwegian society, we are in the middle of the shift. Sometimes I am a little bit surprised when I am working in Germany for instance, and see that they are not there yet. Online we are connected, this is the way we live. But this can be very stressful for leaders, who are for instance 50+. Much more stressful than for a 20-year-old, who is growing up as a digital native and who is working seamlessly with different online platforms and systems. For a leader who did not grow up in this digital time, it could be challenging. It creates some tension between the way how his/her generation is doing things and “the new way of doing things.” All in all, I think that in Norway, we are really getting along with the digitalization on all levels of society. Public services, social security, taxes, the medical system, etc. – everything is online now. It is getting more and more digital and people are getting used to it. When they don’t, this will be a real problem. I have been putting a lot of effort, also in my interest, to use more digital tools.
This is something you probably also see as a training and development guide. Are you using a lot of e-learning during your training?
It really depends. In this case, I am kind of more a “classical trainer” who loves one-to-one-interaction: physically in the classroom but also in some group-settings. I know, that there are more and more courses available on the internet. E-learning is a component in almost every company. Many companies have e-learning platforms for many different skills, not only leadership skills. Our business world is very digital already, all of it and I think we will see more of it in the future. Besides that, I think that you cannot rely on digital solutions at 100%. For me, leadership has a lot to do with who you are and what you do. You can learn the theory, you can study the method, you can have check-lists but you cannot substitute the factor of human leadership. Leadership development is very closely connected to personal development. It is also about a leader being responsible for his or her behavior, attitude, communication and the way they come across. You can read this in theory but basically, you need to do it in practical life.
So when we are coming back to e-learning, I think that you can study the theory with the support of e-learning but the human interaction is missing. I really embrace the digital shift and I see a lot of positive things and, as I said before, I think that we have just seen the start of it. But we still need the human element. You can automate things and use things such as artificial intelligence but things can go crazy if we leave leaderships just to algorithms. As a leadership trainer, team trainer and organizational development consultant it is very important to have this human factor. This factor is based on relation, experience and knowledge – theoretical knowledge is not enough. This is perhaps also the deviation between leadership as a technique and leadership as an art. There is no 100% right answer to this. It takes a person and a character. In my experience, the most giving leadership development programs are the ones, where we go so close to the person, the leader and where we challenge them on a very personal level. This can be quite deep actually.
So would you agree that e-Learning is more an add-on and can be used for theory or as a follow-up?
Yes, it can be a real add-on. Also in my consultancy, I have an online platform, where we communicate, share things and thoughts, where I can show videos and so on. But this is something in addition to the personal contact and the group exercises.
How do you think that this will be in the future?
I think it will definitely change and we will probably see much more of the digital tools and the digital way of making learning opportunities like virtual reality. Of course, this is something positive. But I also think that we can lose ourselves in being human beings when we just rely on the digital things. Leadership is very practical and it happens in real life and in real life situations, where you cannot control what is happening between people. So there will definitely be surprises and it takes a character to be able to do that.
So all in all: What do you think will be the biggest changes and challenges for organizations, for leadership but also for the training and development industry in general?
We are living in a dynamic world, in which the demands of the employees will be different in the future. The younger generation won’t be willing to work every day from 9 to 5. This generation wants to be more flexible. Therefore we have to find much more flexible solutions and this flexibility leads to complexity as well. For leaders, it will be more difficult to control the work of their employees and to keep an overview. If you are giving the people more freedom, you are losing some control you traditionally had as a leader. This had been a very huge change and I think we have only seen the start of it. This is one example of what will change in the next years. So it is important to create a company culture, where flexibility is a big part of it. But it is important as well, to be able to be one unit, one company, one organization. Many leaders have already lost and will probably lose some of their formal power and structural power, so what will there be left? Leadership will be more about the relationships, the communication, the flow of things and much more. Leaders have to make up a new mindset and that requires much more agility and the ability to drive in a world that starts to work quite differently than it was in the past.
What serves you next?
Diliana Docheva, Ph.D., works as a facilitator, consultant, speaker and development guide for more than 25 years. We talked with her about international leadership development, why it is important that managers have to let go their personal control and involvement in every decision, and about the currently biggest challenges for companies in her home country Bulgaria.
What are the major differences between leadership development in European countries and countries in the Middle East? Are there actually really large differences as one would think? We talked to Laurie A. Santos, who is originally from the US but was living in different European countries before moving to Kuwait for about 7 years. She gave us some interesting insights into leadership development and coaching in the Middle East.
Nataliya Sergiyenko is working as a trainer for more than 15 years and is focused on providing business-trainings for multinational companies. Last year, she left her home country Ukraine and moved to Texas, where she is continuing with working as a trainer for sure. We asked her about her training experiences in the US, the differences to Ukraine and the skills you need when working as an international trainer.
