Roland Dürre
Friday February 12th, 2016

Three Phrases that can Destroy all Joy and Courage.

And I mean both for yourself and for others.

So klein ist der Mensch. Am linken Rand Muhamed, Führer und Freund.

We are back home! Humans are such small creatures. On the left, you can see Muhamed, our guide and friend.

Last week was the first time I saw the tombs and temples of the Pharaos. I learned many new things and had time to ponder.
I became aware of three phrases that can make life harder. The first one is

Yes, BUT …“
Early in life, I learned that it is probably not a good idea to say “yes, but” too often. It happened while I underwent management coaching.

In entrepreneurial everyday-life, I sometimes suffered under the “yes, but” attitude of the people around me. It probably never gained us very much.

When we decided
Hurrah, we will go on our first ever cultural Nile river trip!
the phrase re-surfaced.
I often heard it – sometimes I even heard myself saying it.

Yes, but what about our carbon dioxide footprint …
(a problem I take rather seriously) 
Yes, but aren’t cultural trips always so tedious …
(a temple a day, and sometimes two…)
Yes, but what about the long travel until we get there …
(it took almost 13 hours, first the train to Nuremberg, then the flight to Hurghada on the Red Sea and from there the bus to Luxor – another 380 km).
Yes, but we cannot do it because of the terrorist threat …
(while two trains collided in Munich)
and so on, and so forth …
And how stupid we would have been had we abstained from this trip!
The second phrase I mean is
Being opposed to something!

How often do I catch myself opposing something?
I oppose the gigantic subsidies of business cars. I oppose fascism. I oppose the stupidity of politicians. I oppose the coal harbour on the Barrier Reef in Australia. I oppose waste of food. I oppose bureaucracy. And so on, and so forth …

Just a few years ago, my friend Jolly Kunjappu declared that “being opposed to something” is a negative concept that will push you down. Why don’t we, instead, focus on what is nice, what we like and what we appreciate? This concept will give us courage and joy.

The third phrase is one that I was made aware of by Moslam last week. Moslam was our guide during our Nile river trip. We became friends. He regularly travels to Germany. Consequently, we also talked about his experiences in my home country and he told me how it always moves him when his German friends keep saying:
“We must …“

I know very well from my own experience what he means. I must go and buy some milk. After that, I must write an IF Blog article and evaluate business plans. And then I must meet Barbara for lunch at the Artemis (the Greek restaurant just around the corner). And in the afternoon, I must meet friends from the university at the Forschungsbrauerei for the brown ale initiation. And tomorrow, I must go and attend the F.re.e

But then, isn’t it wonderful that I can go and buy milk. After all, it is not at all a matter of course that, just around the corner, you can buy good milk in the brown bottle with 3.8 % fat. It actually still tastes like milk! And I always enjoy dining at the Artemis, because there the food tastes excellent and the Greek landlord and landlady are always so friendly. The Forschungsbrauerei, too, is always worth visiting and at the F.re.e , there are so many impulses waiting to tell me what I can do – thanks to the diversity of cultures and regions on our great planet.

These are all things I enjoy doing, because they are just wonderful – so why would I have to do them?

In a nutshell, I would say:
It pays to think and write in a “positive” way. If that is what you decide to do, you will feel and think more and more like it!

Pure luxury between Luxor and Assuan. Isn’t life just great?

Luxus pur von Luxor nach Assuan. Das Leben ist schön!

Luxus pur von Luxor nach Assuan. Das Leben ist schön!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Now I returned home from Dornbirn and it is the weekend. It was a truly strong week. First, I spent two nights in Nuremberg with a long day on the #DOAG2015 and then, between Thursday and Saturday, I enjoyed a very intense PM-Camp in Dornbirn #PMCampDOR. Incidentally, the two hashtags will link you to the tweets for the two events. It is well worth taking a look.

Last Wednesday, on the DOAG 2015, I was again permitted to speak. I talked about:

“Creative Room – Healthy Room!“

Here are the picture by Christian I used and the short outline of my presentation.

