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The best video is still this one on YouTube and I’d love to find a decent update, but to date, it’s unmatched and I urge you to watch it.
10 years have gone by and still our children don’t learn for their lives, about compassion, tolerance and respect. They don’t learn to apply the rule of three to compare 200g of product X with 800g of product Y. They don’t know how to socially interact without a screen. They can chat for days but not structure their ideas. Crowdfunding, couch surfing, big data and hightech, but they are still asked to use “printed” information for their diplomas, WiFi is not available in many schools. And if you’re poor, the school neither enables you access to all that new high tech. Nobody’s left behind?
Yeah. But they know how to calculate mathematics that their parents left to calculators and for the past 10 years our smartphone app does.
So we don’t produce enough children in “the West”, so population shrinks and more people get older and fewer young will have to look after them. But instead of making our kids smarter, we limp behind the average school in Asia. And the U.S. industry recently published that they depend on their Asian employees for new developments…?
I had a student I made my assistant back in Erfurt. When I left, her fellow colleagues degraded her back to “student” (cooking coffee, assisting their work). She left aviation. A loss to our industry!
Her business uses Blog, Facebook, Social Networks.
Same for Celinne Da Costa, traveling the world “couch surfing”. Exotic. And I’m asked, how that can work. With smart tech, an online world and a device to write and share the written, with paid-for articles and speaking. And I know more people doing that! Are our kids ready for this?
We set-up CheckIn.com. Us in the middle of nowhere in Braunschweig, Germany. Our mapmagician from Berlin, our server admin in Frankfurt, the algorithmic genie from Texas. Will we ever set up an “office”? I doubt it. But still most (relatively old) managers stick to “workplace”. Even relatively young Marissa Meyer, taking her post at Yahoo ordered an end to ‘remote’ work as all staff are told to be in the office as part of a new era of collaboration. Old thinking. She’s a “role model”? I’ll teach my girls better. I promise!
Karl Fish closes his review pointedly: “In 2006 I was worried that we were preparing students for our past, not their future. In 2016, I still am.”
Food For Thought
Comments and opinions welcome!
Years ago, my friend and mentor Richard (yeah, him again) introduced my to “Type Talk”, a book about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, introducing me also to the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. As I am at the crossroads again checking out options for my future what-to-do, I just redid my assessment (see below), though it didn’t change really…
There are online tests for both on the web, which simply identify how your brain works. Not in black&white, there’s gray scale. But dominantly. Generally (according to Myers-Briggs) there are four indicators in the end. Indicators, not “rules”. You are either introverted or extroverted, intuitive or sensing, feeling or thinking, perceptive or judging. I found this understanding very helpful to identify my strength as such and understand that being different, is not a weakness but a different strength.
Many of you know, Yulia is an introvert, where I’m an extrovert. Where it is very easy for me to stand in front of a crowd or meet strangers, this is a real challenge for Yulia. Which is also, why I help her promoting CheckIn.com. That difference in personality is rather easy to grasp. the other differences are more difficult in the beginning.
Intuitive or sensing in a nut shell is about how you gather information. You need to touch them (with your senses) or can you imagine them?
Thinking and feeling are about decision making, being straight-thinking or more intuitive following their “gut feeling”.
Judging and perceptive is not about ruling, but they influence your expression. Where judging types like more that things are clear and settled, perceptive types constantly challenge them.
But then we move on from Myers-Briggs to Keirsey and we step into a different world. In fact, we leave theory behind and come to the practical application. Because the Keirsey Temperament Sorter’s results are observable. Again, there is no black & white, but in many facets certain behavior is dominant. Such as the easily observable extro- vs. introversion.
