London Oxford Street

About Bubbles in Social Media

The terms “bubbles” and “bubbles” are popularly used and applied in social media. The question is asked:

All this talk of bubbles and bubbles, when did it end?

In many cases it is already considered overused. And here I have a different opinion: in my opinion, the functioning of muting and especially blocking is often misunderstood. First of all: everyone can and may use social media and Twitter as they see fit. There is no such thing as “wrong” and / or “right use”. Nevertheless, a few comments on how bubbles and bubbles are created:

Example on Twitter, which I am essentially referring to in this article, I have blocked 10 or 12 people myself (and for almost all of them I remember why) and have muted maybe 20 or 30 people who post your agenda prayerfully.

Others use the function of blocking differently: there used to be even block lists that individuals published and So these were uploaded by fellow social media users and they blocked the same people. Unreflectively. Just like that. Now tools like Megablock are used: This one seems handy: So, everyone who is of the same opinion is automatically blocked. This tool is extremely practical if you have published a book and are actually on a social media channel to promote it. Then you are not forced to discuss.

However, bubbles are created because “both sides” of an opinion use this technique: You surround yourself exclusively with the people with whom you are in harmony. In the long run, everything is nice and harmonious because everyone is in perfect sync. But then it is only a matter of self-created space, the personal bubble.
Another example:

Why does the fucking savings bank explain to me what LGBTQ+ means?

In fact, pride month seems to be a concentrated action where many companies participate. And at first glance, it has a “taint” when companies occupy such important topics. But on the other hand: we are in a bubble of social media users. A cool look at the comparison of the reach of Sascha Lobo vs. Apothekenumschau explains a lot: The latter has a reach that is roughly equivalent to umpteen times that of the former. So when the Sparkasse takes up the topic, it is carried by our balse and increases the social relevance and perception of these topics. We are quite alone on Twitter, and it makes sense to spread the word outside of Twitter about issues like LGBTQ+ (but also climate, etc.). In principle, I think it is presumptuous to want to define who is discussing what.

German Version here.

German companies and Ukraine

You can read in many places how Russia is doing internationally: Whether IKEA, Intel, Apple, MasterCard or Visa: Russia is sanctioned the most of all countries and has left Iran and North Korea far behind in the number of sanctions. But a list of German companies is missing, one shimmies from headline to headline and loses the overview. Therefore, an attempt to establish this.

What is the attitude of German companies? For image reasons, the number of German companies involved in Russia has decreased from 6,300 in 2011 to currently 3,600. Here is a list (without any claim to completeness) of the companies that currently feel compelled to reduce their involvement (No translated):

• Aldi – Delistet russische Produkte
• Airbus – stellt die russische Niederlassung ein
• Audi – stoppt das Geschäft mit Russland
• BMW – wie Chef Matthias Schepp mitteilte
• Continental
• Daimler
• DB Schenker – keine Transporte
• DeDietrich
• Deutsche Börsde – Delistet russische Wertpapiere
• Deutsches Raumfahrtzentrum – Kooperation beendet
• Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt e.V. – beendet Kooperation
• Deutsches Institut der Aufsichtsräte – keine Zertifizierungen
• DHL – liefert keine Pakete mehr nach Russland
• DZ Bank – nach Uwe Fröhlich, dem Co Chef der Bank
• EDEKA – Delistet russische Produkte
• EDEKA Sven Fiedler eK – Hausverbot für Putin
• Hans Grohe – unterbricht alle Leiferungen
• KPMG – zieht sich aus dem Russlandgeschäft zurück
• Kühne und Nagel – keine Logistik
• Lidl – Delistet russische Produkte
• Lufthansa – streicht Flüge
• MAN – liefert keine Ersatzteile
• Messe Düsseldorf – beendet Kooperation
• Messe Essen – beendet Kooperation
• Messe Köln – beendet Kooperation
• Messe München – beendet Kooperation
• Netto – Delistet russische Produkte
• Obi – beendet sein Engagement in Russland
• Pieroth – entzieht die Namensrechte in Russland
• Playmobil – wie Steffen Höpfner als Vorstandsvorsitzender verlauten ließ
• Porsche – Keine Autos und Ersatzteile mehr
• REWE – Delistet russische Produkte
• Schott
• Siemens – beendet das Neugeschäft nach 170 Jahren
• Volkswagen – stellt das Russland Geschäft ein
• WISAG – beendet Geschäftsbeziehungen

German IoD and the crisis in Ukraine

We are horrified by the events in Ukraine. A situation that seemed impossible in 2022, a war of aggression on European soil. Human rights violations and suffering are unacceptable and unacceptable to us. The sovereignty of Ukraine as an independent state was accepted by Russia, among others, in 1994 and cannot be questioned.

