Roland Dürre
Tuesday April 29th, 2014

brand eins in May

On the way back to Munich from the wonderful Zurich PM Camp in the slow EC train with the two smelly diesel locomotives, I had plenty of time.

Among the things I had taken along was the new “brand eins” edition of May. Here is my calculation: 1 + 1 is 2 – this time around, I had the magazine with me in the train before the month of its official publication and I read it in one go.

brand eins mai 2014

The title is “How did you like me?” – it is about the interface between the company and the customer. That means: customers want more – and consequently, the focal point is: In the customer’s interest.

I found a number of interesting articles in the new “brand eins” edition. This time around, they made it a thoughtful magazine, rather than a “revolutionary” one. Also, I feel it is an attempt at encouraging various forms of trade. Even if they probably no longer have a chance of success.

For instance, it contains many interesting examples and stories about the relation between enterprises and trade on the one hand and customers on the other hand. And when I read it, my thoughts are:

What a pity that some of the ideas are now dead weights (Globetrotter).
What a pity that much of the transformation realized in trade is probably just cheating on the customer.
What a pity that many feel better when they get a chance to believe in theories which may sound prudent, but will not be helpful in the long run.
What a pity that much sounds like “cheating on the customer”. They say and want to make the customer believe that they sell a new spirit wrapped in new paper, but when all is said and done, everything will remain the same.
What a pity that the wrapping mostly does not say what is actually inside.
What a pity that they try to raise expectations which are definitely not sustainable.

These were my ideas while I read the articles. And then I associated a number of thoughts with what I had read:

What good will it do me if the friendly sign on the defunct escalator says that the owner will try and repair the damage as fast as possible while I know perfectly well that what he actually means is:

“The damage has been registered and the process will be followed according to its rules. The time of repair depends on many factors and, consequently, cannot be predicted.”

What good will it do me if I have a faulty product with a good label. However, the central store selling the label will only help me by referring me to the web address.

What good will it do me if I want to buy the techno-shoes for bikers in the specialized shop and am even prepared to pay a higher price. Yet if I ask the salesperson how best to get access to the kickies, he or she cannot answer my question – even though I know that I can buy the shoes for half the price on the internet.

What good will it do me if I cannot pay with paypal or other modern means of payment, yet will only get free delivery up from a certain price – and then it takes longer than if I buy from Amazon?

But I am also worried about other things:

So how am I, as a customer, supposed to find something that is not wrapped in plastic?
How will I get the desired quality of food if it is no longer offered?
Where can I get simple service, for instance for my bike close enough from home to reach on food?

Consequently, I can easily imagine that there will only be two kinds of trade left in the future:

Internet trade and very regional trade based on trust.

And I can easily imagine then spending most of my money with local businessmen and service providers.

But have I not written often enough:
The future is not something you can predict – and this “brand eins” edition is again a wonderful reason to discuss the future at length.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday April 27th, 2014

The First PM Camp in Switzerland

Programmpmcamp14zrhAt long last, we did it this week – the first Swiss PM-Camp took place. I was part of it – and it was a wonderful experience.

Most of the attendants came from Switzerland – which means that I made many new acquaintances. It felt very good to be part of the event. In some way or other, much of what happened sounded quite familiar to me and I remembered our RISE workshops at Hochschule St. Gallen.

🙂 This time, PM Camp was not just short for Project Management Camp, but also for Premium Camp.
Because in Zurich, everything was premium quality: the location, the way people interacted with each other, the session quality, the food, the Friday evening party and the closing event. …

The venue was the “25hours”, a boutique hotel in Zurich West. We had truly creative surroundings with lots of space for an innovative exchange of ideas.

orgateampmcamp14rhIn other words: the team around Silvio, Christian, Toni and Matthias has every reason in the world to be really content with this event. You did a marvellous job! Many thanks!

At the very outset on Friday morning, Mischa Ranseyer (here are his slides) fascinated the entire audience with his keynote on “Management in the 21st Century”.

