Roland Dürre
Friday November 29th, 2013

“brand eins” in December

brandeins122013“brand ein”
is also available as  “App”. Not just on paper. That is why you see this picture.

In this particular instance, however, I am making an exception of the rule and still choose the paper version. Consequently, I have now been carrying the “brand eins” magazine with me for more than a week already. So far, I only managed a few brief glimpses.

On this Friday, however, office life is a little more relaxed. And I take a closer look at the “brand eins”. You could call it looking forward to the weekend.

This time, the focal topic is spirit of the time. “Understanding the Spirit of the Time“  is what it says. The message on the front page is “you are so nineteen-ninety“. I must say that, for me, this does not really seem to be true. In fact, I feel more like a “sixties-person” – but not when it comes to soccer clubs – or maybe a “seventies-person” – perhaps even a “fifties-person”, which hopefully does not mean anything like “false fifty bills”. Even the nineteen-eighties are something I am not too comfortable with, not to mention the nineteen-nineties – whatever my reasons may be.

Besides: what is actually currently fashionable? The zero-zeroes?

About the magazine:

Again, I rather like it. Even if ten pages of adverts in the middle of the magazine seem to admonish me about dressing with more chic. Looking at those pages reminds me of my mother. She, too, kept criticising “the way I looked when running around”. Well, it was something I had to put up with – and today it helps to just turn the pages quickly.

Other than that, even the short articles I had a chance to glimpse earlier this week again told me much I had not known before. And this is not only true for the “world of numbers”. Just look at what they write under “using up raw materials”.

Some articles also give me various mental associations. For instance, twenty years ago, two brothers started to make bags out of truck tarpaulins (page 98). And they were quite successful. I remember immediately that my own bike bags are absolutely great. And that perhaps someone started making bike bags out of truck tarpaulins 25 years ago. But it might just as well be a coincidence, like so much in life.

For me, the “cultural good on four wheels” on page 112 is also rather remarkable. This, too, is one of those topics that leave a lot of space for interpretation. On top of all this, the magazine is again quite full of articles. It will provide me with plenty of reading material over the weekend (and beyond).

And since Christmas is approaching: as you all know, I no longer buy consumer goods to give anybody (because everybody already has everything). That means: no luxury rubbish for my friends. My presents are theatre tickets, perhaps self-made elderberry syrup, special wines or, at long last, also beer brands – and where I feel it is appropriate, I give someone a “brand eins”. And basically, I must say it is a good principle.

(Translated by EG)

DrehscheibeDuring my summer vacation of 2009 in Greece, I wrote no vacation diary. Instead, I wrote an „entrepreneur’s diary“. Well, as I lay on the beach under the Greek sun, I wrote down what moves me about enterprises and entrepreneurs.

In September of the same year, I started structuring all those comments – calling them Rotary Disc. And I kept adding more and more articles to my entrepreneur’s diary.

Perhaps today is a Sunday when the sun does not shine so brightly, which might motivate some of you to do some reading?

I would be delighted to know you do and would very much welcome all comments! Here are all my articles in chronological order:

#0 – Mein Plan

#1 – der USP – Fall 1: CocaCola

#2 – der USP – Fall 2: Red Adair

#3 – der USP – Fall 3: Die Siemens AG

#4 – der USP – Fall 4: Metallbearbeitung im Mittelstand

#5 – der USP Fall 5: InterFace AG

#6 – der USP: “Summary” oder “Der Weg ist das Ziel”

#7 – “Elevator Pitch ” oder “Alles Müll”

#8 – Das ethische Unternehmen – Ausblick

#9 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 1. Notwendige Bedingungen für Sinngebung, Mission und Leitbild

#10 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 2. Notwendige Bedingung für den Umgang mit Gewinnen

#11 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 3. Notwendige Bedingungen für Produkt und Dienstleistungen

#12 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 4. Notwendige Bedingungen für Mitarbeiter

#13 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 5. Notwendige Bedingungen für den Umgang mit Kunden

#14 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 6. Notwendige Bedingungen für den Umgang mit Lieferanten

#15 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 7. Notwendige Bedingungen für die Unternehmenskultur

#16 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 8. Notwendige Bedingungen für die Führungskultur

#17 – Das ethische Unternehmen – Einschub – Zahlen – Pro Führungskraft – Pro Unternehmen 2.0!