"created by Christian Botta"

“created by Christian Botta“

Today: More often than not, the work situation in enterprises seems to be insufferable. There are (many) employees who mentally already have given notice. The salary is considered compensation for personal suffering. But then, they have neither the courage nor the strength to say: “Love it, change it, or leave it“.
Useless meetings, feeling powerless and the burnout syndrome are the consequences. Now they want to do something about it, see also: BGM (company health management).
Consequently, we find change all around us. Conferences are replaced by anti-conferences. I prefer attending barcamps…

And I will now present the story of my presentation. I had to hand in a short version. Then the documents for the presentation. Also the transparencies. But I had none. Because I always speak without.

Christian Botta of VisualBraindump made a picture protocol of my presentation. Thanks a lot!

Today, I give my presentation. Perhaps I will call it “Complexity, Innovation and Burnout in Enterprises”. In fact, that would have been a better title than the one in the proceedings. Or perhaps “How to Keep Humans Species-Appropriate”. Because, basically, I was talking about the same principle as the “key speaker” Gunter Dueck.

I started with the impressions for the presentation from early this year. That was when Dietmar Neugebauer (President of the DOAG) asked me if I would again like to speak in November on his conference. I certainly gladly accepted. Then there were the thought-provoking impulses. One of them was OpenInnovation at InterFace AG , realized with the Nuremberg FAU, chair of Prof. Möslein. During the final event of this project, there was a presentation by Dora on “creative rooms”. After this, it became pretty clear to me how rooms (and organisations) should “look” if you want them to provide innovative inspiration – both physically and virtually.

Apparently, they have something to do with participation, respect, eye-level, culture, breaking patterns, joy and happiness.

A few weeks ago, I heard an interview with Dr. Marius Poersch. Marius is a psychologist, head doctor in a hospital with many patents who have suffered from burnout. He wants to be more than just a “repair shop”, so he also does some scientific research on what humans and organisations can do in order to minimize the burnout risks. After his presentation, I have a good idea what a “burnout-free” room should look like.

Surprisingly, but basically also logically, the result is: the rooms are exactly the same. The “room” as described by Dora for promoting innovation looks exactly like the one presented by Marius for keeping us healthy.

So what are the reasons for all this frustration we suffer from? We assume it is the complexity that gives us fear and the bureaucracy that is generated in our society as its consequence, trying to give us some dubious sense of security.

Insertion:

As an example: my own frustration as an entrepreneur (because at oracle in Nuremberg), the story of DocuMaker and the Federal Agency for Employment.

Failure due to stupid rules, the Oracle middleware product manager does not know the product, prediction about the future of Oracle by Larry Ellision … lots of frustration, immense loss for all. Thank God no Distress for us, because the success would have been Oystress.

Assumption:
A complex world with quick change gives us problems. And then there are the processes, rules, protocols, processes that are supposed to help with the complexity but all they do is make life harder for us.

Insertion:
About the Berlin PM Camp (complex versus complicated).

There were also many abstract discussions about the difference between complex and complicated. According to Niels Pflaeging, it is quite simple: as long as it is just complicated, the classic methods of project management and problem solving can help us. But this is no longer true when it gets complex.
I think it is not as easy as that. I did a session with Maik Pfingsten (Blogger, PoD-Cast) and rather enjoyed Maik’s definition of complexity (from the perspective of the system engineer)
x – axis: degree of complicatedness; 
y – axis: speed of change;
The more you get of both, the more “complex” it is;
I extended this to also include the 
z – axis: “human factor” degree in the project.
This means: the more complicated and dynamic and the more of a human factor you have, the more complex it is …

But:
Seneca said: Philosophy does not mean talking, it means acting.

Consequently:
What can we do? Whenever it gets more and more complicated, when matters change ever faster and when the human factor becomes more and more apparent?

