Archive for the ‘Life Balance’ Category

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: Plan Some Downtime

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Haven’t you also had the impression that every moment of your time is spoken for? Not only your working hours, but your private time, as well? Easter, Whitsuntide, Christmas? Family get-togethers—at least Easter and Christmas. Weekends? Run errands. Take care of something that wasn’t finished during the week. Take the kids to their sports, you to your sports. The garden is waiting, too. A few light bulbs need changing. Pay bills online. Do a few things that you’ve volunteered for. If that sounds familiar, you’re in the best of company.

In my speeches about self-management, I have argued for planning some downtime. That is to say, downtime is by no means something objectionable. By “downtime,” I mean giving yourself the freedom to set aside a certain amount of time to do nothing, or to do something unscheduled, something that appeals to you. It sounds paradoxical, but it shouldn’t. See it as a protected time slot, defended against any and all intruders, in which you can do what you wish. Ideally, planned downtime should also include your partner. Try it sometime. Exciting dialog, insights, moments could arise as a result. One rule of the game: The reasonableness of doing this will be under-appreciated


© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Risk or Regulation/Rules: Which Do You Prefer

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Life is dangerous, no doubt about it—especially if you believe those who concentrate only on life’s hazards. Anything can happen. But most of the things that can happen, won’t happen. They simply will not occur. This fact doesn’t protect us from regulators, who never tire of wanting to write rules, just in case something might happen.

We can’t protect ourselves from everything. Life carries with it some residual level of risk, which is comparatively low, especially in Germany. Meanwhile, the regulation-frenzy waxes apace, or so it seems. Conversations about the requirement to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Twenty-mile-per-hour speed-limits sprawling into silly places. Email that can be delivered only between the hours of 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. The list grows, haphazardly. Instead of betting on citizens’ improving judgment, instead of counting on their learning how to assess danger, we are burdened with regulations of questionable value in an effort to protect us from unavoidable catastrophe. Companies are almost exactly as active as legislators in this endeavor.

I would wish only that we placed more value on explaining connections. I would wish only that citizens and employees be taken seriously, and that more time was spent on persuasion than on creating laws and regulations. Doing so takes longer, but the payoff is greater.

What did Hans Andersson—in his day H&M’s regional manager for South Korea and Japan—say to me during one of our conversations right at the time of the tsunami and the Fukishima catastrophe? “Mr. Quelle, you cannot control a tsunami. You have to rely on company values and managers’ judgment to do the right thing.”

Enough said.


© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Perception and Facts. Today: Miami

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

I am writing this from the Fontainebleau, Miami Beach, where I had a few meetings this week. The hotel has 1,500 rooms (not beds, rooms!). Not long ago, it was renovated (partly rebuilt in sections)—unconfirmed number follows—at a cost of one billion dollars. As of today, it is again fully booked because outside, the Miami International Boat Show is getting under way. Preparations have been going on for days. Temporary docks have been built, elaborated pavilions erected—an unbelievable bustle that I can see from the balcony of my suite. Every day there are more boats, which maneuver alongside each other with a precision measured in fractions of inches. The number of visitors’ boats is also climbing. By the way, when we speak of “boats” here, we’re really talking about ships.

The restaurants in downtown Miami and here in Miami Beach are full; in some of them—Prime 112, for example—it’s difficult to get a reservation, even on a normal weekday. The streets are full. People drive to work. Real-estate prices are becoming attractive once again. This economy is in a strong recovery. Just some observations. However to some extent, the perception still differs substantially from these facts because mentally, many people are still in recession-mode. Especially here in the south of Florida, they are still in shock from the most recent crisis. This in turn prevents them from seeing the facts—and appreciating them.

Try not to ignore the obvious. Don’t let your thoughts dilute observable fact. Don’t listen to economic-development forecasts, which in any case exist only to be corrected in the near future. I just read in the news that economists were “surprised” by the growth in China’s exports. Then why do we need economists? Observe, draw your own conclusions, form your own opinions, and take action. Consider this: We are the ones who shape reality.

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.