Archiv der Kategorie: Communication

Communication consists of perception, thought models and communication behavior.

BMX – the ideal metaphor for agility

Bicycles are a good example of how everything is becoming more and more fragmented. Here a small change and there a new principle and I already have a recumbent that connects a relaxed seating position with even therapeutic effects, increases safety and lowers the effects of accidents. The so-called track bicycle is designed to turn consistently fast laps – without brakes and gear shift. Due to the support of an electric drive, more and more people have rediscovered the bicycle, the e-bike. The technical possibilities are brought to the limits with the BMX bike – special materials and everything that increases the stability of axles, fork, crank and pedals.
The BMX bike shows its strengths in any terrain, in the city and in the hall. The riders master their bikes in all imaginable situations – halfpipes, stairs, and mountain tops and in the forest. This makes BMX (Bicycle Motocross) the ideal metaphor for agility.

However, the benefits of the BMX bike do not automatically make it the best bike for all applications. The same applies to agility in the company. Agility is hard to get working in the following cases.

  • Governance is binding
    The corset of rules and standards take companies the creative breath away. There is no room for agility, as innumerable external and internal regulations must be followed. The agile employees run the risk to break one or the other law out of ignorance – which of course constitutes misbehavior of the employee. Imagine a BMX rider worrying about compliance – and agility is nipped in the bud.
  • Processes set a stable framework
    The procedures are the determined steps for the most effectual action. Doing the right thing right is the corresponding mantra. After many years, these processes have been buried deep into a company. Always the same procedure can be handled in the shortest possible time with the least effort. Special cases bounce off the crash barriers and are therefore made impossible. Let’s imagine a BMX rider on a highway – and his willingness to bring in agility evaporates.
  • Hierarchs will not let go
    Big companies have a natural tendency to build a hierarchy. The officials receive special privileges – selected rewards and insignia of power (e.g., company cars, assistants, bonuses). They should make decisions, lead others and be responsible for the results. If you leave the task, the authority, and responsibility to the employees, it leads to fear of loss of the bosses, because they do not recognize what would continue to justify their status. Imagine a BMX rider who has to get permission to change direction – and all the manifestations of agility disappear.
  • Micro managers strive for total control
    A more complicated special case are the micro managers, who interpret their task in such a way that they have to influence everything down to the smallest detail (see also here). Cutting a long story short: Imagine the BMX rider with someone who constantly grabs the wheel – and already the agility lies on the ground.
  • Who doesn’t act at all makes no mistakes
    It is clear that the big companies counteract the image of the business servant. The path of least resistance is the result of our natural anxiety that is deeply rooted in our brain stem. There are many arguments to avoid acting and thereby making no mistakes – except perhaps the mistake of doing nothing. If one is then required by superiors to act in a certain way, they have the responsibility. Imagine a BMX rider who is afraid to fall – and immediately any potential for agility freezes.

Bottom line: Of course, everybody wants the autonomous, self-employed, risk-taking employee, who would not be much different than a BMX rider. At the same time, the path in which the riders should move is cemented with regulations. On the flag is written agility. However, the conditions are against this approach. Strict governance limits the leeway. Processes and their IT implementations determine every step. The leaders are not ready to let go and involve themselves at all levels. The employees have found their workaround – around the work. Agility can not function with these conditions. Just as a BMX rider can not act properly in a straitjacket. Since BMX clarifies the boundaries of the entrepreneurial actions of individual employees, BMX is the ideal metaphor for agility.

The kernel of the brute – the ideal metaphor for the real meaning

The world is a closed system, an organism called Gaia. The original trigger and only possible inflow of new energy comes from outer space. Otherwise, only a shift of resources takes place – wooden nickels from left to the right pocket. As long as Gaia uses the energy exchange to maintain its viability and to develop new diversity, nothing unnatural happens. The interaction of all elements maintains our lebensraum. A profit-making industry that exploits the common goods to create their value pollutes the system. The added value in favor of a few people is always at the expense of others. Think about the fact that the groundwater that is getting scarcer, because it is contaminated by fracking or is making money in bottled water. It disappears or becomes inedible. And suddenly we recognize the kernel of the brute of the economization of the commons.

In Goethe’s Faust, Faust takes a poodle to his home that eventually turns into Mephistopheles, the devil. Faust realizes – „So that was the kernel of the brute „. This hidden in the obvious is the actual meaning. Which aspects do appear?

  • The actual doing
    Providing people with clean water is an honorable task, until you realize how the water gets into the bottles. Groundwater level plays a major role in this. Due to the high-performance industrial pumping, the groundwater level drops. On the one hand, the existing wells no longer reach the groundwater level, forcing citizens to buy the much more expensive bottled water. On the other hand, the greens can no longer supply themselves with the vital water, which leads to waldsterben, drought, and bad harvests and as a result to famines.
    The kernel of the brute is the destruction of natural resources through exaggerated exploitation of the sources.
  • The actual result
    Over 40 billion gallons of bottled water are consumed every year. This is often the only available clean water. Thus, the producers contribute significantly to improving the health of many. At first glance, it is understandable that the clean water costs much more than the local, dirty water. However, when you realize that some companies are paying $ 4 for 260 thousand gallons of water but turn this water into $ 2 million in sales, it’s easy to see that $ 1,999,996 will cover more than the total cost of providing the water.
    The kernel of the brute is the immeasurable profit that is making a few at the expense of all those who loose their natural resource.
  • The actual consequences
    Gaia has resources that have been built over millions of years. These include our oil reserves, the air and the water. If industrial water pumping continues to lower the groundwater level, fewer and fewer trees and plants are available to convert CO2 into important oxygen through photosynthesis. This not only endangers our health, but also leads to continuous global warming with the known consequences of climate change. The countermeasures of Gaia will regulate the root cause of this evolution, humans, so that the earth returns to a healthy state of equilibrium – without the harmful impact of mankind.
    The kernel of the brute is the long-term damage to our livelihoods by business concepts of reckless profiteers.

Bottom line: We live in a media age, where all protagonists have put themselves in a good position. Appropriate press departments take care of the desired external image. The poodle looks good and provides with good descriptions of what is done skillfully, what great results are produced and what shiny consequences arise from it. But that does not give the public much of the truth. The kernel of the brute cannot be seen. The damage caused by this doing, the unwanted side effects and the terrible consequences are concealed. This real meaning is well described by the metaphor of the kernel of the brute.