Entrepreneur’s Diary #115 – A Personal Interview.

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A short time ago, someone asked me to answer a few questions in writing as a preparation for an event. Here are my answers (in cursive letters):

Beim IF-Forum "Jean Paul" (2013)
During the IF Forum “Jean Paul“ (2013)(2013)

We would be interested in who you are and what exactly is your interest when talking the conflict between leadership and cooperation?

I see myself as an entrepreneur, activist, impulse giver and inspiring counsellor.

For us, your motivation is particularly important: where do you get the energy for what you do?
From all the people I meet on a daily basis and from the cooperation with many other persons.

What are your current projects/initiatives?
I coach and support enterprises (including the ones I am myself part of), help start-ups and mentees, am involved in (almost) anything that pertains to “digital transformation” – it used to be called information and communication technology – and I try to promote social topics such as “active mobility in everyday life” (as our future mobility) and “peace” (as my life’s goal).

What are the topics you would wish to discuss and exchange opinions on?
How to make enterprises more successful and humans happier.

What are the topics you can tell us something about from your own personal experience?

In fact, many things come to mind.

What would your statement on leadership and cooperation be?

Leading is an enterprise, an enterprise means inspiration, giving impulses and making it possible that everyone can be part of the team – and that this is what actually happens. Courage and enjoying what you do will guarantee your success.

As you see it, what should be the formative factors in leadership and cooperation today?

Humility in the face of the task and respecting the people.

Can you give a personal story or an example from your practical experience?

One of the nicest stories in my professional life (for me) was the foundation of InterFace Connection GmbH with the development of the product Hit/Clou.

Where do you see the future of work-life?

Giving up working against each other and instead working together.

What is your dream/vision when it comes to innovative working models?
Networks and participation, instead of hierarchy.

What is necessary in order to achieve this?

It is important that an enterprise is agile, open (transparent) and lean, both in concept and actual realization.

What do we already have that makes you enthusiastic?
Especially in “young” and medium-sized enterprises, you will more and more often find “dialogue at eye-level”. But in big enterprises, you constantly get (successful) biotopes that live just as well.

Where do you see the special challenge for an enterprise if they want “dialogue at eye-level”?
The ability to listen and the willingness to accept that other persons are different should be a self-evident part of the entrepreneurial culture.

If you imagine an enterprise where cooperation happens at eye-level, what emotions does that stir inside you?

The feeling of shared responsibility, trust into the future, enjoying my work. I am very happy that, in my professional life, I mostly enjoyed this kind of atmosphere.

Can you define: dialogue?

Listening is more important than talking.

What is “at eye-level”?
Appreciating each other and actively respecting each other.

What challenges do big concerns face?
That all employees should identify with the system they are part of in a “healthy” way and that they can all be part of the decisions in a “meaningful’” way. This should happen voluntarily and without indoctrination and centrally controlled manipulation.

What questions arise in connection with this issue?
I wonder if this is even possible after a company has reached a certain size. Are mega-concerns at all capable of realizing such a concept? Can growth actually be the absolute standard? But then: can an enterprise be successful at all if it does not grow? I am not sure if it is possible to do the balancing act between growth being necessary and growth being potentially detrimental in a sustainable way!

Have you already found answers or are you still looking for them?
Sometimes I believe that enterprises should have an upper limit to the number of employees. And as soon as they reach this number, they should split into smaller units wherever this can reasonably be done.

What are your successful concepts for the future?
It might make sense to consider enterprises more like “living organisms” with very individual values and their own individual culture, rather than “machine-like” systems you can control by “pulling a lever”.

What are the ideas/methods you are trying to find?
Here is what I could imagine:

  • In general: realize even (mega) big tasks and projects through networks comprised of small systems.
  • Less and – above all – shorter meetings in the organizations.
  • A lot of peer2peer work (truth begins with two).
  • Anti-conferences will generate more results than, for instance, strategic kick-off meetings or workshops.
  • Barcamps and OpenSpace are strong regular formats for sharing knowledge/experience and gaining insight.
  • Using more haptic (serious play) and visualization techniques (one picture will tell more than a thousand words).
  • And much more …

For me, a barcamp was a success if…

… all participants go home with a sense of achievement because a new common denominator, along with added insight, was created through trust and sharing.

What is special about a barcamp?
As opposed to a classical conference, a barcamp is self-organized and has no hierarchies. There are no presentations that have been prepared beforehand and all participants are responsible for the topics. This is how the discussions can be kept up-to-date and very dynamic.

Why have you registered?

Because I received such a nice invitation.

Is this the first time for you to attend a barcamp, or are you returning?

I first experienced anti-conferences, such as barcamps, a long time ago and then I founded my own barcamp movements (for instance PM-Camp for entrepreneurship and project management or AktMobCmp for “active mobility in everyday life“. But at InterFace AG, too, we organized barcamps and OpenSpace with all the colleagues at frequent intervals. And they were always rather a success, both for the enterprise and the employees.

What do you like about barcamps (in general)?
The fact that it is based on democratic ideas and the usually quick development of a great openness and familiarity between all the participants.

What topics are you concerned with?

Entrepreneurship, leadership, project management, the future of mobility, peace.

If you are asked such nice questions, it is really a pleasure answering them!

(Translated by EG)

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

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