Schlagwort-Archive: Communication

ProCons of networks

Increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) can no longer be mastered with the rigid structures of the past. Collaboration takes place across borders, wherever you look. The related structures are constantly changing and subsist on self-organizing actors who build, use and eventually resolve the necessary relationships. The result is a more or less dense network. Aside from today’s needs, where everything is just one click away, there are some arguments in favor of and against the use of networks.

The following ProCons affect not only networks but all types of communities.


The benefits cover more than just the economic interests of the companies.

  • Competence advantages
    The network draws its strength from the purposeful connection of resources and capabilities. The participants‘ intrinsic motivation provides the network with a long-term advantage ahead of other forms, which on the one hand require a lot of setup time and on the other hand never have comparable access to this amount of competencies.
  • Information advantages
    The actors provide a lot of information. This includes experience and knowledge about different markets, customers, products, technologies and, above all, business processes. By sharing this information (push vs. pull), they reach all network participants at a relatively high speed.
  • Resource advantages
    The actors already provide a variety of resources – material and immaterial goods and especially people. Contrary to other forms of organization, the network offers an adjustable openness that makes it possible to expand resources faster. Just the use of these resources of the actors provide means that otherwise would have to be procured with much effort. In addition, this tool is usually better suited that is brought by the craftsman.
  • Social advantages
    Getting to know like-minded people is a huge advantage for the actors. The sense of community offers an environment in which you can expect more pleasant working conditions and a trustworthy cooperation due to the same interests.
  • Economic advantages
    Looking at the entire network, there are many savings for the company. Cost advantages arise when the actors already bring additionally to their commitment many resources that do not need to be purchased. The combined competence accelerates the business and reduces the risks. Practicing self-organization in a network avoids delays caused by a hierarchical structure with its long decision-making and communication paths.


Against networks speak especially apparent extra efforts, unpredictability and the difficult control.

  • Time
    Even with all the advantages, networking requires active involvement of its members. The open procedures and the lack of centralized control require other efforts of the participants, which are perceived at first glance as additional expenses. However, much higher overall savings can be made for the company.
  • Redundancies
    Even with a lot of engagement in disseminating information, there can be more double work in the self-organized network than in a tayloristic organization. The lack of control can lead to a competition for the best idea that would be wasteful.
  • Increased communication effort
    The multiplicity of actors increases the coordination effort, which can even not be avoided with agile approaches. New insights and experiences simply have to be shared, absorbed and processed. This effort is the price for a lot of advantages.
  • Cooperation issues
    Of course, because of the variety of characters, there will not only be sympathy, but also antipathies that can burden collaboration and trust and eventually lead to an increased need for mediation. This makes team building an important exercise.
  • Lack of control
    A strong driver for the formation of a network is the intrinsic appeal for each participant. Leadership could quickly disturb. At the same time, a network also needs a direction. Without centralized control, the network might take longer to reach an agreement.
  • Information loss
    The open structure of a network and the frequent participation of individual members in different networks automatically lead to the leakage of information. Lack of secrecy could endanger the network.

Bottom line: Although many aspects speak against creation and participation in a network, you have to face the fact that a VUCA world creates new conditions that function in a way that cannot be covered by traditional approaches. The competence, information, resource social, and economic advantages are arguments for the use of networks. At the same time, appropriate measures have to minimize the risks.

Polaris – the ideal metaphor for a business landmark

On the open sea and without appropriate landmarks people orient themselves with the help of the sky. During the day, the sun leads you. At night one uses the visible stars, which move on a circular path. All stars are on the move? No! One star seems to be fixed above the North Pole. This gives seamen in the northern hemisphere for centuries the opportunity to determine north without a compass. The distance to the horizon allows the calculation of the latitude, where the observer is located. In business life, a corresponding, widely visible reference point is needed.

Just as the cardinal points can be deduced from the pole star, the significant business landmark provides the basis for the alignment of the collective attitude. The business Polaris influences the following aspects.

