Posts Tagged change

Sunday Column (459)

Monday again – ok Sunday when you start reading this. A mixed week is behind me which started with a Monday flight to Belgrade, Serbia. I have never been, heard a lot and went to see the operations office of the company, Sizmek, that acquired the company I work for, Rocket Fuel.

As a VP Client Success I joined Rocket Fuel back in January, anticipating that they either sell or be taken private. I have seen their history from being a competitor to being a partner to being a supplier and knew most of the people there. And I have been around in programmatic for 7 years, so a good fit I thought, but also a bit risky. Then the sale happened this summer and we are now part of Sizmek, backed by a P.E. Company (Private Equity) which originally took Sizmek private last year. So we have two ex public companies joining forces to build the biggest independent demand side stack in the programmatic space. This is a very promising proposition and I was very excited to be part of this. A great proposition.

With my commercial background and in depth operational knowledge, I was hired to align the back office, operations and analytics, with key accounts to drive further growth. Using my commercial acumen with the understanding of the space and experience of how to run campaigns, aligning back office with client growth. We never quite completed that as I was pulled in to run the German office where I successfully managed a turn around. So two senior jobs since the beginning of the year, lots of travel, lots of time away from the family. Now, the structure moving forward will look different. Less client success, more of an operations and sales divide. So things will change with the company and ultimately for me.

Belgrade. Air Serbia, and again a bit of nerve wrecking when my ticket had a spelling mistake, but everything was fine, and a very hard landing with squeaking brakes. I trust old planes 😉 Air Serbia got me there and back again. Belgrade is a city which on first sight resembled the Eastern part of Berlin 20 years ago, yet it turned out to be beautiful and full of the nicest people ever. Lots of meaty food, lovely people and very rich on culture with influences from Russia, Turkey, Hungary and Greece. It took me back to a trip I made to Istanbul a few years back. The merger of East and West, the tradition, cultural influences from all over the region and the amazing, well flavoured food. I believe I got a good feel for the people and the country. Essentiallly, due to travel times, we only spend two days in the office, however those two days were action packed and we learned a lot.

You remember when I spoke about experience in last week’s blog? That’s what it is all about. Understanding. Listening. Sharing the glass of wine and good food. Making friends and bringing people together. An amazing trip, not only for work and the extension of what we are doing in main markets, but to understand the challenges and opportunities in the Serbian market.

What did I noticed most in terms of the cultural differences – besides a noisy hotel that felt like a youth hostel on the first night (and the manager emailed me to apologise) – people still smoke a lot and you can still smoke in restaurants and bars. Yes, this is more of a Southern culture I suppose. Funny how after only 10 years (the smoking ban was introduced in the UK in 2007), we got so used to having smoke free clothes. I quit chain smoking in 1998, then smoked on and off until about 2004 before I finally gave up. Even that is crazy to think now. And given the lack of sleep, I introduced a second espresso again, and I really needed it 🙂 Not only because of the noise but we wanted to make the most with our hosts to get to know them in and out of the office.

So you would agree I suppose that this week was action packed. Enjoyable, tiring, yet encouraging and full of learning. A roller coaster ride on emotions and reflection on strengths and experience. What else to ask for?

Over the forthcoming weeks I can be more detailed about some personal developments, plans and some ideas; I prepared a few posts on life, work and priorities. Christmas is coming up and Tesco has already filled a whole aisle with things that are Christmassy. Oh yes, the joyful season. We had friends over for dinner, went bowling and enjoyed this autumn weekend.

I hope you did too. It is great to hear from more and more people that they enjoy reading this column. For the forthcoming weeks, keep reading, I will go deeper on a few things. And feel free to let me know what you want me to write about.

Have an amazing week ahead,
Volker

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Sunday Column (458)

I love starting my blog on a Monday. Whilst it won’t make much of a difference to you, the final post being shared on Sunday, I love sitting on the plane or train on a Monday to reflect on the weekend, on life in general. Latter was the whole purpose when I started the Sunday Column now 458 weeks ago. Almost 10 years. It was about not only copying things and sharing things, but making my blog personal. I believe I have achieved that. It also gives me an outlet for my thoughts. My readership is in the thousands and people from all over the world are visiting my site. This is a nice thing to know that every week, people are waiting to read my weekly column. Thank you for bearing with me.

So reflecting on the weekend, I didn’t do much to be honest. We all have a cold and seem to be tired. My best friend from Germany was supposed to visit but was ill himself too. So we ended up with a very relaxing weekend. Some good food and excellent wine, cheese and the fire being on. We also got some game controllers for the AppleTV and the boys thinks we got an Xbox now. Not being an avid gamer myself, the boys and us enjoy the odd game we can play. Life is good and I sorted a few things out over the weekend that needed attention, as well as our holidays to Singapore next year. My cousin lives there and we are keen to visit. Even Economy few months ahead is expensive, but I guess that’s summer holidays and 4 people flying. When booking flights, besides an awful experience on the Singapore Airlines website, we opted for them over Norwegian Airlines. Latter are cheaper and flying from Gatwick, yet with Monarch just going out of business, I think relying on a big airline might just be the way forward. I would have loved to book British Airways, yet the price premium couldn’t be justified at all.