Before you continue, you might want to do the official test, though that requires (free) registration on Keirsey’s website to get the results. And only the mini-result is free, giving you a general indication (like me, being an idealist “NF”). If you don’t need it for business, I found this a good online source to do the Myers-Briggs test (try to avoid neutral answers), which tells me (again) I’m a “
What triggered this blog article is a quote by Steven Covey seen on LinkedIn (as so often, not properly referenced to him), which quickly reminded me also of that Peanuts “Great Pumpkin” cartoon by Schulz. Intuitively and being an extrovert, I jumped to it, but at second thought quickly identified it as simply a good example on how extroverts and introverts react to the same extrovert statement. And also, how judging types “believe” strongly in what for them is “settled”, the perceptive types do question the Great Pumpkin. Or Life, the Universe and Everything.
An introvert listens by nature. So Yeats was an extrovert and just expressed the typical extroverts view…
Food for Thought
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The highest paid workers in Silicon Valley are not software engineers … but “project managers”.
Reading this, it reminded me of my own experience, as well as something my dad told me decades ago: “Keep in mind that the people doing the productive work pay for all those supportive jobs.”. Including the bakers, the medical, schools, trainers, … Not talking about all those “managers” that nowadays make a living by explaining how to do things differently.
Growing up with American military, there was a saying that you can’t have more chiefs than Indians. In fact, it’s a clear pyramid with given salary schemes where the general earns more than the private, but in a reasonable amount. At the same time, there were only about four generals and flag officers for each 10,000 uniformed personnel*. Today it’s seven. And they soon have more “admirals” than ships…
Looking at current structures in the industry, we have too many Chiefs and too little Indians. In fact, I know companies (i.e. consulting) having 10 Chiefs on a single Indian or less. Mostly secretaries, IT support and cleaning staff, often enough outsourced. And we pay the Indians badly and feed the Chiefs. Some figures in Germany make me afraid. In the last years, the numbers of people living of social security despite having a job increased year over year. Yes, they have work. But not enough to live from, they need state support to survive!
The number of retirees needing a side job to survive grew the past years from 15 to 35 percent. That means that one out of three can’t survive of the retirement plan they paid into most of their life?
German Wirtschaftswoche (“Commercial Week”) magazine reported 2015 that top managers make 54 times the salary of an average employee. This is the average. At Volkswagen they made 170 times the salary of their workers, Adidas 100 times. In the U.S., they make in average 273 times the salary of their workers the German Zeit (“time) magazine reported. 30 years ago, top managers made approx. five times that of the average employee. This is about paid managers. It’s a different issue on the owners of the company, but even those usually made about the same income as their top managers and invested the revenue into the company, their employees and reserves. When there was a “crisis”, they had reserves to dig into. Where today the managers fire their workers (same time often increasing their own “salaries”).
At the same time these highly paid managers reduced their personal risk in case of failure by insurances and contractual clauses. But imply that their mega-salaries are because of all the responsibility they have for the company and its employee and their well-being. Whereas the net income of their workers have in reality dropped many years as a result of inflation, tax and social security increases, etc. And not to forget by making “Leiharbeit”, subcontracting labor. That way, the history of working for a company throughout your lifetime became a myth, companies, no, not faceless companies, but company managers are no longer loyal to their workers. And not paying subcontracted labor a surplus for the job risk but paying them mostly even less than their own.
My friend Erica was hired for a temporary job with one of the large global players. While they denied her any surplus for the risk of a temporary contract she was asked to not do any side jobs. Similar for me when SITA acquired delair. The same time that they both denied us any job security. Are they crazy? Companies recently start paying minimum wages, adding contract clauses that the workers are not allowed (!) to have a second job. Forcing them to live of state aid, despite a full-time job, often in combination with unpaid overtime. That is reality. Now Erica is happy to leave the bureaucrats, I was quite happy to part ways with SITA (with +400 peers). I prefer smaller companies with less hierarchy but also support and fair pay for the Indians. Recently there’s studies and case studies proving better payment proved to be far better on the motivation of the work force with substantially higher return on the “investment”.
