19 Oct 2020
Post-Corona or in the middle of it? - Toccaverde | your development in business

I care that you care

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:


„I don’t care if that mask you wear is really going to keep me from getting the virus. I care that you care. The wearing, and not wearing of protective bandanas, gloves, or whatever… is a message. You know that. I know that. What sort of a world is it that day to day life takes place within?

But no. Normal is beckoning. Normal is urgent. Normal is the survival of billions of people. Normal is a reboot of the inter-systemic death machine that got us here in the first place.

Normal is a double bind. Go back to normal and we all end up in more global catastrophes, but if we do not go back to normal, it is a global catastrophe. And to say this in writing… is to trigger a thousand blades of snickersnack comments to slice the writer into coleslaw.

“That things ‘just go on’ is the catastrophe.” — Walter Benjamin

This is the dystopia. Its counterpart is the vitality of caring and tending to each relationship in each moment. In the supermarket, in the living room, in the social media space.

It is also a small hint of a path.

It is not what is said, or unsaid, but the relationships in which the saying is taking place that give the meaning.“

From: Nora Bateson „My Health Is Not My Own“

Let’s make a decision. Now. And remember: we design.

In any case, we are here for you in Toccaverde. We care.
Please feel free to call us (+43 664 232 11 32) or write to us at toccaverde.eu@toccaverde.com

18 Oct 2020
Post New Work! New Work?

New Work! New Work?

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? 

just for minutes I had been appalled by self-promoters, who turn the self-evident into a PR show in order to supposedly increase the “brand” of the company. Honestly: that goes wrong, because it is “very old fashioned”! We have become more critical and aggressive, clearer in our perception.

I don’t want to dwell too long on disappointment. Because now it is time not only to allow the gradual ramp-up of our “frozen” everyday life, but also to accompany it. For the statements of sociologists, epidemiologists, ethicists, mathematicians and economists and many more are similar in the assumption that we will continue to feel the effects of Covid19 for a while.

So what remains of the beautiful? Let’s show the profile neurotics our friendliest smile and move on to the essentials. What have we learned?

* Clear communication and cooperation, even in a remote state, are the key to success:

This includes a structured approach to the people we want to address and move with our statements and a language that can give these people in the current situation a guideline for the next few years.

* Let us say goodbye to old structures and organizations – let us live VUCA attitudes:

The pandemic created a paradox, namely prescribed spatial freedom – “spatial distancing”. How flexible, how productive and how secure is cooperation in and outside of offices? All these considerations inevitably lead to different, reflective leadership attitudes, to a reduction of control and hierarchy, and to the need for trust and clear objectives.

Will we reorganize ourselves and our work in the future? 

Since the 2008 crashes, templates have made it from the military to management literature. Now – similar to the acceptance of digital structures – executives are being thrown back on skills, tested in a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA).

Quick decisions, processing of enormous amounts of data, acceptance of new technological possibilities and adapted or completely new goals will determine success:

Let us learn quickly which tasks have been solved much more efficiently in the peace and quiet of a home office. How are those who are not in the office involved in the project, in the task? Will all former employees be involved in this new process? Have they all been able to acquire the necessary know-how to solve tasks flexibly and without strict work instructions, taking responsibility for themselves?

Does leadership in VUCA times give us a guideline?

Let us try it:

1. change our thinking patterns, our perspectives.

2. let’s speed up our change, let’s not cling to the “good old world” but accept the disruption, a new speed of thinking, deciding and implementing, let’s learn to fail and see this as a milestone of alternative learning, let’s be happy about the support of the Digitals.

3. forward and different: Let’s make the (maybe even small) difference. Let’s give a new perspective to those who may be tried and tested (I will gladly write about the change of perspective in the near future).

Let’s say goodbye to “old-fashioned” communication. Let’s look at how who communicated with what success. Who actually mastered “remote leadership”. 

I am happy to report on “secret” heroes who showed surprisingly strong performances in the crisis, put their own ego aside and worked on the challenge.