Inspired by Mischa’s theses, we went ahead with many very illustrious and exciting sessions.
Naturally, I was also responsible for one of them. It is just too much fun taking up topics from other sessions and then mentally extending them in your own event.

Sessionpmcamp14zrhZürich was our start into the PM Camp year 2014. Initially, we had a PM Camp where quality was the most important thing for all the fifty participants. It seemed a little like the motto had been “small but nice”.

Now everything comes in quick succession:

The next PM Camps will be in Stuttgart (May, 9th and 10th, 2014), Berlin (June, 20th through 22nd, 2014) and Bad Homburg (PM Camp Rhein-Main from June, 26th through June, 28th, 2014). After that, the first Bavarian PM Camp will have its premiere in Munich between July, 25th and July, 26th.< ZerstörungWe have not yet set a date for Vienna, but in November, the PM Camp year 2014 will be closed with the great PM Camp DACH in Dornbirn (November, 20th through 22nd).

Whenever possible, I will be participating at most PM Camps. I am booked for Stuttgart, Berlin, München and Dornbirn. And, of course, I would be delighted to meet many friends.

So if now I raised your curiosity and you would like to attend a PM Camp for Project Management in order to share and increase your knowledge about management, entrepreneurship and shaping the future – and all this together with others while having a lot of fun and at high speed with surprisingly little cost – then you are welcome to contact me.

I am always at your service, both for more general information and very personal questions. Besides, you will already find quite a few articles in the IF blog which tell you about PM Camp in particular and barcamps in general. All you have to do is search for “barcamps und PM-Camp” in this blog.

Hoping to see you soon at one of our barcamps,


(Translated by EG)


Here are a few pictures taken during the weekend

And you can find more about the nice Zurich PM Camp on twitter – just look for the hashtag: #pmcamp14zhr

Roland Dürre
Thursday April 24th, 2014

Tweets on Twittering and Blogging #216

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

140501 It is all about how and who, not what – just like when you are twittering and blogging.  #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140502 It is not forbidden to reciprocate – something that might also be true for twittering and blogging!  #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140503 If you want to count the number of opinions, count the number of people – also true for twittering and blogging.  #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140504 Those you live wildly when young will live virtuously when older – also true for blogging and twittering? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140505 True motivation is the recipe for swift feet – also true for blogging and twittering.  #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140506 If you want me, come for me – that is also the right approach when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140507 If you want to find something, do not look too far – something that might also be true for 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 April 22nd, 2014

Carl Heinrich Graun – Der Tod Jesu

Evelyn Gemkow (EG), who helps us with the IF blog by making it possible for readers all over the world to understand our articles, has a very special hobby: she sings with the “Arcis Vocalisten”, a choir of outstanding quality. And now, they are again preparing for a very special concert, along with producing a CD:

CD production and concert of the “Arcis Vocalisten” – “Der Tod Jesu” by Carl Heinrich Graun

Flyer Graun - Internet CD production and concert of the “Arcis Vocalisten” – “Der Tod Jesu” by Carl Heinrich Graun

For quite a few years, the Arcis-Vocalisten have now been cooperating with the “L’arpa festante” ensemble when performing pieces of the baroque and classic eras – to the huge benefit of the Munich concert audience.

With Carl Heinrich Graun’s “Der Tod Jesu“, the two ensembles, supported by the Bayerische Volksstiftung, now attend to a piece which – for good reasons – has been performed practically on a yearly basis on Good Friday in Berlin for almost three-quarters of a century. This is the third CD production realized by the baroque orchestra L’arpa festante and the Arcis Vocalisten in cooperation with the Bavarian Radio Station:

After Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantatas ”Aus der Tiefen“ (BWV 131) and ”Himmelskönig, sei willkommen“ (BWV 182), which were recorded in 2011, as well as the cantatas recorded in 2012 ”Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen“ (BWV 12) and ”Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben“ (BWV 147), the two ensembles are now working on a joint project with a composer who, today, is only rarely heard: ”Der Tod Jesu“ by Carl Heinrich Graun (* May, 7th,  1704, † August, 8th,  1759). And the joint project again promises to turn into a huge musical success.

