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So far Melanie_Eckermann has created 54 blog entries.

25/06/2019 | Business Etiquette: Handicaps

By |2019-06-25T09:19:25+02:00June 18th, 2019|Newsletter ENG|

Many able-bodied people often find it difficult to interact normally with individuals who have mental or physical disabilities. Both in their professional and their private lives. The principle is, however, actually pretty simple and universal. Treat everyone the same! If you see a person who clearly needs helps, then speak to them. Whether they need assistance because they are in a wheelchair and cannot overcome an obstacle or because they are lost is irrelevant.

People who view individuals with disabilities as “in need of help” purely because of their handicap, treating them with over-exaggerated concern, care and attention, are discriminating against them just as much as those who believe that such individuals lack certain abilities and talents because, for example, they are in a wheelchair.

So look at the person. The man, the woman, the customer, the employee – not the person with the disability. Offer help if it is clearly needed but never give it unasked. There is no clearer way of telling someone that you have no confidence in them!

18/06/2019 | Multiverse

By |2019-06-12T10:05:35+02:00June 18th, 2019|Newsletter ENG|

Are we wrong, or are the USA and China light years ahead of us here in Germany when it comes to a college education that includes real-world skills?

“Young people leave universities with a bachelor’s degree, but they don’t seem to have any practical knowledge when they enter business. Why is teaching at academic institutions so theoretical?” Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel often hears this question and others like it when talking with managers in Europe. The answer is actually galactically simple:

Imagine the world of college education as being divided into three universes. In the European universe, universities are at the center, with government administration and/or the education ministry orbiting them as satellites. The business world and social organizations – NGOs – are additional satellites but located much further away. As a result, education policies, that are as theoretical as the scientific basics taught at college, have the most gravitational pull.

Let’s now take a look at the US universe, that is totally different. Here the closest satellite orbiting the universities is the business world, with NGOs in direct proximity. Government administration, in contrast, is as distant as the business world is in Europe. As a result, in this universe, business and academia have formed a close alliance, with the universities always fully up to speed regarding current business requirements.

You will probably now say ‘So far, so good. Understood.’ But what about China? Its government has absolute control over everything, even over some aspects of people’s private lives. Surely state influence on the educational system must be at least as strong as it is Germany or Europe?

“100% correct,” confirms Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel, “however in the Chinese universe there is no significant difference between government and business players. They both share the satellites orbiting the universities, while NGOs have no real influence.”

So, if Europeans want to remain competitive in future, we should look to the successful universes for inspiration, rearranging the various players’ orbits. Dual education formats (that combine study and work) and the strategies pursued by private universities, that have much closer relationships with business, are steps in the right direction.

Practical Relevance with Global DiVision

11/06/2019 | All New in May

By |2019-06-21T11:05:39+02:00June 11th, 2019|Newsletter ENG|

Yes, we know. It’s already the end of June. But for us, the biggest news was at the end of May – every feature of our new website was finally online. Including the “Services and Seminars” section, that is now accessible again.
Among other things, the section includes current dates and information regarding our open seminars, plus an option for signing up for them. In addition to this, you can also find out everything you need to know about GDIC’s offerings and services.

We hope that you will enjoy surfing and exploring our website and wish you a sunny June!

Learn more about our services and seminars

04/06/2019 | Coaching²

By |2019-06-03T09:42:06+02:00June 4th, 2019|Newsletter ENG|

What techniques do I have to implement in order to motivate employees, and how can I convey personal knowledge or knowledge existing in the company to a third party? Whoever masters these tools and can train them is usually a well-paid specialist with a service for which there are more and more customers. But is that also affordable to companies where teams are spread out over many locations and perhaps even abroad?

“Exactly this question was put to us by an IT company where managers and sales had already been selectively coached for many years within the framework of personnel development,” says Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel (PhD.). “They had very good experience with it, but shied away from a nationwide implementation because of the costs,” continued the CEO of Global DiVision, because: “Coaching is very effective, but it can’t be had for a cheap price because of the associated demands.”

