Digitalization does not replace humans and it cannot do without them. On the contrary, it is precisely because of digitalization that what is typically human is more in demand than ever before. This refers in particular to our ability to find creative solutions together as independent individuals and to work together effectively and efficiently in teams and organizations. In the past, this cooperation has long been characterized by central control on the one hand and obedient fulfillment of duties on the other. What was not very human for unskilled workers at the beginning of industrialization, but at least productive, has finally become a degrading impertinence in the middle of the information age. New leadership today aims at cooperation that enables independence in the sense of the whole.
Much can be learned from Lean Management: Understanding the value for the customer, then identifying the value stream and optimizing the flow to avoid unnecessary effort and last but not least ensuring continuous improvement. However, the focus should not only be on the application of other and better methods, but also on a different leadership culture. The second pillar of the Toyota Way therefore is respect for people. At the core of Lean Management are the people as its essential success factor. The motto of Lean Leadership is therefore “empowering not instructing “. This principle deserves to be disseminated at least as vigorously as the well-known concepts and methods of Lean Management.
After my switch from our small but fine start-up esc Solutions to the BMW Group IT in 2015, I was asked more than once whether I really was serious about this move. To be honest, I asked myself this question also more than once in the first half of 2015. A short story full of pictures about the pain of adaptation in a large corporation and how it helped me find my role as corporate rebel and court jester.
A year ago, I published the six theses of the Manifesto for Human Leadership on this blog. The response was overwhelming. Almost 600 people have signed the Manifesto since, I have had countless inspiring conversations, talks and workshops. And, of course, I have continued to think and write about the different theses and leadership in general. Therefore, I take this anniversary as an opportunity to publish the manifesto in detail as a small book at Leanpub.
The year is not yet a month old and my resolutions are waste paper. I wanted to handle my time more mindfully, focus better and prioritize more effectively. Like so many others, my schedule is crowded and the 5-hour rule, i.e. following the example of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet and to set aside five hours a week for reflection and learning, seems unattainable. I am neither proud of this nor do I want to brag about it. I prefer to take it as an occasion for a brief recollection of the insights of the Stoics and their proverbial serenity and peace of mind.