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So, this is Edition No 2 of my monthly newsletter. This might not sound like a great deal, everyone can write two mails in a span of a month.
But for me it is. I have been thinking about doing this for quite some time now and finally seeing it happening was great. But it also was a goal that I reached. What happens after the launch? What's the next step?
I'd love to say that I have a perfectly balanced relationship to goals and that I am a master of setting them and achieving them. And a lot of times I get that as feedback. When in fact there are so many projects that I never even talk about fearing that I will never reach them. Or projects I totally lost interest in when I reached the first milestone. Because, let's be honest, a milestone is nothing else than a smaller goal... Right now, I like to speak of targets rather than goals. A goal is something definitive. All or nothing. Speaking of the European Football Cup that just ended: Either you put the ball in the goal - or you don't. There is no in-between. (If I have any Italian readers who are interested in Football - Congratulazioni!)
A target is more of a broader approach. Changing to another sports metaphor, archery, a target is something you aim for. You might not hit the middle of the target. But that doesn't mean you lose. As long as everybody else stays further away from the middle as you do, you can still win. And I find that way more calming than the archaic All-Or-Nothing version. Words make Worlds.
It looks like this magazine is not just a way for me to publish what I have in my head. I hope it will also be a great way to become more relaxed about targets and reaching them. Because with a magazine the work never ends. You reach little milestones on the way. But until you decide to end the whole project there is no finish line you can reach. And there is still so much in my head that I want to share, so this arrow still has a long way to go!

What we wrote

Random Facts about me - the fine line between personal and private and when to overstep it

Random Facts about me - the fine line between personal and private and when to overstep it
Recently I got a package from a client. It contained an enamel cup with a thank you note and pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch and my cat. It might look super cheesy to you, but I love it. Because what you must know about me: I love everything Benedict Cumberbatch is in, and I love my cat. And it is no accident that my cat is called Benny, the short name for Benedict. So you can imagine my enjoyment when I got such a nice present that touches all my buttons - appreciation and the sign that I do a good job, my cat, and one of my favourite actors. But why was my client able to be so specific in the first place? Because I shared personal details about me.

Why do I tell you this story? It is highly personal stuff, right? I often get asked if people should even share personal details in a professional setting. What sits behind this question mostly is a fear to share too much. After all, we do have a pretty extensive record of reports where private data published on the internet unintentionally and unfavourably became public for whatever reason. The question however mostly implies one of two other problems. Either people don’t understand the difference between personal and private or they feel that the line between the two is very fine - and they want to stay away from it as far as possible rather than to overstep it. So where is the line?

According to Merriam Webster, the adjective “personal” means affecting a particular person. “Private” refers specifically to be intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person. So personal is about oneself. What affects me and my image? Private is about the other side. What do I want others to know? You could argue that that is exactly the point. Everything that affects my image is private, because I don’t want others to know it.

But what does this say about you? What can we learn about you from that? Nothing. And when we don’t know anything about something we become creative. We fill the gaps. That is basically the premise of Personal Branding. Even as an individual person you have a brand, a reputation. If you don’t create that brand yourself others will do so. You don’t have to share every little detail from your life. You don’t have to share where you went to elementary school and what colors your diapers were.

But you could share where you grew up. You could share your favourite meal or the latest movie that you have seen, although at a first glance it has nothing to do with what you do professionally. Because in the end, it has everything to do with that. You are and you have a personality. Chances are that you chose what you do for a living based on your likes, preferences, and experiences. And chances also are that you choose what you do in your free time based on the same likes and preferences.

Ultimately this will influence how you establish business connections. Having a professional relationship is not about B2B, or B2C anymore, it’s about H2H – Human to Human. Business runs better when people feel they have a personal connection to you, your brand or your "tribe". Referrals are the most impactful way to generate leads. And people only refer what they know or what they think they know. They will only build relationships if they feel like they know you. They will only share themselves if they know your story.

There’s another reason why I share myself so extensively: I don’t like to compartmentalize. It is hard work to always keep a concrete wall between business and private life. I don't want to put in the effort. A lot of what I do to make a living is my life. Most of the time there is no strict line between private interest and business matter. But isn’t it unprofessional to show what you do on a Sunday if it is not underlining your hustler lifestyle? Well, I don’t think so! It shows that I live what I teach. Show, don’t tell. I tell my clients to not respond out of a panic or fear, but rather to calm down, take a step back and with that mindset tackle a problem. So I also take the time to calm down. For me there is nothing unprofessional about my personal lifestyle choices.

I will continue to share myself. So far, I have shared nothing that I wouldn’t tell a friend – and that is how I like to see my clients and how I mostly choose them. Even and especially in a professional setting where we spend so much of our time in, I’d rather spend that time with clients I could see myself casually share a glass of wine or a coffee with. The lines of professional and private are blurry anyway.