During the now numerous instances of cooperation between the Arcis-Vocalisten and L’arpa festante, it turned out that these two ensembles each found their ideal match. They are in perfect harmony when it comes to working on and performing old music. On the one hand, we have the Arcis-Vocalisten, about whom the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” wrote that they have a “huge repertory of finely tuned ways of expression”, along with “a constantly precise diction and narrative and musical homogeneity”.

On the other hand, there is the baroque orchestra L’arpa festante – one of the most traditional German ensembles specializing in old music. They stand out through the huge musical experience and virtuosity of every individual instrumentalist, as well as through their fabulous richness of colour and expression.

The two ensembles complement each other in an ideal way, and each new cooperation is a huge experience for all parties concerned, both on the musical and social level. So now the Arcis-Vocalisten and L’Arpa Festante turn towards Carl Heinrich Graun’s ”Tod Jesu“ – which is an impressive work, even if you only look at it from the perspective of its performance history. First performed on March, 26th, 1755 in the Berlin Cathedral, Graun’s Passion Cantata regularly was the constitutive factor of the musical Good-Friday program in the Prussian Capital for more than seventy years. This is even more remarkable because, in those days, remembering the works of composers from the early times was rather the exception from the rule. The audience generally was more fascinated by musical novelties.

This long-lasting popularity will immediately become understandable for the music lover of today as he enjoys listening to the work. While the libretto on which it is based is clearly a concession to the tastes of the time (which today sometimes might look over-affected), Graun’s composition still moves the senses of the contemporary listener very directly. The range of musical technique and musical expression used by Graun is huge – from the seemingly rather archaic double-fugue strictly in the old style for choir through arias in the gallant style as it started flourishing during Graun’s time, down to the opera-like, over-enthusiastic, exulting tenor aria.

At the same time, the work, as far as the underlying theological and narrative concept are concerned, is opposed to – or better: it complements – the Passions by Bach in a fascinating way. Naturally, the latter are the non-plus-ultra for the music lover of today when it comes to passion music.

On the one hand, Bach’s Passions mirror the events of the passion as a “historical” event, at the same time making the salvation history – the completion and execution of the divine plan with Christ as its centre and pivotal point – the focus of everything. Graun’s approach is totally different: Jesus is more a human among humans, a virtuous hero and benefactor in the middle of everyone, rather than the actor of an eschatological plan. Individual emotions of the divine human being Jesus are reflected and brought to the attention of the audience.

The actual events of the passion as a historical happening, however, are only mentioned as side-lines and indirectly. Music lovers need not wait for the CD to be produced by the Arcis Vocalisten and L’arpa festante, because the two ensembles will also give a performance of their joint Graun Project on

Sunday, May, 18th, 2014, at 8 p.m. in the Sendling Himmelfahrtskirche

under Professor Thomas Gropper.

As early as 7 p.m. Thomas Gropper will give an introduction to the concert, which is free for members of the Bayerische Volksstiftung.

The Death of Jesus – a passion oratorio of many facets with an impressive performance history, performed by the Arcis-Vocalisten and the Baroque Orchestra ”L’arpa festante“ in the Sendling Himmelfahrtskirche.

Tickets for 28.- Euros plus advance-booking fee are available at all the usual advance-booking outlets, under or by telephone: 089- 54 81 81 81. Students: 12.- Euros (concert evening only). Introduction to concert: 5.- Euros


Roland Dürre
Friday April 18th, 2014

Entrepreneur’s Diary #98 – Instrumentalising Life

Everything is subjected to instrumentalisation.

But why? An attempt at explaining.