Many of today’s leaders are asking themselves the question of meaning: Why do I do what I am doing? What do I contribute and what is the point of all of this? In a time where the speed of change is enormous and nothing seems to be permanent, it is only natural to deal with such issues. Companies can help their leaders and leaders can empower their employees to find meaning and simultaneously encourage their engagement for the job.
About the author
Anita Berger is MDI Managing Partner and accompanies organizations internationally and from all sectors as a consultant in organizational development, as a management trainer and coach, for many years already. She is an expert when it comes to engagement and motivation 3.0. As a certified trainer, she offers the Original Drive Workshop after Daniel H. Pink, which is also a module of the Agile Leadership certification course.
Being an agile leader – be mobile & motivate
For me, being an agile leader means to be flexible and to stay mobile. The conditions in companies, teams, and projects are changing so fast today that it is often not possible to act proactively – you have to react. As fast as possible. Agile leadership is about being mobile and staying mobile. Wherever possible, you should, of course, be able to plan and act proactively. But in my opinion, nowadays, it is more important to react quickly, constructively and productively. Another important skill is being able to adapt to different circumstances as a leader.
A successful leader also creates a set-up that allows employees to think in terms of ideas and solutions rather than problems. Employees must be able to think outside the box and constantly explore options and opportunities. Employees need a high degree of self-commitment and personal responsibility. The reason for this is that our fast-paced time is exhausting, certainly not always “easy-cheesy” and relaxing. In order to do so, a leader needs employees who understand the reason behind actions and projects. More importantly, they need to believe in it and go an extra mile to achieve the maximum performance from their own accord.
It’s all about purpose
In this context, the purpose plays a crucial role. Ideally, it is like this: There is a clearly formulated and strong corporate purpose the employees know about. They can reflect on this corporate purpose and establish an intersection between what is important to them and the purpose of the organization. With this interaction, they know how to contribute to the “bigger picture”.
Of course, there will be cases in which the company’s purpose is not tangible enough to define one’s own contribution as an employee. If this is the case, it takes a break on the organizational unit, which is relevant for each team member, followed by the comparison: How does that fit together? What is important to the person?
I think that there is still potential in many companies when it comes to defining the purpose. Especially regarding the correlation between one’s personal purpose and the purpose of the organization.
Many leaders are asking the same question: Why do I do what I am doing? How can I contribute?
If you would like to start working on this topic, start with questions like What does purpose actually mean for our company? How tangible is it and is there place and time for a real confrontation? Is it something that stands on a marketing folder or do I associate more with it as a leader, as a CEO or as a board member?
Furthermore, it is important to look for the dispute according to rounds of questions and discussions. It is about a conscious process, in which employees deal with their own purpose and at the same time as the one of the company. As well as actively looking for points of friction and similarities. It can happen that somebody says: My purpose is not your business, that’s private. Of course, this must be respected and, as a leader, you must at least make sure that the respective team members recognize their own contribution to the corporate mission through their work tasks. Thereby they have to find meaning in what they do and, as a result, gain commitment.
The concept of engagement – Drive by Daniel H. Pink
A concept, I really like to use, is the Drive concept from the bestselling author Daniel H. Pink. I use it to reflect with leaders and team members and to work on motivation and purpose. From my point of view, it gives you clarity in a complex of topics that is sometimes elusive and difficult to grasp. Furthermore, it provides valuable insights by determining the location: where do I stand? How do I fit for the business purpose? What else would it take for the fit to be better?
For example, I worked with a group of senior executives and spent a whole afternoon answering questions like: ”What is my own purpose? How does this coincide with the corporate trajectory?” One participant has stated that she clearly separates her own purpose from that of the company, and at the same time realizes that it requires quite a bit of effort. As a result, she asked herself where there could be a common intersection, and how much energy she can use to bridge this gap.
Exactly those kinds of reflections are the ones, I find extremely valuable for both sides, the participants, and company. It offers a real value, to pause for a moment and go into depth to gain clarity on the one hand, but more importantly to gain motivation and commitment for the daily challenges.
What serves you next?
How can exposure therapy help you face your fears? Michael is a coach at ComfortZoneCrusher, where he helps clients to become more confident by stepping out of their comfort zone. He told us what exposure therapy is about, how to overcome negative emotions and talked with us about comfort zone crushing in team development. [incl. practical exercises]
Computers have been in our workplaces for 30 years. We all have been using email and the world wide web for 20 years. So why are we talking about a digital transformation just now? What’s the big deal about this and how will it change our world in the following years? Is digital transformation just a buzz word or more than this?
