9th January 2023

When tackling a complex situation – possibly riddled with what are often termed ‘wicked’ or ‘messy’ problems – it is not uncommon to find differing perception- and thinking systems at-play among those who were somehow involved in creating the situation and also among those who are attempting to solve it. These differences can lead to a distinct lack of a common notion concerning

  • the problem itself, keeping in mind that wicked problems by definition cannot be precisely formulated
  • what has already been attempted (and how) in terms of resolution approaches,
  • progress having been made towards a possible way forward,
  • promising next steps to be taken.
The Tower of Babel, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsThis situation, metaphorically reminiscent of the Tower of Babel, may feel disheartening when recognised – possibly after a too long period of struggling in vain to overcome the ‘language differences’. In my latest article (online / pdf) I write about how the perception- and thinking-systems of those engaging with the situation are rooted in their deep-cultural and ethical dispositions. I continue by discussing how, consequently, the contribution of cultural and ethical neutrality has proven to be highly instrumental to recognising and navigating such differences and ultimately enabling one to reach the hidden essence of the situation and thus allow one to fundamentally rethink and find a clear way forward where none was apparent at the outset.

Have you experienced such situations?
How did you eventually manage to overcome the stifling complexity and intricacies?

18th December 2022

When you’re stuck in a complex situation, feeling that there are no viable options left or feeling lost in intricacies and turning in circles, you must rethink.’ This is the beginning of ‘When Rethinking Becomes a Must’, an article which I have finally managed to complete after writing on it for the best part of this year. The article discusses the complexity permeating typical situations in senior management work, with a nod to what have been called wicked and messy problems. Next, it turns to ourselves, the people involved in tackling these complex situations, and studies pertinent cultural aspects, thinking preferences and behavioural patterns which fundamentally influence our perception and thinking, as well as how we cooperate with others to address the complexity surrounding us. Finally, the contribution of cultural and ethical neutrality to our problem-solving endeavours is discussed: how it can support us in cutting right to the very essence of the complexity at hand, offering the possibility to fundamentally rethink and find a clear way forward.

In January I am planning to post some thoughts about various aspects discussed in the article on LinkedIn while working on the German translation. The full English text is already available now online and as pdf in case you feel like taking a look during the holiday season for which I extend my very best wishes – Merry Christmas!

8th March 2022

After seven years of intensive work with Stuart D.G. Robinson at bbv Consultancy – as well as what Stuart thought-provokingly but aptly labelled a rigorous un-learning process at the 5C Centre for Cross-Cultural Conflict Conciliation – a new chapter is starting in which I shall operate from the newly founded Essentis AG to underscore the value of neutrality and of operating from an independent entity while continuing my association with the bbv Group and the 5C Centre for Cross-Cultural Conflict Conciliation. ‘The Value of Neutrality’ incidentally is a seminal article by Stuart on which I have lately been reflecting in the course of this transition. I am currently compiling my thoughts into a short piece of writing of my own which I plan to release shortly – so please be invited to ‘stay tuned’.