Enterprises are social systems. You can distinguish them from other systems because their purpose is economic. As all social systems, enterprises tend to develop according to what is beneficial and useful for them, instead of according to what is good for the customers and employees. Too often, this will end in a “de-personalization” of the system, including the “de-humanization” of the interactions therein.

Naturally, in the long run, such a development will be more detrimental than beneficial. However, this is often forgotten, because everybody believes in short-term thinking. Only the next three months count – and everything beyond that is now irrelevant.

Why does this happen in social systems?

Every social system creates its own collective construct, just like the people create their own individual constructs. It determines the values of the social system and defends it against attacks both from inside and outside. The (collective) morals are an example for a typical result of such a collective construct creation.

Humans have to liberate themselves from personal and collective compulsions if they want to unfold their lives in its many possible dimensions. More often than not, the morals of a system as a massive construct block the way. There is a “you” which tells everybody what to do: “you do not do this kind of thing”” or “this is how you want to do it, there is no other way”.

This is how an ideological system develops. The reign of a collectively constructed system of values and ideas will be drastically overrated. And the collective constructs will continue to develop – but always with the main purpose of being beneficial for the system itself! Mostly, the end of the development is that the survival of the system gets highest priority. All other issues are radically subordinated. And this will eventually cause “fascist” structures. Those kinds of systems always give me pause.

Naturally, there are some typical consequences:

The persons inside the system will become comfortable. They will fall victim to their material independence. They get a feeling of security – which is often an illusion. This feeling causes the fear to lose something, which again increases the dependency upon the system. A vicious circle will develop. It causes cowardice and lack of independence, at the same time making courage and constructive disobedience rather hard.

Simultaneously, the systemic complexity of the vocabulary of concepts within the enterprise will be semantically emptied by the system agents, either knowingly or accidentally. The values are simplified, the prevailing value system will be made to serve just the economic usefulness. Along with it, all concepts and values are more and more emotionalized.

Based on this kind of change, the demagogy of the system agents will easily find the “right” arguments which tell you that all that matters now is the system – and what matters for the people is totally irrelevant. Maybe you could call this phenomenon “misled ratio” and perhaps it is the problem of our society and times? Because this “misled ratio” will easily let you forget that justice is also something that needs fairness at eye-level. Incidentally, the same is true for everything that concerns human beings. Because it leads towards “no alternatives”?

Systemic construct development will make the social system “enterprise” – just like many other systems – something that only serves itself. Of course, the important rule that humans – be it customers, employees or stakeholders – should not be there to serve the enterprise but vice versa does no longer play any role!

What can be done about this?

We must not allow “our systems” to make us totally addicted to them and incorporate them as part of ourselves. Also, we have to avoid being torn between unquestioned enthusiasm followed by bitter disappointment (introjection). No, we must try and strive towards a healthy identification with our system. This means that we have to pair loyalty with ethical control. Our interaction in and with the system has to be subjected to a conscious balance of values and we have to still be prepared to object and display civil courage.

What remains is the question:

How can you learn this “immunity against systemic forces”?

A good friend and mentor once advised me:

Judge yourself every day! Which of your activities today contributed more towards increasing your life in its many dimensions than towards minimizing them? For instance by making other persons feel better/greater? Or have you made other persons feel small?

Are you aware of using “interested sources”? Because the small and big systems, also construct their stories. This is how they create reality out of stories. The powerful want to consolidate their reign and will use the ideological myths and stories.

Consequently, you should always question those truths and mattes of course.

And not to forget:
Systems that make persons look small are just as bad as humans who make other humans look small. “Leader personalities”, in particular, should characteristically have the gift of making the persons they are surrounded by look great. In the same way, the social systems should aim at making “their” people look bigger rather than smaller.

(Translated by EG)


The person who gave me this good advice was Rupert Lay. The ideas I related in this article have been strongly influenced by what I learned and developed from and with Rupert.