#18 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 9. Notwendige Bedingungen für die Entscheidungskultur

#19 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 10. Notwendige Bedingungen für den Umgang mit Ressourcen

#20 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 11. Notwendige Bedingungen für den Umgang mit allen Stakeholdern

#21 – Das ethische Unternehmen – 12. Die trivialen Gebote des redlichen Kaufmanns

#22 – Das Ethisches Unternehmen – 13. Summary: “Ein biophiles Unternehmen”

#23 – Wir alle sind Unternehmer!

#24 – Die eigene Gründung – Motivation

#25 – Die eigene Gründung – Partnersuche

#26 – Die eigene Gründung – Planung

#27 – Die eigene Gründung – Start

#28 – “Eine kleine Geschichte” oder “Alles hängt von den Menschen ab”

#29 – “Das Tandem” oder “Eurasia”

#30 – Drehscheibe (hier befinden Sie sich)

#31 – Warum braucht man überhaupt Unternehmer?

#32 – “Prozessgläubig?” oder “Die Menschheit zerfällt in 2 Teile!”

#33 – “Prozesse über alles!” oder “Alles ISO?”

#34 – “Risk Management?” oder “Die Stärken sind wichtiger!”

#35 – “Die drei Erfolgskriterien!” oder “Unternehmenskultur oder Management?”

#36 – “Unternehmer: Jäger oder Sammler”

#37 – “Unternehmer: Hobbygärtner oder Modelleisenbahner”

#38 –”Das Joch des Unternehmers …”

#39 – “Das Risiko des Unternehmers …

#40 – “Sind wir unser Geld wert?”

#41 – “Wie konnte Queen Victoria das britische Empire nur regieren?” ♫

#42 – “Die Entscheidungsinsel”

#43 – “Persönliche Haftung – ja gerne”

#44 – “Ungesunde Ziele – ungesunde Strategie”

#45 – “Planen&Ehrgeiz” oder “Was hat eine Radtour mit einem Unternehmen gemein?”

#46 – “Unternehmensforschung” versus “Operation Research”

#47 – Erfolgsrezept für Unternehmer – Reflektieren und Leben!

#48 – “Leidenschaft&Sinn”

#49 – “Love it …” oder “Die Basics von Unternehmertum”

#50 – “Treiben oder getrieben werden” oder “Erfolg und Mittelmaß”

#51 – “Der Topmanager und die Menschen”

#52 – “Charisma und Führung”

#53 – “Von Ego- und Alterozentrierten”

#54 – “Drei mal drei Buchstaben”

#55 – “Die Parabel vom Kiosk”

#56 – “Die Starken fördern, die Schwachen ignorieren”

#57 – Umdenken im Management

#58 – Der Fakten-Manager

#59 – Persönliches Setup

#60 – Der Frust des Managers

#61 – Vorstellung auf modern

#62 – Zahlen lesen, Zahlen folgen!?

#63 – Die Skills des “Führenden”

#64 – Project Management goes Brecht

#65 – Was ist das eigentlich – Projekt Management? (Definitionsversuch I)

#66 – Was ist das eigentlich – Projekt Management? (Definitionsversuch II)

#67 – Was ist das eigentlich – Projekt Management? (Definitionsversuch III)

#68 – Wie entstehen eigentlich Projekte?

#69 – Projekte sind schädlich für die Gesundheit Ihres Unternehmens!

#70 – Reporting – für wen berichte ich denn eigentlich?

#71 – Über die Notwendigkeit von unvernünftigen Entscheidungen

#72 – Ungeliebte Meetings

#73 – Die Rolle des AR in der kleinen AG

#74 – Konkurrenzfreie Gemeinschaftsunternehmen in der Nachfolge staatlicher Monopole?

#75 – Besprechungen 2.0

#76 – Vertrieb

#77 – Eigene unvernünftige Entscheidungen …

#78 – Ich stell mir mal vor, ich wär ein Professor …

#79 – “Boutique-Parabel” (Vertrieb&Marketing 2.0)

#80 – Mein Leben, Project Coaching und die InterFace

#81 – Projekt, Management und Projekt Management

#82 – Was ist das eigentlich, Strategie?

#83 – Was ist das eigentlich, ein Unternehmen?

#84 – Kündigungsschutz

#85 – Der Buchstabe “V”

#86 – Der Buchstabe “R”

#87 – Es ist so einfach …

#88 – Das Genie

#89 – Wissen und Organisation, Führen und Managen, Unternehmer sein

#90 – Das magische Dreieck des Managements.

#91 – Nicht agil oder agil mal anders.

