SHIFTNEWS // EPISODE #3
Welcome to episode #3. This time I am trying to explain why fearlessness is not the answer, what a brewer and a first lady have in common, and why leading by example is better than teaching. There is light at the end of the tunnel. And hopefully a great summer ahead of us.
1 // WISDOM OF THE KRAUT
(a little different editor’s note strictly guided by serendipity)
“Anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great.”, said the great chef Auguste Gusteau in Ratatouille. So far, so good but somehow pretending to be fearless didn’t feel right for me anymore in the last weeks. Being fearless and daring new things in times of great uncertainty is easier said than done, my dear Gusteau. Putting up a heroic masquerade just doesn’t take you very far in times of crisis. So, I thought, I might as well give it a try and openly address my fears (I guess everybody has them – even the great Gusteau).
I know this involves the risk of vulnerability but I think it is very well worth it. Although I have spoken about failure culture in countless talks over the past years, the fear of failure has been stalking ever since I started my entrepreneurial journey. Even more so when taking a different route in the midst of a pandemic. And simply convincing myself to be fearless felt just like whistling in the dark. The fear of failure prevails no matter how many stories of brave women and men I have read. The key is not to strive for the absence of fear, but to acquire the ability to persist in spite of it. That is what entrepreneurial courage is actually about. cto.
2 // GRATEFUL READ
(a refurbished book club for transformative leaders)
THE INFINITE GAME: How Great Businesses Achieve Long-Lasting Success
Ever since I read Mindset by Carol Dweck for the first time more than ten years ago, this topic is on the top of my list. In the meantime, changing attitudes has become the core of my work at SHIFTSCHOOL. Last year, Simon Sinek, whose Golden Circle has also been part of our toolbox for some time, has also written a fundamental work on how mindsets can manifest themselves in organizations.
While Carol Dweck has explored why there are people with a Fixed Mindset and those with a Growth Mindset, Simon Sinek finds a simple as well as ingenious explanation of how Fixed and Growth Mindsets evolve into a finite or infinite dichotomy at an organizational level. Until now, most organizations have played the finite game of winning and losing, driven by short-term gains and shareholder demands, and primarily aiming at measurable results trying to outperform their competitors. But the time seems ripe for businesses to start out playing an infinite game, making decisions to shift from a previous finite to adopting an infinite mindset that builds upon a just cause, trust among all stakeholders, and the courage to lead organizations beyond the point of earning money.
I am deeply convinced that all Transformative Leaders must necessarily adopt an Infinite Mindset in order to personally grow in the ever-changing world and future-proof the organizations in which they work, thereby contributing to solving the grand challenges that lie ahead in the coming era.
Keen on this book? Let’s buy local, like here.
3 // FLEXICON
(a Shiftshaper’s guide to the 21st century and beyond)
\ ˌser-ən-ˈdi-pə-tē \
According to a British translation company, serendipity is one of the ten most difficult English words to translate. Nevertheless (or perhaps for this very reason), it was voted the UK’s most popular word, beating Harry Potter’s Quidditch into second place.
The word serendipity was first used by Horace Walpole in 1754, when he explained an unexpected discovery to a friend with reference to the old Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip (aka Ceylon). The princes, Walpole wrote, were “always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.” In other words, they were looking for one thing and found something even better. The rest of the story isn’t worth telling. British peculiarities or not, today’s relevance is what’s worth looking at.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines serendipity as “the fact of finding interesting or valuable things by chance.” I see it more as the art of stumbling into something where you least expect it. Like getting lost and finding the place you always wanted to live in. This only happens if you let it occur. The Tale of Serendip can teach us a lot about the importance of randomness and how innovation actually works. Really great ideas don’t follow a master plan.
4 // PONDER WONDER
(Troublemakers’ statements to provoke good thought)
What happened if brewpunk James Watt met Eleanor Rossevelt for a chat at the White House? The good intent of quotes is lost over time and they just don’t stick for very long. That’s why we combine two troublemaker’s quotes into a short story to make people ponder a little longer …
Eleanor: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
James: “That is why we reject the status quo, we are passionate, we don’t give a damn and we always do something which is true to ourselves. Our approach has been anti-authoritarian and non-conformist from the word go.”
Eleanor: “Well, when you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.”
James. “So let’s rip up those stuffy old text books, reject the status quo, tear down the establishment and embrace the dawn of a new era.”
5 // DAYDACTICS
(eclectic didactics for everyday life)
A new learning format needs new people. Teaching is great but it is too closely related to yesterday‘s conviction of how schools are run. We need to inspire creative discourse instead of instructing people.
What the world certainly doesn’t need is more sages on a stages. We’ve also got enough slick and embellished celebrity stories of people who seem „unreachable“. That is why role modeling is also slightly off the track. We don‘t want our members to imitate larger-than-life figures by copying their behavior. We need authentic people who meet others at eye level and help them to find their very own way.
It’s about showing leaders not in their roles, but as whole human beings. Seeing both their accomplishments and their missteps as inspirational examples. That is why we have decided to speak only of “Leaders by Example”. This may sound sophistical, but “the meaning of a word is its use in language,” as Wittgenstein once said.
Thank you for reading. Happy to discuss my thoughts with you