Now that Global DiVision and the allocated consultants have first of all sat down to mull over things, the results can be seen. “We developed a tool that can measure and evaluate the coaching activities at the management level and in sales.”

It entails two essential elements:

The Employee profiles
They are sorted according to the minimum and maximum expectation of the activity as well as the target expectations and the optimal possible result at the respective workplace.

The 360 degree feedback system
It reflects back to managers and sales staff in a continual process, where they are at the moment and what is still attainable.
“The implementation also works with us in the function of the project manager and supervisor,” says Monika V. Kronbügel. “The results analysis will show how good we are.”

Unlock your potentials with Global DiVision

28/05/2019 | Business Etiquette: Labels versus Individuality?

By |2019-05-29T16:57:38+02:00May 28th, 2019|Newsletter ENG|

Are being true to yourself and polite mutually exclusive? What should you do if the rules go against your grain? As is always the case, rules of etiquette are merely guidelines and not “written in stone”. Even the German doyen of etiquette, Baron Knigge, was actually more interested in making human interaction easier; something that can only happen if everyone feels comfortable.

We have sub-divided the fundamental differences into 4 “personalities”, illustrated by how they typically greet others. You may recognize yourself – or are you a combination?

  1. The Dynamic Personality
    They are pragmatic – direct, quick, do not think about things too deeply. If they want to walk through the door, then they will. Without stopping to consider if anyone else should go first. Is there a dress code? Fine – that means they won’t have to worry about what to wear.
    Typical greeting: A short “Hi” or a pithy “Sup”. They are in danger of overlooking others and should, at minimum, give a brief nod of the head.
  2. The Relaxed Personality
    Laid-back, lovable, fun. Who cares about the dress code? Their openness allows them to create a relaxed atmosphere and they are popular networkers. They are not afraid to make a blunder – their charm will always save the day. But a word of caution – too much youthful nonchalance can quickly result in your not being taken seriously.
    Typical greeting: Yes – you can also greet the mayor with a friendly “Hello” – but please don’t shout it across the room! Failure to remember this can result in a fast transformation from carefree soul to clumsy oaf.
  3. The Natural Personality
    Their strengths are authenticity and empathy. They wear what feels like fancy dress just because the dress code demands it. This personality places great value on cooperative relationships. One of their assets is being able to understand other people’s points of view. Their moral aspirations can, however, quickly, destroy the cozy atmosphere.
    Typical greeting: They prefer a “Good day” or a similar regional greeting. Using the other person’s name serves to additionally emphasize their attentive nature.
  4. The Traditional Personality
    The rational being. Clear rules, age, and hierarchy. They view going against the dress code not as an expression of personality but as plain bad manners. Their strength is their factual manner. They don’t say a lot, but when they do, they have something worth hearing.
    Typical greeting: They expect younger adults and children to greet them first. This can, however, sometimes mean that they forget that not everyone shares their view of the world. A friendly smile will encourage the other person to react.

If you have recognized yourself among these personalities, then this is an indication that you are already aware of your strengths and weaknesses. If, in addition to this, you stick to three basic rules, then you should be able to handle any situation:

  1. Be conscious of conventions. Rules provide orientation. What is ok? What will make my opposite number uncomfortable? To gauge the reactions of others correctly you must know the rules. If you are aware of the rules, then you will still be able to modify your behavior where appropriate.
  2. Know yourself. You may already have found yourself in the above-mentioned personalities. If you recognize your own stumbling blocks, then you can avoid them without too many problems – while staying true to yourself.
  3. Comment on any rule you break. If there is a good reason for breaking a rule, then everyone will be able to understand it. So be sure to comment on why you are the first to take off your jacket – because it’s very hot – or to start eating – because your food will get cold otherwise. It is possible that not everyone will agree with your actions, but at least they will know the reasons for them and not simply view them as a thoughtless blunder.

