Martin Suter’s Business Class column: Bollinger’s female leadership:

He wouldn’t call it a career decline, but a certain slowing down of the once dynamic career curve cannot be dismissed out of hand in self-critical moments. That is why Bollinger avoids self-critical moments whenever possible.

But sometimes they are inevitable, especially because Judith also avoids self-critical ones. The critical, however, not at all.

For example: He comes home and says: “Imagine Mettler has become Head of Sales, and we don’t have a quota for women at all,” she replies: “Maybe she’s just better.”

Now Bollinger is not the type who simply pushes unpleasant truths aside. He himself is considering this possibility.

Is she just technically better, he wonders, or is she better because she is a woman? He quickly rejects the first option. Considering them seriously would be a bit too auto-destructive. But then he does consider the second.

What leadership qualities do women have by nature that men lack? And how can you acquire them?

The technical article of a headhunter contains a treatise on female soft skills. These include empathy, listening, emotional intelligence, self-reflection, etc. Okay, he thinks if it is nothing more.

Unobtrusively, step by step, he begins to acquire these qualities. When Hartmann lost his driving license for one point eight per thousand, he did not burst out laughing, at least not in Hartmann’s presence, but reacted with an empathetic “oh no, and now commuting between here and Landisegg-Dorf three times for a whole year Change. You poorest. “

And he always accompanies the same sermon of his boss, Brunner, with whom he used to suppress a yawn visibly, now with an affirmative “yes”, an interested “hmmm” or an almost enthusiastic “exact”, as if he were hearing it for the very first time .

Because being able to put yourself in, to empathize, to listen is known to be the quintessence of emotional intelligence.

And what he does from now on, namely subjecting himself and the impact of his personality on his career to a critical assessment, is practically the epitome of self-reflection.

In the following months, Bollinger also worked on his emotional intelligence. For example, he says to Kortmann, who is always in a bad mood: “I thought I found something like a frown on your face, and the corners of your mouth also point a little downwards. Could you be struggling with the ‘Twenty Twenty’ restructuring? ”

The management reorientation towards “female” leadership skills is slowly bearing fruit. Bollinger feels – yes, he is now getting more and more involved in feelings – he feels a growing acceptance and an almost family relationship with his subordinates everywhere.

“Leading” is actually becoming more and more “taking by the hand” and accompanying. The working atmosphere in his department relaxes, the employees no longer fall silent in front of the coffee machine if he unexpectedly joins them. And even the grouchy Feldmann is caught with a smile every now and then.

And despite the harmony in Bollinger’s environment, the performance of his team is quite impressive. So he has legitimate hopes when it becomes apparent that the succession is regulated internally.

But to his and also the general surprise, the choice is noticed – of all things – Bergmann. Bollinger’s new leadership style is very successful. But so feminine that he hits the glass ceiling.

The management column “Business Class” was Martin Suters entree in the career as a writer. After a 13-year hiatus, he resurrected her in 2019 – using the means of the present day: crowdsourcing, social media and paid content. Handelsblatt Magazin exclusively prints out some of the bestselling author’s new columns. You can find more of them and other gems on, where you can currently register for free.

More: Martin Suters Business Class: Schlüter on Purpose


AT&T boss Randall Stephenson resigns

Randall Stephenson

The manager will remain chairman of AT&T’s board of directors, which is superior to the board, until January 2021.

(Photo: Reuters)

Dallas The US mobile giant AT&T gets a new leadership. CEO Randall Stephenson (60) resigns after 13 years, as the group announced on Friday at its general meeting due to the corona crisis on the Internet.

John Stankey (57), who has been responsible for day-to-day business on the board, was appointed as his successor. The change of boss should take place on July 1st. Stephenson, however, will remain chairman of the board of directors superior to the board until January 2021, the statement said.

Investors were initially unimpressed by the news, and the AT&T share hardly reacted.

More: Telekom receives final approval for US merger


Million dollar bonuses for Goldman bankers drive shareholder advisors onto the barricades

Boston, New York The influential voting rights advisor ISS stands against the millions of bonuses for Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon and other top managers of the bank. Goldman Sachs ISS increased the bonus for CEO Solomon sharply, although some important key figures would have deteriorated in 2019 compared to the previous year, ISS criticized in a Reuters report on the night of Friday.