Renouncing fair weather and personality statements and opening up to the abilities and needs of the “target group”.

The future of communication, of dialogue lies in the benefit of what is said/heard. And also in getting new perspectives from others through dialogue and developing or redesigning one’s own points of view.

Let’s give ourselves a new vision together, values that go beyond words and inspire those involved.

A large number of scientifically based works on sociological and psychological topics have worked on methods of the “Future Perfect”, the meditative visualization of a future worth living, from which, in retrospect, process steps, attitudes and resources can be derived, starting from Gregory Batson, Virgina Satir and Milton Erickson, Steve de Shazer, Inso Kim Berg, Robert Dilts, Matthias Varga von Kibed, Insa Sparrer and many others. This in a complex, ambiguous time.

We create our new world.  Let us start today!

If you want to know more about it, call me or write me! I am looking forward to your digital and analogue feedback.

Sincerely yours

Author: Dr. Barbara Schütze is known for crisis management, experienced executive coach and authorized expert in the fields of consulting

You will be connected easily with our Toccaverde coaching and consulting team  by toccaverde.eu@toccaverde.com

17 Oct 2020
Please do not read … if you want to avoid more of the same ;-)

Please do not read … if you want to avoid more of the same ;-)

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!

In many distance coaching sessions, remote strategy moderation and distance teachings the Toccaverde team analysed the current status. Not unimportant to me seems to be the fact that many of our discussion partners work for companies that guarantee infrastructural security, network energy in material and immaterial form and make it available.

3 main topics of interest add up to new solutions.

Skepticism regarding the use of digital tools was seldom present, rather it was about building “new” security, dealing with oneself and the people entrusted to one’s care and then also for the company (the “brand”).

Taking experiences from human cohesion

Entirely in line with syntactic consulting work and our intention as coaches, we asked about the positive experiences from dealing with the crisis.

Spontaneously, all our interlocutors reported a renewed gain in confidence in the abilities and active attitudes of their employees and teams. What a wonderful insight and what a wonderful new challenge to take this team spirit, this cohesion into the future! And yes, this – cohesion and identification – also has something to do with the healthy survival of the company itself.

Maybe you now reply that with the dissolution of the CoVid19 virus, the cohesion would also “crumble”? I am incorrigibly optimistic. After many, many years we wanted to understand groups, teams and organizations as parts that defined themselves against other formations, among other things, the opposite is happening today: We are increasingly forming for one thing: for our own getting through, our togetherness, our economic and cultural roof, “our” company. Just think of politics which, instead of being guided by party-political considerations, has now (more or less skillfully and unfortunately not everywhere) turned its attention to decisions and measures for people.

The paradigm shift was already apparent in society before, but now the “for” instead of “against” seems to have reached many people’s awareness. Will it stay?

How can you, all of us, make sure that it stays?

Check your own attitude: I remember a sentence by Matthias Varga von Kibed: “Invite the attitude to your home like a good friend, entertain her so well that she forgets to be a guest and may stay! 

And please do not worry: If you go your own reflected way, others will follow. This is strenuous work that defines us as human beings. And which in its sum also constitutes the values and thus the value of the company.

Developing skills and attitudes for agile steering in the fog

Phew, how often have you scraped your will straight past the intentions and goals of the peers? Certainly, less in the past weeks than before. Concern and fear for the maintenance, provision of the bare necessities with reduced resources promotes cooperation – even with those whom we “actually” did not like to suffer at all, even rejected.

The result of this is that our emotions and commitments have reduced us to doing the essential, leaving space to appreciate (and sometimes perhaps painfully expose the opposite) the abilities and will of individuals.

So what? Or better how then?

Abilities to want to understand a common direction for different futures and to understand it better and better is a first step. The next step is “communalizing”, i.e. bringing together the most diverse perspectives and exchanging them respectfully. The active, operative, first step results from the new picture.

