October 18, 2014

All We Need

Discussion about Leaders & Followers

On Friday 17th Oct. our course watched a video of a lone young man (leader) dancing and a second young man (first follower) joining him a few minutes later. Because of the first follower others "learned" and felt motivated to follow and joined in with time. At the end of the video the majority of people in the scene were dancing and a "movement" had been created.

The theories of leadership have undergone many changes during the past century. E.g. the "Great Men" theory (Thomas Carlyle, 1849) or the trait theory were ridiculed during the 1950s and 60s for being not applicable to different situations and scenarios. However, the modern trait theory revived the former concepts and Kirkpatrick and Locke (1996) claim that research shows following key traits a leader should have:

  • Drive
  • Leadership motivation
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Self-confidence
  • Cognitive ability (Intelligence)
  • Knowledge of the business

Here are my two cents: I agree with all the above traits but most of all I agree with Honesty and integrity. In my opinion a person lacking integrity is not able to lead others, simply because the followers will never truely respect him/her. These kind of virtues are the base of any knowledge or skill you might develop because every leader is partly role model - partly teacher. I also think that strong principles will ultimately 'force' the person to lead if he/she wants to make a difference. Those principles are the inner fire that will come out at the right time to inspire others.

"First followers" might be courageous but Leaders are born.

October 16, 2014

Dance to your Destination

Seminar 1: How do companies actually implement the concepts expressed in CBE?

Due to the lack of time we were only able to create a mind map in this seminar. I wish we could simulate a whole case study while going the next steps of EFQM after the assessment. Just to see the score interpretation, strategy formulation and the actual implementation of the model. That might answer my long list of questions. :)

As we discussed today, there is an essential need of commitment from the top management of a company/institution to apply any excellence model. No matter what continent, industry or scope you want to implement it at... Without a will there is no way! But how much change can a business withstand? How many resources can you justify? How long can managers withstand the temptation of going back into old comfortable ways if there are no initial benefits?

I have come to the conclusion that you can't fight the demons. You need time to build your "Area of Control" and it is always two steps forward one step back. It is significant that you have a positive mind-set and take the outcomes of your work as they come. Making small changes along the way will eventually add up to a master-piece called Life.

Here a more or less dramatic video encapsulating my blog post:

October 13, 2014

Mother of Invention

The case study exercise today was easily the most entertaining class we had in the first two weeks. For those readers who weren't present: Each group of six had to act as a management board of a hotel facing different issues. The aim was to conduct a 45 minute board meeting in which all the issues should be discussed and solved.

Although I had many sales meetings and a few project team meetings in the past, the scope and time pressure made the exercise a real chalange. All participants had 'only' 15 minutes to prepare and we had to jump into the context straight away.

In my view the actual chalange of the task was not to do the formalities described in the case study. It was not about discussing every single point and finding a solution... Thinking, feeling, (re-)acting and in the end becoming the role you are assigned was the ultimate target of the whole exercise. If you mentally became the General Manager of the hotel for 45 minutes you wanted and needed to solve the problems.

As the old saying goes: "Necessity is the mother of invention."

Putting yourself into such practicle situations will make you learn much more than any lecture or presentation can ever teach you. Just to finish it off with another proverb: "Practice makes excellent!"

October 11, 2014

Direction shift but still Forward

Good morning,

is there actually a word to describe the first sip of hot tea after four hours of sleep?

When we finished our bachelors (Int. Finance) in 2012 many of my fellow students automatically ran into the finance sector. Some ended up as trainees at Deutsche Börse and others became junior analysts at the BaFin (Federal Financial Supervisory Authority). Because of the down-sizing of investment banking after 2008 only three colleagues actually got full-time jobs at banks.

I was the only person who chose to go into Sales. I had done a three months internship at Deutsche Bank and seen the life and work of the analysts and associates. My summary was that all they did all day was "pushing numbers". Minimal human interaction, low international opportunities and a work day of 11 hours on average.

During my two years in trading and sales I travelled to 12 countries and worked with over 50 clients. It was quite hard some times but enjoyable to see your work materializing and having the opportunity to try new business models and products fascinated me.

At the moment I think the best way for me to bring changes and having a real-world business lab is through advisory and consultancy. The challange of the practical new through an idea in your head is my driving force for this year.

I want to make an impact.

PS: Here is a video I though you guys would like to see.

October 08, 2014


I'm still thinking about the first CBE lecture on Monday. It started off by a lot of administrative information and explaining of the assessment. Though it was very important, it is quite boring to write about.

Towards the end of the day we saw a very inspirational video/documentary about W.E. Deming and his revolutionary achievements. Which lead to a discussion about the traditional management tools & techniques versus the newly developed concepts of management.

Don't get me wrong... I am in complete support of evolution of management theories and I consider myself privileged to be part of it. BUT in a years’ time we are going to (re-)enter the professional business world and if you are not planning on going into a research institution, you might feel the barriers to varying extend.

If we change our views, we will also be able to change others...I guess...

October 07, 2014

The Fog is Rising

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/education/wmgmasters/courses/masters_management_business_excellence/

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower" -Jobs

When I read the MBE course page for the first time, I didn't have the slightest idea what the content would be. It definitely sounded different then the MSc Management courses at all other UK Unis. The second and third reads didn't help either..."Critical autonomy"..."Deep learning"...Common!?!

Then the offers started coming in and I seriously started considering the option. It's still Warwick, right? How different can it really be? I am a gut person...so I went with it.

Induction week had me in a stage of shock which lasted for a couple of days. I couldn't imagine somebody would actually have the courage to create such a program. And that stuff works? Students actually produce quality output with ONE week of lectures? By the end of the week it became clear why WMG has expanded like it has in the past years. The actual genius lies in the perfect balance of guidance, support, freedom and responsibility.

Why isn't every college and university on this planet doing exactly the same?

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