For more articles of my entrepreneur’s diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

Roland Dürre
Thursday April 17th, 2014

Tweets on Twittering and Blogging #215

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

140424 Easy come, easy go – something that can also happen when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Bloggen #Weisheit

140425 Your personality determines what kind of fool you are – this might also be true for twittering and blogging!#Twitter #Bloggen #Weisheit

140426 What you sow on the field is what will grow – poor advice, also when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Bloggen #Weisheit

140427 The replies you get depend on what you ask – careful, bloggers and twitterers! #Twitter #Bloggen #Weisheit

140428 If you believe, you will get what you believe – also true for blogging and twittering. #Twitter #Bloggen #Weisheit

140429 The noise you make will echo back at you – also when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Bloggen #Weisheit

140430 As one makes his bed, so he must lie – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Bloggen #Weisheit

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


(Translated by EG)


I took the proverbs from Alle deutsche Sprichwörter.

Roland Dürre
Saturday April 12th, 2014

From 280 to 400 … !?

Last week, it said in the SZ that we now definitely have left the 400 behind us …

Around probably a hundred million years ago, our planet had reached a state which made it possible for mammals to develop. This state remained stable for a long time. To be sure, it was an “at the edge” situation, but surprisingly, it worked.

Until humans came with their headlong plunge into the Industrial Revolution.

Because that was the time he – or rather, we – started tampering with one of the most important parameters of our ecosystem with unbelievable speed: the carbon dioxide ratio  in our atmosphere. This important heat-trapping gas is a natural part of the air and during the last few hundred years – which is a rather short period of time –, its average concentration increased from an “eternal value” of 0.018 volume per cent  (280 ppm) to a horrendous 0.040 volume per cent  (400 ppm), because of the burning of fossil energy.

Due to the summer/winter situation on the greater half of the soil-covered parts of the planet south of the equator, the pulsing value had already permanently been more than 400 in 2014 . And by now, it is probably approaching 500 with enormous speed.
From 180 to 400 – this is an increase of 66 %, or more precisely: 2/3. And if it reaches 500, then this will mean an additional 25 %. Relative to the basic combustion value of fossil energy, you get 277,77 %!

Ladies and Gentlemen – we are talking the ecosystem of our planet, which is the basis for our lives!

Now everybody should understand that,

if in such a system,
which is complex to an enormous degree,
which constantly moves in the most fragile of equilibria
you change a central parameter 
by two or three times its value,

this must cause a massive change to the entire system!

Also, it seems rather plausible that this change will be felt with some delay and not linearly, either. Instead, it manifests itself in various ways. Which makes matters even worse, because we will always notice the reaction to our behaviour after a long delay. To make up for it, those reactions will be so much the more massive. And if feedback cycles are too long, the willingness to make decisions and take measures will be even less.

You only need a little technological thinking in order to realize this. And it is something everybody who has been socialized with the natural sciences and as an engineer in the 20th century after the ages of enlightenment and industrial revolution should understand. To be sure, you need some good intensions if you decide not to ignore negative, and therefore hindering, information.

Climate models and computer simulations show that something will happen and they also outline scenarios of what might happen. So far, the models are probably far from sufficient to really mirror reality. But still, we should at least take the scenarios of the future gained through these calculated predictions rather seriously. Especially if the actual development keeps supporting them.

Basically, this means that the entire discussion about the end of fossil energy is vain. This is certainly not about where to find more crude oil or gas. Instead, it is all about terminating the mass emission of carbon dioxide as quickly as possible.

Because the carbon dioxide ratio of our atmosphere must be brought down to below 400!

New methods which, after all, often generate more carbon dioxide during the production period than they will later emit during their use are something that must naturally be out of the question. Since they increase the carbon dioxide ratio of the air, you need no additional arguments against them. Additional destruction and risks for the environment during the mining process are purely supplemental. Fossil energy sources such as coal, too, have to be abolished, no matter how much of them is still available.