21/05/2019 | Agile Working – A Guide, Part #2

By |2019-05-28T11:08:49+02:00May 21st, 2019|Newsletter ENG|

After taking a look at the “what” and “why” last week, we now turn our attention to the “how” and “what for”.

Tips for Fast Implementation
The Agile Working concept cannot be introduced into an entire company overnight. It is, however, perfectly suited for introduction to small units or processes, that in turn function as pilots before the concept is gradually expanded to the whole:

  1. Communication: Daily stand-up meetings lasting not more than 15 minutes are held to discuss the tasks for that day. What is on the day’s agenda; what is required to achieve tasks; who can help who?
  2. Transparency: Project progress is displayed in a central location to provide visible and transparent information to everyone. All tasks are noted on post-its and placed in “To do”, “Pending”, and “Done” categories (columns). Every task is assigned to a team member. Anyone who has finished their task helps the others with theirs.
  3. Feedback: Team meetings are held every two weeks to develop specific proposals for improvements that will be taken up and implemented in the coming two weeks.

Agile Working for Projects
Projects are also excellent vehicles for the introduction of agile working. Three steps will quickly result in greater agility:

  1. Sub-Projects: The overall project is broken down into sub-projects. Each sub-project is noted on a post-it and add to the “To do” column on the wall. The sub-projects are ranked by priority to create a small road map. Following this, each one is broken down into specific tasks that are assigned to individual team members, again creating specific tasks for each employee.
  2. Short-Term Planning: Planning is limited to the next and next-but-one sub-project; the information available for subsequent sub-projects is often too vague, resulting in chaos within the team.
  3. Client Perspective: The outcomes of sub- and entire projects are formulated from the client perspective. This ensures that the project does not become an end in itself – team members do not lose sight of the goal and can react independently and in the client’s interests if problems arise.

Creating Agile Frameworks
If the pilot projects are successful and the company wishes to leverage the use of agile working, then the Scrum and Kanban agile management frameworks can be set up. While there is very little actual difference between the two, Scrum is generally considered to be more highly regulated, while Kanban is more transparent but can quickly become somewhat chaotic. In practice, a hybrid of both concepts is frequently used. Introduction of the framework can, in itself, be viewed as an agile project and thus be adjusted step-by-step to meet specific requirements.

The Advantages of an Agile Company
The key to successful implementation is the will of the employees and support from management. If all individuals desire this corporate culture; take responsibility; and consider themselves to be team players, then the entire company will benefit from:

  • Efficient working
  • The ability to react fast to changes
  • Continuous product improvements
  • Being highly attractive to skilled and committed workers

Agility with Global DiVision

30/04/2019 | Dictionary of Business Etiquette: CAPITAL LETTERS and !!!!!!! – Or How to Write an Email

By |2019-05-27T11:23:35+02:00April 30th, 2019|Newsletter ENG|

Whole sentences written in capitals, followed by an arbitrary number of exclamation marks. Sometimes emails can look as if the author fell asleep with their head on the keyboard.

Chats, emails, and text messages have significantly changed the face of written communications. Where once neat, expressive handwriting in a personal letter impressed the reader, today we find ourselves confronted with emojis that stick their tongues out; shouty sentences written in capitals; mysterious abbreviations; and high-ranking individuals using language that was formerly reserved for cartoon characters. Sooo sad, very, very sad!!!!!!!

“The difficulty with communicating via emails is the total lack of non-verbal signals such as tone of voice or facial expressions. Some people respond to this by using the above-mentioned items in an attempt to make their message clearer,” explains Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel (PhD.). We should, however, be careful not to overuse such written signals.