Solomon earned nearly $ 25 million in 2019. ISS recommended that shareholders vote against the salary package at the Annual General Meeting next Thursday. The shareholders’ vote is only of an advisory nature and is therefore not binding. Many funds and large investors follow the recommendations of voting rights advisers such as ISS and Glass Lewis.

Solomon succeeded Lloyd Blankfein at the top of Goldman Sachs in October 2018 and was able to look forward to a substantial salary increase in 2019. He collected a total of $ 24.7 million, of which 7.65 million were bonus payments. Solomon thus received 19 percent more money than in the previous year, although the investment bank’s profit plummeted 19 percent to $ 8.47 billion.

However, the highest-paid US banker remained long-time JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon in 2019, who received $ 31.5 million after a record profit from the bank – 1.6 percent more than in the previous year.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman defended the salaries for top managers around Solomon. Goldman rewards long-term growth and does not place undue emphasis on short-term results. Income for 2019 reflected the significant long-term success of the top management.

More: How the corona crisis will weigh on US banks’ businesses.


“We can get the economy going with a clear conscience”

The topic of the Corona crisis was on the agenda as four weeks ago. Politicians such as the Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer and the Green MP Cem Özdemir also took part in the new round. Another guest was Hendrik Streeck, the Bonn virologist, who became known nationwide through the controversial Heinsberg study.

In such a round, the VW CEO is of course the representative of the economy. Herbert Diess is to be representative of many other German companies, explaining how Volkswagen is dealing with the corona pandemic and how the group is trying to get out of the associated economic crisis.

This gladly takes on this role. “We can get the economy going again with a clear conscience,” he says, ultimately referring to his company’s own efforts. Volkswagen is currently starting to restart production in its German plants. It was Zwickau’s turn on Thursday, followed by the main plant in Wolfsburg, Emden and Hanover the following week.

Volkswagen had “very well” prepared for the restart in the past five weeks of the production stop. The manufacturing processes have been changed so that VW employees do not have to fear a corona virus infection.

Hygiene concept for VW locations

Wherever things get narrower and where there is less work to be done, additional masks are used. There is also a comprehensive hygiene concept for the VW locations. The car dealership was also prepared for the virus – the vehicles could in future be handed over without personal contact.

This speaks of the fact that Volkswagen would have continued production breaks for two, three or four weeks. But Volkswagen incurs two billion euros in fixed costs every week. Therefore it is of course also clear that such a forced break cannot last indefinitely, Diess said.

As always with such appearances in recent months, the VW boss brings China into play. There it was possible to control the corona virus and at the same time to restart the economy. “China shows us that both are possible,” he emphasizes. The People’s Republic is extremely important for the Wolfsburg group. VW sells about 40 percent of its cars there and earns billions.

Even if the corona restrictions of the past few weeks have cost Volkswagen a lot of money, the CEO expressly commits to political decisions. “We can be proud of what we have achieved as a state and society,” said Diess.

“We made our contributions”

The German health system had withstood the stresses of the corona virus and the dramatic developments like in Italy or Spain had not occurred. The Federal Republic coped well with the crisis.

Moderator Maybritt Illner once critically asks whether Volkswagen might not be asking too much from the state if the company makes use of the short-time work scheme for 80,000 employees and now demands a purchase premium to boost car demand. Various board members of the group had discussed such a bonus several times in the past few days.

But Herbert Diess disagrees. Volkswagen actively provided help in the acute crisis situation and donated medical equipment for around 40 million euros. Seven million protective masks were also handed over. “We made our contributions,” emphasizes the VW boss. The Spanish Volkswagen subsidiary Seat even produces ventilators.

The receipt of the short-time work allowance is also completely okay. “These are contributions that we made ourselves,” says Diess. In the past ten years that was four billion euros, currently Volkswagen transfers 500 million euros annually. In March, Volkswagen received around 40 million euros in short-time work benefits.

In addition, Volkswagen behaves as a social enterprise and increases the short-time work allowance from its own resources to 100 percent. The VW employees did not suffer any financial losses.