There are no cooking recipes or Best Practice, neither are there any methods or technologies. All I can offer are a few ideas to think about.

As an engineer, software person and technologist.
Let me refer you to the: Agile Manifesto (2001)As an entrepreneur, manager and leader:
Hans Ulrich – Eight Theses on Change in Management (1982)Insertion:
Here are his “Eight Theses on Change in Management” in a nutshell with a few additional notes:

  1. Accept not knowing and not being able to predict the future as a normal state of affairs!
    Well, you simply cannot predict the future …
  2. Broader horizons for your thinking!
    Oppose “You cannot do this” or “This is how we always did it”. Do not suppress the freedom of ideas. Share knowledge.
  3. Move in the category “both”, instead of “either-or”!
    Black-and-white is out, colourful is in.
  4. Think multi-dimensionally! 
Your balancing of values must be ethically responsible. Basically, humans can only deal with three ideas at one time.
  5. Use self-organization and self- control as your basic formative model for your enterprise!
    Responsibility, subsidiarity
  6. Consider management as a function that gives and promotes meaning!
    
New management image.
  7. Focus on what is really important!
    Work economy.
  8. Make use of group dynamics!
    Cultures, symbols, rites, rituals …

As a human being:
John Izzo – five things you should consider before you die!
I strongly recommend the Review  of the book.

Or the experiences made by Bonnie Ware:
Here are the five things he found out people wanted:

  1. “I wish I had had the courage to live my own life“
  2. “I wish I had not worked so much”
  3. “I wish I had had the courage to show my emotions“
  4. “I wish I had remained in contact with my friends“
  5. “I wish I had permitted myself more happiness“

Those are the five insights Bonnie Ware collected when he accompanied dying persons. As I see it, there is a lot to be learned for life from these statements …

Yet none of all these things will help you if you are not prepared to actually live. Something is still missing.

Insertion:

One of my mentees works for Osram: They are already in a permanent crisis, anyway. Additionally, their move from near the 1860 stadium to Garching looked a little stupid to me. My mentee lives in Unterhaching. His daily way to work is now four times as long as it used to be. He feels how his mood gets worse and worse. .
He arrives at work in a bad mood and returns home in a bad mood. Dialogue: How is your boss? – He is in a good mood! – What is he doing differently from you? – He rides his bike every morning from Trudering to Garching! – So why don’t you, too ride your bike! – Cannot! – Cannot is not defined! 
He then bought an e-bike and went to work riding it every day. And ever since then, he arrives at the office in a good mood, and the same is true for when he arrives at home. And he feels so much better …

In simple terms:
Our body needs exercise and fresh air. And time with nature. And you can have it so easily – with active mobility in everyday life. See also AktMobCmp.

Seneca, too, taught us: 
Follow the laws of nature.
(Seneca was a teacher who wanted to make his students successful and happy. Unfortunately, this has never been the first goal of my teachers).

How is anybody supposed to come to terms with his own life if he cannot even come to terms with his own mobility? And driving a car is definitely not something that makes you free, nor will it bring you fulfilment in life … (Even if that is what a seemingly overpowering industry tells us in a gigantic brainwashing process).

So: what we need is nice and regular exercise!

But not the kind of exercise I experienced after the Eldorado cinema in the Sonnenstrasse. I had tears in my eyes when I exited after having watched the great “Die Kinder der Mme Ann“. And just imagine, right across the street, there is a fitness studio on the first floor. It has huge windows … And you can see in the light of the windows how the persons do their “work-out”. According to the motto Work Hard, Play Hard, WORK OUT …

For me, this is a horror vision. Planning fitness like an entire life. So why not change your life! You will see it can be done. Because, as Seneca said:

The reason why we do not start doing something is not that it is hard. Instead: Things are hard because we do not do them.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.:
During my presentation, I made two more insertions: about terrorism and about the asylum seeker situation. And I gave a short summary of what caused both. But most importantly, I described why I am not at all happy with how we react to both problems. However, I will write two separate articles about how I feel about these issues in the near future.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday July 14th, 2015

From PM Camp via BGM to John Izzo…

In my life, one of the nice things is that, more and more often, I meet persons I rather like. I make new friends all the time and I always learn important things from them.

