Hey game-changer,

This is episode #7. We took some time to get in shape again. Now SHIFTSHAPE CLUB has opened its doors. Come on in! Today we would like to introduce to you Mrs. SHIFT and Mr. SHAPE and the reason-why behind this transformation, explore what we can learn from the dying and from peer coaching, and see what transformative leadership is all about.


(a little different editor’s note strictly guided by serendipity)

It’s been six years since we founded Germany’s first Academy for Digital Transformation. Back then, we set out to create immersive learning experiences for digital leaders to prepare them specifically for the challenges of the VUCA world. Now almost two years into the pandemic, we no longer need to explain to anyone what VUCA feels like. But the question of HOW to navigate through this uncertainty remains. So, there is still a lot to transform ( rather more than ever). Meanwhile, we have to deal not only with Digital Transformation, but also with Sustainable Transformation, Cultural Transformation, and even Societal Transformation. A lot of transformation for our already strained souls.

Having diligently tackled the WHY and the WHAT of change over the last few years (and continuing to do so), we took advantage of the big break to address the question of HOW we can better meet the great challenges of our time; HOW transformation can succeed in a sustainable way; and HOW SHIFTSCHOOL can play as an agent for transformation. At the beginning, we asked ourselves three central questions:

First, have we made progress in Digital Transformation or do we not need to understand change more holistically in order to change things sustainably?

Second, what lessons can we learn from the last few years in order to continue to be a school that leads the way in terms of state-of-the-art learning experiences?

And third, does a separate consideration of professional and private development still make sense when work and leisure are increasingly merging?

Our answer, in a nutshell, is Transformative Leadership and Lifelong Learning. This is why we have transformed ourselves – from academy to learning club, from digital to holistic transformation. With SHIFTSHAPE CLUB, we are now breaking new ground. You cannot expect to change others if you don’t transform yourself. That is a core value of our family and SHIFTSCHOOL. Now, after testing the newly-developed SHIFTSHAPE® framework in various formats this year, we are now very excited to launch – live and in color – again in January with both the SHAPE Leadership Trek and the SHIFT Growth Path. The CLUB will follow in summer. We look forward to seeing you there. cto


(a refurbished book club for transformative leaders)


A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

No one likes to talk about death. But this touching book by Bronnie Ware reminds us that we should. In our modern societies, we have pushed away the fact that we all have to die – to the farthest corners of our lives. Our culture has no concept of stopping. Everything is supposed to grow and grow and never stop. And that is how we live our lives. In the false conviction that all the things we would have liked to have done already, we will surely be able to do later. Sometime there will be time. We just need to quickly…
and then ‘one day baby, we’ll be old and think of all the stories that we could have told’. And then, we only have time to regret not having done it after all. The stories Bronnie tells us are exactly these if-only stories. Interestingly enough, they are never about “I wish I had worked more, earned more, or bought more …”, but about … (you will find it out). This little book gives us hope to lead a better life by feeling kinder towards yourself and others, and more determined to live the life we are truly here to live. There is a lot to be learned from the Dearly Departing.

Keen on this book? Let’s buy local, like here.


(a Shiftshaper’s guide to the 21st century and beyond)



\ tran(t)s-ˈfȯr-mə-tiv ˈlē-dər-ˌship \ 

The Transformative Leadership model is a collective approach of leadership beyond immediate self-interest in order to identify the needed change, creating a narrative to guide this process through inspiration, and executing the desired change collectively together with committed members of a group. Transformative leadership is the ability to convincingly lead by example and thereby earn trust, respect, appreciation and loyalty. The overall goal is to develop teams that are intrinsically motivated and inspired to transform their behavior through their willingness to learn and perform at the same time.

In traditional leadership textbooks one often finds the related term of transformational leadership. Even though both terms mean similar things, we emphasize the small but subtle semantic difference: As adjectives the difference between transformative and transformational is that transformational signifies relating to, characterized by, or concerned with transformation while transformative means being able to cause an important and lasting transformation in someone or something. The distinction, then, is that one term merely describes the process of transforming, while the other implies the goal of lasting change. And it is precisely the latter that matters to us. That is why we speak of Transformative Leadership. The change in self-interest should not only elevate the organization’s maturity and ideals, but should also be concerned with their achievement.



(Troublemakers’ statements to provoke good thought)

In pandemic times where everything just feels bla, a little self love can do wonders. Just let poetic rockstar Maya Angelou and pop-pioneer Ricky Nelson tell you about how to put your own mask on first in case of emergency.

Ricky: Just believe in what you’re doing, and keep doing it.

Maya: You can only become truly accomplished at something you love.

Ricky: You see ya can’t please everyone. So ya got to please yourself!”

Maya: If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?


(eclectic didactics for everyday life)



Peer coaching formats are the hottest form of collegial exchange right now. You form a professional learning community with likeminded people, meet regularly in informal sessions, and ready is the development opportunity. However, we found that people in self-organized learning groups tend to fall back into familiar patterns if they are not constantly reminded to adopt a new attitude. The realization that innovation is an iterative process and can only be further developed through open feedback is more complex and takes much longer than expected. That is why we believe it needs more than a guideline and throwing people in randomly assigned groups. Instead we have come to learn that there is an absolute need for moderated elements in self-organized learning environments.

Of course, this takes more effort, but facilitated peer coaching formats solve all three major show-stoppers of conventional peer coaching formats: 1) They provide commitment and accountability. 2) They ensure that also the uncomfortable things are addressed, and 3) They ensure that things are not just announced, but actually put into action. This way we want to ensure that the group, through constructive impulses from the outside, is made aware of problems that the group itself is not seeing (anymore).


Thank you for reading. Happy to discuss my thoughts with you 

on linkedin
or by dropping me an email,

P.S. Enjoying SHIFTNEWS and feeling generous? Keep me awake and buy me a cup of coffee.