The attitude towards it is as simple as it is challenging: openness is required. And the realization that we can only solve complex challenges together, or even better, that we can often turn complex tasks in completely new directions together.

A hint from my attitude as a coach:
Nothing is right and nothing is wrong – everything is appropriate for the moment. 

Let us not question everything right now. There will be time for that later – please expect another blog from the Toccaverde workshop. A little hint: Tools for a systemic approach to work are available from our Toccaverde team 😉

 Let’s talk with each other instead of sending news around!

Surely you have already recognized the key to all existing and future successes. It’s very simple: let’s talk to each other – listen appropriately, speak clearly and make sure we are understood. Again exhausting work ;-).

The realization of this “simple” exercise and the repeated (explanation) of one’s own statements almost always leads to new perspectives and improvements. With a common level of knowledge and willingness, it will be possible to make the creeks run again and the “economy” buzz even after an ice age.

 Appropriate for the moment: go step by step – because life is a dance!

What moves you? What questions, worries are you dealing with right now? Let’s talk: write to me or call me – the professionals of Toccaverde are there for you!

16 Oct 2020
Post After the storm

After the storm

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?

Have we learned from the emotional, economic and organizational crash?

Have we recognized the people who have outgrown themselves, overcome their own fears, who have taken responsibility for themselves and others in a powerful and sensitive manner?

Have we learned to stay emotionally close despite real distance, learned that things will continue – even if we don’t necessarily know how things will continue? And where to go?

Leading in uncertainty

..is more a question of attitude than mastering technology. They’re already part of our everyday lives anyway. Dealing with imponderables in all areas of life and work still needs some practice – especially where work and private life have been a comfortably controllable habit, even for managers.

How now?!

Previous experiences should reassure us and remind us that after the crisis mode, everyday life will return, the infections will subside and we will forget the days of rigidity, the then hectic acting, stabilizing, re-structuring. At some point. Will it be the same this time? I don’t think so. We are called upon to learn, to reflect, and to adjust to something completely new. Quickly. The experience is too deep this time.

It doesn’t affect any of us individually, but all of us. During the past few days I have had many good conversations with my clients and have been able to guide them through the first phase of change.

The crisis management.

Taking a breath, picking up entrusted employees with all their fears and resistances, conveying confidence in dealing with the situation together. Structuring work, realigning work from home, in partially empty offices and in zones where people meet, setting protective mechanisms in motion for everyone, setting rules, and always showing attitude.

What is important to think about, hygienically, legally, contractually, socially, and to communicate clearly again and again? How can logistics and communication be organized differently than before, how can they be exchanged with each other differently, how can joint action be found?

Who has shown leadership on this day? Did the employees convey strength in not knowing and compassion for their exceptional situations? Who listened, gratefully accepted opportunities and initiatives? Who remained emotionally (halfway) stable?

The management of habituation: soil for the present and seeds for the future.

The state of emergency becomes daily routine. It is now essential not to let up, to observe, to reflect, to learn and above all to lead. If employees are allowed to become accustomed to the status, they have resigned themselves to the new rhythm, to external immobility, internal worries, the changed daily routine, to restrictions. Is now the right time to realign oneself?

Yes, exactly. But where to go and how? Exciting, highly reflective conversations with my “clients”, my small, sworn community, create the ground for the now and the seed for tomorrow.

Despite spatial separation – for us in Toccaverde with international orders and daily “remote work” usually efficient – we are getting closer. Skype conferences are managed, rules set up, results documented in a virtuoso manner.

Now the communities of destiny are forming, which will later become new teams – and this beyond the experience that IT workers already have today. Now natural common tasks, alignments and those effects arise, for which in former times common Heurigen tours (for non-Viennese: after work parties) and climbing garden had to be arranged.