Here is an example: in 2011, we had the first PM Camp in Dornbirn. It was a huge event – both for me and, so I believe, for all the other participants. According to the feedback we received, (almost) everybody went home happy and content. Including myself. After all, I had met many persons who take a serious interest in project management, leadership, entrepreneurship and much more. And, basically, they all want to live a meaningful and successful life.

Then we really got under way with the PM-Camps. In Vienna, Zurich, and many more German cities, they have now become a regular event. And their number increases all the time. People and communities build networks. And, again and again, some of them became my friends.

This was also how I first met, learned to appreciate and now have come to love Dr. Marius Poersch. He takes his job as a doctor rather seriously. In a famous hospital, he helps people who burnt themselves out dealing with “modern work-life stress factors”, people who have more and more stress or even suffer from a psychosis already.

By now, he has come to the conclusion that, indeed, it is an honourable task to help people and support the healing process. Yet he is also driven by the awareness that, for many people, it need never have come to what it came to. If only – well, if the living and working environment were just a little different and the potential of suitably adapting were a little better.

And since Marius wants to be more than just part of a “repair shop”, one thing he did was establish an institute (www.erwerbscoaching.de) where he does research with equal-minded persons, examining how people might be enthusiastic and work through their entire work-life without sacrificing their own balance and starting to get psychotic. In short: he is looking for a work and life environment where a sustainable and full life is possible.

However, he also does research on the other side of the coin – namely what sort of individual concept in the sense of life goals and life style you should have in order to live a positive life that enhances your existence.

In order to promote this goal, he developed a method rather similar to the one described by John Izzo in his book “Five Secrets”. He interviewed senior citizens who worked an entire life long and who now, being retirees and pensioners, still and again involve themselves in various ways with civic affairs. His reason for taking that group of persons as interviewees is that one can assume they know a health recipe that, for example, will also prevent burn-out.

A good friend of mine – Dr. Andreas Zeuch, known way beyond the PM Camp environment as an author and entrepreneurial consultant – introduced me to Marius.

I was chosen as one of his interview candidates. So, on a nice and sunny afternoon, we met in Stuttgart and talked. Conveniently, it was just before the Stuttgart PM Camp started.

I was curious and also a little excited about what I was going to experience. The afternoon turned into a beautiful evening and later a wonderful shared breakfast. Even as we talked, many things out of my own life became suddenly clear. Later, Marius explained the technological background of his method, as well as his procedure. And that gave me even more insight into myself.

A few days ago, I received mail from Marius. Inside the envelope, I found the aforementioned book. I was truly delighted – after all, I believe I found a true friend in Marius, and gifts sent by true friends are always a special delight for me.

I finished the book quite quickly. Even though there is no doubt that it is a little American and extra detailed, it is exciting to read – and it is an important piece of literature for persons prepared to think about their own lives. For me, all the ideas, conclusions and demands formulated in the book by John Izzo make complete sense.

The title of the book is:
“The Five Secrets You Should Have Discovered Before You Die”

As I see it, the title says it all. And I also gave a short overview in my last IF blog article. I truly recommend that you read it.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I know that Dr. Marius Poersch is still looking for more interview partners for his project – and I would certainly like to support his work. So if you know any senior citizens who, after all their work life, remained healthy and enthusiastic, why don’t you inform me? I will gladly forwards the contact data.

Roland Dürre
Wednesday February 18th, 2015

ANNOYING PEOPLE.

This, too, is a result of my meeting with Ardalan, which I wrote about in my last article. Among other things, he told me that he likes to “annoy others”.
Well, I was moved by his desire to “annoy others”. I thought about what exactly it means to “annoy others“! And what you could achieve by doing so.