  • Perception
    We do not perceive everything that is there, but, depending on the current mood, we filter out what fits best at this moment. Basically, each of our five senses is set to a defined bandwidth. In addition, our mindfulness determines what we extract out of the flood of information. As a result, perception influences our thinking.
  • Thinking
    The thinking becomes more sensitive in the course of life. The concepts and models are stabilizing and becoming clearer and more coherent. The personal standpoint enforces individual opinions. In order to get to a common perspective, a guiding system is needed that determines the collective thinking and the joint messages.
  • Communication
    Once the group exchanges ideas, a common language is needed. It contains words, pictures and other means of communication as well as a common understanding. Since the exchange of information can not convey the actual meaning, everybody needs a harmonized resonance space that provides similar associations. As a result, the real action is pushed into similar paths.
  • Action
    The intention is implemented only by the doing. Thereby the message gets further distorted, since individuals are also influenced in the doing by unconscious reflexes and feelings. However, the action creates that way the facts that do not match the original intention. Through a guiding principle, the actions are always re-bundled and aligned to each other.

The group members follow their personal interests. The guiding star allows the adaptation of the interests and to unanimously navigate through the flood of stimulants, the structures of the mental models, the vague messages and the diverse actions. The definition of a given reference point allows the participants to move independently in the agreed direction. Such a pole star is a fundamental business topic such as customer orientation or product orientation or process orientation.

Bottom line: The basic course of the company can be determined by a simple business landmark. This activates the appropriate filters in the workforce, which adjust the perception. Thinking revolves around a fixed reference point. The vocabulary ultimately includes terms that everybody interprets in a similar way. At the end, harmonization becomes visible through the actions of each individual. The landmark helps determining all further steps – as well as the use of the pole star for navigation on the open sea. This makes Polaris the ideal metaphor for the business landmark.

What makes a result good?

After the transition of the professional world due to the knowledge and service society as well as the shift of simple tasks to overseas, more and more employees are again providing one stop tasks. They do not only have to perform subtasks, but deliver results.

  • They develop new concepts.
  • They manufacture a complete product.
  • They distribute their products in a certain region.
  • They take the responsibility for a complete operational sequence.

These activities need a good understanding of the deliverables that have to be created. For this reason, it is important that you realize what makes a result good.


It does not matter, in which field the results are needed. Common to all goals are expectations and the publication that the goals and expectations are met.

  • Fulfilled goals
    Goals are attainable places or conditions, which describe the requirements for results and induce the necessary changes at a certain point in time. The goals are negotiated at the beginning of an initiative between clients and contractors. Above all, contractors should ensure that they can deliver the required deliverables. Eventually, it is crucial to meet the goals.
  • Fulfilled expectations
    The expectations are goals that are substantially more difficult to grasp, since they are rarely formally defined – if at all. It is a matter of the acts that the expecting people hope for, certain results that they wish for or the consequences that result from the initiative. In order to know these expectations, it is essential to ask the stakeholders. On this occasion, expectations can be adjusted or taken into account within the planning. Eventually, it is important to fulfill at least the recognized expectations.
  • And everybody knows it
    It is not sufficient to deliver the agreed achievements. At the same time, you should worry about the fact that everybody, it means the concerned public, are informed. Eventually, the best results are those, who are recognized.

In order to get good results, the following aspects should to be considered.

  • Making goals SMART
    Understandable results that are free from ambiguities facilitate the fulfillment (see also: Smartifikation).
  • Consider stakeholders
    After getting an overview of the stakeholders, personal conversations provide clarity concerning their expectations.
  • Keeping everybody up to date with a Complan
    The right time to create a communication plan is already at the beginning of an activity. The measures should take place during the execution and especially in the end.

Bottom line: Good results consist of technical outcomes that were described with smart goals, as well as satisfied stakeholders and an open information policy.

The conductor does not only set the beat

The Berlin Philharmonics consist of more than one hundred twenty musicians, who are led by Sir Simon Rattle. This is an enormous manager-to-staff span compared to business managers. Even if you divide the symphony orchestra in 16 instrument groups with the respective concertmasters, still the conductor has to lead each and every musician directly within the rehearsals and concerts. At the latest, when we think about Igor Stravinsky, we will recognize that the conductor makes more, than setting the beat.


Executives should also not only be limited to the beat. The following aspects have an important role in leadership, independently of the leadership style that one exerts.