I see the personal as the glue between the private and the professional. I don't share everything. There are things that should be nobody's business. But I share just enough that my clients and professional connections know me well enough. They know what I stand for. They know what they can expect from me. No big negative surprises along the way. It allows me to have that good time with them. But also, I don’t have to put too much brain juice into the consideration what to tell and what to hide. Because if you work with me or share a glass with me or both: You will get the whole personal package.

What others wrote

No text I ever write just comes out of my brain from some form of abyss. I am not that genius creative. I read a lot of stuff that forms my opinion. Not all of it makes it into my articles. Some things are just a brain tickler. So I will share good pieces with you, so maybe they also tickle your brain.
Tech is influencing our lives more than we might be comfortable with. One reason it makes us uncomfortable is that tech seems to be this bulldozer that just comes into the room, doesn't look left or right and takes down everything in its path. Building it to be more sensible seems necessary and reasonable. And the calls to do so are out there. "Tech Ethics" raised more and more awareness lately and even made it into university curriculums.
Whoever thought the story ends here - think again. This study finds that "tech ethics is vague and toothless, is subsumed into corporate logics and incentives, and has a myopic focus on individual engineers and technology design rather than on the structures and cultures of technology production." I can't say I am surprised. After "Diversity" and "New Work" it seems we have found our next marketing label which is good for nothing else than "[Enter a word of your choice here]-washing". Way to go...
In my family there is a pretty clear narrative how the story of your life should go for women. Either you become a fully committed stay-at-home mom. Or you get yourself an impressive career which, in this case, means work yourself up the chain of command in a big company.
As I said in the introduction, I do have a problem with setting goals. What if I decide tomorrow that this feeling I had yesterday was wrong? That I don't want to work in that field anymore? Am I a failure then?
When we talk about people who are not necessarily into taking a career path we talk about people who are not ambitious, who do not want to thrive, who may even be lazy because they don't want to put in the effort it takes. But do we consider what people agree to if they take every opportunity to rise the corporate ladder?
This article in Fast Company makes for a wonderful call to action to redefine what we need in life to bring us forward. Maybe "finding themes" is the new goal setting. I'd definitely support that effort! Anyone open for co-writing a management book on that?
In most parts of the Western world COVID seems to be over. More and more restrictions fall and life seems to be getting back to normal (whatever that means). And a lot of corporate managers are celebrating because if everything goes back to normal, they can continue asking their employees to come back to the office. Team Spirit is so important, right? Company Culture is so fragile, right? And how else would we get it other than sitting in the same physical location for eight hours or more a day? Well, turns out, there is a far greater problem heading towards managers who think physical attendance is the only way to surveil... aaaah, lead their employees. Because according to a study done in the US nearly 40% of workers would consider quitting if the company they are working for would not allow for remote working after the health crisis. The clever thing to do is to just work on real leadership skills and invest in training programs for hybrid work models. Because otherwise the war for talents will ask for way greater sacrifices than just letting go of the control over your employees.

A word from...
Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik

"The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think" - Harper Lee
This month I read the book "Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It" by Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik.
Our world gets more and more complicated, right? It is harder and harder to keep track with all the ways our systems are intertwined. And if something goes wrong, it is easy to blame it on technology.
But technically, our systems are getting more and more *complex*. Meaning, there are more and more connections between parts rather than the parts themselves becoming more complicated to use.
I really enjoyed reading this book because it provides interesting research and insight on systems, how we can make complexity more manageable and how we all need to appreciate more the bravery of speaking out!

The Good News

We talked about Private and Personal in the Featured Piece of this edition. Matching that, Twitter just went through a Hashtag Flooding exactly because of that.
The story starts as any common internet troll story: A woman who works in Infosec dares to have a private life and posts a photo of her in a bikini on her Twitter account. Somebody didn't like it. The person voiced their unsolicited concern as would every good Twitter troll - "fuck", "crap", #unfollow. A professional woman daring to wear a bikini? Not an acceptable thing for @FollowerInfosec. But this woman did not just ignore it - she turned the story around. And so did other twitter users who work in Infosec, who find themselves harassed and judged and who started flooding Twitter with Bikini shots of their own. Infosec really is not the place for Diversity yet but there are some pretty amazing allies in the crowd!
That's it for this month.
Thanks for reading the second Edition. And please let us know what you think of the newsletter so far. All feedback welcome!
We actively want to bring in colours, not just lighten the place up! We want to create the space, where ideas from other dimensions are included, where thoughts outside of the black and white realm find a touchpoint with the spectrum. We want to explore possibilities how our society can be a better one when we don’t fight the unknown but embrace it with open arms and a curious mind. It is an offer to think differently. It’s an offer for different views, opinions and insights so that the “One Size Fits All” story of technology becomes a range of various stories that show us the immense beauty of digitalization.
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