20-25% der rund 300'000 schweizerischen KMU stehen in den nächsten 5-8 Jahren vor einem Eigentümerwechsel. Meist stellen sich Fragen beim Generationenwechsel, die über die Frage hinaus gehen, wer dann der nächste Patron werde, wenn es dann einen geben wird ... Neben den strategischen und personellen Fragestellungen in solchen Situationen, zu denen im Ypsilus-Netzwerk viel praktische Erfahrung vereinigt ist, stellen sich immer zugleich noch eine Vielzahl von juristischen und transaktionsstrukturellen Fragen, die wir mit unserer wirtschaftsrechtlichen Kompetenz in jeder Hinsicht abdecken können.
Systemische Führung und Postheroisches Management ist in der Tiefenstruktur einer Organisation höchst wirksam und anschlussfähig. Diese Haltung bietet eine Ergänzung zur traditionellen Führungs-'Denke', die wir als 'Chefs' aufgrund unserer Ausbildung alle in uns tragen und im richtigen Moment auch zum Tragen bringen müssen. Der richtige Moment für 'heroische Führung' ist aber nicht dort, wo systemische Prozesse ablaufen und es sich um Themenbereiche handelt, die sich in der Tiefe des Unternehmens abspielen.
Kuttel Daddeldu ist die sympathische Seemann-Schöpfung des Lyrikers Joachim Ringelnatz. Er steht für eine welterfahrene Seele, die zugegebenermassen hin und wieder auch etwas waghalsig und allzu engagiert ist, aber mutig um die Welt reist.
Der "Innovationsgärtner" ist die fast schönste Metapher für eine vertraute Tätigkeit, bei der das Schaffen von Voraussetzungen im Zentrum steht und nicht das 'Machen'. Und bei Innovation ist das gar nicht so anders. Auch hier liegt es meist am Chef eines Unternehmens, Voraussetzungen zu schaffen, dass das Gewünschte geschehen kann.
Daniel Everett spent over 20 years as a (former) evangelic missionary with the Pirahã tribe in the Amazon bassin. His superbly interesting autobiographical work shows a culture and a language of a tribe which lives in the "here & now" and does not deviate constantly into "yesterday & tomorrow". It is a metaphorical example of an organization which shows so much of the self-organizing ability which we try to understand with a systemic approach today. They live a sustained life without creation myths, without numbers or colors and without substantial possession.
Immediacy of Experience as a Guiding Principle of Culture
Daniel L. Everett, a former evangelical Christian missionary to the Pirahã at the Maici river, in the Brazilian Amazon bassin for more than 20 years, has published one of the most astonishing books, an account of his many years spent with this tribe Don't sleep, there are snakes - Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle (Daniel Everett, London 2009; also as Kindle-edition).
It is a powerful piece of ethnographical description of life among the Pirahã tribe of roughly 500 people, and his account of the language and culture just breathtaking. Eventually losing religion to the Indians, Everett challenges the most important linguistic paradigms of human language, and he teaches us a powerful lesson in uniqueness of culture and perception. Why does this book teach us such a wonderful lesson which has a direct application to our emerging understanding of management as primarily a systemic task?
- The Pirahã tribe live in a self contained and (in the superficial first perception) simplistic world. They hunt small animals, go fishing, build waggly canoes, don't build any major constructions are mostly content and life in a unique social structure of an open family-society. However, the finesse and depth of the interaction is only visible beneath the surface, is more structured and more solid than initially assumed. Could this be compared to a business which, in the first observation, is simple and straight forward, and, later, much more interrelated and intertwined with its stake holder than seen before?
- Everett, initially, wanted to learn the language with a purpose: to translate the bible into Pirahã. A trained linguist, able to build on some patchy work of two predecessors, he had to learn the language monolingualy, i.e. without any common language in-between. The complex guttural language was just was it is, and he had to deduce its meaning, its grammar, its pronunciation and its vocabulary just by listening, practicing and using it. There are funny examples of mistakes and his gaucheness in the book, and he finally masters the language to become the most renowned, if not the only translator of the unique language which is not related to any other indigenous language, at all. Couldn't it be that his monolingual learning process is very much similar to how we have to learn about a new business we are getting ourselves into? Isn’t this a good metaphor for a certain humbleness in trying to really understand what makes a business go round, instead of just applying our outside world knowledge and missing the real vocabulary, even though it might be totally different form the concepts we know?
- Not surprisingly, the Pirahã do not understand the concept of numbers and figures and do have no concept for colors. However, they have the collective ability to observe and to communicate with spirits which, for an outside visitor, cannot be seen and perceived. Could it be that numbers and figures which connect our society are similar like the spirits of the Pirahã? Abstract and invisible joint concepts which keep us fascinated and guide our collective thinking more that what is tangible reality?
- It seems that the Pirahã contently live in "here & now". They basically do not have historical stories, they surprisingly have no creation myths, and they do not ponder about the eternal question of 'what comes after'. It's the day itself and maybe the next day which is, its chores, it's spontaneous festivities, it's rituals, albeit not too many. The Pirahã are the archetypical society which follows a basic approach in systemic work: to concentrate on what is happening here and now, at the given moment - in a group, in a team, in a market. Prognosis is hypothesis only.
Well, there could be much more to this book. Read it, enjoy it and take it as a fantastic example of a meaningful adventure into a metaphoric image of an organization. Get a copy of this sensational book and enjoy the reading!
More on Daniel L. Everett and his research:
- "Recursion and Human Thought: Why the Pirahã don't have numbers" (a talk with Daniel Everett)
- "The Interpreter - A reporter at large" (The New Yorker, 16.4.2007)
- "A Tribe Apart" (The New Yorker, 16.4.2007, slide show)
- "Losing Religion to the Amazonian Pirahã Tribe" (presentation at the Long Now Foundation, youtube video
- "Das glücklichste Volk der Welt" (review of the german translation of Everett's book; Tages-Anzeiger, 26.3.2010)