Digitization means above all: change in all its different forms.
This is because the markets are developing faster than ever before.
During my business studies, I came across the Austrian national economist Joseph Schumpeter. We used to joke that, “Schumpeter lives”. In fact, Schumpeter’s spirit has been having an effect for centuries, and from him comes the phrase “creative destruction”, meaning that technical progress and innovation go hand-in-hand with the destruction of old and out-of-date structures.
After all, what’s been happening over the last 10-20 years? Where we once had to pay heed to our direct competitors, today’s changes come from everywhere.
– Airbnb. Airbnb is taking millions and millions of overnight stays away from the hospitality industry each year.
– Uber. It is not a taxi company.
– The German Post Office’s electric cars! Deutsche Post developed and built them itself, as the car manufacturers were not fast or flexible enough.
These developments are self-evident in hindsight, but no one would have thought them possible 20 years ago.
Now, we could lament about how helpless we all are, because we have little influence on these major changes.
Not every manager is an entrepreneur or managing director, who could make decisions of such magnitude.
But even without the ability to make these decisions, you stand at the heart of change.
The requirements of other departments are changing.
Structures are changing.
The needs of your external customers are changing.
The question for you as a manager is:
“What are you shaping?”
Many managers will respond with “I’m happy if I can make it without too much overtime. What should I be shaping?”
How well do you this?
YOU are the deciding factor; not the methods, but your mindset and your attitude.
Accept the challenge of leading your employees or are they pestering you with questions and then more questions.
If you want to be a leader, then part of it is wanting to lead your employees. Wanting to guide them. Wanting to make them better. Their monthly salary simply won’t do this by itself.
Take responsibility for the mood in your team. You are the leader. You are the representative of the company from the point of view of your employees. So, create an environment in which your employees like to get involved every day.
Do you also tackle changes yourself or do you merely react to others’ actions for change?
Take note that I do not want you to feel overwhelmed.
If you do an excellent job on the three challenges mentioned above, then for me you are already in the top 10 executives. And precisely this is your job.
No matter what you want to tackle:
Regardless of whether you are optimizing your management style in conjunction with your employees or whether you need to shape or even redesign the content and structure because your bosses forced you to do so.
You need a clear head and good ideas
When I ask leaders in my speeches:
Which of you has enough time for concentrated thinking or for regular conceptual, strategic thinking?
Out of 100 executives, usually only 1-2 people respond. Sometimes less.
But you can only shape matters yourself if you have the time to think and can use it regularly.
What are your Thinking Islands?
How often can you retreat from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day business and let your thoughts run wild?
I recommend two books for this:
1 hour a week
2-4 hours per month
1 day a year
90% of all executives do not take that amount of time.
What about you?
If you haven’t got into this habit yet, schedule this time frame in your calendar now. No emails, no phones. No interruptions.
“What should I do?” asked an executive in an Executive Training session. “My office has a large glass wall. Everyone can see when I’m in the office. I’m constantly being hauled out and disturbed.”
Do you shape or do you react?
Where there is a will, there is a way…
A cafe on the way to work.
A meeting room.
Fixed times when you can be approached or a daily fixed time for your quiet, concentrated work.
This is a matter of your organization and your leadership.
Several times a week I sit down at the kitchen table for a single task, on which I then work with complete concentration.
And then I sit on the train on my way to my clients and I think.
My phone is in flight mode. Wi-Fi is off.
Or like this morning in bed, with a pen and piece of paper. At the end of the day, the place doesn’t matter. What matters is your attitude.
What are your routines, the ones that create regular smart thinking, phases of deep work, and high concentration?
This is the basis for your success as a leader.
If you want to learn more about focus, then read Impulse 184 of my blog: What do r e s o l u t e priorities mean?
And …one more thought to add to this impulse – perhaps the most important one.
In the beginning, it’s difficult. We don’t know how to do it. But then it gets easier and easier. To record my first podcast two years ago was hard. I had to set it all up, decide on equipment, find a musician, find technicians.
But now I have a lot of fun with it. Every time? No, not every time. But every time I write, just like that thought right now … Then I love it. But for that, I had to go through a tough phase.
And here’s a second very important thought at the end of this blog.
You can see “shaping” as another exhausting to-do. But you can also discover that it is a lot of fun and joy to shape things. You are a leader, after all. Do you want to design? Do you want to lead? Or do you just want the title? If you just want the title, then take a step back and leave the job to someone who really wants to lead – with all the consequences.
If you want to be a leader, then shaping is part of it. Take on the challenge. Crawl out of the swamp of “I must” and enter the freedom of “I want”.
Think clear thoughts about what you want.
Then prioritize. With passion. With pleasure. With temporary setbacks. Again and again and with a lot of success!
Your Markus Jotzo