The following Ideas popped up:

Many (probably all) persons constantly believe they own the truth…
Yet we assume that there can be no absolute truth. If at all, then what we hold to be true are our own personal certainties. These “certainties”, however, can differ hugely from person to person. In fact, they might even be opposites.
Especially dangerous are those certainties which have not originated with personal experiences but with future experiences (and consequently with things you so far only imagine). So if persons believe that they know something they have not yet experienced and then even continue by generalizing it and wishing to superimpose it on others, then matters can easily turn dangerous.
Such certainties might also be called “dogmata”. Here is my example:

Some people know exactly that there will be an after-life after death – even though they have never died. Or they know that asylum seekers are bad for Germany. Even though they never so much as knew one.

How better to annoy someone than by managing to disrupt his truths a little bit? By helping to question his certainties? And, above all, by stealing some of his security, which mostly is based on very simple and stupid dogmata?

If then I could do this with the person concerned not immediately noticing and instead him only slowly – but then so much more profoundly – realizing what happened as he ponders upon our discussion, this would be a masterpiece, wouldn’t it? It might actually be a very special way of “coaching”?

In the future, I am quite determined to “annoy people” like Ardalan does. And I will start today.
And you, dear readers, are my first victims!

RMD
(Translated byEG)

P.S.
Now I ask you all: would you like to join me when I am “annoying people“?

Roland Dürre
Sunday February 15th, 2015

ME = BUSINESS ANGEL?

Isn’t it Strange?
I get more and more enquiries. Would I like to support an enterprise a little bit in the role of business angel, mentor, counsellor or some such? This truly delights me.
So.

Here are a few ideas of mine on the topic

Hier mit Klaus Hofeditz bei der Klausur von PM-Camp.org

Yours truly and Klaus Hofeditz during a closed session at the PM-Camp.org in January 2015 in Hamburg

I do not see myself as a business angel. Neither am I a counsellor or coach you can employ.

Yet I will gladly support my friends as a comrade who thinks and seeks. Preferably in homeopathic doses.
I want to have maximal success with as few sessions as possible. And I am happy if, perhaps, the constructive ideas will only come a few days (or weeks) after the event.

Working with the prudent protagonists of a young (or also older) enterprise, I am quite willing to find the important (and right) questions. Because that is what we need in order to find the suitable solutions and come up with prudent measures and activities.

Also, I will gladly support people in order to prevent them from wasting too much strength in the wrong direction, which would mean a loss of potential. And I also like helping people who belong together to find each other. Networking and building bridges!

I like working with nice teams. But not for a salary based on time slots. If, after a project has been finished, my “customers” get the impression that my assistance was helpful, it will make me happy to receive some sort of reward. In case of a significant gain, this reward might well be material and establish itself in the hideous form of Euros, Yankee-Dollars, Swiss Franken or Bitcoins against my invoice.

In other words: in the form of a value contract – as Gebhard Borck proposes (Gebhard is a good friend of mine and, among other things, author of the “Affenmärchen” and of a small book  titled “Your Price” on “Value Contracts“).

Trust is something I find a wonderful idea – this is how, in my imagination, value contracts will be feasible without actual contracts! And no matter how things might proceed, I will always benefit from what I learn.

In the future, I only wish to work with people I perceive as responsible/constructive  and representing the feeling of “together”.  Persons with courage who enjoy working for what they believe in. It is nice if mental concepts and inner beliefs, as well as the values of the team, fit. After all, I also want to enjoy what I am doing.

I appreciate the ideas of the common good economy . Incidentally, I would also like to emphasize that the common good and making a suitable profit do not contradict each other. On the contrary: the common good and a certain profit supplement each other superbly.

Apropos success
For me, success is an important factor. Consequently, I can and will only take up the role if I personally believe in the active persons and the result they wish to attain. If I am convinced that it will work, I will gladly make myself part of it.