Another issue on salaries is “variables”. I truly believe a fair base salary and a fair results scheme are motivating. Unfortunately – and I hear that from a lot of friends – the “targets” set are unrealistic. Such you can rarely rely on them. The manager’s goal not being motivation, but cost savings, is also counter productive. Aside, it’s simple greed and also just aside, that’s a mortal sin.
Food for Thought
There is quite a discussion in Germany these days about Tourisms and Ethics, ever since German politician (Klaus Brähmig of Merkel’s governing party CDU) called for a boycott of travel to Egypt and other “non-democratic” countries. It also comes up on Lufthansa’s latest move to not charge a “service fee” on their website.
All in all, I am being questioned by many friends about topics, that make me wonder, how you could call Germany “social market economy” and not what it is: Capitalism! But that is not just in Germany, we talk about a global trend. If you believe in Capitalism, the world is good. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle class erodes one way or the other (likely “the other”).
There was this video in 2006, I referred to ever so often: Shift Happens Narrated. I did not yet find a good update with 2011 figures, but believe it, it get’s worse.
Recent reports claim that the international hydra Monsanto intentionally spreaded gene-manipulated (GM) corn crops in Mexico – against the law and in attempted secrecy. This way, they try to get a hold on Mexican farmers, who will in return be charged the “license” fees for using GM corn of Monsanto origin! There is no way, the corn could have reached the fields in a natural way, where it was found. Is everything allowed if it brings money?
Lately (2010), a strong movement forced a political acknowledgement to the Human Right to Water! Do you see the little blue planet picture? But people starve to death, simply missing access to clear water! The consumption of bottled water in Germany exploded from 12.5 l in 1970 to about 130 l in 2006! Did you know that multinationals pump water in areas where the local people face a dry period? This happened even in Michigan, USA – it is not limited to third world countries. That is anti-social, unethical and simple capitalism of the worse kind.
And despite the growth of Solar Power and other alternative energy possibilities, our governments build atomic power plants where we don’t know how to get rid of the waste products, they support building of dirty coal power plants, emitting more Carbon-Dioxide than thousands of old cars could, simply dancing to the whistles of the energy lobbies. They let Greece go into a major crisis, simply to give the banks time, to move their foul papers to the state. Don’t believe it? There is extensive German coverage on Monitor, a bi-weekly report by public television channel ARD in it’s dossiers.
All that said… What about the travel industry?
Many years ago, there was a question about the difference of a Tourist to a Terrorist. With tourists, there are no bombs involved, but the results are even more devastating… Yes, this is exaggerating. But thousands of divers ruin the coral reefs around the world. Thousands of tourists skiing the alps (or Rocky Mountains) have a devastating effect to that natural preserve. Aircraft exhausts are in high altitude, having a worse effect than ground time. But even back in 2007/08, when I was involved in the feasibility study for a WIG, all development I hear about is “less kerosene”, bio-fuels replacing kerosene (with unknown new side-effects), but that project stalled with the world financial crisis and seems to be of a low priority. Coutries like the Maldives could replace their entire local aircraft fleet and replace by a clean alternative.
I hear a lot about the “reduced noice levels” of aircraft, but in the discussion about the night flight ban in Frankfurt, I asked publicly, where there are hard facts about this? How did the noise levels reduce and why are the airports then paying new millions every year in counter-noise-modifications in their neighborhood?
Many meetings could be replaced by professional video conferencing, but our managers keep the “need” to meet for their routine meetings “in person”. Trains focus on high speed route networks in competition to air (and that makes sense), at the same time neglecting the local traffic – how to commute from a small township to the bigger town for work?
Yes, I love aviation, I am an airliner by vocation. But yes, I have a soul and yes, I question the tendency to keep status quos without need. The feasibility study provided figures that such a solution would pay off within maximum three years, then it’s a cash cow. It could revive the old harbor cities (the ones on the seaside). But such revolutionary developments are opposed by the “old school”, all the investment going into the airport infrastructure.