Even more reprehensible is the act of war against a peaceful population: any aggression is unacceptable, any suffering is to be avoided!
We have been awarding the “Cerified Director” for years. Certification also includes submitting to ethical principles and accepting the Code of Honor. We expect our certified directors to stand up fully for the principles of democracy.

We therefore call on all certified directors of the German IoD to end any remaining supervisory board mandates at Russian companies and to expressly distance themselves from Putin’s war of aggression. Certified Directors (CD) who cannot or do not want to stick to it, we would take the liberty of questioning the certification for the German-speaking area. We are aware that existing and accepted obligations could possibly be violated. This is to be accepted in relation to a war of aggression against a free country. These sovereignty issues are unquestionable and we expect our members to honor these values ​​accordingly.

We ourselves, the German IoD or German Institute of Supervisory Boards, will let existing connections rest until further notice and will not establish any new relationships with Russian institutions or companies until further notice. We will refrain from doing this until Russia has completely withdrawn from Ukraine.

Every individual who can make a contribution to protecting our democracies is called upon to do their utmost, even if it is only a minimal contribution. We hope that the Russian people will not stand in solidarity with their leaders.

Important: This is not the war of individual Russians, especially not those who live in Germany, for example. It’s Putin’s war!
I wish peace again for all of us, for Europe and especially for the Ukrainian people.

Errors are stupid


Recently I had dealt with Newwork and the dismantling of the safety net. In LinkedIn, I found a positive comment that put the topic in context with the error culture in Germany (but also with other Western cultures).

Nobody celebrates mistakes!

First of all a small damper in advance: I’d like to show you on Silicon Valley and / or Palo Alto and suggest that mistakes are only for learning purposes. Especially in the USA this is not really the case. Mistakes have to be avoided first and stupid, no matter if USA, China, Germany or elsewhere. I don’t know any culture and no country where wrong decisions are celebrated. Decisive is the handling before and after!

How to deal with mistakes

Mistakes happen. I once heard the sentence that a good manager, for example, is characterized by the fact that the degree of wrong decisions is less than 50%. The sentence may sound a bit sarcastic, but I find it appropriate in the tendency.

Stop constructing justifications… prophylactically
It has come into fashion that decisions are made because of consensus, but at the same time backups are installed why one has decided how. Everyone should always have a reason for a decision ready. This does not mean, however, that you have to make a decision and look for justification material afterwards.

Looking for the culprit….
Now if a mistake happens, the energy of damage limitation in the first step and the correction of the mistake in the second step should apply. Looking for the culprit makes sense: If similar mistakes happen more often that indicate a process or (you may not say it out loud) a person. Here analysis makes sense, but please only after the error situation has been corrected. Many mistakes can be reduced to “individual fate”, and there it is not absolutely necessary to know everything in detail.

Stupid mistakes happen… deals with it!
Errors happen, even stupid ones who don’t need to be. A long-term observation makes sense. It is important that managers also stand by it and involve their employees. I observe, often with managers of the younger generation, that “blaming” is used in meetings, i.e. the employee is first counted in large groups.
This is no way to deal with people and does not help to build trust.

German Version here.

Transparency in the election of the Supervisory Board


In a much acclaimed article by Gabor Steingart, the comparison begins with

“The doghouse is for the dog, the board of directors for the cat.”

Hermann Josef Abs (First member of the Management Board, then Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank in the 60s and 70s of the last millennium). In fact, the function of the Supervisory Board is being given greater focus, currently around the personnel of Paul Achleitner.

We need more transparency

In fact, confidence in the function of the Supervisory Board is no longer at its highest. There are two reasons for this:

The Supervisory Board is often staffed by the old Management Board.
The function of the Supervisory Board was delegated more and more to voting rights advisors.

The most important function (of the many held by the Supervisory Board) is to seek and appoint a reasonable and well-functioning Management Board. As Gabor Steingart explains, this has not always been the case.
A decisive criterion: the search again for the supervisory board itself. And here it is time for a paradigm shift to take place in the large corporations as well. It should be the person on the supervisory board who has proven competence not only in the specialist area of the company, but primarily also management experience behind him: A retreat to a pure cuddling course with the company’s executive board should thus be avoided.
I am not only talking about keeping to the cooling off phase, which is often ignored, but also that it is often appropriate to fill the supervisory board from a third party. The competences to supervise the board can also be acquired elsewhere in the economy.