And you should not overestimate my contribution. I, too, am only human. And success is something you cannot force. Consequently, I would like you to not come with great expectations.

Well, those are my ideas about how cooperation could be agreed upon.

🙂 You might almost take this to be my General Terms and Conditions.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
The picture is by Franziska Köppe (madiko), who took it on the Hamburg-Altona PM Camp closed session. Next to me, you find Klaus Hofeditz, who is now promoting the first international project management camp (PM-Camp) in Barcelona #PMCampBar. And I feel privileged to be godfather to #PMCampBar and thus to support Klaus. This is also a way

Roland Dürre
Saturday September 20th, 2014

Start up (10) – The Conciliatory Ending.

But, please, do not forget: not everybody must become an entrepreneur! There are lots of other ways towards happiness
.


If you wish to live your life in self-responsibility, it is not necessary for you to become an entrepreneur. Just like in “real life”, an entrepreneur, too, will be subjected to plenty of control from outside, perhaps only in a different form. Perhaps it is even harder to bear.

”Be willing and able to live your life in a self-responsible way” as an important definition of “living freedom” is quite possible in other ways, as well. All it means is to “do your own thing”, start exciting enterprises (not necessarily companies), or simply live your own life in a very intense and autonomous way. In other words: you want to make your life “your own project”.

It might be something as banal as starting your own family. In fact, I admire the decision of a woman to have a baby as true entrepreneurship. A life led in a very conscious way is already entrepreneurship at a huge scale. Developing your own opinion consciously is entrepreneurship…

Yet there are many more sensible things you can do that are entrepreneurial. It might be the support of an NGO or taking responsibility in all kinds of social systems – be it at the “Tafel” or in one of the often accused political parties. In fact, they are exactly the places where some good and autonomously emancipated-thinking persons would be badly needed.

Basically, it is always about taking responsibility. Consequently, I consider the school crossing guard just as much an entrepreneur as the retired manager who accompanies a dying person on his final journey in the hospice.

Writing a blog or being part of an internet community is a form of courageous entrepreneurship. Just as being part of a barcamp is also already entrepreneurship on a small scale.

And this is where, of course, I warmly recommend the PM-Camp – the next one will take place in Dornbirn between November 20th and 22nd, 2014!!!
RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday September 18th, 2014

Start-up (9) – Making Use of the Wisdom of the Masses?

I would like to encourage start-ups to open up, but at the same time I would like to warn against small-mindedness and insular thinking. So here is what I would like to say:

Diversity beats simple-mindedness!


Be careful not to become isolated, because it is quite easy to go down a wrong path following an idea and then turn dogmatic idealist. And then you can easily earn the reputation of being a nutcase.

Be open!


Establish a founders’ blog and twitter about your enterprise! Share your experience with many. In return, you will receive lots of precious knowledge and a whole treasure of experiences.

Put trust before secrecy!


Mostly, your ideas will not be all that unique. There are many out there who have similar ideas and would like to share their knowledge with you.

No patents!


It is better to lay open your discoveries early on. Then others cannot have them patented and many potential enemies will no longer be interested. In fact, patents will often cause you a lot of trouble and when all is said and done they do not really help, because the powerful will ignore them, anyway.

Crowd-Funding


Might well be the best way to get hold of some money (and important insight).

Association


Legally, you do not always have to be an incorporated company or a limited liability company. There are other models, too, which can be quite goal-oriented.

Common Welfare

Start early thinking about whether your product might answer to the requirements of a Common Welfare Business . If it does, you might gain sympathizers and comrades-in-arms.

It is all about understanding the future. That is a difficult task, and it is easier if you combine forces.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday September 13th, 2014

Start Up (8) – Learning About the Market!

If you start in a market you do not know anything about, you must have really strong reasons. Especially if you selected a market where many contestants have already established their positions or if the market is generally perceived as basically dead.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what many founders do. Sometimes the reason is probably their inexperience and because they do not know how complex such a market is. Perhaps they also do it because they want to emulate famous idols, like Steve Jobs. He shattered the market of classic mobile phones with his i-phone.

