Or: Doing is stronger than wanting to do

What actually happens to the projects we’ve always wanted to do? What happens to the business idea that has accompanied us for so many years but has never been implemented? You know the answer: probably nothing. But then, other people just put it into practice. That is why I like the motto “Doing is stronger than wanting to do”.

However, there is no need to always take big steps – those that turn your entire life upside down. It is enough to train your skills of improvisation. For improvisation has a lot in common with “Just do it!”. Both call for knowledge, skills, competencies, confidence, and courage. The bigger our toolbox, the easier it is for us to start working. What, then, should we do to “Just do it!” ever more often?

People who proactively embrace change, deal with it, and make the best of it are those who develop something new.  This always reminds me of the recent German past: the fall of the wall. It was an incredibly special time full of surprises. Life was turned upside down; there was a spirit of optimism, and Berlin, at least, experienced a kind of anarchy. An enormous amount of creativity was unleashed during this time. People had an almost unbridled desire to try something new. In line with the motto “Just do it!”, they created projects, companies, and ideas.


Half your life is improvisation

No matter how well we prepare and examine our own thoughts and feelings, life always gets in the way somehow. However, you still need to decide how to put the different pieces of your life puzzle together and what kind of signature to develop in the process. This is where improvisation comes in: a fine art based on sound knowledge, expertise, and experience. Catching the right moment, improvising if necessary, and giving space to the new and unforeseen also has to do with trusting the world – a concept that is relevant in existential analysis and logotherapy (as promoted by Viktor Frankl, Alfried Längle, and Christoph Kolbe).

Personally, I associate trust in the world – also known as basic trust – with being able to let things flow and giving time and space for new things to emerge. For new space, I must be able to let go of old things, including existing texts, ideas, and thoughts. Only when you leave something behind is there room for something new. I call this “cleaning up the hard drive”.

I take what I need from my various training programmes and methods and “garnish” it with something new. This can perhaps best be compared to developing your own culinary creations from existing recipes by varying the ingredients. The most important spices for me are curiosity and a thirst for knowledge as well as a willingness to continue learning – in short, a certain fundamental openness to everything that life has to offer. This, then, goes hand in hand with recognising the right moment: when to use which spice, or, in my case, which method to employ at what time.

The “Just do it!” approach has helped me in developing my freelance career and as a manager in multinational companies. After all, work life is always “just” about contributing ideas and trying them out, convincing people and supporting them in their further development. Here we go, then: Just do it!

Do you need support with defining your vision or honing a new idea? Or are you looking for a sparring partner when it comes to implementing your idea? Please, write to me!

Photo © Pexels-itsmicheal


Young talent and management talking to each other

Thinking up ideas during the lunch break? Enquiring about possible mentors in the canteen? In other European countries, opportunities for networking are used much more incidentally and naturally. Here in Germany, it is rather unusual for HR staff to meet top management for lunch to talk about personnel development. From my own work experience in France, all I can say is, ‘What a pity to waste such an opportunity!’ I am a firm believer in networking events and in exchange that goes beyond conference rooms. For many of my clients, I designed and implemented networking events as part of talent management.


“Meet the management” – in line with this motto, young talents have the opportunity to meet leaders on an equal footing, off the beaten track of offices and conference rooms. Managers, on the other hand, can discuss things in a relaxed setting and get an impression of their employees without creating an atmosphere like in a job interview. Yet, in addition to being perfect for discussing positions that need to be filled, the events offer also many other opportunities.


Why networking should be practised as an important leadership quality


  1. An exercise on unfamiliar ground

Networking is an art – an art you can learn regardless of character and preferences. Having relaxed conversations at business level that go beyond work-related topics requires practice. Offering young talents such an opportunity is a good and simple investment in the leaders of tomorrow.


  1. Having a strategic discussion

Once they reach beyond the level of classic small talk at a networking event, managers and young talents are likely to have an exciting conversation about interesting topics. In this relaxed setting, the future leaders learn particularly well how to keep cool in such situations and control the conversation.


  1. Thinking outside the box

A conversation in a conference room, which is about clear facts, is quite different from a networking event. In the latter, new levels of discussion may contribute to ongoing substantive challenges.


The advantages of networking for top management


  1. Staying in contact with the employees

Outside the office world, conversations can be held differently and bonds can be strengthened. What is more, top management gets a good overview of the talents in the company.


  1. Creating proximity and offering opportunities

In a relaxed setting, the inhibition threshold when talking to managers is lower than in everyday office life. Here, it is easier to get to know new employees.


  1. Reducing distances

In fast-growing companies, physical distances can be a challenge. Events are a good way to reduce such distances and to maintain and strengthen contacts.


What is it about and who participates?

To give everyone a chance to talk to each other, management should invite only eight to ten young talents.

Good events offer new opportunities for exchange on both sides. Employees get a chance to ask what they have always wanted to know from the executive board. Top management, on the other hand, can share their messages directly, communicate strategic issues, listen, and gain new ideas.


Extraordinary conversations develop particularly easily if the event is associated with a special theme. A keynote speech of about 15 minutes given by one of the managers can provide exciting ideas for discussion. The quality of the event depends very much on good facilitation – ideally implemented directly by colleagues in HR development. This creates space for qualitative exchange.


What environment is most suitable for networking events?

Unconventional formats such as a shared breakfast or evenings in front of an open fire have proven successful with many of my clients. Getting together in a relaxed atmosphere for two to three hours, eating finger food at a round table – this promotes exchange and has a lasting effect.

Wouldn’t networking as part of talent management be an interesting option for your company? You would like to get started straight away but are not quite sure how best to prepare the events? Please, get in touch!


Photo(detail) © Minyipuru Pangkalpa 2015, Nancy Nyanjilpayi Chapman