Especially in medium-sized and family-run companies such a rethinking has already taken place. Here the Supervisory Board is staffed according to other criteria than in large corporations. It is about time that the same applies to them as well: Away from uniformity with the Board of Management, towards a critical body that constantly questions the course of the Board of Management. It also helps that institutions such as the Anglo-American IOD help the function of the Supervisory Board to become more professional.
To this end, the Supervisory Board must be staffed differently. As long as the positions have the appearance of “supply posts”, trust will not be restored.

German version here.

NewWork: Deconstruction of the safety net


In the past I have already dealt several times with the topic “NewWork”. My focus here is on how new ideas and concepts can be established in organizational structures. Phrases like “always focusing on customer benefit” are not very helpful if you are established in a company with several 1,000 employees.

Decisions without safety net

Both in projects and in middle management it is becoming increasingly evident that decisions are not only made, but also that a lot of capacity is “burned” in the justification of a decision. This culture of justification (the “backups” in the slide sets) may seem helpful to the project managers and division managers. But they only help the decision maker in case he has really made the wrong decision. And then other mechanisms are needed, not the questioning of the original decision making.

This discipline is due to the organisational structure. The project and division managers have been conditioned over years to act in this way. And so the justification system was optimized over a long period of time.

The dismantling of this culture must take place across all hierarchies: Every form of approaching new working structures must have a stable size: Trust. Without this, it is not possible. In the vast majority of cases, employees at all levels are in a position to make their own decisions in their field of work. A manager or project manager should be able to assess this area. If a wrong decision is made, everyone should work together on the solution and not on the search for the cause. With this one can then go new ways, be it only partially (in projects / in the area) or also generally. Executives and project managers who cannot deal with this are a problem that can only be solved by top management.

The safety nets must be dismantled across all hierarchical levels. This includes senior management as well as other levels such as division managers and project managers. Trust must once again become the centre of work in an organisation. Without trust, we remain in the old models.

Disclaimer: In this article I refer to having to justify everything exactly in advance. I do not question the sense of a functioning risk management system. I still believe that a functioning risk management system is not only sensible, but also vital for survival.

German version here.

Newwork Needs Trust


Especially around the topic “NewWork” there are many ideas and tools. Not a day goes by without invitations to “Design Sprints”, people get together to “Dailies” and you are “agile” everywhere. The topic is so omnipresent that even the Hamburg company XING has named XING after it. Recently, someone asked what the most important tool was. I mean: trust!

Translated with


Actually, it’s a shame you have to emphasize it that way. In the meantime, mistrust has grown in the organizational structures, mainly driven by middle management. This has nothing to do with the inability of the individual, but rather with the fact that it is precisely the abilities in micromanagement that are promoted.

In order to try out new things, it is necessary to promote trust, and in many cases to establish it anew. However, it is not only middle management who cannot do this alone. Trust must be promoted and demanded from above. This includes not challenging the project or division manager to be able to speak at all times. He does not have to know at all times, he has to be able to obtain the information.

Conversely, employees also have to trust each other to the extent that they can independently approach their project manager or manager when problems arise, without fearing any restrictions.

This also includes promoting empathic values. The best counterexample is a manager who rhetorically asks “He wants a simple answer to a simple question, yes or no”. Thus he delegates decisions to a level which does not want that again.

The tools and tools behind it are secondary: You can do and try out many things that you should. Some things will make sense, some will make sense. Which of these can only be decided individually in the organizational structure and best of all with the help of the employees.

However, trust must be exemplified by top or senior management. If the managers themselves fight with distrust, it will be through the different hierarchical levels. The tools behind this are fashionable and largely irrelevant. The epicentre is: Again more about trust, about managers, about project managers, but also about employees.

German version see here.

Business trips in EU countries – do you know the A1 form?


The last days I read an article in the Handelsblatt. This once moved me to deal with the subject of “posting” and social security obligations: The “A1” form. For me, secondment and social security obligations, or proof thereof, were something that would not affect me. But I am also in other European countries from time to time. So if I go on a business trip to London or Vienna, I have to carry such a form with me. Otherwise, fines will be imposed not only on my company, but also on me personally. And that is now being examined.

What is the A1 form?

The A1 form (here a german example) is a three-page form, which describes exactly the person, the employer, and confirms that the social security obligations of each country are respected.

The purpose is to ensure that employees are always socially insured.
You always have to carry this form with you when you are abroad (i.e. even a short visit to a customer or a trade fair, basically a fuel stop with a company car in Austria is enough).

Where do I get the A1 form from?

As of 01.07.2019, the A1 form must be requested electronically by the employer from the health insurance fund of the respective employee. If in doubt, a pension fund may also request the German pension insurance.