At the time, the “other Steve” (Mr. Ballmer of Microsoft) provocatively said something cynical that did not at all sound so very unreasonable to me: “What does Apple want with a device on the cell-phone market that does not even have keys and with which you cannot even call someone?”. Well, Steve Jobs simply ignored this and was proved correct.

I think this is not the common business rule. In fact, it is a rather special case. Consequently, if you are a “normal founder”, you should take a really close look at the market. It is just too daring to start on a market you, as a young university graduate, cannot really know. You should at least know it a little bit.

This means you have to learn and work towards understanding your target market. Regardless of all enthusiasm and euphoria, you usually cannot be a success unless you learned the market in your target segment and understand its workings. There is no other way of being able to judge if your own idea actually has a chance of survival. More often than not, it is still rather unfinished and, like a rock in the river as it makes its way down the stream, receives its final polish before it will become one or several nice round pebbles.

The best solution when it comes to “learning about the market” is trying it yourself! But this will cost time and energy. There can be setbacks and disappointments, all of which you will have to be able to tolerate.

Learning, too, is expensive and costs energy! You can often learn more comfortably “sponsored by others”, for instance as an employee. And unfortunately, the proverb about “learning years not being master years” is also true when you found a company and learn a market.

Consequently, my recommendation to founders of a start-up enterprise might be
“Spend some time as employees in your target area. And when the moment comes and you feel you have learned enough, get under way!”

In retrospective, I must say that I, too, did exactly this. I learned all the technology and competence about projects at Siemens – and I learned how to do business at Softlab.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday September 6th, 2014

Start Up (7) – Business Decisions – Betting on the Future!?

Well – if you are perfectly honest, you must admit that business decisions, in particular, are always betting on the future!

After all: all decisions have a factor of uncertainty. And they must be relevant. This is the very definition of a decision. Consequently, every business decision, including the founding of an enterprise, is a bet. Basically, the founder of an enterprise bets on how his development will be judged on a huge market.

True entrepreneurs will bet with their own money. They put their own work, their own capital and their own knowledge into the scale. Once in a while, they will also bet for their existence – and occasionally they lose the bet.

For managers who have been employed (such as the directors of DAX enterprises), it is a bit easier – they bet with other people’s money. This might well work – as long as they remain “upright merchants”. Except that is what they forget too often. Would you like me to give you a few names?

Why don’t we start a brain game and bet on a beautiful business: soccer? Who is going to be German Champion in 2014/2015. We will probably win if we say FC Bayern.

Now let us make it harder. Let us bet on what the statistics will say at the end of the season. Or maybe the results of individual match days, the goal shooters, how the actual matches will be played…

🙂 And I bet that almost all bets will be wrong.

Now you will protest: stop, because we spectators cannot do anything about it. Whereas an entrepreneur can influence procedures and shape his company.

OK, so let us do the same betting again. Now you are no longer just spectators, but players. Imagine you as a team of founders are both the players and coaches of a league team. And I will leave it simple: You will only have to bet on your own matches, that is: those where your own players are active. Well, that should work, shouldn’t it? Except…?

How much influence do you actually have – both in life and in soccer? Can you really influence the bets and along with them the decisions? As you can see, this stupid betting on the future is all but a guarantee for success.

Consequently, here is what I recommend:

If you are a start-up, don’t start with the very big bets. Instead, start small. As I always repeat: totally agile. In this way, you will develop a chain of small “dynamic bets” and will always just bet on the next step ahead.

Now you might reply: but there are the huge successes we get to read about every day. Did not someone bet well there?

Actually: one will always bet correctly. He is the winner.

Like in the SpVgg Unterhaching “VIP Lounge”. I have been watching the lottery there for years. The guests, and I gladly count myself one of them, bet on the results of the day.
And although there are nowhere near as many participants as probably with the FC Bayern, I remember only once that the betting contest had no winner. That was years ago in the second league – and at the time the SpVgg won 7:0 against Saarbrücken. Yet, the poor Hachingers still had to leave the league at the end of the season.

