Hey game-changer,

The last episode this year is all about next year. We start 2022 with a run of both the SHIFT and the SHAPE trek. While the self-leadership program is already fully booked, there are two last spots available for the SHAPE trek starting at the end of January. If you are interested in learning and applying 21st Century Leadership skills, drop me a short note and we have a special deal waiting for you. In the episode we also have an on-demand New Year’s Resolution Gift for you, present Tina’s brand new Habit and Mindset Program and explain how we best navigate through the deep waters of uncertainty.


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

Holidays are coming… and along comes a flood of mass produced, meaningless ‘Thank You for XYZ Cards’, unwanted and useless merchandising gifts, and a lot of well intended but hard-to-implement wishes for the new year. At the same time, we all long for human connection, we worry about the future of our planet, and we wish that next year will finally bring more purpose in life.

In those times, we wanted to rethink our habits, consider what really makes sense (and what no longer) and rather maintain fewer and more genuine relationships. Therefore, we turn the tables this year. We do not send unwanted gifts and machine-written Christmas mail, but rather we send out a handwritten card only to those who really, really want it. And not for Christmas (like everyone does), but to kickstart the new year. Connected with a lucky wristband to help you find your purpose. And for every card we send, a tree we’ll plant (with our friends from Tree Nation)

Get your Lucky Wristband now and fulfill your resolutions!

May you all be happy, resourceful, and well fed.
Merry Xmas and a committed new year. cto


(a refurbished book club for transformative leaders)


A guidebook for century 21

At this point, you’ve come to expect recommendations for smart thoughts printed on paper, hidden between two covers. Works that have impressed me, influenced me and somehow made me smarter. We want to keep it that way. Books are a vehicle of transformation, uniquely portable wisdom with the serious risk to change the lives of its readers. But sometimes we have to rest, read up, look back in order to think ahead. That is why we have decided to (re)collect content in one digital guidebook. From January on, we will also feature true transformational Leaders by Example. People you can learn from and who will inspire you to become hero*ines of world-changing yourself. If you have any suggestions for people we should portrait, let us know.

Have a look at the GUIDEBOOK


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



\ ˈna-və-ˌgāt ən-ˈsər-tᵊn-tē \

Uncertainty causes us to be in survival mode for extended periods of time. The pandemic was only the latest impetus for a lasting change that we have already felt before: the VUCA world. Many leaders are currently feeling the predicament of being forced to act swiftly without having reliable information. Waiting is not an option. Inaction will be punished. However, the greater the uncertainty about what to do, the greater the uncertainty about what to do. This makes good decision-making even more important but at the same time less likely. The number one task of great leaders is therefore to regulate this dilemma by eliminating disruptive factors, debilitating unnecessary ambiguities, and shifting into a mode of thriving. It becomes obvious that this is no longer a role for lonesome hero*ines but rather a collective endeavor. This new form of leadership involves seizing opportunities instead of fighting threats, celebrating small victories instead of fire fighting 24/7, and encouraging people to take more responsibility instead of conducting command and control. We can only master uncertainty if we view leadership as something that everyone can carry into an organization.



(Troublemakers’ statements to provoke good thought)


New years come with a good opportunity to change our habits. We have asked two experts for some brief advice: The elder statesman and inventor of modern education Horace Mann and our slightly younger spokeswoman of habit change Tina Burkhardt.

Tina: “We can all go incredibly far if we finally take the first step of a journey, which is always the most difficult.”

Horace: “Yeah, habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it.”

Tina: “But we are all imperfect. We have to see our lives as “work in progress and an attitude of continuous improvement.”

Horace: “Therefore, seek not greatness, but seek truth and you will find both.”

Unfortunately, Horace is not among us anymore but you can check out Tina’s new Habit and Mindset Program.


(eclectic didactics for everyday life)



In textbook theory, mastery-based learning is a model where learners first need to demonstrate a deep level of understanding of a subject before they can progress onto another topic. According to our conception of teaching, however, it is not only about the duties of the learner, but rather about the relationship between teacher and learner. Mastery-based learning is about formulating a mutual understanding that the focus is not on imparting knowledge, but on understanding and applying the course content. The goal of mastery-based learning is therefore rather a philosophic than an instructional approach. We do not strive for (short-term) storage of information, but we care about the acquisition of wisdom.

If that is our aspiration, we need to see learning as an iterative process. Instead of practicing things perfectly, we should try them out again and again, conduct experiments, get feedback from different places, reflect on our mistakes, and keep improving until we achieve mastery. But this requires teachers and systems that do want to do just that – despite the fact that this is much more strenuous than standardized proficiency tests. Only then, learning is about ensuring that things can be applied outside the classroom in a variety of contexts. And this is precisely our responsibility as teachers. Mastery-based learning is just another way of saying ‘I do care if you understand what I tried to teach you.”

Thank you for reading. Feel free to explore more of this stuff on

Please visit our Leadership Guidebook for Century 21

  • Interesting interviews with changer makers
  • Transformation wiki
  • and a collection of all newsletter articles

Happy to discuss my thoughts with you 

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