SHIFTNEWS // EPISODE #1
Once a month you will hear from us in a clearly structured format:
- WISDOM OF THE KRAUT: a little different editor’s note strictly guided by serendipity
- GRATEFUL READ: a refurbished book club for transformative leaders
- FLEXICON: a Shiftshaper’s guide to the 21st century and beyond
- PONDER WONDER: mix two troublemakers’ assertions to provoke good thought
- THE DAYDACTICS: eclectic didactics for everyday life
We hope to provide food for thought, tools to change the world, and a little insight in the world of SHIFTSCHOOL and the SHIFTSHAPE CLUB.
1 // WISDOM OF THE KRAUT
(a little different editor’s note strictly guided by serendipity)
For more than a year now, we all have been in a state of emergency. Personally, privately and of course professionally. And every one of us has their own way of dealing with the situation. After the initial shock, I have made two decisions very quickly: Personally, I decided to keep the evil C out of my thoughts as much as possible. And professionally, I decided not to participate in any rushed actions to throw everything we have got online in an actionist attempt to save business. The last year has impressively shown that the half-life of promises, announcements and planned projects has once again fallen dramatically.
Every trade fair, every festival and every training company digitizes its content and uploads it to the web. Not an hour goes by that I can’t participate in some webinar, online conference or live stream. Everything is being digitized now, it’s so easy and everyone can watch from all around the world. At least in theory. But reality looks different. The questions remain: First – who is supposed to watch all the content and, second, how are we supposed to earn money again someday if everything is always available everywhere, free of charge? I truly believe that my industry, i.e. everything related to learning, innovation and networking (aka transformation circus) is making the same mistake as the publishing industry did more than two decades ago. And I decided not to be a part of that rat race. That is why we took our time, watched carefully, questioned ourselves, and drew our conclusions. In the end we have decided to lead by example and radically transform ourselves. We have practiced what we preached and started from scratch. I hope you are going to like it. cto.
2 // GRATEFUL READ
(a refurbished book club for transformative leaders)
21 Lessons for the 21st Century
Harari’s book is not on the top of our collection because it has been in the bestseller lists for ages. But because it has the words “lesson” and “21st century” in its title. It seems like it was made for the kickoff of SHIFTSHAPE CLUB and somehow it is. Harari’s acumen has had a decisive influence on my thinking about digitization and, by extension, on the direction of SHIFTSCHOOL. This masterpiece reads like a content roadmap for everything to come.
While he explored how we humans became who we are today in Sapiens, and what the world might be like in the future in Homo Deus, he attends to the most pressing questions of the present in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Harari’s merit, in my opinion, lies in his unique ability to understand where we have come from and where we (might) be going. His most recent book should be seen as a kind of visionary appeal to finally address decisively the most urgent problems of the present. Or to put it in Harari’s words, “If you don’t like it, change it!”
3 // FLEXICON
(a Shiftshaper’s guide to the 21st century and beyond)
\ ˈselfˈlē-dər-ˌship \
Self-leadership is the ability to follow a growth path towards personal mastery and excellence. Whatever this may be. It is also about empowering and positively influencing yourself in times of struggle with true grit (the sum of perseverance and passion). It is also about gaining the resilience and flexibility to adapt along the way. Life is a repeating heroine’s journey and each hero will eventually struggle, hesitate, resist, and fail along the way – in order to later learn and grow and become even better. This means self-leadership is not so much about boosting personal efficiency through self-confidence and new self-affirmative convictions (even if many self-help books and business schools still try to sell it like this). It is neither just a tool to drive material success and gain a competitive advantage nor the secret sauce to successfully accomplish more in less time.
It is about becoming the best possible self. Another way of putting it: you cannot not lead yourself. The difference is if you are aware of it or not. So, self-leadership is the (self)-conscious practice of understanding who you are. It is the difference between fate and choice. How well we do shapes if we lead a life with purpose or not. Self-leadership should always be directed towards what you do, why you do it, when you do it, and how you do it. The question is not if you want to lead a meaningful life or not (guess, everybody wants that), but how to get there. It is about identifying what you really, really want to experience in life, and coaching yourself toward it. With conviction. With intention and with the help of a community.
4 // PONDER WONDER
(Troublemakers’ statements to provoke good thought)
The intent of good quotes is lost over time. They are often misunderstood. Or they stand alone and just don’t stick. That’s why we take two original troublemakers’ quotes and mash them together in a dialogue. This way you will get the jest 🙂 Just imagine if Muhammad Ali meets Brené Brown:
MA: “I should be a postage stamp, because that’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.”
BB: “Oh boy, if you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in your feedback.”
MA: “Hmm, at home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”
BB: “So, what’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how you feel, what you believe, and who you are?”
5 // DAYDACTICS
(eclectic didactics for everyday life)
Mise en Place
The main course is ready, but the rest is not. Something is burning and the kitchen looks like hell. Then the doorbell rings, guests arriving on time, and the stress level reaches its peak. Hobby cooks know this situation. Chefs do not. Because they follow a script: First, prepare all the ingredients, clean them, cut them and put them in their place. Only then does the cooking begin. Mise en place is what the chefs call it, which is French and means something like: Everything is in its place. This preparation distinguishes chefs from amateurs.
It’s the same with learning. Our brains are not able to focus our attention constantly. They constantly cycle between two states: attention and distraction. What was once an evolutionary advantage, allowing us to respond quickly to opportunities and threats in our environment, has become great hindrance when learning in the digital era. Less distraction is the key success factor when it comes to understanding complex issues. Many experts, including Adam Grant, even call the ability to control our attention the most important skill of the 21st century.
So how can we (re)learn how to focus in a learning environment? Well, first of all, by creating great and inspiring tasks. That’s a no brainer. However, we can also increase deep focus by decreasing the number of distractions around us. Learning requires purposely bringing one’s attention to the present practice. That is why we start every CLUBNITE with a ritual that asks every member to do the following:
- Be there ahead of time.
- Make sure you are in a closed, quiet place. All by yourself.
- Keep distractions away. Turn off stuff you don’t need.
- Set your place. Prepare your material for the session.
- Create a sense of accomplishment when everything is set.
- Remind yourself why you are doing it before entering the session.
Thank you for reading. Happy to discuss my thoughts with you