Overall, however, Hebert Diess has relatively little say in Maybritt Illner. Politicians and scientists dominate the group. There is another argument about the Heinsberg study, the discussion about education and schools is given a lot of space. Time and again the roundtable revolves around the question of whether Germany is withdrawing the restrictions on public life too early and whether this threatens further waves of infection.

Herbert Diess only speaks briefly at the end of the program. Maybritt Illner wants to know how he feels about the obligation to wear a mask. The VW boss quickly pulls out his personal copy and holds it up: “We need five million of them in our plants every week.”

More: VW board: “A funding model could be based on CO2 emissions”.


This is how managers and employees become crisis-proof

Dusseldorf There are people we admire for their mental strength – Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of them for many: banking, euro, refugee crisis – and now the corona pandemic. Merkel remains level-headed, less emotional and exudes a well-dosed, factual optimism.

The Chancellor has proven herself in times of crisis, and her critics have become louder in quieter times. Especially in difficult times, the physicist seems to have enormous reserves of strength. How does it work?

A specialist discipline in psychology helps to clarify the question. Researchers have analyzed why some people are able to cope with serious crises in a psychologically robust way, while others are completely thrown off track. It is about the different levels of ability to cope with stress, that is, psychological resistance or “resilience”, as it is often called in technical language.

Not only the current corona crisis with its omnipresent health risks and the often unfamiliar home office situation is an example of how important it is to remain calm and confident. Otherwise it is also necessary to deal with stressful situations: conflicts with the boss, the failed project, dismissal. Or in private: disputes, divorce, loss of relatives.

But how do we manage to deal with crises constructively?

“A certain proportion of our personal stress resistance is genetically determined,” says Michael Kastner. The head of the Institute for Occupational Psychology and Occupational Medicine in Herdecke knows that those who have a balanced nature, are intelligent and open, who recognize opportunities even in difficult situations, tend to have it easier in crises, studies show.

Michael Kastner (medical doctor and psychologist)

“Resilience can be trained like muscles.”

(Photo: IAPAM)

But “resilience”, and that’s the good news, can be learned to a certain extent. Medical doctor and psychologist Kastner has good news for everyone who has not been put into crisis-resistant properties: “Resilience can be trained like muscles.”

There are special coaching offers for managers and employees – like Jutta Heller’s in Nuremberg. The 58-year-old says: “People who have problems in crises should not struggle too much with the situation.” It is about consciously switching off the dark spiral of thought.

Because even in a crisis you can learn to be optimistic, says Heller. Sometimes it helps to perceive the beautiful things in life again – for example through a joy diary. There are three things noted down every day that you were happy about. “That strengthens the inner state – and the resilience.”

Experts also advise you to deliberately distance yourself from the news ticker in order to switch off. A current European study by the Mainz Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research shows how important this is. For example, 93 percent of those surveyed stated that they felt stressed by media reports in the corona crisis.

Managers and employees should also try to get out of the victim role. It is helpful to consciously reflect on your strengths. Anyone who remembers how they have mastered crises in the past can rediscover them in this analysis.

Jutta Heller (Resilience Coach)

“People who have problems in crises should not struggle too much with the situation.”

(Photo: Ingo Förtsch)

In addition, organizational psychologist Kastner advises people to exercise a lot, sleep well and, if at all, only enjoy alcohol in a well-dosed manner. Rewards are important, for example, for the fact that long-standing work has finally been done. But then reading a good book or taking a walk is often more positive.

What Kastner recommends in the current situation: to create a daily routine. It starts with getting up and getting dressed and goes into clearly defined phases of work and leisure. This offers security, predictability, predictability and fills the day with meaning. This could “reduce fears or feelings such as helplessness or loss of control”.

Stable social contacts – family, friends, colleagues, clubs – also help in difficult times. Those who share their fears and worries with someone become more resilient. Especially in the crisis, it is important to actively maintain social contacts – in order to be able to drop into your social network.

More: Home office, short-time work, layoffs: this is how Corona changes the world of work


Immofinanz appoints investor Pecik as the new head of the group

Logo of Immofinanz in Vienna

Due to the corona crisis, Immofinanz is currently not in discussions with its potential merger partner S Immo.

