Archiv der Kategorie: Change management

Here you find all about change management.

After is before

Distance is a term that feels more like the distance between Earth and Sagittarius A (26,5000 light years) than the distance between Beijing and Duisburg. Via communication networks we are connected to every point on earth in almost real time. Since 1970, the number of passengers on global flights has increased more than tenfold to over 4 million per year. Today, people commute an hour to work on short-haul flights or by ICE or local transport. In other words, we are far-reaching connected across borders that once felt as inaccessible as the moon today. In such a world, political borders seem anachronistic. Viruses spread around the globe in a short period of time across frontiers. Neither vigorous slogans nor border closures prevent the common fate. And when one wave is over, another one comes. Because after is before.

A look at possible risks should blow the horn of dystopia and make us feel insecure, but rather remind us that in the future we will have to deal with such effects differently, as we can no longer afford further shutdowns.

  • Natural risks
    Global risks are rarely expected in nature and are considered to be locally manageable – in principle. The current virus crisis shows us that these critical situations do not respect borders or are limited to certain cultures. The present responses from experts and politicians are focused on short-term goals. Decisions are not based on possible collateral damage, nor do they consider their long-term effects – above all not the human lives that will be harmed additionally due to the measures.
    And what happens if next one of the mega volcanoes erupts and the global climate topples in a very short time? Or if a tsunami floods one of the world’s economic centers and the economy collapses in the aftermath? And anyone, who believes that we can protect ourselves against all eventualities should first of all be aware of the required efforts.
  • Political risks
    One of the effects of natural disasters will be political dangers. The societal systems will become unstable due to the dissatisfaction of the population. When panic already breaks out due to toilet paper the question arises, what we do, when things get really serious, when there is nothing left to eat and drink because the logistics channels that have been put in place no longer work and local suppliers can no longer compete with other countries. In an economy of scarcity, the black market emerges first and foremost, in which only the wealthy can afford the prices. In an effort to maintain control, the state will also use the current technical possibilities that we already know from China. And the political forces that want the revolution will feel strengthened by the shift to a surveillance state, which will lead to more and more terrorist attacks from left and right. However, the same applies as always: Be aware what you wish for. Over the past ten years, politicians and the electorate have prepared the ground for what is coming.
  • Technological risks
    A very sharp sword of Damocles is our information and communication infrastructure. No one has yet found the one switch to stop the worldwide web. However, there is an increasing number of malwares that attack all levels of IT. In addition, natural disasters could have corresponding effects – e.g. a solar storm or meteorite impact. The consequences of a collapse are unimaginable. Emergency generators do not help in these cases. There is nothing today that does not depend on the Internet: Waterworks, energy grids, hospitals, mobility, logistics of any kind, production of goods and food, communications, or the public authorities. A collapse of the Internet will take us back to Middle Ages. Without this nervous system, all cars, trains, pumps, elevators and so on will come to a standstill within a very short period of time. There is no way to communicate anymore – except for the runners, who walk from one place to another.
  • Economic risks
    In contrast to the above risks, the economic are easier to cope with – except for those who benefit from a flourishing economy – bankers, economic officials, investors. In the regions that have nothing to gain from the current economy not much will change the precarious existence in Africa, South America and large parts of Asia. Their supply is even more secure than in the world’s agglomerations, which can no longer be supplied. In the remaining regions, the price increases will lead to a change in consumer behavior. Currency fluctuations can be compensated by national or regional consumption. The cutbacks will regulate driving behavior and energy consumption. There are many examples from the past for dealing with shopping lines and empty shelves. Work, working hours, management styles and anybody else who wants to get rid of the bureaucratic ballast today will become naturally agile. In the end, the economy is part of the problem rather than its systemic solution – austerity measures in all areas of life, outsourcing to places with the cheapest labor and, in the absence of short-term profits, the de-economization of entire regions.

Bottom line: A virus is currently rampant, which threatens the elderly in particular. In the interest of their lives, the economy is being stopped by politicians. Everyone is looking at the stock indices and is now looking forward to rising share prices again, as if this were of benefit for employees and the self-employed. Nobody reports the damages, even to human lives, that are created by the shutdowns. The functioning part of the health care system is not the result of foresighted policy, but only possible through personal commitment and some difficult decisions of many, truly systemically important service providers in the hospitals and in everyday supply. The aftershock prepared by this control madness is unimaginable. And what has not yet been addressed at all is the question of what comes next. What do we learn from the current crisis management?

  • Solving a single problem without considering unwanted side effects threatens all. A holistic assessment of the situation is mandatory.
  • Federalist societies have reacted clumsily. Closing the borders of Germany or Europe oversees the fact that certain crises cannot be stopped by this. Not to mention European cohesion, which I hope will not be destroyed with this nationalism.
  • Politicians refer to experts in order to decide. Shouldn’t a task force of experts temporarily be given overall control?
  • The population obviously needs a strong hand to rule with prohibitions and closures, otherwise the individuals will continue unteachable as before. It remains to be seen how these extended powers will be brought back to normality.
  • In any case, a crisis leads to bad consequences and needs an evaluation and prioritization of all damages. The media and politicians should put their business model back for the moment and not creating even more insecurity in the population.

