We are Barbara Schütze and Michel Verhagen, owners of Toccaverde companies in The Netherlands, Austria and Brazil.

Our blog intends to find answers to questions you are invited to share with us and our international team.


What we jointly experienced in the past months: to come out of any comfort zone and step into the reality of change and dig deep into the clear core of necessity.

In other words: even theories of the past about the intentions of people and organizations with regard to perseverance and a return to the accustomed state in comfort are currently proving to be obsolete. A new chapter has opened and we are not returning to the old one.

The new learnings that now have become even more stringent: 

  • value orientation instead of profit maximization
  • added value instead of unchecked growth
  • opportunities and possibilities instead of challenges
    networking with clear and convincing Unique Selling Proposition
    agile competencies over functional management
    and last but not least .. that appreciation and sharing of responsibility show the way to the future: no longer going faster, bigger, further but instead going with a sense of what is appropriate and responsible for the system

Leadership now means building bridges, positioning oneself in relation to society, business and politics, changing perspectives, in questioning the parameters and above all: communicating.

We are already getting more familiar with virtual meetings, connecting us remotely to each other. Discussions start becoming again more content focused, hence valuable. Large companies like Siemens are already considering the design and implementation globally of homework as common practice. 

 So, remote working has become a standard way of working. Where are the hurdles?We received tutorials for remote work. We can smartly work with images and a camera view and recognizing gestures are quickly being learned. 

 What does it all mean?

 Studies in recent years have shown that ‘old school learning’, whether physically together or online, only contributes to 10% of the lifelong development of employees. We learn 70% ‘by doing’ and 20% by ‘copy and paste mode’.

But how do we design content for the new way we interact?

Admittedly: I lack the undivided attention, the focus that the quarantine - and not only the home office - allowed us. Which meant a lot of effort, the new digital communication, the concentration on the interlocutor at the screen, the discipline of conducting conversations, the calmness of letting thoughts develop: all this is reduced and the focus "dispersed". 

Instead: Expectable and unexpected (partly) emotional outbursts from people to whom I would never have ascribed such things: fighting for the preservation of imaginary free spaces, crossing red lines and claims to control as the last bastion and demonstration of supposed power. The return to normality is incomparably more demanding than the retreat into "modern Biedermeier" - at least for the privileged who were able to withdraw.

What an exciting experience, also for me, to be able to relate to reflected hearing, to keep my common sense and then sort out the essential findings.

Two insights and questions that come up accompany me since a digital meeting with colleagues:

I'm an avowed layman. Not even an "amateur" (derived from Latin for "lover") - as far as epidemology or virology is concerned. What about you? 

How do you deal with all this not knowing? 

Aggressive and fearful - Marshall B Rosenberg would emphatically attribute this to the desire for security, for being understood, for much of the unfulfilled. 

Selfish and egomaniacal - when no one else is paying attention to you or because you are not one of those at risk, because you have to work for others and because everyone else is generally so much better off than you? 

Or reflects compassionately and carefully (self-)caring? 

I found a text on posture in Nora Batson and I thank my teacher and friend Matthias Varga von Kibed for transfering to me:


It`s time to start with creativity, optimism and agile co-shaping future !

During the last week I had many nice coaching and strategy talks. 

I am enthusiastic about the spirit of those who knew how to rise above themselves for a common cause, to overcome their fears, to be there for others under difficult conditions. 

You are the heroes of the new VUCA world.

You keep their attitude, when it comes to Vulnerability,  Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity in our “new” world, social, business, family values and vision wise.

And right now? 

The blogs and articles are full of them. For once, let us stop talking about crisis management strategies. So, what instead? A "paradigm shift" is looming. Values are shifting - we are "for" each other instead of "against" everything. Will it stay that way? What can we do?

Appropriate for the moment: Step by step - because life is a dance!

Reflections for after the storm

It is what it is. Fact. The first days after the disruption, called a pandemic, are over. The first essential measures were taken, crisis communication was carried out, fears and resulting aggressions were intercepted, and now?

After seven years at Toccaverde and successful exploitation of our business it`s time to face new challenges.


Company details & disclamer

© Toccaverde 2019