#92 – Guter Rat / Schlechter Rat – Episoden

#93 – Effizienz versus Resilienz

#94 – Geisteshaltung, Vertrauen, Konstruktives & Destruktives

#95 – Entrepreneurship, Start ups, Unternehmertum – irgendwie überhöht?

#96 – Noch mal Strategie!

#97 – Heute mal wieder zum Vertrieb

#98 – Die Ökonomisierung des Lebens

#99 – Goldene Regel für Unternehmen

#100 – Recruitment

#101 – Make or Buy?

#102 – Basics compact – Geschäftsmodell

#103 Basics kompakt – heute “Kategorische Bewertung von Geschäft”

#104 Basics kompakt – heute ”Kriterien des Erfolgs”

#105 – Kommunikationssplitter

#106 – Umorganisation & Teamgröße

#107 – Jede Woche 20 Stunden Weiterbildung in der Freizeit?

#108 – Moral der Metrik

#109 – Wie hoch soll die Rendite eines Unternehmens sein?

#110 – Manus Agere.

#111 – Risse im Führungsteam – Was tun?

#112 – Von sinnlosen Besprechungen.

#113 Der Flow und die Wertegemeinschaft

#114 – Inspiration and Impulses

#115 – A Personal Interview.

#116 – Social Media: Corporate Twittern

#117 – Warum können Erfolg und Misserfolg im gleichen Unternehmen so eng zusammen sein?

#118 – Mitarbeiterbeteiligung

#119 – Die Personalakte

#120 – Veränderung von oben!?

#121 – Kochrezept für Unternehmens-Gründer

#122 – Fahnenbildung mit Anleitung

#123 – Mitarbeitergespräche

#124 – INNOVATION – Nur so geht es!

#125 Moderne Unternehmen

I will write some articles more …


(Translated by EG)

Here are my tweets of last week on:
Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:

131205 Once a thief, always a thief – a problem when twittering and blogging er? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131206 Those who have a distaste for many things will miss a lot of delicacies – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131207 He who educates will also reign – hopefully not when blogging and twittering. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131208 If you want to do fencing, you have to wait for the attacks – also true for blogging and twittering? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131209 Fleeing even before you are hunted means you are too half-hearted – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131210 If you flee, you will be hunted – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131211 Thought freely is thought well – also when twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See and “follow” RolandDuerre!


(Translated by EG)

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

In my last entrepreneurial article, I tried to describe what qualities a truly good manager should have. And I demanded that acting and deciding agile is one of those qualities.
But what exactly is the meaning of agile? Let me start by defining the opposite (dogmatic?).

I always witness non-agile decisions where decision makers think they alone own the truth and accordingly copy the world and the constructs of their social system unconditionally and without questions. In other words, these persons have a personal and systemic “structure of prejudices” which has never been subjected to criticism. If this structure of prejudices is what all considerations are based on and if then imperative decisions are developed from it through dominant logic, you mostly get stupid actions with detrimental consequences.

The reason for this is simple: the world ticks differently from what you think. If what is allegedly certain is not questioned, if emotional influences and your own empathic acceptance of other opinions is not permitted and if warnings are considered uncomfortable or being suppressed or ignored, then this is what happens:
“ethics of responsibility” become “ethics of duty”, where all behaviour is justified with loyalty towards the system – even if it is detrimental to the people.

As opposed to this, being agile means that you always ask questions such as “how do you know this?” or “how do you know that this is correct?” both of yourself (!) and others – and perhaps not to avoid unpleasant replies. In other words, you have to be immune against “this is what everybody does” and “well, this is how it has always been”; instead, you have to try and compare your own constructs with those of other persons and, where possible, validate them against reality.

As I see it, this is the most important requirement for being an agile manager.

(Translated by EG)

For all the articles of my entrepreneurial diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

Roland Dürre
Friday November 22nd, 2013

Indian Gods

Here is a short follow-up on the Indian trip I returned home from less than two weeks ago.

shiwaTo me, the degree of religiousness – as far as I can judge from our guides and through close observation – seems amazing. Apparently, there are many Gods in India.

Naturally, this means that there are good and evil Gods. There are “utility Gods” used for a certain purpose. For instance in order to be prosperous as a merchant or in order not to be caught thieving.  Some Gods seem to exist for the sole purpose of luxury. You do not need them, but they are quite impressive. For lovers, there are allegedly also very romantic types.

Also, the gods always have some connection or other with animals. For example someone told me that inside a cow’s stomach there are more than three million Gods, all of which, however, are a little different from the next one.

