Chapter 2: Adapative Order Systems (Pages 49-63)

Personal take-aways:

The book states that people need state systems that are legitimized by their culture and governability. When applying this concept to business it creates several questions. Should companies be mirrors of local culture or should they create their own based on their international characteristics? If culture is determined to be an important factor in the productivity of employees how much of it should also be part of corporate culture and how can this be feasible when looking at different cultures working together across borders? In the end the question of how much glocalization is part of globalization appears to be an important aspect of effective leadership.

On another note, as stated that competition invariably leads to progress, it might be interesting to think about how competition in a balanced format can be made part of the daily work routine of employees in a way that teamwork and competition might coexist in the quest of innovation through cooperation and individualism.

Notes:

  • Updating State Systems
    • money alone does not trigger innovation
      • example Africa: huge sums of money invested without any obvious longterm effects
        • must know more about the type of assistance needed to achieve cooperation we desire
        • aim should be to introduce democracy and a market economy as part of long-term development plan
          • not from the beginning as change would create too much of a shock
          • less than ideal government can be tolerated if success of policies create conditions for reform
          • people need time to understand and develop new goals
    • people need state system that is legitimized by their culture and governability
      • habits, vested rights play an important role
    • people feel strongest connection to their local/regional culture
  • New Social Goals and Flexible Order Systems
    • failure of inherited systems
      • past social goals that have been handed down are still characterized by hierarchical origins
        • ruling classes claim to leadership has proved incapable of preserving stability
        • comparing various democratic systems is almost impossible due to individual democratic styles
        • view that those in power should be role models for others is questioned by interpretation of concept of liberalism
        • we now have a system that rewards conformity rather than competition oriented leadership
      • competition invariably leads to progress
    • many managers are far too slow to adopt new management techniques
      • from management through discipline to motivation
    • success is one thing: but MUST BE cautious in assuming that past experiences will enable to master the future
      • willingness to learn to deciding factor

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Chapter 3: New Objectives in the Working World (Pages 93-101)

Rupp Quote.jpgPersonal take-aways:

Being innovative requires time – time to think, and time away from daily activities and processes. This is impossible when one’s calendar doesn’t allow for this. Thus, when trying to increase the innovation ability of a company and employees, leaders need to understand if sufficient time can be freed up by the staff to truly immerse itself in the innovation task. In others words, it might not be the lack of ideas or innovative abilities but simply time to develop existing ideas in addition to completing current and possibly inefficient processes and working habits.

On another note, once more, the wording and framing of working concepts appears to be very important. The book gives the example of profit-sharing and paying bonuses. One can see these things as additional costs or as necessary contributions to the efficient operation of the enterprise. Both views create very different financial models and motivation tools…but are also based on very different views on the importance of employees in a company. Combining this idea with the concept that people improve their performance if they can identify with the objectives of their organization AND the behavior of management, it becomes clear how different views influence company efficiency based on different behaviors of management that are seen as just or unjust by their employees.

Notes:

  • Leadership Ability as a Determinant of Success
    • all cultures have confirmed that humans beings by their nature need andseek community
      • personal freedom must be accompanied by a sense of duty and responsiblity if the individual AND community are to thrive
      • it is important to question continuously culture’s design
        • cultures are supposed to facilitate human life and must continue to evolve
    • people appreciate that they can contribute to develop management techniques through their personal committment
    • the correct choice of objectives is often undervalued
      • leaders are usually best qualified to develop objectives
        • BUT leaders may not fall back on their own experiences for this purpose -> they must anticipate future developments
    • criteria such as maximizing profit and shareholder value will not any longer suffice
    • people need time to think about their objectives and strategies -> this is impossible when overburdening staff and management
      • people will master their daily routines but not more
    • it was believed that capital and labor were crucial forces exerting pressure on the economy
      • this is misleading as development has in the last two centuries not been based on capital but the initiative of creative entrepreneurs
    • PEOPLE WHO ARE WITHOUT HOPE LOSE THEIR STRENGTH AND POWER; THOSE WITHOUT DIRECTION AND GOALS LOSE COURAGE
    • progress demands the ability to find new paths
    • people improve their performance if they can identify with the objectives of their organization and the behavior of management
      • management must be willing to cooperate and be kind
        • the behavior of management will determine the company climate of motivation or opposition
          • the working atmosphere is always determined primarily by the direct superior
      • capital must be used to help people identify with the enterprise
        • if performance, success, and quality of workers is not acknowledged , company is felt to be unjust
          • the question of justice decides whether employees work to rule or endeavour to do their best
        • bonuses or profit-sharing are investments in the value of motivation; it should not be seen as costs
          • it is a necessary contribution tot he efficient operation of the enterprise