Responsibility begins with each and everyone of us. We are supposed to be Christian’s, but Christian behavior would call for social behavior and I cannot see such. The question is: Where will we be in 100 years? Watch the “Shift Happens” video again:
Name this country
Richest in the World. Largest military. Center of world business and finance. Strongest education system. World center of innovation and invention. Currency the world standard of value. Highest standard of living.
… England … In 1900!
How did travel develop in the past 100 years. People traveled by ships, horse carriage and some railroad systems. Just a 100 years ago, Titanic sunk. Today it takes less than six hours to travel from Frankfurt to Boston. In the 60’s, American Airlines and IBM invented Sabre and revolutionized the distribution of airline seats. I was with American, when they started to provide Sabre terminals to the first travel agencies in Germany – which have already gained experience with the START-system, accessing the Lufthansa “Res”-system through a pre-windows environment! In 1996, as the “GDS Coordinator” I was primary element for the development of the first Internet Booking Engine for business travel (air, hotel, car). We had “e-Mail” (called “SITA-Telex”) in the late 80’s, no one spoke about “Internet” then. But I also introduced the “Internet” and the new “World Wide Web” to the Airline Sales Representatives Association back in 1994, recommending i.e. Continental Airlines to register their domain name for a few bucks quickly. They sure ignored my recommendation and for years used “www.flycontinental.com” instead.
Is that “you”?
What is our business? Is it to manage a GDS? Many travel agents (seem to) believe so. Then we are database operators. AN20MAYFRAHKT18 – that is a database request. Is your business to issue tickets? Then you are no longer needed, as eTicket is the new standard.
What was “your business” 100 years ago? It was not to book the air ticket and the hotel. It was a complete consulting, how to get Grammy from her home in Middlesex to Aunt Cathy, who emigrated with her husband to this new colony Swaziland in the South of Africa. Could she use some of the new airplane-routes? Where could she use trains? Where were carriage routes? What vaccinations would she need, where would she stay overnight, what could she do on the multi-day-stops en-route?
Or you booked the summer seaside. If you lived in England, you were lucky, you could book one of the “packages” offered by some “Thomas Cook”. Else, you had to read a lot about the “common” spas, recommend and explain you client the advantages, book the trip, the hotel, the treatments.
And yes, it was expected from you to be knowledgeable about the countries, their political, cultural, economical and social systems. If you traveled to an Islamic country, what are the rules? Why to be careful and patient about cows in India. And to know that India was British colony. Sometimes I wonder, how many of the people selling “Seidenstraße” ever learned some detail about Marco Polo. Venice, Genoa have been the center of the world those days – the “seafaring nations”. Frankfurt, London, Atlanta, Peking are the centers today – of the “airfaring” world. What are “nations” in a globalizing world? But U.N. is a toothless tiger. Lybia, Tunesia and Egypt were (as Kuwait) some years ago immediately targets of military – for the sake of crude oil. But in Syria thousands are slaughtered, but they are not a capitalist necessity, so the world looks and doesn’t do.
Ethics begins with myself. Do I fly or drive – or do I take a train? Is the trip necessary? Can I achieve the same outcome with a video-conference and e-Mail? It is also about: Is this to the best of my employer – or do I justify the trip, simply because I want to see someone – or get somewhere. And it is about: Can I help to make this world a better place?
Yes, companies are about making money. But if only money rules, we adore the Golden Calf again. How un-Christian can we get? Talk to me about Ethics in Tourism. Yes, we got to survive. But at all cost?
The travel industry prospers, but for some reason, the employees do not participate. It’s all about money. Is it?
Food For Thought
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German Tourism Association DTV reports a record year in German Tourism1, German Airport Association ADV reports a passenger record2 – the same news reaches us from all over the world… Crisis? What Crisis?
Airplus3 and American Express4 published their outlook for 2012, expecting a stable market, more meetings, but increasing cost for air and accomodation… Crisis? What Crisis?