(Photo: Reuters)

Vienna The Austrian real estate company Immofinance gets a new CEO with the investor Ronny Pecik. Pecik will take over the chair for three years from May 4, Immofinanz announced on Thursday after the decision of the supervisory board. The executive chair was released after CEO Oliver Schumy prematurely vacated his chair in mid-March. A possible merger between Immofinanz and the rival S Immo could come closer because Pecik holds shares in both companies.

“Ronny Pecik is a leading entrepreneur and, due to his many years of experience in board and supervisory board positions, represents a particular strengthening of the board in challenging times like these,” said supervisory board chief Michael Knap. “In addition, due to his participation in Immofinanz, there is also a strong corporate responsibility,” added Knap.

Together with another investor, Pecik holds around 10.7 percent in Immofinanz. He also owns around 14.2 percent of the shares in S Immo. Between Immofinanz and S Immo there is a new attempt for a merger in the room. Due to the corona crisis, there are currently no talks, Immofinanz said recently.

More: The investor Petrus Advisers supports the merger of Immofinanz and S Immo.


Chief legal officer of Deutsche Bank on the move

The Deutsche Bank towers in Frankfurt

It rumbles on the executive floors.

(Photo: AFP)

Frankfurt The Deutsche Bank will likely have to look around for a new chief legal officer soon. Two sources familiar with the facts confirmed to the Handelsblatt that the separation from Florian Drinhausen was almost a done deal.

A dispute between the 52-year-old and the legal director Stefan Simon appointed last year has been smoldering for a long time. Simon, who previously sat on the board of directors of the money house, has repeatedly criticized Drinhausen’s way of dealing with the bank’s various legal problems, it is said. This applies above all to the often tough line of the chief judiciary towards law enforcement officers and guards.

For example, when prosecutors searched Deutsche Bank at the end of 2018 for suspected money laundering, Drinhausen is said to have been loud against the investigators. At the time, his appearance had caused heated controversy within the bank.

Drinhausen was a partner at Linklaters for a long time before joining Deutsche Bank in 2014. A good two years ago he was promoted to chief legal advisor and thus head of the legal department. Since Simon was promoted to the legal board, it has been clear that Drinhausen will have problems, financial circles say.

Simon’s predecessor as legal director, today’s deputy chief executive Karl von Rohr, has so far always held a protective hand over the chief legal officer and thus prevented an earlier departure from Drinhausen. Now the separation will be done soon.

Deutsche Bank did not want to comment on the personnel. The “Spiegel” and the “Manager Magazin” had previously reported on the impending departure of Drinhausen.

More: Deutsche Bank is preparing for higher credit risks


Jennifer Morgan’s resignation is an image disaster for SAP


The double leadership at SAP around Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein failed.

Germany has waited for years, oh what for decades, for a woman to be at the top DaxGroup is moving. Again and again names of promising candidates were circulating, it was of secondary importance who it would be, even in which company. It was just a matter of showing that even with us a woman can make it to the top.

The Dax is the leading German index, the 30 companies listed in the Dax are in the public interest like no other. Even if only 3.5 percent of all employees work there. Your bosses are heard everywhere.

And so October 11, 2019 was an important day for Deutschland AG. With the appointment of Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein as Co-CEOs, the Supervisory Board appointed SAP not only the first Dax boss, but also committed herself to the rather rare – but popular with the software manufacturer – leadership model of the top two.

It was a strong statement of diversity in several ways: An American becomes the co-boss of a technology company founded in Germany, which is now one of the most valuable in the country. The public response was corresponding. In some cases, it bordered on jubilation arias on Morgan, combined with the hope of further promotions of women to top positions in the German economy.

Half a year later, it’s all past. Morgan is leaving SAP, and soon. Off, over, end. So great was the euphoria when she was appointed, so great is the disillusionment. And yes, the disappointment with SAP and the top levels.

Because the official reason that the corona crisis needs “clear leadership responsibility” is thin. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why the double leadership at SAP failed, or from which side the decision came.

The fact is: it didn’t work and the collateral damage is huge. The signal that the first Dax boss is leaving after a few months and the man stays is devastating.