Not every country can afford the luxury of closing the shop. And we won’t be able to afford it again any time soon either. Hence: after is before.

Boundless growth – nothing more than a sales argument

The only thing that seems to grow endlessly in the universe so far is the universe itself. And counterintuitively, it expands faster and faster. It could take longer than the Earth exists to reach the maximum, if it could at all. Otherwise everything follows the course of becoming and perishing. Everything comes into being, matures, has an effect for a certain time, and then disintegrates until it has disappeared. Let’s think of a balloon that gets bigger and bigger when we inflate it. The rubber is stretched with increasing effort. The pressure in the balloon is rising. If we do not stop adding air, we reach its maximum and with an additional waft, it inevitably bursts. The lifespan of people is too short in order to observe all lifecycles. But even without the ability to fully follow it, we observe origins and dissolutions in both small and large dimensions. Nothing provides an indication that it could grow boundlessly.

Nevertheless, banks and financial specialists sell their products with the argument that today’s growth in supply is a sure indication that they are a safe investment – after historic collapses since the tulip crisis in the 17th century or the global economic crisis of 1929 or the bailout of the banks in 2008. Although the factors that speak against it are obvious.

  • Growth needs energy from outside
    A closed system is not able to grow (see here) – within the energy remains constant. As the growing stock index, questions arise, where the required momentum and energy come from and who suffers the loss of energy. If you look at the past economic successes, you always find victims – South America, due to the conquistadors; Asia, due to European colonies. Nobody has anything to give away and banks and insurance companies need a lot of energy to keep their administration running. The example of the banks shows us where the energy comes from. A German bank no longer pays interest and demands a raised fee of four to eight Euros for paper transfers.
  • Capacity limits
    If the capacity limits were previously determined by the work performance of the employees, the digitized businesses are limited by the performance of the technology and the activatable attention of the customers. Which computing power and bandwidth are available? How fast can robots process physical things? How autonomous do artificial intelligences act? How to be noticed by the customers? How do you motivate them to buy? Speculative trades with stocks and bonds reach their limits, when they collapse despite their lack of substance – today they already account for a multiple of the real economy.
  • Boiled Frog Syndrome
    The difficulty with growth arises, when it happens unnoticed. The Boiled Frog Syndrome provides a plausible metaphor for this. A frog blunders into a pot full of water, which is slowly heated on a stove. He does not notice the increase in temperature, since the temperature change takes place in small steps. First 40, then 50, 60, 70, 80 degrees and the frog happily paddles around in the pot. At 90 degrees, he’s surprised because something is strange. 100 degrees, the water is boiling. The frog notices the evil, but is no longer able to save himself. The step-by-step disaster is only noticed, when it is too late. The same applies to growth, until it collapses. There is no hope that there will be no collapse – except: aprés moi le deluge (after me the deluge).
  • The turkey problem
    The unpredictability is illustrated by Nassim Taleb in the book The Black Swan using the example of a turkey. A turkey lives in a cage. Every day at the same time a flap opens, a hand appears and throws food into it. The turkey learns that every time someone tampers with the hook, the feeding takes place. He gets used to it and approaches the flap daily at a certain time, hoping to be fed. That’s how it goes every day until the fourth Wednesday in November, the day before Thanksgiving. This day radically changes the turkey’s life. Anyone who has inflated a balloon until it bursts is familiar to the surprise, when the balloon bursts unexpectedly with a loud bang.

Is it ethically justifiable to recommend stocks with an indication of a few years of growth, just because nothing has happened so far? Why doesn’t our common sense tell us that this growth rhetoric is wrong? Just a few names to remember: Nixdorf, Mannesmann, Karstadt, Lehman Brothers, American Airlines, ENRON. Since everybody is the master of its accounts and decides for himself whether to engage in a gamble of growth. However, it would be desirable that the general public would not have to step in again in the next crash. Or that disappointed investors try to socialize their losses afterwards. Even if the client investor wanted to buy profit, no loss, the protection of the customer’s interest in a game is absurd – part of the game is losing. They get what they paid for.

Bottom line: It is difficult to understand that our perception of growth is so poorly developed. And it may be that this is a natural weakness of living beings, who want to protect themselves in the long run and therefore build up stockpiles. But it is condemnable that people profit from this weakness. That is why we should take every opportunity to realize that there is no growth without boundaries. Therefore, no one should afterwards be compensated for lost profits. In the end, these transactions serve only to immediate commissions to financial and insurance brokers, who live on false promises. Boundless growth is nothing more than a sales argument for the good of the broker.