Capital letters are the next step up from an exclamation mark, both of which should be used sparingly. An exclamation is an oral statement that we make when afraid, needing help, or angry. Someone who writes in capitals and finishes off with a few exclamation marks clearly needs a lot of help. IN ADDITION TO THIS, WHOLE SENTENCES WRITTEN IN CAPITALS ARE VERY DIFFICULT TO READ. See what we mean?

So, before you use the next exclamation mark, stop to consider whether you would also shout out loud what you have written to the recipient if you were talking face-to-face. No? Then don’t do it in an email either.

23/04/2019 | The Small Difference

By |2019-05-27T11:24:40+02:00April 23rd, 2019|Newsletter ENG|

Men and women are different. Whether the difference is large or small is a matter for academics and probably also secondary. If, however, women are paid less for doing the same job as men – simply because they are women – then a small difference becomes a huge injustice.

In such cases the focus is frequently on the man, who is exercising his power; keeping the woman down; or trying to protect his position. That women also bear responsibility for the game – frequently allowing themselves to be tripped up in negotiations by exactly the qualities that otherwise make the positive difference between them and men – is something that women are often not aware of.

“Women’s behavior,” says Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel (PhD.), CEO of Global DiVision, “often focuses more on outcomes and relationships. They place more value on including others; pay more attention to not offending others. This begins in their childhoods. The distinguished linguistics professor Deborah Tannen, for example, has studied how boys and girls behave and discovered that boys form gangs with clearly defined hierarchies. Nothing happens until it is clear who is the chief and who will be tied to the totem pole today. Girls interact differently. Everyone gets her say, is included. This is, of course, related to a specific type of language acquisition and this language continues on into our working lives.”

The consequence is, however, often that women take things that are said in negotiations personally. Even though the other person’s brash or aggressive statements are often nothing more than part of their strategy. We need to be aware of this when negotiating, thus ensuring that our emotions don’t get in the way.

Women like to act intuitively, following their gut feeling. This not a good starting position for negotiations. If you do not have a best-case objective that you want to achieve; if you have not defined a bottom line that will see you breaking off discussions, then you will not be able to pursue a clear line during the negotiations.

State a clear figure – without then going into lots of detail about why you think this figure is justified. Let the others talk. So that you can then react. Do not give up your demand too quickly – and if you start to go around in circles, then expand the options to include additional elements. This will provide the other side with more leeway without you having to sacrifice your base position.

And if none of this leads to a successful outcome, then terminate the negotiations for the time being. Summarize a few points that both sides agree on and what still needs to be resolved. State that you do not presently see any possibility of reaching an agreement. Then move on to a small talk topic while packing your things together and leave the room with some conciliatory words.

Do not allow the situation to escalate so far that positions become entrenched. Play the feminine “empathy” card. Give the other side time to review the situation and possibly reassess your “value” so that you can then resume negotiations later on a totally different level.

The best negotiators are the ones who treat their partners cooperatively, enabling both sides to save face. And that is undoubtedly a feminine strength!

Successful negotiations with Global DiVision

16/04/2019 | Must a Conductor Be Able to Play the Violin?

By |2019-05-27T11:28:22+02:00April 16th, 2019|Newsletter ENG|

Can it be that almost any shepherd can manage better than a manager? “Yes,” says Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel (PhD.). The CEO of Global DiVision knows that the era of technical experts is coming to a close. The ones who know their products and production systems don’t necessarily have the required basic knowledge when it comes to the area of employee management and social skills. “It is time that we give management experts their own job descriptions,” continues Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel (PhD.).

Here, the focus is shifted from technical competence to competence in the area of employee management. Employee orientation and social skills should be communicated in targeted coaching sessions. Instead of planning the workdays purely for technical topics, adequate time windows are reserved for pure management tasks.

The CEO derives her thoughts from an assignment of her team to a French telecommunications service provider. There, senior and junior management eked out a place beside the company founder in hierarchical structures. “And we are now putting this way of thinking onto a brand new foundation,” reports Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel (PhD.). Global DiVision and Partner needed 14 months until, after initial difficulties, employee management now functions without the classical insignias of power. Initial stocktaking by the Senior Vice President of the communication giant: “Our status of employee illness and fluctuation have dropped noticeably.”