The filling of the CEO post is the most important personnel, which is often planned and prepared for years. One would think that everything that can lead to separation after such a short time, whether views on key strategic questions or character traits, has been clarified in advance. All the more so in the case of personnel with such an external impact as the appointment of a woman to be the first Dax boss.

Especially since SAP supervisory board chief Hasso Plattner let Morgan and Klein know that both had been “thoroughly prepared for a leadership role at the top of the company” and “complement each other perfectly”. Whatever motivation triggered the separation, it is questionable whether they justify the fatal effect.

More: After a few months, the double leadership broke: Jennifer Morgan leaves SAP, Christian Klein manages the company alone. The personnel raises many questions.


Corporate management in corona times – this is how managers succeed

Dusseldorf Renowned management expert, consultant and bestselling author Fredmund Malik knows what the top executives are most concerned with these days. It is a question of “how do they start up the system – the economy and their own company – again,” said the professor of corporate management at the University of St. Gallen in an interview with the Handelsblatt. It was a huge challenge. “The pressure is enormous, it has never been so great. Nobody sleeps well anymore, everyone is busy day and night with the question of how to proceed. ”

The 75-year-old believes that government aid is the right instrument in the corona crisis and in view of the state-mandated stagnation of the economy. Even if that does not correspond to the market economy ideas. “The state must secure the financing of companies that are in need through no fault of their own,” Malik is convinced. However, the state must restrain itself as far as possible as an entrepreneur and act as a kind of silent partner. “The leadership must lie with the management.”

The consultant sees one of the greatest challenges in the increasing complexity, which would increase even further due to the corona crisis. “Many want to reduce complexity, make things easier,” says Malik. But that is increasingly the wrong reflex.

“Complexity is an important raw material in a world that is constantly changing unpredictably. Complexity is the source of intelligence, creativity, adaptability and flexibility. ”If you deal with complexity correctly, you can best react to the unexpected because you have more room to maneuver. “And in more and more cases, it’s simply impossible to reduce complexity.”

The most positive thing he has heard from a manager in the last few days is “the will and belief expressed with great thought: we can do it!” Many do not yet know how, but have the courage to admit exactly that.

Read the full interview here:

Professor Malik, what is the top concern of Germany’s top managers right now?
The question of how they start up the system – the economy and their own company. A country like Germany has about five percent of its population in terms of organizations; not only companies, but also administration, hospitals, schools. That is around four million organizations.

If only one percent, i.e. 40,000, of them is in a mutual exchange relationship, starting up is a huge challenge that we have never faced before. Maybe after World War II, but not in peacetime.

What is the hardest part?
The complexity. This has little to do with business administration, it goes beyond business administration. We are in a deep transformation and it is likely to be the largest in history. One of the driving forces is digitization. Because it leads to the networking of everything with everything, globally – and thus more and more complexity.

The two great coordinators of humanity become meaningless – namely space and time. You don’t have to travel to China to do business in China. It goes directly from here and at lightning speed – and the feedback is back here just as quickly.

But this is not a new phenomenon. We have been talking about digitization since the 1970s.
But not at the level and with the performance as today. We have to understand the corona crisis as part of this transformation, this change.

You have to explain that!
The “creative destruction” according to Joseph Schumpeter can best be illustrated with two “S” -shaped curves, one red and one green, which overlap. The colors have no political meaning. I take S-curves because nothing grows linear in nature, neither does the economy. The red S curve represents the old system. You can stretch it a bit beyond your time, but eventually it will collapse.

However, the new system, the green S-curve, is not so far that it could completely replace and replace the old system. We are in transition, many processes have not yet adapted. The corona virus is now forcing us to do this.

In what way?
Because of the physical distance that we all have to maintain, we are experiencing an unprecedented surge in decentralized work and in telecommunications. This will accelerate the transformation – and further increase the complexity. If you consider how many conversations are currently being held in video or telephone conferences, then this shows the high degree of complexity.

We have also been talking about complexity for a long time.
Yes, but not to the same extent as it is now in the crisis – and only a few top executives have been able to deal with it in sufficient detail so far. Many want to reduce complexity that make things easier. This is increasingly the wrong reflex, the opposite is correct. Complexity is an important raw material in a world that is constantly changing unpredictably. Complexity is the source of intelligence, creativity, adaptability and flexibility.