There is only one thing left to do for us: we have to avoid and end burning fossil energy wherever possible. This is something every human being must decide by himself or herself. I personally definitely plan to radically reduce the consumption of fossil energy during the remaining years of my life. And I already started doing so.

This is not because I believe I can save the world.

This is because it is one way to make me again a little more content and happy. By now, I know that doing without too many too heated rooms in the house, by minimizing air trips, by never going by car, as well as by avoiding plastic waste and much more of the same sort and instead by practicing “active mobility” on foot or by bike and using the slow public transport for mobility, I can increase the quality of my life as much as by eating more consciously and consuming less.

If more people were to act like me, we would probably get a huge “economic catastrophe”. Half of our economy would collapse. And “hard times”, including “social turmoil” and “great changes” would quickly come. Our political and economic systems would probably collapse.

Well, this is something I would gladly accept. Too much is at stake. And, after all, I have been living off the fat of the land for sixty years, haven’t I? Consequently, I will now have to endure something like ten not so nice years of transformation. After all, innovation is always creative destruction, isn’t it? And such destruction will sometimes be more and sometimes less massive.

So far – and this is strictly a gut feeling of mine – I still see the great chance of turning matters around with halfway decent results. That is: starting something new and better out of the collapse as described above which perhaps is not quite as cruel as it seems. Who knows if this will still be an option fifty years from now?

So here is what we should do – better to make a painful break than get a final break full of pain.

Obviously, the next generation will curse our generation, as well as some generations before, as soon as they have to live with the damage we did and suffer the consequences of what we did. Because those who follow us will have to fight against warming nuclear waste as the tip of the iceberg of our legacy: dirty oceans, degraded soil, sealed areas and rivers that dried up, rising sea levels and all kinds of environmental catastrophes caused by us. And they will only shake their heads and decide it is better not to remember their forefathers. Because otherwise they might perish in anger.

At the chance that someone will be reading this article in fifty years: please accept my apologies for my personal behaviour of the last fifty years.

(Translated by EG)


I am not sure if all my numbers have been researched correctly or if they were always computed correctly. However, I do not think this is important, because the trend is well established, more than plausible and visible, as well as noticeable. And if something is as important as this, I do not think it is permissible to assume that predictions were based on huge errors or to hope for a miracle …

After all, the causes for this trend also underline that the current ideas are correct. Said causes are strongly overacted social-ethic anti-values such as greed, waste, ruthlessness, excessive egotism, lack of humility and modesty.

 Service / Counselling / Matters of Trust

High-end services are a matter of trust. Especially if we are talking a service that is not a “commodity”. Then, trust is all.  But trust is something that develops step by step, it takes its time.

When all is said and done, the only persons who can build up trust are those who deliver. They have to do the right thing. If they do a job well for the customer, then there will be some kind of word-of-mouth marketing. The circle of those who trust you will increase and additional “trust-based” turnover will develop. This is how you get constant growth, which, however, usually will not be exorbitant.

In our growth-oriented world, this process is too slow for many enterprises. They have high expectations, the growth must be sped up by all means. This is why enterprises, again and again, try to sell even high-end services “through professional promotion”, building up their own sales and distribution machinery.

Mostly, this will not work. Why?

You will hardly ever have sales persons who have a) the emotional conviction and passion for the service product , b) the technological competence and c) the very special feeling for what the customer actually needs to the degree the experts who do the job in-loco have these qualities.

And if they fail, they will always be able to explain their sales failure away easily. After all, they had to fail! In order to be successful, they would have needed a clearly defined product with a precisely describable added value.

Except – is it possible at all for a service which is totally tailor-made and offering support, on top of completely taking into account the customers’ needs, to be such a simple product?

