Roland Dürre
Sunday February 2nd, 2014

Between “Agile” and “Planned”, Intuition and Ratio.

A short time ago, another friend of mine told me how great he felt about his participation at a barcamp weekend. He said how much frontier-spirit he had experienced and how much energy he had filled up on. And how he sadly had to confront everyday work-life again on Monday after this ever so enthusiastic weekend and how it felt painful to get propelled back to hard reality.

That is when, again, I started pondering a few questions which keep making me thoughtful:

Acting and planning:

Why is it so hard for us to be “agile” and why are we sticking so persistently with “planning”? Why do we not accept that the future is unpredictable?


Why do we mistrust our intuition and will in the end prefer basing our decisions on ratio, which seems to be the level of reason and where we give ourselves security by the most complex explanations?

Or, to say it in a “populist” way:

Why are persons who think and act intuitively and who sail through life in an agile way and who promote things successfully to the benefit of all constantly thwarted by Apperatschiks (Apperatschik) who manage to destroy what has been laboriously built with their never-ending rules and regulations?

Here are my answers …

My guess is that, on the one hand, we have been taught to do it in this way by our elders and, on the other hand, our fears make us do it this way.

Let me first give you an example for what past generations said:

Everything is under control, we can achieve everything we wish to achieve, all we have to do is plan properly. We have to organize our world like clockwork, then nothing can go amiss. Boys do not cry and emotions are not good counsellors. Consequently, you should free yourself from emotions – they can only do damage. And, above all: do not fear progress! Technology can achieve anything! Wars are there to be won! So, boy, be reasonable! Basta!

The generations of our forefathers believed in this. They fell victim to the explosion-like developments of the 19th and 20th centuries that seemed to promise limitless opportunities for humans. In the brains of the people, the concept of being omnipotent took hold. It was based on the belief in technology and progress. All of a sudden, homo sapiens was almighty, death was suppressed.

The sudden abundance of available energy (in particular from fossil sources), along with the ruthless technological progress seemed to make anything possible. This is how a feasibility and planning mania like the history of homo sapiens had never known was created. Everything was oriented towards progress and modernity.

Words such as “humbleness” and “caution” were frowned upon or else called backwardly. With a degree of ruthlessness, violating nature and life like we never did before, we declared technology and progress the new Messiah.  A full-fledged war against nature started. In their abnormal social systems, the planners of the future even wanted to create the “new human”, just like they had built their new cities.

The belief that an exploding technology, paired with limitless availability of energy, the future can be controlled through ratio and that everything can be determined and mechanically developed was supported by the corresponding ever stronger fear of freedom.

Our imagined omnipotence created a chimera of security that we wish for and that relieves us. Even if it is very treacherous. The greater our imagined security, the greater is the fear of losing it and the greater is our fear of taking responsibility and accepting freedom.

Now more and more people realize that all this was just one of many cavorts humans have liked to embrace during their history. The assumption that the future of humans can be planned through ratio, too, proves more and more often to be wrong. We know about the climate catastrophe, yet we do nothing about it. Just like we know about all the many problems of our social and economic world, yet here, too, we do nothing.

But it seems that we are approaching the turn of another era. All of a sudden, everything changes quickly. We have the internet with its new density of information. We feel that something is wrong.

Consequently, more and more among us flee from this imagined security. They realize that contentedness cannot be bought, not to mention “happiness”. They no longer want to bend before the forces of a society controlled by material desires. A society which gives all its members the one format: consumer.
They no longer want to become the slaves of a strangely economized world. Instead, they just want to start living again. They want to live their lives in responsibility and freedom. And they are fed up with the laws of a late-capitalist and globalized world.

I think that the more we humans will manage to regain our autonomy and independence, the more we will be collectively prepared to overcome our fears and go the agile and intuitive way in society, as well. And our willingness to accept the necessary transformation in a proactive way will also increase – regardless of the radical consequences with their many, non-predictable alternatives.

The more, however, we humans base our lives on alleged security and on the ownership of property and the more we pretend  that all is under control because everything can be planned since it is deterministically explainable and mechanistically designable, the more we will lack the courage to decide intuitively and to live agilely. And we will have no chance against the confusion created by scenarios which, just like our fears, only happen between our ears. And then we will rather abruptly be confronted with changes we will not like at all.

