This is the title of a central chapter in Bodo Janssen’s new book “Kraftquelle Tradition. Benediktinische Lebenskunst für heute” (Amazon Affiliate-Link). Companies are more than just places of value creation and their purpose certainly is not profit. The economic success is the result of the self-actualization of the members in this workshop for prosperous life. A refreshingly different way of looking at companies and the purpose of companies, in which the human being is not only a means, but is actually at its core.
Less working hours lead to more and better results. What may sound absurd has recently been impressively demonstrated by Microsoft in Japan. In August, all 2,300 employees had five Fridays off – with the same salary, mind you. The result of this experiment were happier employees and 40% more productivity. More working time does not automatically lead to more or better results in knowledge work. Nevertheless, the culture in many organizations is characterized by the simple formula “more attendance = more work = more performance = more career,” as Cawa Younosi, Head of Human Resources and member of the Executive Board of SAP Germany, put it in an interview on the change in values regarding working time. So it’s high time to correct this formula in our minds and unleash people’s creative potential through a better balance between focus and idleness.
Which responsibilities do organizations bear for society? Is it enough for them to fulfill their respective purpose to the best of their ability or do they also have responsibility beyond that? Who takes care of the whole if everyone only takes care of their own? In view of the pressing social challenges of our time, above all the threat of the global climate crisis, these questions concern us all more than ever. They are by no means new, however, but have already been answered in detail and unequivocally by Peter Drucker: Leadership does not end at the walls of the organization, but also assumes responsibility for the community.
Leadership unfolds its impact always in two dimensions: on the one hand there is the Why, which manifests itself in a common purpose and attractive vision and on the other hand there is the We of how people are involved and touched. Good leadership is characterized by passion in both dimensions. Through the personal and exemplary commitment to the common purpose on the one hand, and through its love for people and through the belief in their talents on the other, leadership sparks enthusiasm, inspires people and thus changes the world – both large and small.
Less, but better. This motto of the famous German designer Dieter Rams should guide us not only in the design of products, but also in the design of our collaboration. In the most cases working together in large organizations is over-regulated and the people in these organizations are over-protected. The resulting stability and security in honor, but individual initiative, creativity and top performance are stifled by this abundance of rules. According to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, collaboration is only perfectly regulated when nothing can be omitted. A plea against the incapacitating and humiliating over-regulation of collaboration.