The right way to deal with the unpredictable is to deal with the complexity because you have more room for maneuver. And in more and more cases, it is simply impossible to reduce complexity. On the other hand, the solutions for highly complex challenges are often amazingly simple.

The corona crisis will accelerate the transformation – and further increase the complexity.

For example?
One can try to regulate a highly complex traffic intersection with a complicated and expensive traffic light solution. But you can also do it with a roundabout – elegant, effective and cheap, with a reduction in accident rates of up to 60 percent.

So the top managers are poorly equipped for this increasing complexity?
About half are struggling. Many confuse complexity with complexity, for example caused by increasing bureaucracy. There are of course many starting points for simplification, for dismantling. But that’s different.

What is the best way to deal with increasing complexity?
I like to use an example: Take a classical symphony by Beethoven. I can play Beethoven in two ways. First, one after the other: first the first violins, then the second and third violins, then the cellos, the flutes and finally the large wind instruments. Every note has been played at the end, every pause has been made – but it is not a symphony. But if we let all 160 musicians play together, it’s a symphony. Simultaneously instead of sequentially. And all that is needed is a conductor.

Let’s move from music to government aid. Some corporations like that Lufthansa are currently negotiating. What does that do with a strong and successful company and its management to date?
It will certainly be very difficult for management, like many other top managers in similar situations. The pressure is enormous, it has never been so great. Nobody sleeps well anymore, everyone is busy day and night with the question of how to proceed.

What do you think of the fact that companies have to be saved by the state? Is this the right tool in the crisis, or do you say: the state is never the better entrepreneur?
The state must secure the financing of companies that are in need through no fault of their own. At the moment we have no choice but that all organizations – including the state – support each other. Even if this does not correspond to our market economy ideas. As long as the situation does not deteriorate – some are already talking about possible second waves, for example in China – we can overcome the crisis.

Lufthansa aircraft

The group is negotiating state aid. “It will certainly be very difficult for management,” says consultant Malik.

(Photo: AP)

But the state must restrain itself as much as possible as an entrepreneur and act as a kind of silent partner. The leadership must lie with the management. But the state has to determine the rules for dealing with the disease and is faced with a lot of uncertainty. The complexity required for this is only gradually achieved – through “trial and error”.

The state is already indirectly intervening in other areas, with the government expecting companies to participate in the manufacture of protective masks and other tools to contain the crisis.
The protective mask is a relatively banal product, but it cannot be economically produced in this country due to the high wage costs. That would be far too expensive. After the crisis, such goods have to be weighed up, which will be regulated by the state again in future and thus produced here.

You won’t get any further with the rules of business administration. The necessary economies of scale cannot be realized in Europe. The state has to assess this soberly in terms of precautionary measures and then decide that protective masks will no longer be produced only in Asia in the future. And for this, government funds must also be made available.

Does this generally also apply to significantly more complex supply chains? It can be heard from the pharmaceutical industry that the manufacture of medicines is sometimes at risk because raw materials are only produced in China or India. In other words: have we exaggerated globalization?
You can see it like that. Indeed, all dependencies have to be re-evaluated and, depending on the sector, production may have to be relocated. But this cannot happen everywhere because the cost differences are huge. And with that, the competition there will set limits.

I live in Switzerland. Before the corona crisis, a different kind of stockpiling was carried out here. Many simple relief goods are already more readily available here, and against all business logic. This can now be seen as an example in other countries.

Are you indirectly advocating a stronger state? The national airline Swiss did not prevent this from ending its independence years ago. It seemed that Swiss was better off under the Lufthansa roof.
At that time, this decision was made out of necessity to avoid the breakdown. The end of the independent Swiss was actually very difficult for the whole country at the time. That hurt. The heart of the nation bled. But the rescue was only possible at the very high price of a takeover by Lufthansa. After all, it has worked quite well under the Lufthansa group roof.

The fear of takeovers is likely to plague many CEOs again since stock prices plummeted across the board in the corona crisis. What do you advise?
That is a very big challenge and also a threat. The respective CFO is now required. If the worst comes to the worst, he must organize appropriate countermeasures.

The stock price needs to go up again, that’s the best protection. You also have to control this communicatively. The entry of a desired anchor investor can also be helpful. Above all, management must guarantee that the company functions as an organization.