  • Self management
    The largest task before you lead others is to steer yourself. A natural bias makes the neutral look at the own mental states and actions difficult. Only considering the own roles and the associated aspects, like convictions, abilities and actions, enable you to demand and promote the employees.
  • Conception
    The idea that leadership is a task independent of contents does not fit any longer into current times. The leader has to take care of the development of new approaches. The efficacy of the employees is determined by the basic conditions, like consistent goals and the clear description of the tasks. For this purpose it is critical that the executives have a content-related mental map of their field.
  • Coordination
    Leadership that reduces itself to practicing a given power does not fit any longer into today’s business reality. The actual control of organizations takes place through a positive harmonization of the interests of the involved people. Besides the applied mechanisms (e.g. agreements, result orientation, Linking pin) a structured change management and a lean control system (Governance) determine success or failure of the initiatives. Coordination works best at eye level.
  • Communication
    The dissemination and the mutual exchange of information within the nervous system of the organization are the basis for a viable and flexible business. This is where you can experience the real communication culture – the speed and preciseness of the information flow. Knowledge that is power, does not exist any more in an open information society, since the employees can get more information, than bosses could ever stockpile for their personal advantage.
  • Cooperation
    The biggest effect leaders achieve with the design of the internal and cross-functional cooperation. It becomes especially crucial, when the dedication of many people is needed, in order to achieve a joint target. Workshops are the framework for developing integrated strategies and business models as well as improving the culture of the enterprise. Without an appropriate infrastructure (e.g. meeting corners, beamers, whiteboards, on-line forums, video conferences) the breeding area for the work is missing.

The additional aspects of leadership, like the performance review, the employee interview, and the job description also have to be fulfilled. The classical HR instruments set the beat. However, effective leadership needs more (see above).

Bottom line: The current dynamics and the fast pace require more than the application of the classical controls. The appropriate self-awareness, paired with a level of conceptual imagination, the employment of the right coordination mechanisms and a reasonable openness in communications create the perfect place for business. It is crucial that the conductor does not only set the beat.

What do I do?

Enterprises should actually be able to describe, what they do. Corporate areas and departments, which supply internal customers, often do not even have the idea to describe their business – let alone individuals. It is ever more important to explain oneself comprehensively, because when the business model (BM) is tangible, it is far more easy for customers and partners as well as employees and colleagues to fulfill their contribution. It does not matter whether one is working in a large or small company, a unit or a department, as employee or an executive, employed or self-employed, commercially or honorary. But how does an outline looks like for what I do?

The BM is an outline for explaining your activities. You have the following advantages. It

  • clarifies the different aspects of the activities,
  • supports the specification of procedures,
  • shows double work,
  • makes decisions easier,
  • identifies synergies and
  • helps saving money and time.


It focusses on the following content-wise elements.

  • Deliverable concept
    The deliverable concept consists of five segments. There is an idea behind each activity. It is the basis of the undertaking and concretizes the solutions and the desired market with its sales opportunities. The better the preferred value discipline is specified (i.e best process, best product or customer intimacy), the better you can align the activities with it. The clear descriptions of the advantages motivate partners and customers to do their best. The description of the proposed results is the most important aspect. These can be products or services. Be aware, in which state of the life cycle your deliverables are.
  • Earning model
    You receive wage, salary or other kinds of remuneration for your core business based on the individual contracts. They are mostly of physical nature, e.g. money or assets. Sometimes it can be additionally non-material advantages, like reputation or personal satisfaction. The look outside the box extracts additional earning sources from the context, e.g. through the network that comes from a honorary activity.
  • Value creation
    The creation of value happens along the value chain. It starts from the moment, when the value-add rises for the first time and ends, when no further value increase occurs. Some parts we produce by ourselves and others are created by others. The smart allocation of tasks to the steps of the value creation offers opportunities for improvement.
  • Relationships
    The exact image of the partners and the customers facilitates the joint work. This contains not only the list of the relations, but also the description of tasks, authorities and responsibilities as well as a verbal characterization.
  • Resources
    Most of the activities need resources, i.e., financial means, qualified capacities, and an intact infrastructure. They should be clearly specified and available at the right time. Restrictions on resources obstruct the performance. Plentiful means extend the possibilities.
  • Communication and Coordination
    As soon as people cooperate, the exchange of the information and the controlling of the involved ones becomes important. Open channels between the target audience and oneself ensure a good flow of information. This provides clarity about the intentions, the current situation and the mental states of the people and organizations concerned. With appropriate mechanisms for coordination you manage the co-operation.

