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The Aesthetics of Failure

In Japan, there is the art of Kintsugi. In this traditional repair method, broken ceramics are glued with a lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. Rather than concealing the fractures in the best possible way, they are then highlighted. The blemish is seen as an important part of the history of the object and it is precisely in this unique imperfection that the actual beauty is seen. This artistic repair work clearly shows the principle of Wabi-Sabi, which is aptly described by Buddhist author Taro Gold as “the wisdom and beauty of imperfection”.

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Agile without a Plan?

Planning replaces coincidence with failure. This bon mot is attributed to Albert Einstein. It’s not the first time I’ve used it in this blog. Already the second article bore this title. The right degree of planning and the purpose of plans has occupied me ever since – especially in the light of the agile transformation. After all, the Agile Manifesto says, “Responding to change over following a plan.” And quite a few conclude from this that there is no longer any need for planning in Scrum and Co. In fact, however, the opposite is true, it is being planned more and more often on different levels. But not for the sake of the plan itself but for the common understanding of the project.

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Lead like a Gardener

The military is often cited as an example and blueprint for hierarchical organizations. With good reason, because in the course of industrialization, many companies were indeed inspired by the organization of the military. And quite a number of companies are still managed with command and order today. It is often forgotten that the military, especially in complex and ambiguous situations – and these are becoming more and more – has long been relying on the speed and effectiveness of autonomy and self-organization.

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Growth Mindset: the Key to a Learn-it-all Culture

Expertism rules. Perfection is appreciated. First time right. Mistakes must be hidden, we fail secretly. Sascha Lobo once called this a typical German fixation for gap dimensions. This was the reason for the success of Germany’s Wirtschaftswunder. And in this success of yesterday lies our current problem. That’s why legions of German managers travel to Silicon Valley and admire the courage and speed there. The call for a new culture of failure follows. It is often forgotten that the point is not about failure itself, but about learning. What we need more than ever is a learning culture in our companies.

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