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Chapter 3: New Objectives in the Working World (Pages 116 – 135)

Personal take-aways:

While talking about the French Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment as times when people demanded progress, the books makes a particular statement that goes hand in hand with what leadership might be all about. It states that during these times, people started to see that ruling hierarchies had been poor guardians of the individual’s hope for better conditions.

Applying the meaning of this statement to management, and the art of motivating people and getting them to identify with the leadership at hand and the company, one needs to understand how one can satisfy this call for better conditions. Maybe it is human nature to always want more, and always want better conditions and improvements, but when assuming that one of the first questions that people have when a new leader is put in place is whether or not this person is able to improve the current conditions, then the leader might have found the first tasks to tackle to create the fellowship s/he needs for future projects to come.

In previous chapters the book talked about profit-sharing and motivation in connection with creative freedom. Bertelsmann has a specific procedure for this, which is the following:

  1. After paying employees’ capital returns and income, half of the remainder is paid as a share of profits to each group
  2. The employees’ profit share is reinvested in the firm and is available for sale on the stock market

The consequences of this approach are:

  • employees’ stake consists today of around one-third of the company capital
  • employees’ investments have contributed to the ability of the company to finance high rate growth over decades without outside capital
  • the company’s independence eased the development of the corporate culture
  • employees have additional financial security, which they can make use of now or later in life

Notes:

  • objectives for corporate culture are as follows:
    • ultima goal of a business it to contribute to society
    • capital can strive for a high return but the way it defines its own interests contributes to this
    • management personal should receive entrepreneurial opportunities and share in success
    • employees expect career opportunities, fair pay, and security -> they need to be accepted as partners
  • size management will be another managerial problem in the future
    • in the past, and still today, growth symbolizes success and power
      • huge inventory turn  + number of employees
        • it is easy to convey size and associate it with success
    • –> we should NOT value companies for the size but for their management style and productivity
      • innovation, growth rates, finance strategies, continuity of management, and corporate environment tell us more about a company
    • however, if growth is unavoidable, we should think about breaking size into more manageable units
  • in the past we used regulated, decentralized managed units to achieve uniform results
    • now we want the opposite: escape stagnant hierarchies and grant creative freedom within a framework of delegated responsiblity
  • today we no longer work with people that we can give orders to, but with citizens who think for themselves and are capable of assuming responsibility
  • you need to INVEST in the motivation of your colleagues
  • we need to delegate responsiblity and motivating people and encouraging them to identify with the firm are prerequisites for this
  • Guaranteeing Continuity
    • management must see as one of its tasks guaranteeing the viability and continuity of the business
      • continuity as a corporate goal is expressed in the company’s strategy, management, finance and objectives
        • management must choose this goal in the interest of all participants
    • creative people and managers need: incentives for success, courage to take risks, and freedom to be creative
      • OWNERSHIP CARRIES AN OBLIGATION
  • Family Traditions
    • not all goals are useful
      • the overemphasis on profitability – for example in shareholder value and profit maximization – can interfere with a company’s competitiveness
      • paths need to be reassessed from time to time as the conditions for success might have changed
    • !!cultures are founded firmly upon their people’s self-confidence!!
      • changing a culture involved providing people with a new self-perception, a new social system, and new customs

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The Art of Money Getting: E-Book Pages 100-THE END

Notes/Excerpts:

  • Be polite and kind to your customers
    • politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business
    • the truth is, the more kind and liberal a man is, the more generous will be the patronage bestowed upon him
  • Be charitable
    • men should be charitable because it is a duty and a pleasure
    • the best kind of charity is to help those who are willing to help themselves.
      • promiscuous almsgiving, without inquiring into the worthiness of the applicant, is bad in every sense
  • Dont blab
    • say nothing about your profits, your hopes, your expectations, your intentions. And this should apply to letters as well as to conversations
      • Goethe makes Mephistopheles say: Never write a letter nor destroy one.
        • business men must write letters, but they should be careful what they put in them
  • Preserve your integrity
    • IT IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN DIAMONDS OR RUBIES
    • a man who is known to be strictly honest, may be ever so poor, but he has the purses of all the community at his disposal – for all know that if he promises to return what he borrows, he will never disappoint them
    • the desire for wealth is nearly universal, and none can say it is not laudable, provided the possessor of it accepts its responsibilities, and uses it as a friend to humanity
    • to all men and women, therefore, do I conscientiously say, make money honestly, and not otherwise, for Shakespeare has truly said, “He that wants money, means, and content, is without three good friend.”
      • Side note: The impoverished Corin tells the eager fool that a man without money, work and happiness is missing a trio of solid allies. Here, Shakespeare places all three possessions on a par, suggesting that happiness and work are at least as important as money.

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Sneakers, Socks & Shoelaces

Problem:

Sometimes sneakers and socks just don’t go together; even if the socks are barely visible, people, especially man, still try to hide them by tugging them back into the shoe with a somewhat useless motivation to create the illusion of wearing no socks …as socks just “never look right.” 

Now if the sneakers also have shoelaces another problem is created which again is solved by trying to tug them into the shoe wherever possible or tying to tie the laces in a way inside of the show that makes them “invisible” to the untrained eye.

Solution:

Taking printers as an example, creating socks that only “go with” a particular shoe, like cartridges that only work with a particular printer, might solve the problem of creating the illusion of “no socks” to the maximum possible, while still wearing them without this unwanted “having to tug them back into the shoe”.  This way, designers can align different designs and the cuts of the shoe and the sock, while also increase the revenue model of a particular sneaker by simply selling socks that were created in accordance with the shoe sold. Value: Establishing the acceptable “visible line” of socks with a particular sneaker.

Regarding the problem of the shoelaces: A simple pockets on each side of the shoe that allows to “hide” the shoelaces once tied, might just do the trick.

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Adopt a Grandparent

Problem:

Not everybody gets married, not everybody finds its soul recognition in another; and if so, many times no children are born out of this relationship, and many times one soul leaves the earth earlier than the other. Many of the elderly are alone in the later years of their lives; and many of them would love to still have someone to care for and that cares about them.

Solution:

On the one hand we have those who long for a family, and on the other we have those who long for a grandparent or somebody to talk to that has more life experience than oneself. “Adopt” a grandparent would allow for this match to happen by being an intermediary between two distinct stakeholders that both look for the same thing – a family and a friend that they would not be able to meet otherwise; somebody that listens that cares and that takes the time to truly get to know oneself. And even if a match doesn’t happen, the community behind this “service” might bring “like-minded” individuals together and relieve them from the feeling of being alone.

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Ultimate Shopping App

Problem:

Every week different supermarkets usually offer several discounts on different products. In addition, some supermarkets always offer some products cheaper than others. In times of economic difficulties being able to save 5 or 8€ on each shopping trip makes a big difference. However, knowing where what and what not to buy is a complicated business due to the variety of supermarkets/products and when understanding where one can get the best overall deal when talking about an entire shopping list and not only single products.

Solution:

Creating an app that allows one to enter one’s shopping list or search for single products with recommendations on where the get the best deals/the best overall deal based on publicly available prices and weekly discounts that will be used to compare products of different supermarkets with each other in a combined database. This database would need to be updated on a constant basis, which might be a problem, but as this app might also mean free “advertising” for the single supermarkets, a reason for why information regarding prices would be made freely available easily might exist.

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