The more people work together, the more important is it to convey the business model.

Bottom line: Today the companies, organizations, teams and individuals need a clear comprehension of their business model. This is also valid, if it is not concerned a business per se, but an activity that is not focused on profits. By describing it with the aspects specified above, you create a meaningful representation of your own field of work.

Same series:

Who am I?

Where do I want to go?

The too tightly held egg breaks

Every time I take an egg in my hand, I pay attention that it does not slip out and breaks on the ground. At the same time, I avoid making a too strong grasp, so that I do not break it. I am aware that the shell is stable, but nevertheless the careless pressure could crack it.
Aren’t executives not in a similar situation? They lead the employees and ensure that they adhere to the sets of rules that result from the laws, the corporate guidelines, contracts and other arrangements. As with the egg, the leaders have to create the balance between a too loose and a too tight guidance. If results are missing or the employees withdraw their respect, then the leader forfeits his authority. If the manager controls too pedantic, then he risks the staff commitment and loses employees through fluctuation in the mid-term. In any case the danger exists that the basis for cooperation will be broken.


In the past executives could grow into their tasks by accompanying experienced superiors. Today, after graduating, a few internships and some short professional experiences, one can already get assigned to an executive position. This trend is amplified by HR policies in large companies, which rely more and more on assessments in artificial „lab conditions “. We can recognize these bosses from their work style. They are characterized by their Micro Management, the taking over of project functions and thereby missing out the leading.

The following leadership tasks are crucial, in order to accomplish the guiding role.

  • Communication
    The regular exchange of thoughts, opinions and facts is particularly important and at the same time very time-consuming in groups. The more employees are directly assigned, the more time is needed for the exchange of thoughts and the less time is available for each employee. It takes time for personal talks as well as for different forms of conversation (e.g. fireside chats, coffee talks, powwows). Besides personal discussions the comprehension of the employees is increased by publishing regularly important topics as emails, newsletters or a personal intranet page.
  • Coordination
    The skimpiest alternative of coordination is the command chain with their order and obedience. It is actually clear for most people that this model is no longer workable. Who would like to be led in such a manner! For this reason there are today further mechanisms for coordination, e.g. agreements, targets or the Linking pins. This naturally requires more time, than simply issuing an order. In the long run, however, the involved people learn to act autonomously. Then the remaining effort happens particularly in the information exchange.
  • Cooperation
    Also executives are forced to work together with others. For this purpose an environment should be created, that facilitates teamwork. Apart from the necessary equipment with spaces and media, workshops offer a setting outside of everyday life. In these work groups people coordinate the direction of the area and business models as well as the culture.

In all cases it is crucial to find the right balance between demanding and promoting. It is not a matter of not being able to exert pressure, but to create with the right leadership results AND to keep the acceptance, motivation and commitment of the employees.

Bottom line: Leadership is a critical task, since it has a large influence on the economic well-being of the company. It is an important contribution, in order to keep the teams on track and to provide them with sufficient hold. The same way as the too loosely or too firmly held egg breaks, the efficiency of a team stands and falls with too little or too much leadership.

See also: Out of the liability

Evaporates the public opinion?

We all have our look at the conditions of the world. Currently billions of people lives in the world. Unfortunately it is difficult from the perspective of political and economical decision makers to deal appropriately with this incredible number of views. For this reason, one considers the view points of groups, e.g. government, enterprise, lobby and other groups of interests. A universal point of view is the public opinion that represents the majority of the society. These attitudes and behaviors are detected through representative surveys. Whereas in former times people were shaped by common upbringing, education, books and mass media, today an enormous amount of channels and institutions stand equal side by side. As a consequence everyone seeks heaven in his own fashion. Does the public opinion still exist? Or does the public opinion evaporates as a practical tool from the public discourses?