How much penalty do I have to pay if the A1 is missing?

Not carrying an A1 confirmation of social security obligation is in France with a hefty 3,296 €. In Austria, between 1,000 € and 10,000 € can be imposed. Other countries require social security in their country for the days in question. The employee is also obliged to do so.

The customs authorities of the individual countries can hope for the help of the hotels: In the meantime, it is regularly stated in the registration certificate of the hotel whether one is travelling privately or on business (in order to avoid tourism packages). It is important to know that the local customs authorities have access to this data and this forms of the Hotels, you are checked in.


What gives hope is that a joint networking of the social insurance institutions internationally will make the A1 form and thus the “keeping with you” superfluous. At least there is hope. Until then, I can only advise anyone who travels abroad to organise such a certificate.

A Board Needs Diversity


A tweet of the Hamburg company Engels und Völkers (a big german Real Estate Company) haunted the media during these days:

Five men talk About Diversity

Reason for the criticism and a small shitstorm on Twitter: International Women’s Day and five men in top management talk about it. Where is the mistake? Can you see it on this Picture?

A Board needs Diversity

An executive Committee or a board in today’s world should and must set a good example for the whole organization: It is understandable that it is not always possible to adhere to 50/50. However, it is difficult for younger clients in particular to comprehend that a board of directors is 100% made up of only one gender (usually men).

In order to achieve a balanced relationship, the management levels of the Executive Board and Supervisory Board must set an example and send out a Signal for the whole company.

However, this should not be done for proportional or even legal reasons. Rather, it should be recognised that a mixed management body is more successful on average. Many countries, including Germany, for example, can learn a lot from Scandinavian countries or Iceland. Quotas can only be a tool and a temporary aid. All in all, everyone needs to rethink their thinking, not just at management level, but at all levels.

In order to promote the goals of diversity, I can recommend the FidAR. Here you will find a petition for all those who are committed to the topic.

There are now also forums and opportunities for networking among TOP women in business. One would be the Global Female Leaders Summit, which takes place every year, currently again in May in Berlin.


In the discussion Engel und Völkers is only exemplarily at the pillory. The posted picture also seemed rather cynical with the text and was a steep template for the reactions.

However, Engel and Völkers reacted correctly (at least from a social media point of view):

Not erasing the tweet, not sticking one’s head in the sand, but facing the discussion on Twitter. No one demands to rebuild the board in the next days. But if the realization has prevailed to work on it and to notice the problem at all, already some was achieved.

London Big Ben House of Parlament

Agile Micromanagement


Today I wanted to deal with my (admittedly empirically not relevant) experience about new leadership styles. Especially with young executives I increasingly experience that the style is more authoritarian, but agility and NewWork tries to shape the external image. This is the pendant of pseudo agile for Management styles.

Agile micromanagement?

What is striking? Individual elements from the agile environment are taken up and consciously communicated to the outside world. However, central conditions are not fulfilled. The most important of these is trust.

For NewWork it is not enough to include


in the work instructions

When dealing with new working conditions, it is not enough to just set up a table football table or to use the new “Duzen” [german] to pretend a closeness that is not lived.
Newwork for me (I unfortunately don’t know a central definition) means, among other things, creating new freedom for employees. There are still goals for this, but it is no longer checked on a step-by-step basis what the status is like. The boss (manager…) is there to avoid problems. Conversely, this also means that employees have confidence in their manager.

Newwork also means checking process steps for meaningfulness. Especially in large corporations, measurements and excelsheets have established themselves where nobody knows what they are good for anymore. A manager who has understood this actively questions whether everything always has to be right. A pointless work instruction remains pointless, even if you garnished the mail with “…… that would be totally sweet” during forwarden.

Every organization gets the leadership it deserves

Let’s come back to the entry mentioned “Agile Micromanagement”. In many cases, managers are conditioned in this way: On the one hand, there is the expectation that managers, especially from middle management, are always meaningful. But this is where the will to change lies with top management: this trust must be lived from the highest hierarchies.

The middle management reacts with the hybrid model quasi out of self-defense: On the one hand micromanagement is expected, on the other hand one wants to be agile. Often, by the way, the same management encourages this through some kind of innovation. I would be careful to point out the senselessness as an evangelist: As a rule, you can’t change organizational structures from one day to the next.

Agile methods and NewWork require New Management: The executive as mentor and coach in mutual agreement with the employees. And the epicentre is trust, which can and must only be lived from above. And this can only be exemplified slowly by top management. Top managers have just been deprived of empathic traits and what do we do with toxic executives?