Now the first reflections germinate without nostalgia – we are much too busy with the now for that. The new makeshift routines show the qualities of the individual. The new form of communication and documentation gives us a new security from the feeling of still being able to control. What experiences regarding our own management style, the composition and qualities of the entrusted employees can we draw from this and how can we use it for the future? Exciting insights about adapted leadership behaviour in a remote state jump into a new self-conception for important, priority, senseless, meaningful, new needs.

The management of the future new: Making friends with the certainty of not knowing

What is still valid in the future, which the – mostly self-appointed – experts let us know through all channels? What can we rely on, what can we not rely on? Systemically oriented managers are already preparing today for the uncertainty of tomorrow.

A significant change in attitude also affects linear process-oriented managers

  • Control and micromanagement are useless instruments for even the rosiest of prospects. Admitting partial ignorance opens the door to new, necessary orientations.
  • Trust is the order of the day – trust in oneself and in the knowledge and potential of others.
  • A new clear communication helps to create a common understanding of corporate goals, for the use of new management techniques and technologies.
  • Milestones give way to a shared vision of a desirable outcome…

We at Toccaverde, especially in our remote workshops, are already experiencing today how reassuring it can be to take a short break and think about the future despite the daily management of the exceptional situation: we all need a light at the end of the tunnel.

At least an outlook gives certainty that things will continue even after disruptions. The future begins right now. Actually, everything is the same after all? Is it? Write us your thoughts on this. And if you like, we are here for you in remote coaching or moderation of meetings and workshops: info@toccaverde.com or barbara.schutze@toccaverde.com

14 Oct 2020

How to start our blog? and what is new?

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

What’s the meaning of „Challenge“? New countries, new cultures?
Too easy. Our attitude as owners of Toccaverde is basically multi- and intercultural.
People? We are passionately seeking for experiences at eye level. Topics?
Yes, indeed. Development and sense of proportion. That’s what we looking forward to talking with you and everybody, who ist seeking for improvements and reflection. That is us.

This time Michel is asking while Barbara is reflecting things.
Maybe you enjoy traveling with us. Welcome.

Michel: Toccaverde has been working successfully for several years now. What  changed noticeably for you since then?

Barbara: The need to analyze new situations and to find a solid solution is still a high demand . New to me is the magnitude of uncertainty for so many in so many topics. Old rules fall, old habitual processes seem to be without validity from one moment to the next, the overview and the sense of control have been lost.

Michel: This situation is not new to us. What is different by now?

Barbara: The difference makes the quality of time and result. The difference  lies in the demand by the client who wants us to cope with everything immediately, a desire to retain control in case their own positions have to be secured.

Michel: How do you resolve your talks? What is your offer for a solution?

Barbara: I invite my interlocutors (clients?) to focus less on perfection and the sole solution, but on their own perception of what I call “solution serenity”. Not confusing this with indifference regarding task and situation but dealing with own resources, self-confidence and curiosity in a reflecting manner. To embrace the new, to rely on the power of an adequate solution for the very moment and to step agile from one milestone to the next towards the goal. Carefully and open.

Michel: How does one become more relaxed towards solutions?

Barbara: There is no recipe. I appreciate the very individual approach to solutions.. Tools and know-how quickly overageby adapting to developments and people.

However, there is one valid answer in general: in my conversation I focus on opening a frame of respect in which everyone can find self-respect for themselves. Experience has shown that this habit leads to new, surprising solutions whereever.

Michel: Exciting. Thank you. Next time you will ask the questions.

We are partners in the Toccaverde, Barbara Schütze and Michel Verhagen.

Barbara, strategic coach and organizational developer, fire brigade in difficult and sensitive projects and situations. The focus is on Europe, North Africa and Asia.

Michel is an experienced manager, CSO for EMEA and Brazil at a well known industrial company and passionate strategist and implementer of sales projects. He loves to build and expand new markets between Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Both combine the curiosity and openness to offer a complex system of services, a one-stop shop for efficiency and respectful awareness. This includes services starting with the strategy, the development of people and organization and ends with their commitment and taking over structures in new markets and new and innovative products.

Toccaverde’s team works where the changes happen.