If the commonalities of a society dissolve, the resilience is at risk, …

  • … because common sense is no longer seizable
    In the past, people were influenced with news by common channels, e.g. the local daily papers as well as the public radio and TV stations. This created a common state of knowledge and convictions. With the emergence of special-interest channels and the Internet today everyone is in the position to select ones sources. Thus, the commonalities get lost. Each perspective is cultivated and evolves in its respective direction. Therefore a common sense of the smaller groups emerges. The large, social common sense is lost thereby.
  • … because culture dissolves more and more
    Through the advancing fragmentation of the society it becomes more difficult to recognize the core elements of culture (more here: Languages, actions, attitudes, experiences and the identity are increasingly scattered across different groups. Over time incompatible groups evolve that are in competition with each other. In order to come to a common direction, for all parties’ acceptable compromises have to be concluded. The call for a common culture becomes stronger.
  • … because social cohesion disappears
    As a consequence, people orient themselves increasingly towards their group. This leads to a developing delimitation from others and a stronger emotional binding to the values of the own group. The existing energy for the common tasks is consumed in favor of petty disputes. The general problems remain unresolved and the societal commonalities get lost.
  • … because the large parties dissolve
    Even the Grand Coalition of Germany represents only 48% of all voters, considering a polling of 71,5% The CDU/CSU (18.3 million voters) received together just little more votes than the non-voters (17.6 million). Democracy created itself rules, in order to remain functional with such circumstances. The consequences are more and more parties and ever more populists.
  • … because the basis for governmental decisions evaporates
    With the political voting results, the parties govern without the support of the majority of the voters. This leads to a rising discontent and more public demonstrations. The new culture of protest is practiced by all segments of the population. The malicious way that the established parties show the various activists understanding is an indication for their lack of ideas of how to grapple with these groups.

The gaps that arise create the room for groups that promise to the public, what they want to hear. Populist forces already exploited in the twentieth century the weakness of many small parties. The consequences were horrifying. Without an extensive consent between the citizens that becomes visible in a convincing public opinion, we spin into an undesirable, well-known direction. Did decision makers learn something from it? Which measures do they take? Do we have to accept that history repeats itself? And afterwards again nobody knew something?
In the meantime the public opinion becomes so little meaningful that on its basis only a few commonalities can be found – except for the xenophobic developments.

P.S.: The same mechanisms can be found in corporations within their framework of the Corporate Identity.

Penniless managers are worth nothing

After the ghost of planned economy collapsed, large-scale enterprises evolve to huge centralistic administrative bodies. After years of lean management, culture, hierarchies rigidify, which undermine their intended claim for a flat structure with the subordination of equal levels. The return to functional organizations covers the inability to base the organization on processes. The cross charging of deliverables create an internal market in which specific amounts are negotiated and paid with the transfer of budgets – wooden nickels from the left to the right pocket. The degree of bureaucratization can be seen via the necessary reports and guidelines. More and more employees serve an overhead of project, planning and budget reports. At the same time, the guidelines evolve to one entanglement of regulations that cannot be conveyed or obeyed anymore. The crucial error is however the new approach to realize savings, namely to decide right at the top any outward cash flow. Yet it is forgotten that leaders are worth nothing without financial means.


What do doers need in order to fulfill their tasks?

  • Apart from the personal characteristics that constitute leaders, like integrity, decisiveness and customer focus, the following tasks should be fulfilled: Self-management, conception, coordination, communication and cooperation.
  • The tasks, authority and responsibility specify the scope of action. The tasks describe the activities that are to be mastered. The authority determines the decision, directive and action powers. The responsibility obligates the superior on the decided approach and the goals. On this basis the personal evaluation and remuneration are done.
  • The allocation of a cost center and the equipment with sufficient budget is an important part of the authority. Like the fuel tank of a car, the available funds limit the scope that a decision maker can cover. Penniless leaders have actually no chance to contribute value-adding results.
  • Bosses as entrepreneurs in the enterprise need a comprehensible business model. Within the business idea, the target audiences, the deliverable portfolio and the clearly outlined scopes are specified.
  • An important function of the executive is the indication towards a positive future and the measures for reaching it. The strategy should provide the employees a seizable framework for the realization.

As soon as these components are missing, the leaders are worth nothing and it remains noting else than eliminating these positions.

Bottom line: The leadership tasks require a large spectrum of abilities, in order to be able to perform a task meaningfully. However, as soon as the leader is guided on a short leash, without budget, even the best characteristics go pop, because penniless managers are worth anything.

The complete palette affects more and better

As soon as people work together, it is necessary to exchange information. For executives communication is an important function in the context of their leadership tasks *1. The following aspects can be realized through respective measures.