The war of survival can probably only be won through “agile” and “intuitive”. And the great singer Janis Joplin might actually have been ahead of her time with her song Me & Bobby McGee – where she gave a totally different definition of the term “freedom”:

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose …

(Translated by EG)

5 Kommentare zu “Between “Agile” and “Planned”, Intuition and Ratio.”

  1. Klaus Rabba (Sunday February 2nd, 2014)

    Intuition kommt im Berufsleben zu kurz, da die sog.’rationalen Entscheidungen’ die Sicherheit der Nachvollziehbarkeit enthalten. Und dies ist heute wichtig, wird doch immer ein Verantwortlicher gesucht.
    Business Plan, Action Plan, Budgetier, Ergebnisplanung, das sind alles Werkzeuge in durchstrukturierten Unternehmen und unsere neuen Dogmen in der Berufswelt.

  2. Andrea Windolph (Monday February 3rd, 2014)

    Das sehe ich genau so. Intuition kann einfach sehr schlecht begründet und vor Anderen gerechtfertigt werden. Eine Entscheidung auf Zahlen und Fakten basierend zu treffen, ist vor allem im Team leichter. Entscheider, die sehr frei in Ihren Entscheidungen sind, haben sicher eine bessere Möglichkeit, intuitiv zu handeln.

  3. Hsns Bonfigt (Monday February 3rd, 2014)

    Keiner sagt etwas gegen Intuition.

    Aber bitte bei der ProjektPLANUNG und nicht bei der Ausführung.

    Unsere Kunden bezahlen uns häufig genau dafür, daß wir die vereinbarten Ziele erreichen.

    Und gerade *weil* die Zukunft in “unserem” Job aufgrund der völlig unnötigen Komplexität, die gerne auch mal “agil” und erfolglos mit weiterer Komplexität bekämpft wird, wirklich unplanbar geworden ist, wird an die Kreativität des Projektleiters eine hohe Anforderung gestellt. Und an das handwerkliche Können eines jeden Mitarbeiters.

    Wenn Ihr armer Freund nach Besuch des “Barcamps” am Montag im Büro so demotiviert war, warum ändert er nix?
    Er kann einen neuen Job suchen, er kann dafür sorgen, daß sich seine Ideen durchsetzen oder er kann weiter herumjammern und sich aufs nächste Barcamp freuen.

  4. Klaus Rabba (Monday February 3rd, 2014)

    Hallo Hans, Du hast natürlich Recht, wenn Du bei der Auftragsabwicklung auf Planung beharrst. Das steht völlig außer Zweifel. Die Intuition fasst nur bei der Projektplanung, Umsatzplanung, Zielsetzung des Unternehmens und Produktentwicklung im Hinblick auf die Marktanforderungen.

    Und ja: “weil* die Zukunft in “unserem” Job aufgrund der völlig unnötigen Komplexität, die gerne auch mal “agil” und erfolglos mit weiterer Komplexität bekämpft wird, wirklich unplanbar geworden ist, wird an die Kreativität des Projektleiters eine hohe Anforderung gestellt. Und an das handwerkliche Können eines jeden Mitarbeiters”.
    sollte wirklich in die Köpfe eingemeißelt werden.

    Wobei das Augenmerk auf: “Komplexität, die erfolglos mit weiterer Komplexität bekämpft wird”, gerichtet sein muss.

    Wirklich gut ausgedrückt, da sehe ich Erfahrung auf dem Gebiet.

    Aber, nicht jeder kann sofort die Flinte ins Korn schmeißen und sich etwas anderes suchen, denn er riskiert dabei, in ein anderes überkomplexes System zu geraten, wo es genauso weiterläuft.
    Diese Komplexität setzt sich in allen Betriebsformen durch.

    Ich verließ vor 25 Jahren eine Firma mit 250 Mitarbeitern, weil diese von einem Multi gekauft wurde und es voraussehbar war, dass die Organisation auf „Konzern“ umgestellt werden wird. So kam es auch.
    Ich “flüchtete” in einen neuen Mittelstandsbetrieb, der heute leider den gleichen Weg geht.

    Die Komplexität, sprich New Economy Management Rules, holt einen irgendwann ein, es sei denn, man gründet selbst ein Unternehmen und bleibt dabei in überschaubaren Größenordnungen.

  5. rd (Tuesday February 4th, 2014)

    @Hans: Ich glaube, dass auch so schöne Sätze wie “Love it, change it or leave it” sehr viel leichter gesagt als umgesetzt sind.

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