I also got the impression that Indians sometimes create their own God. In my opinion, this is quite an attractive idea – design your “do-it-yourself” God that exactly matches your personal need. After all, we are all individuals and have our very personal “world”, so why not also have our very personal/private God?

More often than not, I got the impression that, in India, there is plenty of religious freedom. However, there are also some Christians and Islamists. In Southern India, for instance, we saw many churches. This was particularly obvious in areas such as GOA, where the Portuguese influence used to be quite strong. Among the Christian Gods, the dominant ones are Jesus and Mary. You will find many images showing them, often pathetically kitschy.

The reason why I noticed Islamists was that I heard the Muezzin calling to prayers everywhere night after night. As I perceived it, there were fewer women on the streets in Islamic areas. And if they were seen, they were mostly wearing Burkas. I saw only few headscarves. Consequently, I am assuming that the Islam in Southern India is a stricter variety. Of course, you will not see images of God.

(Translated by EG)

On the picture, you can see my office god Ganesh.  He is sitting in my managing director’s office and sees to it that all is well at InterFace.

Roland Dürre
Thursday November 21st, 2013


Here is the – non verbatim – text of an interview I gave a short time ago during the DOAG2013 for DOAG-TV. The questions are in cursive type.

You are managing director and co-founder of InterFace AG and full-time manager – both on the job and in your private life. You researched management models very intensely and developed your own model as you went.

Was there no existing model that might have met with your approval? And what model would that have been?

I think every entrepreneur or manager has to find his or her own ”Management Model“. Mine was inspired by the ”St. Gallen Management Model“, in particular the approach introduced by Hans Ulrich with its „8 Theses on the Change in Management” from the 1980ies. Another huge influence on me and my way of thinking is Rupert Lay, who was the Nestor of ethics in management of the last century.

You can hear a lot about leadership methods in the media. When speaking about it, terms such as entrepreneurial culture, ethics, morals, philosophy appear – these are words often used synonymously. Do they all mean the same thing?

That is exactly the problem: they do not all mean the same thing. In fact, you should only talk about these things after having read up on them and thoroughly informed yourself. Unfortunately, we live in an era when people like talking about things they do not understand. Just think of the term freedom – what does it mean to be free? Or the term sustainability.

What is expected of management today?

Management means taking exemplary responsibility, both on an operative, strategic and normative level:

  • Operative means your behaviour, “what you do” – that is to say the actual interaction between all the stakeholders of an enterprise.
  • Strategic means “leading” – that is “how” and in what way it happens.
  • Normative is for taking entrepreneurial responsibility, for the “why”.

It seems like a leader must be quite flexible when trying to balance writing black numbers and ethics. How do you manage this in everyday life?

Mainly, there is a conflict between successful numbers and “ethical decisions” when “the leaders” think in terms of short-time success. The more you look upon things on a long-term basis, the more ethically responsible balance of values will pay.  It seems that there is always a problem due to the fact that material values seem to be consistently easy to identify, whereas immaterial values basically cannot be counted. That makes the balancing process necessary for a decision difficult, especially if the shareholders decide their priority is the material: the shareholder value.

Communication is a powerful tool – often neglected. What forms of communications do you use at InterFace AG?

Nowadays, you cannot do anything without the internet and social media. But communication as a basis for collaboration must be ”hybrid“. That means we have to combine “Face2Face“ meetings with those in the virtual world. And that is what we try to do at our enterprise.

(Translated by EG)

Here are my tweets of last week on:
Blogging and Twittering, Wisdoms and Rules:

131128 Take an administrative post and you are no longer free – certainly a problem with twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131129 Do not trust people who rain too much praise on things – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131130 If you want to be a carpenter, you have to learn how to drill into hard planks – also true for blogging and twittering. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131201 Helping a poor person means thinking of yourself – also true for blogging and twittering? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131202 If you want to jump far, the first thing you do is go a step back – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131203 If you throw a stone over yourself, it might easily land on your own head – also true for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

131204 Punishing one means punishing a hundred – does that happen easily when twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

There is a new tweet each day. See and “follow” RolandDuerre!

(Translated by EG)

I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday November 19th, 2013

Videos of Dr. Roberto Simanowski at the IF Forum: Now Online!

On October, 25th, 2013, professor Dr. Roberto Simanowski spoke at the IF Forum, first about “Jean Paul: witticism, postmodernism and the new media” and then about “Big Data and transparent society – NSA, Self-Tracking and the internet of objects”. Now you can look at these presentations on Youtube.