  • The self-understanding will be exchanged.
  • The business model is becoming tangible for everybody.
  • The future direction will be understandable.
  • The tasks, the authority and the responsibility will be substantiated.
  • The rumormongers are dammed through the achieved transparency.
  • The common knowledge is made accessible to all.

Messages affect more and better by using the entire pallete.


The entire pallete of communication consists of the following objects: Words, pictures, sounds and events.

  • Verbal exchange is determined by the choice of the words, the expression and the topic development. Which are the substantial keywords, stigma words, names, artificial terms as well as synonyms and antonyms? Which modalities should be used (e.g. must, may)? Which metaphors support the topic development?
  • Visual communication consists of the choice of the motives as well as the visual aspects and laws. Which motives represent the topic (e.g. landscapes, people)? Which type of visualization is favorable? Which visual laws have an advantage (e.g. similarity, coherence)?
  • Auditory exchange of information consists also of the choice of the motives as well as the tonal aspects and laws. Which motives represent the topic (e.g. language, music)? Which type of sound is favorable? Which auditory laws have an advantage (e.g. simultaneousness, harmony)?
  • Meetings differ in the type and the form. Which type of communication is most suitable (e.g. event, publication)? Which form is favorable (e.g. workshop, video, discussion)?

The use of the entire pallete increases the attention and the understanding of the target group. In any topic, several elements of the pallete can be used.

*1) Further leadership tasks are the self-management, the conception, the coordination, and the cooperation

The metaphor – The key into the deep

The most important hurdles to exchange information are the attention of the target group and the sustained remembering of contents. Messages always stands in competition with the other flood of information. People memorize particularly well emotional contents, since these connect easily with existing experiences. A key into the deep of the consciousness is the metaphor.


The metaphor works like a Trojan horse that gets easily from outside to inside (see also: Meta model of the language). It links basic qualities and insights with the message that is conveyed. Through the surprising link, it activates the attention and keeps it longer in mind.

The following elements facilitate the finding and the formulation of a metaphor.

  • Metaphor group
    Describe your target group and use the found characteristics for the meaningful development of the metaphor, e.g. John Doe and his everyday experience.
  • Metaphor field
    Find a common area of life that is familiar to all and releases emotions, e.g. technology. Then, the metaphor can consist of things, activities or roles, e.g. a closed door with a lock and a key.
  • Metaphor attributes
    The actual characteristics of the metaphor are derived from context-related procedures, relations and logical levels, e.g. closed doors can be opened with a key.

The usage of the various channels of perception strengthens the effect. Your message is better memorized, when you use the language, the jargon, of your target group and show a not necessarily realistic picture of your message.

Bottom line: The metaphor is a key from the surface structure into the deep structure. The narrative elements in word and picture create the desired attention and improve the retentivity.

Enough is vague without scale

The business model does not say which, for what, how, with whom or wherewith the undertaking has to be realized. It points out that you have to describe content-wise Which, For what, How, With whom and Wherewith. This is the benchmark for calibrating yourself in the development of a new or the transformation of an existing activity.


If an enterprise is realized, the following aspects preoccupy normally every executive board, every project and every employee.

WHAT has to be documented on which level of detail?

In the planning, execution and controlling of program, it becomes repeatedly apparent that the list of tasks, the start and end dates, the dependencies as well as the responsibilities facilitate the steering of a project substantially. Currently, structured approaches, like the Businesses Model Canvas and Business model by memecon, are developed for modelling the venture

Isn’t it negligent, if a new firm is only based on numbers that are computed in a spreadsheet analysis? Often they forget the content-wise description of the actual offer, the additional possibilities of income, the entire value creation, the necessary relations and means. Additionally, the ways that are used to keep contact with the involved people and the mechanisms for coordination provide first ideas for steering the undertaking.

The venture is sufficiently outlined, if statements for all aspects are available. The level of detail is defined by the time that can be spent. After at most one fifth of the duration, all relevant aspects should be presented in an agreed way and the question about the feasibility should be answered. Further details are determined in the following steps.

Bottom line: The development of the business model is a structured approach that facilitates the content-wise specification of the elements. The explanations should be prepared as detailed as needed to decide the further development of the business. In the subsequent steps, the individual aspects will be further refined.


The self-image in a nutshell:

Potential application areas: