13 May 2022

is fear a bad advisor?

Thank you first for the varied and valuable feedback on our last blog.
It also made me think about a large number of confirmations about employees who have deleted loyal cooperation from their own perspective. I suspect (some media (of all kinds) specializing in sensationalism and near-criminal simplification of complex situations confirm this most sadly) that the focus is on insecurity, fear, anger and abandonment, and media unreality becomes perceived reality. The field of vision narrows to the most necessary. Also in terms of collaboration and responsibility for the team.

So how do I as a manager deal with the situation between shock and a new beginning?

Where do I start? With the entrusted employees or with us as “lighthouses in the fog”?
The perhaps already ambiguous selection already shows the solution:

– Our employees need a “place” of stability, a role model that shows ways in the thicket of uncertainties, manipulations and out of the narrowing of perception to the necessary. You are needed to lead the way, even if you yourself are sometimes uncertain.
– Our employees need indulgence when they want to give up stressed by additional tasks. Remember the wonderful Pareto principle: perfectionism can lead to inefficiency (doesn’t have to ;-))
– Our employees need our empathy and attention – if they feel more powerful and clear as a result of our guidance, we have done a good job.
– Our employees need to know that they are not alone in these situations.

The list can be continued. What is clear, however, is that leadership culture of the 90’s is out of date. How does this “work” (it sounds pretty technical, doesn’t it)?

Letting go and allowing could work.

Different models of transformation show the path, which is little different from the employee journey. For some it works faster, for some it works cautiously.

– We are rigid before the demand to change (shock)
– We practice negation: it is not us, the others who are affected (in Austria the negation state is called “Floriani principle”)
– We practice intellectual understanding of the necessity. Understanding, however, does not mean acceptance.
– We now also accept emotionally that we too are meant – we let go of the old.
– We now ask what is still fit for the future, what wonderful new things become possible.
– We dare to experiment, to be curious about alternatives, about new things. And then finally….
– We celebrate ourselves and what has succeeded, what is new, what needs to be integrated – and recognize the transience.

As the preacher Nassrudin Hotscha (probably 11th century) said: “from the flower of confusion arises the flower of wonder (of miracle, of solution). Then it becomes possible to become a rolemodel

The real challenge

…. is pointed out by Otto Scharmer in one of his last articles from the Presensing Institute. And as always, the work starts with ourselves, our clarity, attentiveness and courage…..

Otto Scharmer and team name the five criteria of successful leadership following:

– Being: staying with oneself. Let us remember: “Lighthouses” are not lemmings. From the meta level, they authentically check whether they have still stayed with themselves.
– Thinking: switch on the mind and see facts. We save time for interpretations for later.
– Relating: taking care of others
– Collaborating: social skills such as respect, attention and compassion become a prerequisite to identifying and achieving a common purpose with each other. The output of the to do list reaches into our spheres of influence. The world has become bigger, knowledge goes beyond presupposed expert knowledge. We need each other to think outside the box, to be inspired…..
– Acting: moving together from understanding to doing, driving progress. Many years ago, in our consulting-implementation world, we learned that a powerful devotion to dialogue, to creative design in the strategic run-up, significantly shortens the implementation work. Surely, however, you still find insecure control freaks in the environment, who do not let go of their old knowledge or believe to be able to flee from the unknown. And you recognize the results.

Resume: it is up to us to move responsibly in the world of VUCA, all the fog, uncertainties, ambiguities, vulnerabilities and to reach out to those who cannot do it right now for a variety of reasons.

For all realists: we simply cannot afford to lose good employees, to rely on digitalization and/or well-educated immigrants – so: get to work on Leadership 2022.

We look forward to feedback and appreciated input,

kind regards,



21 Mar 2022

Let´s imagine….

We all had wonderful plans and also understanding and the competence to deal with deviations, unpredictability, options on the way to implementation.

Today: …only few have the strength, ability and will to pull ourselves out of the current situation – pandemic with increasing incidences, war on Europe’s “doorstep” and then also people at the limits of their current capabilities.

It’s up to us.

So, what needs to be done to transform this “stuck state” of many into a realistic continuation. What is our task for ourselves?

Pretending that life outside our walls is none of our business isn’t going to help anyone.

To exhaust ourselves in blind activism, just as little. So, what now?

With “still-optimism”, mixed with “almost always-awareness of reality” and the imagination of positive change, it is possible to

  • Showing indulgence and understanding for those caught in crisis mode of victimization, pessimism and mindset degeneration.
  • Discerning yourself clearly what is important and necessary for the moment.
  • To create an overview for the next necessary steps through repeated analysis in order to think, weigh up, plan and implement tasks and priorities together with the motivated.
  • Rediscover trust in ourselves and in others in the knowledge that the paths to the goal can be different.
  • Measuring ‘appropriateness for the moment’, learning from achievements and taking joy with you.
  • To provide oneself with necessary attention, reflection and nurturing.


Because nobody benefits if we join the majority of those who are slowly giving up or the minority of the aggressively insecure: neither is an option for overcoming the numerous small and large crises. We had wonderful plans and also understanding and competence to deal with deviations, unpredictability and options on the way to implementation.

How to do?

  • Let’s laugh together or alone, let’s be happy about what has been achieved – even on a small scale. Our thought system will thank us with openness and the ability to tackle challenges, perhaps just from the constant reminder of our own strength. Small impulses are often enough to remind you of those skills that have previously contributed to “survival”.
  • Let’s bring ourselves into a state of calm that allows us to distance ourselves from the situation and thus look at it on a meta-level, recognizing the effects of the system and recognizing the picture of the moment.
  • Let’s accept that there is a lot we don’t know and that our old goals are based on old assumptions and the new assumptions are only appropriate for the moment.
  • Let’s remain self-confident and self-responsible for our current doubts, decisions and check the results at short intervals in order to adapt them flexibly.
  • Let’s follow our visions and images of a better future, knowing that our thoughts influence our actions without falling into rigid structures.

And last but not least: let’s also trust the others, the friends and employees that they will find a good way themselves – maybe not immediately but in their own way.

We send you a smile for the good day and look forward to your feedback and additions.

Kind regards,




04 Feb 2022

Another does it, or: “Here you will be helped” (@Poth) !?!?

The joy is limited these days. Do you feel the same? What tools do you use to remain open, kind, and compassionate? How do you manage to do justice to the complexity of knowledge, attitudes and emotions?

On the one hand, I experience irritating things on platforms, which I mostly appreciate because I can follow the developments of connected people and their projects and draw from a multitude of suggestions. For a good year and a half, these have degenerated into advertising and esoteric windows: Rapid “healing” is promised by booking seminars, coaching, software, advice, etc. So: “Deus ex machina”: “someone else does it”.

Does it work? Barely.

On the other hand, in my consulting environment, I experience the most contradictory perceptions between powerlessness and happiness:

Those who speak of the natural slowdown in the world of work and a return to the longed-for stress relief and those who suffer precisely from this: a lack of services, answers, support and, as some of my coachees say, a lack of employee motivation to contribute to solutions.

Oh, and it’s not just a professional aspect. Many parents know about this.

It’s like hauling a cart full of weary, surrendering people. And that should change after a short training session, through software, through “change”?

The solution lies in the first step and this is up to us!

Another advertising text helps out: “It’s easy!” – and it’s up to us. I hear the answer of many: “Why always me?” Well: You can also decide to join the crowd of resigned Giver-up, allower, victim-feeler.

Or you increase the opportunity to learn, develop, inspire and take people with you on your journey.

Okay: it is not easy to move yourself and others.

How can it succeed?

Ask unorthodox, friendly provocative questions, break existing comfort zone patterns. And pick up the people who expect answers and instructions without pointing out solutions. Here is a selection:

What are we talking about now?

Do we all have an understanding of the meaning, the definition of what we are talking about?

What could be a good solution? And please: leave the resolution to set up a strategy for the next few years – the pandemic and the subsequent restructuring will screw up the implementation. Stick to the agreed vision of the future and work your way towards it with your employees – in manageable, measurable, systemically clear steps. “Sprint” is what the Scrum community calls it.

Which resources, experiences, attitudes, means are available, which ones are needed?

Where does development start?

And not to forget this one: What has been successful so far, what has been successfully prevented, what has been promoted?

What do you need to let go of on the journey?

The optimal result is a new clarity without overlooking helpful minds and different opinions at the same time.

For now, everyone is right from their perspective. With a little openness, an approximation of the same can succeed.

Our team and I wish you success!


Literature: Watzlawick, P./Beavin, J./Jackson D. (2007) Human communication, 11th edition, Bern, Huber

Luhmann, N: Social Systems. outline of a general theory. Surkamp 1987

02 Dec 2021

Joie de vivre once, please

Today I laughed heartily.
And should that be worth considering?

Yes. Exactly.
Because the last few days have made me doubt whether to think further than beyond the moment. Too much is said, written, lamented and denounced. Rushed, wiggled, assigned … and yet:

We’re all in the same boat. Perhaps not in the same “bubbles” as it is called in modern speech, but still in the same boat. Our world. Whether it is about the environment or health and ultimately freedom for self-development: it is our world, the boat from which we cannot jump without “drowning”.

I am slowly beginning to understand the images: one is operating the engine and controls, the other is waiting and using the time to sue those to whom they have given responsibility. Sounds paradoxical, psychopathic, the perpetrators become victims and vice versa. Double bind, the scientists would say: no way out and no solution.

Is that so?

I tend to be optimistic – I’ve learned it. There is always a way out, a decision. Even if it is only to let everything go like this and patiently observe. That would be “premodern”, but one of many ways to resolve situations of fear, aggression, and shock.

And if there is one solution, there are many.

1. The new experience of the opposite of the previous one. Stepping into the other person’s shoes may mean more understanding and not yet acceptance.
2. The exciting mixture of both perspectives, which goes beyond “both and” and merges “the best of both perspectives” into one?
3. Even this could lead to further questions, to the realization that you need additional knowledge for your own decision. So: what is missing or has not yet been considered?
4. A system loop is now appropriate to review everything that has gone before, and then, with courage and curiosity, and finally with great self-confidence, one
5. Leading a completely new solution to a decision.

Sometimes all that is needed to reduce the formation of bubbles and to open up to the others in the common boat is a brief reflection on the common goal: healthy and happy to fill the days with meaning, to laugh and to celebrate life.

Well then: let’s start sketching the way to get there to our common goal and provide the clever resources. We already knew, thanks to all the clever systemicists. I am in.

We look forward to ideas and comments,
Your (smiling)

Barbara & Michel

16 Oct 2021

Is transformation needed in organizations? Podcast October 21

Change has hardly ever been perceived as powerfully – sometimes liberating and perhaps also frightening – as it is today.

What does change mean for organizations?
What do we define as an organization today, what is contemporary?
What can be designed?
What influence does culture have and what are the considerations for shaping culture or cultures?

Change has hardly ever been perceived as powerfully – sometimes liberating and perhaps also frightening – as it is today.
Please understand that we can currently only offer one version in German …

Wir möchten Sie darauf hinweisen, dass durch den Start des YouTube-Videos Daten an YouTube übermittelt werden. / Starting videos on YouTube might send data to YouTube.
27 Sep 2021

Trust yourself – Podcast September 21

We got closer in search of security and became more distant in our physical perception. Is that so? And what helps – maybe?

In the midst of the pandemic, what effects have the last 18 months had on us in general – in the interpersonal, economic and technical context? toccaverde managing director Dr. Barbara Schütze is looking for a practical, realistic answer.

The conversation partner is Sonja Wallner, CFO of A1 Telekom Austria since 2015:

Sonja Wallner, from Controlling at Telekom Austria (2000), who has been on the board of A1Telekom Austria for finance and strategic projects since 2015, studied at the Vienna University of Economics and Business and at the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan.

here is our podcast in German language…

64863_POD_Toccaverde 2021_Wallner_Youtube

25 Aug 2021

Thank you for asking!

Whenever I end one of my intensive coaching conversations, I pay attention to two essential points:

– Have I kept the arc from topic verification to solution orientation and resource reinforcement for my conversation partners, so my coachees are stronger and more motivated as a result than before

– Have I given thanks for the many thank-you impulses and solution orientations, that keep me positively aligned on a daily basis.

 So thank you.

Dialogues make me happy. Questions we ask each other make me happy. I carry them before me like a light (I almost wanted to use the image of a sword cutting through the thicket of confusion, but I leave it).


Well: I am not naive.

 Of course, there are also absolutely depressing conversations and bleak thoughts.

After some reverberation then follows my realignment:

– Without bleak cuts, there are no insights and gratitude about the many successful conversations. Difference is what makes it.

– Without differences and variety, there would also be no reason to find appropriate solutions.


Questions are (almost) everything.

 As long as they are open and constructive and give time and space to respond.

Answers are often quick satisfaction pills. How long these works also depends on what goal they cover and who they involve.

Yes-no questions (term: closed questions) give little space and are often subject to everyday routines. Beware – the most essential yes-no question is the one about whether this is a yes-no question. Ach.

“Firefighting questions” need quick decisions that are just as quickly superseded by the next one – they are great for process-based behavioral guidelines.

Strategy questions are devoted to factual considerations, build on actual figures and developments, and their answers can also be answered simply on the basis of verified structures. Anyway the answers do not say anything or motivate in reaching the goal at all.

target questions allow a broader perspective (especially along the miracle question or the brief solution question given by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg), touching resources, obstacles and action beyond and the impression, if the target would be able to accomplish.

– Relationship questions (actually standard for all systemic-constructivist work) need a new form of reflection – on the form we take in relating to our values, beliefs, concerns, individuals in any shape, and other abstracts, – and later only to the effects of our responses on others. Think about nowadays requested client satisfaction – this could be the opener by, as the native Americans say: “you have to walk in their shoes to get a better understanding.
Among these questions I include the

– Benefit question. Those who cannot see the personal benefit in their decision and response will fail powerlessly halfway through. Unfortunately, we all know someone who turns to substitute games to gain new energy out of fear of sense devaluation.

– Vision questions. Wait. How challenging is that. And yet these are the most essential, the ones that shape our lives.


And sometimes it helps to rely on oneself in full confidence to find an answer later, to forgo the relief of a pronounced first solution.

And sometimes it helps to find the questions behind the questions.

Because as said before: it is probably the greater challenge to find the question and not the answer…..

And always it helps to challenge your own abilities. To sharpen perception, to reflect, to leave old paths and to engage in new solutions that are appropriate for the moment.

Nothing is eternal, not even stone or ice. Everything may be expected, everything may be explored. A defining phrase attributed to Nashrudin Hodja: “From the bud of confusion blossoms the flower of wonder.”

Let us wonder and await the wonderful solution to a question just like this.

Thank you.





21 Jul 2021

Change the Rules!?!

Sometimes I write just to finish a thought or clear up my feelings.

For many years we have lived comfortably according to a Central European code of conduct.  We knew how we ourselves and how others should behave towards us. Practical drawers that helped Central Europeans, Northern Europeans, Southern Europeans, Americans, etc. to define according to cultures, values, principles.

Stop, first insert: the youth.  In waves adapted or applied, they expanded or added something new to our drawers. And yet: all of this signaled a high level of security, even for those who were and are able to question themselves and the system in a highly reflective and related manner.

And now: the VUCA world has completely changed our ideas and reinforced them by a month-long pandemic and migrations.

Our rules of the game are still valid now?  I don’t think so.

But what comes instead?  Is something coming instead?

Can I be polite when psychotic narcissists abuse me?  Do I have to maintain composure?  Or better to show barriers, boundaries?

Crises – and as such we can call the current Corona situation – are not only a test for and on characters, but also something like a relationship maker.  We recognized the value of trust and loyalty, but also what loss of control and dealing with uncertainty do for dialogue and cooperation.

Who was and is there for us, who supports and strengthens common tasks, projects and who shares responsibility with us – regardless of previous agreements and obligations – in the professional and private context.

Who believes that they can use us as lightning rods, as soul buckets for games that are mainly intended to compensate for their own insecurities?

And who can see himself as a constant even in unpredictable times, clearly also in the “fog”, curious and friendly in the new?

Let’s actively change the rules of and the perspective on the game.

We have learned: Relationship is everything, more than contracts, more than strategic goals, and more than unachievable goals.  Relationship is communication and relationship is future.

So: what behavior, what attitude is appropriate with regard to the new, old, hybrid, analog, digital system changes?  What or who wins the upper hand: the identity of individuals, of (structural or functional) organizations versus differences in any form.

Much of the previously valid behavior needs to be revised:

– Reflection on what is valuable and important also in our relationships

– Discarding reflexes and getting to know your own patterns

– Orientation towards development and growth – more on the inside than on the economic outside

– Learn to communicate clearly, in a friendly and understandable way and to take people with you into the new era.

– Respect that not everyone pulls in the same direction and

– Go further and allow change, even better, help shape it.

Responsibility begins with us for us and is then a prerequisite for smart relationships – also at the cost of demarcation and self-protection.

If we move towards a systemic-constructivistic understanding, we know about the second order cybernetics (Heinz von Förster) and the impossibility of completely detaching ourselves from the partiality of the observed system.  And yet, distance is good and also the clarity to address and express your own needs.

This is the only way we can grow out of this crisis with the feeling that we know exactly who we can rely on – and with whom we therefore want to continue to work and laugh together in the future.

We wish you a very comfortable and safe summer, take care and start dialoguing with us on your experiences,

Regards, Barbara & Michel

29 Jun 2021

Alternative Work and Life – Blog 2

The topics of podcast 2 (in German): Transformation drivers youth – culture – communication and the impact on corporate standards.
– Impact of new skills on the labor market, availability for companies
– Change of cultures and the death of old one-way information
– New frontiers are not defined by organizations, but by communication.
– The ephemerality of strategies: Fractal interventions and influences of dialogic communication on identities, organizations and strategies
– sensories of change perception in ecology and economy
– new guiding differences: legitimate and illegitimate

Wir möchten Sie darauf hinweisen, dass durch den Start des YouTube-Videos Daten an YouTube übermittelt werden. / Starting videos on YouTube might send data to YouTube.

Many thanks to MacJingle for the fine implementation. We look forward to feedback and suggestions – as already with great thanks to the previous good ideas!