Big Data

Jean Paul


(Translated by EG)

Elwood P. Dowd
Monday November 18th, 2013


harvey&friendWe first grow in a bag of water.

Our only connection with the world is the umbilical cord.

Today, everybody is running around holding a smartphone in front of their eyes.

Again, a balloon by itself.

The radio signal is the new umbilical cord.

The new bag of water is the search engine by mother google.

Mother google will nourish us with what she thinks is good for us and keep us away from what she thinks is not good for us.

If someone outside the balloon comes into our bag of water and asks for a street two blocks away, we will forward the question to mother google, because – unlike us today – she will know the answer.

Incidentally, there is no need for us to know anything anymore. Don’t think, link.

google is not an enterprise, google is a big mother.

We are the small children.

My friend Harvey says:

Objection, Dowd, life inside the balloon is not something the internet invented,
google only copied real life.

If, for example, someone turns an indebted shack club into a world-club, a butcher’s shop into a meat plant, even worries about integration of immigrants, then there is the distinct danger that he considers himself strong enough to become a one-man-nation who writes his own rules.

But L’etat c’est moi will only function of you systematically have the right false friends: the spit-lickers who always say yes and never say no.

Hoeneß has these kinds of friends.They hermetically lock him into a balloon and there is no world with other rules outside this balloon.

Unfortunately, there are far too many who, living in the ghetto of their own rules – keep violating all our rules without ever being aware that they act unlawfully.

Harvey, balloons are interesting.

However, they do not come with drums and trumpets, as you might imagine.

Initially, they are solid units, with thick and flexible walls. As soon as they fill up, they grow unexpectedly large and their walls get thinner and thinner. Finally, they will explode and their content is gone.

At the end of the last century, we had the internet balloon, then the real-estate balloon. “Sic transit gloria mundi” and whatever small and medium-sized savers and gamblers invested is lost along with it.

The “Hoeneß-Balloon” belongs in the family of solidarity balloons. After all, solidarity is nothing other than stepping in for other people’s sloppiness, ignorance, failures and incompetence. Solidarity balloons will mostly be built up in enterprises and governments. Normally, their growth is misery without end and their bursting endless misery. Because they fill up with solidarity, at the cost of competence.

Here is what you will find: a top manager or head of government will only choose those for his closest associates who declare their solidarity with his project, concept or vision. This makes competence a minor criterion – on all levels of the organization. Sooner or later, there will be the Troy effect, which means the words spoken by Kassandra will just not be heard. Well, not much is left of Troy, is there?

I wish we had more Kassandra-s in our governments and enterprises. They need character, because they are probably mostly frowned upon and called brakemen and slow doubt-carriers.
Even solidarity is a question of the dose
(Elwood P. Dowd)
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday November 17th, 2013

Uncertain and Unpredictable

In Google+, I am a member of several communities where problems that really move me are discussed. One of them is called Uncertainties and Unpredictables (Ungewissheit und Unvorhergesehenes). My Swiss friend Peter Addor founded this community – and he is also very diligent about nourishing it.

During the PM Camp of yesterday and the day before yesterday in Zürich, Peter initiated a great session on this topic, presenting a beautiful decision tree on risks. In doing so, he made a very clear distinction between the risks that can be planned, e.g. accepted – incidentally, the “MCA”, the Maximum Credible Accident, is one of them – and those that cannot be planned.

For me, this led to the understanding that a distinction between predictable and unpredictable (!) risks is basically only dependent on the fantasy of the beholder. And in retrospect, it mostly turns out that all risks might have been foreseen in some way or other.

The ultimate consequence of this is my idea that, actually, I should not waste energy planning against risks that might do damage to me. Instead, I should concentrate on being prepared for the imponderable. Wouldn’t it be a lot better for me if I managed to be flexible enough to cope with unpredictable risks just as well as with those that result from uncertainties?

After all, the risks I perceive in my concepts just follow the fear I likewise build up in my concepts. And, basically, they only constitute a small part of the huge number of risks I have to cope with eventually. This means that, in reality, I have to put up with many more risks than I can imagine. So why should I fear those I know, thus making my own life miserable?

Consequently, there is a conviction growing inside me that all this planning and balancing costs more than it gains me. A good piece of work will just need as much as it needs. No more and no less. And I can only do as much as I can afford to do.
Perhaps a free life is nothing other than doing without concepts of planning and balancing?

(Translated by EG)