OKR, Kanban, Scrum, Design Thinking, Management 3.0, Lean Management…the list of tools and concepts around agile leadership is long and somehow it seems that everybody is talking about it. Alexandra Sock is a trainer at MDI and expert on the field of agile leadership. She gave us a nice overview of agile leadership and the different methods.
Incredible 40 billion Lego bricks are said to exist in the world. After they conquered the hearts of many children, the small colorful stones are now conquering the seminar rooms in the management & development industry. We wanted to experience this method ourselves. Therefore we had a Lego Serious Play workshop, where we asked ourselves: What will MDI look like in 2025?
Impuls Workshop Lego Serious Play – Our Hard Facts
Duration: 3 hours
Number of participants: 15
Facilitator: Dominik Etzl
Question: What will MDI look like in 2025?
Framework: MDI team workshop 2018, day 2
Goal: First of all, we are always looking for new agile methods and wanted to experience this one as well. Furthermore, we wanted to find a common vision for MDI in 2025.
Think with your hands
This is basically the only rule in Lego Serious Play, wherefore it is unstoppable that all participants are starting to build once the little bricks are spread out on the table. But that’s not a problem at all, as Lego Serious Play is not about thinking and planning for a long time, it’s just about doing it.
While our facilitator has given an overview of the method and different fields of application, we have already developed the first buildings within a team. In addition to the intuitive and unstoppable building, we also had some warm-up exercises, with questions such as: What motivates you in your daily work?
„It motivates me that we are a team many different characters with different tasks. Nevertheless, we have one important thing in common: we all work at MDI. The cooperation with my colleagues and the helpfulness within the team motivates me every day. ” (Judith, Marketing)
„While building my model, I realized that I do not have a strict division between my professional and personal life. All my different activities and roles in life are symbolized by the different branches in my model. Having the ability to flexibly move around on those branches and combining one with the other motivates me tremendously.” (Julia, Marketing)
“When my colleague asked me what motivates me in my job, I shaped a smiley. I think it’s important to be able to laugh a lot, no matter how serious life is. I don’t miss that at MDI. There is a lot of laughter and fun in my work environment, and that is something that motivates me to go to work! Apart from the good mood in the office, we have a great relationship with our clients and coaches! This atmosphere motivates me a lot.”(Valmire, Junior Training & Development Consultant)
Since no specific know-how or skills are necessarily needed to work with Lego Serious Play, we came straight to the point fairly quickly: What will MDI look like in 2025?
In order to obtain different results here, we have divided our team into three groups according to their functions: Consulting, Project Management, and Solution Development together with Marketing. What was the concrete task? Everyone had to build their own vision first. Afterwards, the individual versions were assembled on a large board and supplemented or shortened.
The unstoppable euphoria about building new things has temporarily paused here because the question was complex and we wanted to take some time to think about it. But after a few minutes, all three team tables (Consulting, Project Management, and Marketing + Solution Development) were already starting to build their ideas and visions.
The ideas and discussion
After 20 minutes, it was time to introduce our future visions to each other. What we quickly noticed was, that new ideas were coming to light – even though we didn’t have a lot of time. The models we built, were the ideal starting point for discussions. We did not only discuss the models within the whole MDI team but also within the small groups and departments.
But what are the next steps for now?
We brought the Lego structures of “MDI in 2025” of all the teams to our office so that the ideas, we collected during the workshop, would not be forgotten. In the next few weeks and months, we will see which ideas will be implemented. However, it is already clear that we did not only get to know another agile method but also gathered many new ideas and motivation for future projects, through this workshop.
FAST FACTS ABOUT THE TOPIC
Why Lego Serious Play?
- Everyone is actively involved and makes their personal contribution to answering the question
- Knowledge is taught and the learning effect is enhanced
- Thoughts are illustrated
- Tangible models remain stronger and longer in our memory
In which areas can Lego Serious Play be used?
- In the search for new ideas and innovation
- To create a shared vision and concrete strategies for your own company
- Team Development
- Communication, values, and behavior can be reflected by this method
- To analyze future scenarios in a playful way
What serves you next?
Modern technologies have changed our working conditions. Digitalization has become the number one leadership challenge. Therefore many leaders are facing the question, how to successfully lead their organization through the digital transformation. But what are the consequences of the digital revolution for leaders? And what do you need as an agile leader in this digital times?
OKR, Kanban, Scrum, Design Thinking, Management 3.0, Lean Management…the list of tools and concepts around agile leadership is long and somehow it seems that everybody is talking about it. Alexandra Sock is a trainer at MDI expert when it comes to agile leadership. In this video, she gives you a short overview of agile leadership and the different methods.
MDI implemented the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) method in the beginning of 2017. Gunther Fürstberger, CEO if MDI, gives us some insights about the method and its implementation. What were the challenges in the beginning? How does the method work and what’s the difference to other goal management methods?