As I said: one will always be the winner. And “The winner takes it all”. But how many play and how many win!?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday August 16th, 2014

Entrepreneur’s Diary #100 – “Recruitment“

How to find the right kinds of people – and why recruitment is an anti-phrase!

In my last “entrepreneur’s diary” article, I recommended that you should think negatively and list all the measures with which you could best destroy your own enterprise. Of course, what I meant was not criminal activities or mercantile stupidity, but “entrepreneurial” activities.

For service providers such as InterFace, I found the following answers:

  • You want to employ the wrong kinds of people.
  • You want to introduce as many rules and processes as possible.
  • You want to see to it that the enterprise is mainly concerned about itself.

The last two items are clear. Being concerned mainly with itself will prevent you from concentrating on the business, the employees and the customers. All these many rules and processes will demotivate people and lead to being even more concerned with yourself. This is truly a danger, because every system, almost by definition, tends to be concerned with itself to a huge extend.

In this article, I want to describe how you can find the right kinds of people for your enterprise. There are a few basic rules.

  • “Hire character, train the skill!“

    
This is a very simple sentence, yet it is the one central statement. The important thing is that the candidate fits the enterprise and has potential. You will easily get all else in order.
  • Never employ anyone through head-hunters!

    
Head-hunters will almost always deliver someone who actually will not be compatible with you. You are looking for exactly those people who want to live self-responsible and who come to you because they think your enterprise is a great thing, aren’t you? Experienced entrepreneurs will also tell you that the people they got “through head-hunters” usually only stay with you for a short time. After two years, they are mostly working elsewhere. And head-hunters will cost a lot of money. You will always end up in the low 5-digit EURO range. Just imagine, for instance, how many master theses written by first-class students you could have supported for the 15,000 € a head-hunter’s support with finding a new employee would cost you.
  • Do not write job discriptions!
    They will only attract head-hunters and many unwelcome would-be employees. The more differentiated you write your job description, the worse, because then the applicants will match their curricula vitae better with what you described as wanted. Also, they will be better prepared to meet the requirements you stated. This will increase the danger that the applicant will prepare (too) well for the interview and you will fall victim to his strategy. Many non-qualified persons got their jobs in this way, later not living up to the necessary standards.
  • No advertising!

    
Even in former times, the job adverts in the big newspaper were more a matter of image than of looking for applicants. Consequently, you should never advertise anywhere. Neither in the old media, nor on the internet. The good workers will certainly not come via “Stepstone”. The only exception is the enterprise homepage. This is where you can advertise that you are looking to employ. But be concise and limit yourself to a few catch phrases. Like the short posters pinned to the gates in olden times.
  • Follow recommendations!

    The best future employees are those you already know or those recommended to you by people you really trust. Experience says the same: just do some research on how people first came to work for a “good enterprise”. You will certainly find out that it was not through head-hunters or adverts. Instead, they will have come recommended, be it by other colleagues, customers, or partners. Or else they came directly, because they saw the enterprise and liked what they saw.
  • Even if you have the smallest doubt: say “NO”!
    Follow your intuition! If your guts say “no”, then you should also say “no”. The sector is a small one, there is lots of competence around. If your enterprise is a good one, the “right” persons will come, anyway. Otherwise, it is about time that you see to it that yours becomes a “good” enterprise. You can only manage to do that if you hire exclusively the rights persons.

Conclusion:

Only let persons become part of the enterprise you enjoy being accompanied by when visiting a customer and if you can then proudly tell said customers: may I introduce to you Mrs. or Mr. “Smith/Miller/Jones/…” and I am truly glad to have him/her with us. And only hire persons you like and enjoy meeting!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.

For more articles from my entrepreneurial diary, click here: Drehscheibe!