The leadership must lie with the management. However, the state must determine the rules for dealing with the disease.

How do you keep a company going in such a crisis?
This is where cybernetics comes into play, the science of communication, self-regulation, self-regulation and self-organization – in one word: the science of functioning. The management in a company must communicate in such a way that everyone knows what the state of the company is so that they can respond correctly.

Feedback, the most well-known term in cybernetics, is very important here. We always have to send signals where we are. If you didn’t say “yes” over and over again in this interview, nodded in agreement or looked in doubt, I wouldn’t know how the conversation is going. This feedback system works well in an area that most people know.

In air traffic. If the tower pilot instructs the captain in the cockpit to climb from 3,000 to 4,000 meters, what does the pilot do?

Soar to an altitude of 4000 meters?
Most of the managers I ask say the same. No, the pilot first makes sure that he has understood it correctly. He gives a confirmation of the message by repeating it. He says: “New flight altitude 4000 meters, over.” He even says when he’s finished speaking. So what does the pilot do in the tower? He confirms the confirmation. Only then does the pilot climb to an altitude of 4,000 meters, and when he is there, he reports it. And the tower pilot confirms that he has understood it. So we have a double closure of the feedback cycle.

And what do you mean by cybernetics?
It is one of several core elements of cybernetic functioning. There is no functioning without functional feedback. This feedback system works across all countries and airports. In all seasons, in all weather conditions, day and night. And there are almost no accidents with 150,000 to 200,000 flights a day in normal times.

Thanks to digitalization, more and more factories are working, as are driver assistance systems in cars and surgery stations in clinics. In management, on the other hand, it only works in about a third of the companies.

Why does it only work for a fraction?
It is partly because it is not taught systematically. Management training is still too firmly anchored in business administration. And as long as you can look each other in the eye, it works. The feedback comes automatically because I can read the facial expressions.

But if we have to communicate at a distance worldwide and now in this crisis, then feedback is becoming increasingly important for a functioning understanding. The crisis will help here.

Speaking of communication: is it right to be ruthlessly honest, like Volkswagen-Chef Herbert Diess it was when he said on a TV talk show that VW burns two billion euros every week in the shutdown – or does that only stir up more uncertainty?
No, I think in this case the openness is right. The top executives of such a large group in particular have to say what challenges they face; name the dimensions of the problem, even in sums. There are countries like China, so we don’t know if the information is correct.

That is why it is also socially important that our managers create trust through transparency. The question is not whether you talk about it. The key is timing; and tonality – these are important elements of real leadership.

What was the most positive thing you’ve heard from a manager in the past few days?
The will and belief expressed with great thought: We can do it! We don’t yet know how, and we have the courage to admit that, but we can do it.

Professor Malik, thank you very much for the interview.

More: Home office, short-time work, layoffs – that’s how Corona changes the world of work


Steakhouse founder Eugen Block attacks politics

Eugen Block

The entrepreneur criticizes the federal government’s corona policy.

(Photo: imago images / Henning Scheffen)

Hamburg The founder of the Block House restaurant chain, Eugen Block, is known for controversial opinions. Already at the beginning of the corona crisis, he had his managing director Stephan von Bülow announce that he did not think much of the federal government’s crisis management: the closings of restaurants and hotels were “an expropriation”, the founder of the steakhouse told the “Hamburger Abendblatt” in early April.

Now Block is adding to the news magazine “Spiegel”. The 79-year-old warns that he wants to get back the money lost through the closures from the government.

The man from Hamburg is attacking politics sharply: “The gentlemen have caused panic in the face of fear. I’m still waiting for the long-announced Corona Peak. The hospitals are still half empty. With the costs incurred, Mr. Spahn could have doubled his intensive care departments. No, he has to lock the whole people away and turn life upside down. “

Already in March he sent letters to Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU), Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier (CDU), Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the Robert Koch Institute: “I made it clear that the total attitude of public life to the economic Decline leads. “

Block said he wasn’t personally afraid of Corona. “Don’t start scaring too! Then I die three days earlier, so what? I have trust in God. I go to the loving God afterwards. ”Block is still in his company almost every day.

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