Airbus Industry reports a record order backlog, with the Airbus 320-family (mostly 319+320) being the most demanded aircraft in the world today… Crisis? What Crisis?
Yes, what crisis? The average income of a senior manager in the “Fortune 500” across the world has multiplied in the past five years (at least doubled), at the same time, the average income of a worker in the same company has decreased (thanks to inflation and loss of monetary value)… My tone now becoming sarcastic: Crisis? What Crisis?
Throughout the world, increasing natural disasters are reported to be a result of Global Warming. But our politicians cannot agree on counter measures. The EU Emission Certificate Trading is challenged by the main emitting countries, namely China, the U.S., but also Russia… Crisis? What Crisis?
The Greece Prime Minister informed the EU years ago about the inevitable bankruptcy. The politicians avoided that at all cost, their delay tactics gave the banks the opportunity to move all risk from the banks to the tax payers. Thank you Mr. Ackermann, thank you Mrs. Merkel! Thanks to such “politics”, no longer the banks are “challenged”, but the European states are! This is no “sitting it out” of our representatives of state, but I call it criminally corrupt! Crisis? What Chrisis?
The U.S., it’s currency being the lead world currency, is brought close to a bankruptcy in itself, thanks to the Republican “opposition”. How stupid can such a (Republican) “representative of state” be?
But: The German Minister is caught having copied his doctorate work – “Guttenplag” has been a nominee for the word of the year. Our Federal President is being caught taking credit and other benefits (free flights or holidays) from industry managers. And while corruption is forbidden and you can go to jail for it, lobbying invests record amounts last year – securing the politicians to vote in their favor. And not just our former Chancellor Schröder is safely and well paid employed by an industry, he secured long-term deals and commitments with during his state of power… Bunga-Bunga! Crisis? What Crisis?
Russia is corrupt? At least you know that! The Arab Spring is in danger to become a barrel burst in Egypt? Global Warming is no issue, but the tourism industry is the milk cow to the politicians (whereas in the Middle East they are a factor to support commercial development). Crisis? What Crisis?
I tell you what crisis we have:
The Bank Crisis: The banks are the real power in governments.
The Political Crisis: Our politicians do not represent the people, nor any strategies or ideas: They simply represent the lobbies that pay them fortunes and do everything to keep in power, not to loose these honey pots!
If they would have any “strategy”, they would make the beer-tab-tax-report a reality and safe millions of Euro in tax administrative cost. They would make travel and tourism a strategy. They would seek minimum wages and support future development like solar industry – and not add tax burdens on them. As they would support families, enabling them to combine business and family – and have day care for the children (something I found painfully amiss myself last year!)
Crisis? What Crisis?
Food For Thought…
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In 2009, I had the honor to be part in the handling team to prepare for the short visit by President Obama in Thuringia.
In 2011 the President was followed by the Catholic Pope Benedict XVI, also visiting ERF and Thuringia, the heartland of the ‘renegade’ Lutheran church. Being the ultra conservative he is, he rejected the offered hand of the Protestant church.
The most preposterous notion that H. Sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all of history. [Lazarus Long]
P.S.: God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent-it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills. [Lazarus Long]
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In LinkedIn, based on a recent analysis by RBS, someone raised the concern about 90 A380. Will it impact Europe? I disagree with the question, it’s point of view and the analysis.
The main mistakes most “Western” analysts and experts do in looking at the Emirates (and the greater Middle East) is the trained focus on shareholder value, fiscal year (results) and political elections.
Long term thinking in “The West” has been replaced long ago by the above obstacles. But it is a vital part of the cultures in other parts of the world. First and foremost is the family. Followed by the clan. Then the neighboring clans, then by the “same people” (i.e. Muslims, other Sheiks, …). The main rule is that the family and the clan must prosper. Until very recently in such terms, the Sheiks survival was simply a matter of following these simple rules – which by the way are also described in the bible.