I see the entire question as an encouragement for the honest owner of a medium-sized enterprise. It is one more reason for the “small ones” to have a chance against the “big ones”. Because in a concern, the first thing that matters will – for structural reasons – never .be the customers’ interest. Instead, they will always focus on optimization of their own goals and processes. And, of course, the sales department has to sell what is in accordance with the goals of the enterprise, rather than what is best for the customer.

And consequently, I know a number of enterprises that tried to achieve quick growth through the employment of a sales person. With beautiful regularity, the end result was “a waste of time and effort”, along with the expensive lease of a sales limousine that is still sitting in the driveway.

(Translated by EG)

For more articles of my entrepreneur’s diary, click here: Drehscheibe!

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

1404117 The song will be like the melody – also true for twittering and blogging? #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140418 Your harvest will be as good as your care for the crops was – this might also be true for twittering and blogging! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140419 Tit for tat – poor advise for twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140420 We reap what we sow – also true for blogging and twittering! #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140421 The mouth will speak what the brain thinks – also true for blogging and twittering. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140422 Tell me how you speak and I will tell you who you are – also when twittering and blogging. #Twitter #Blogging #Wisdom

140423 The harder you strive, the better your results will be – also true for 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
Monday April 7th, 2014

Entrepreneur’s Diary #96 – Yet Again: Strategy!

Well, I already wrote several articles about strategy in my entrepreneur’s diary. Because, in my entrepreneurial life, strategy has been a painful topic for a long time. Again and again, I tried to plan the future. I attempted to develop theories about the market and the competition, to judge technologies, to foresee market developments and to draw conclusions that might allow me to formulate plans and then realize them.

And I felt I was not up to the task. Yet my “entrepreneurial super-ego” kept forcing me to come up with a strategy. And it also compelled me to tell it to others. This is how I came to believe I should do and commumicate things I myself did not believe in.
In retrospect, I must say: the strategy concept never really worked!

The things that were eventually a success where those that had not been planned. With predictable regularity, the plans that had been logically and rationally formed failed, regardless of the fact that at least some of them had been really well validated, researched and secured in all possible directions.

Today, I believe strategy is what promotes the organization of an enterprise. It is the miracle responsible for the survival of an enterprise as a fluctuating construction in the flow of time. Enterprises are social systems. They are directed towards a business and mercantile goal. These kinds of social systems are more like human beings than machines. Just like humans develop constructs, enterprises will also develop collective constructs. You cannot control them. Consequently, the organization of the social system “enterprise” is something very special.

I rather like comparing it to this:

Let us assume an enterprise were a human body. The organization contains all that controls and moves the body, as well as lets it function properly. We might be talking the nervous system, the blood circulation, the muscles, the lymphatic vessels, and much more.
In order for all of these elements to work, you need a healthy body. Consequently, I have to preserve the health of this body – in this comparison the enterprise and its organization. So it is the job of the strategy to keep the enterprise healthy.
Naturally, this comparison, too, is a little lopsided. But at least it gives you a vague idea about the complexity and difficulty of enterprise organization. Because an enterprise is a living thing.

What strategy should achieve:

It is the normative power helping the enterprise to define itself against all others. It determines the attitude of mind, the decision making process and the values on which all behaviour is based. It will guarantee that more and more decisions made are the “correct” decisions, instead of the “wrong” ones. It helps those who have to act when they need to determine what is good and bad for the enterprise.

This is a definition of strategy I like. It is also helpful. Because now everyone who wants to work strategically knows what to do: determine what is good and bad and do the right thing more often than the wrong thing.

And this is something you can only do through comrades in arms, both in an enterprise and in all other social systems. And those comrades in arms are persons in the enterprise, rather than an often lonely management caste thinking they should develop visions and control people when it comes to realizing those visions. The strengths of a good strategy are its density in and nearness to reality, rather than logically founded mind games.

The best kind of strategy is if all stakeholders and parties concerned in an enterprise feel the same way about where the enterprise should be headed. Just like all the cells of a body must “act in concert” if the body is supposed to live.

(Translated by EG)


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