“Conductors‘ Education” with Global DiVision

09/04/2019 | Management by Walking Around: Monkeys, Moles, and All Kinds of Stumbling Blocks

By |2019-05-27T11:29:41+02:00April 9th, 2019|Newsletter ENG|

Management by Walking Around (MBWA) refers to a style of business management that involves the boss leaving his/her customary habitat and embarking on the adventure of walking around the company and engaging directly with his/her employees.

And, as should be the case for a real adventure, this kind of expedition can involve lots of exciting moments but also dangerous encounters. And if, like Indiana Jones, you dive into the MBWA adventure unprepared you should not be surprised if you discover some exotic animals…

Monkeys
If the boss takes a relaxed morning walk around the production area, stopping occasionally to ask how things are going, he/she should not be surprised to find employees seizing the opportunity to offload a problem (the monkey) onto him/her. When an employee tells their boss about a problem, then one of the main reasons for doing so is the hope that the boss, as someone higher up the chain, can solve it. So the boss now has the monkey on his/her back.
After a few conversations, the boss will have the corresponding number of monkeys on his/her back and react by trying to offload them onto others. Why is it so untidy here? Do our quality control targets really specify this? Do the crates have to be here? Also, when he/she becomes aware of all these grievances, he/she will, of course, make sure that they are resolved. Immediately – without including the employee’s direct superior…

Moles
In such cases a good boss will generally want to know all the facts. Questions will be asked regarding the background to, and reasons for, the grievances. Culprits will be looked for. And at this point things become uncomfortable for the employee who brought the issue up. The information they give becomes vaguer – the individuals responsible are elsewhere; it’s all to do with “IT”, “processes”, “quality problems”. Whatever has happened or is said, “the others” are always to blame. The boss, however, wants to know the facts; pursues the issue inside the company;

searches for the source, maybe even the culprit. He/she digs and digs – a mole with a monkey on its back.
Seeing the boss in such a position is not good – either for him/her or for the employees. He/she is frustrated and, at the end of the day, also powerless. Employees experience a boss who kicks up a lot of dust without being able to solve the problem.

So there are some important rules to learn before you set off on your first expedition.

If You Ask, You Learn
Steer conversations by asking specific questions and without wanting to solve problems. Do not make assumptions; do not assign work tasks; do not make judgements.
On the one hand, this will allow you to gain a valuable, because differentiated, picture at grass roots and, on the other, to show others your interest and appreciation.

Go Through Official Channels
Has the employee already discussed the grievance with his/her direct superior? If not, then ask them to do so. If yes, then ask them to do so again or take action themselves by proposing a solution together with the co-worker. Do not try to solve the problem, but instead to initiate the process of finding a solution.
When walking around remember that what you see is only a snapshot. Before you react, look to see if the situation has changed when you take your next walk around. If not and if there is time, then let the direct superior know at your next regular meeting. Only if there is no other way to deal with the situation should you organize a special meeting to discuss the issue – and you should offer your support, not assign blame.

Coaching not Inspection
If the actual conditions that you experience during your walk-arounds begin to increasingly deviate from the descriptions of the relevant managers in charge, then the managers obviously do not have the confidence to tell you the truth. Creating the trust that this requires is one of the most important aspects of your leadership. Stop inspecting and start coaching. Make yourself part of the team instead of the referee.
“Based on our experience to date,” says the COO of a leather goods manufacturer, “we can wholeheartedly recommend the “Management by Walking Around” tool. Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel and the team of Global DiVision,” continues the COO “has taught us that it is important to make sure that we don’t collect or pass on “monkeys” during walk-arounds. During our brief conversations it is better to focus on asking questions, listening, and learning.”

How to get the monkey off your back

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