So what will ‘the Emirates’ (not just talking about the UAE) do with hundreds of A380s, with thousands of seats? Why do they build the largest number of luxury resorts worldwide? The Palm? The World? Free Zones for commerce? Because having the – what thes DO understand to be temporary – “Gift” of Cruide Oil income, their expressed target is to establish the Emirates regions as a crossroad for international tourism and commerce – and the “it-destination” for the rich and famous.
Will Europe, India, other markets suffer from that? Yes. Because the Emirates and their development tries to take away long-haul-connecting passengers. They will expand. They started on the racetrack Europe-Asia. They slowly expand now to Russia-North-Africa, connecting Asia with North Africa at the same time. They will not be competing much on the ruinous Europe-America-market, except to take the passengers connecting in Europe from North America to Asia…
They play by the rules, as long as these rules don’t interfere with their goal. when politically advisable. Else, always be aware: Their family and the clan comes first! If they have to bend or break other people rules for the benefit of the family or clan, they will do.
Their goal is so easy – but hard to grasp for too many of so-called “experts”, as their goals are so long-term…
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It is Easter Sunday. In the wake of my father’s death (the reason there was no Food For Thought last week) I think about god. Yulia does an Easter Lent. So I thought about the Easter Lent in Germany and learned only today about “Seven Weeks Without”, an Easter Lent initiative in the German churches. This year’s motto: “Decide! Seven Weeks Without Hesitation” (Sich entscheiden! Sieben Wochen ohne zaudern).
The publications that came along with the motto say we make the mistake to play it safe. Don’t we all know (what we call) the “egg-dance” of politicians, trying to avoid any decisions? I have too much of those to my liking lately.
Then I received a post by my dear friend Sapphire, called Orphan. About the missing link to god. I do not believe much in church. But in the wake of my father’s death, I also learned the truth of the saying “You can remove a boy from the bible belt, but you cannot remove the bible belt from the boy” (the bible belt is a very religious region in the U.S. midwest). I was raised Lutheran (a Christian variant). I believe in god. And as Yulia just said to me yesterday: It is the believe in god that unites us.
But this Food For Thought is a business blog, so why do I address something like god, the lent or Orphan here? Because of the lent motto. Decide! We cannot always play it safe. This is another recurring topic, in this case on LinkedIn Q&A: What makes a good manager. A good manager decided, stands to his decision (doesn’t blame others on failure) and reverses it quickly if needed. Not like a politician without an own opinion. First it is the decision. And no, not the decision not to decide 😉
Especially in the crisis, the decision makers are likely to survive. They move.
Or to quote Barrack Obama: Change! Yes – We CAN !!!
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The past weeks have been quite a dramtatic change to me. Taking over the marketing at Erfurt Airport was the right decision. It calls for a fire fighter. And the first weeks produced a lot of bureaucratic overkill that made my life more miserable than it hat to be – challenging and fun as these weeks were.
What I discussed with family and friends is actually the thought, why bureaucrats are that way. Why is it, that they require reports and statistics on obviously clear things? Why do they knowingly destroy instead of create? I will never truly understand it, but we are all facing them, so the bureaucrats are somewhat a part of life we got to live with.
Some discussions on LinkedIn address the same topic. What makes a “leader”? My first ever boss told me some basic rules:
- Keep your supplier in mind. Only if you pay decently he will produce good work and only then he will remain your supplier. And suppliers are a small family always – they know each other. So once you go the cheap route, you will have trouble getting decent quality.
- A leader decides. Get as much data at as short time as possible and decide. Sometimes you have no data. Trust your experience. Some call it “intuition”. It’s as good a guide than any made-up figures. Future holds no guarantees.
Thinking about the last sentence: We all learned that lesson well last year, did we not? But one sentence is also true and may make the bureaucrats happy. We do need the bean counters. They shall question us. We better have a good idea, what we are doing. But we are here to do something. Not to count the beans.1 - click to show Jürgen you liked the post