Adventures, experience. That is what life is all about. Gaining a competitive advantage through experience in work and life. Teaching your offspring for them to have a head start in life. This isn’t always easy. I love my manager for that at work, who despite me being prepared for meetings and being on top of things, always finds something else. I soak up his input and wonder if I will be such a good manager when I have another 10 years experience. I hope I will. I am confident I will, but this is for others to decide. My next trip for work takes me to Belgrade, Serbia. Somewhere I have never been, so I am looking forward to it. A new experience, an adventure. This is going to be fun. Not like the weekly commute I have done to Germany throughout the year. No adventure there, just experience 😉

But experience is key. In a workplace which is changing. There are no, or fewer, 30 year long careers. In new industries like online and digital marketing where I am part of, the average tenure is probably around 2 years. Probably even less. And as a friend of mine told me a couple of years ago, if you have done your job you are done, no matter if it is 1 year, 2 years or 5 years – or 6 months. This goes in line with a lot of industry posts I am reading about more and more people becoming consultants. Don’t get me wrong, just recently I have met people that have been with their employer for 11 years and this will exists, but the ones that drive change will be in and out of companies on a short tenure, or found companies themselves. Those progressive and success driven entrepreneurs are the new power managers of tomorrow’s world. I am working on an article around that as we speak.

That brings me to more change. As the leaves turn and I spend some time at home – ill children and then school events – I am looking out of the window and contemplate. Is that it? Is the life we have now, the village set up, is that me for the next 30 years. A yearly harvest festival, Light up Hassocks for Christmas, the local tennis club. Will we not want to change anymore? Is that what they call contentment or happiness?

Spending a day in the local community, showing face at school events and at tennis, I loved being around the boys, being part of their experience. They are my first priority and I do not spend enough time with them during the week. And I absolutely love the way we are living. I love our house, neighbours, driveway, and I am content in the place I am. But coming back to experience, adventure and life changing, when do you know when and how to change? Is it the external Brexit challenge? Is it the shooting in Las Vegas that once again makes a move to the US unappealing? What is it? How do you know? When do you know you found the place you should be staying forever?

Maybe I am impatient and expecting too much. Things come to your at the right time. Things happen for a reason. Change is good. I could quote another 100 sayings like that. But it is true. You MUST trust in the universe that things work out. You think any other ‘animal’ but humans ever think about the future and their mortgage? Ever wondered if the cat on the fence thinks about climate change? We are complicating our lives by thinking and ultimately worrying too much. No, the cat doesn’t. Kids don’t. And dare we teach kids to worry, they should enjoy life and do what they want. Follow their heart. Because the heart knows what is right or wrong.

More autumn thoughts next week, as we are getting further into my most favourite season.

Have an amazing week. Stay well,
Volker

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Sunday Column (455)

Autumn has arrived. A cold, rainy and windy Sunday last week, building rafts, then a hot bath for the boys and a nice warm fire for all of us, cosy. The natural things, the things we have always known, like fire and blankets, provide shelter and comfort on days like that. We cleared away our garden furniture, cleaning the BBQ and prepare for winter. It isn’t quite there yet, but it won’t be long. Comfort. With hurricanes sweeping over the Caribbean and the US, we can consider ourselves lucky. Yet, the signs this might be global warming can no longer be ignored. Raising sea levels and different sea temperatures make nature more powerful. This is scary as this is only the beginning and seems far away. That might and will change. And I have been saying that since I joined a local environmental group in my early teens. And what have we, as human kind, done to prevent it?

9-11. It happened 16 years ago, just when I arrived in the UK. We seek comfort, we never forget. An event that changed the world and influences our generation as much as the wars have influenced our parent’s generation. Troubled times. We are lucky to not have seen more attacks of similar scale over the years, and I hope that we never will, given improved security at airports etc. We cannot be scared of flying or getting around following our daily business. We shouldn’t. We must trust that the majority of people on this planet are good people, looking after one another and share love and compassion. However, Korea is trying to prove us wrong. Another missile towards Japan. 9-11 is a reminder for us to not forget what has happened, why it has happened and how we learned from it.

Germany hosted the biggest digital advertising exhibition and conference dmexco this year. It has been 11 years since I started attending that event, and I since missed it once or twice. It has grown phenomenal and the owners are doing an amazing job to deliver an event relevant to the industry. Globally. I noticed that I have been in digital marketing for over 10 years, and 8 out of those I deal with programmatic. Even back then I said that the ecosystem will just adopt programmatic as standard. I wasn’t wrong so far. Yet the hype isn’t over yet, it takes 10 years for things to normalise I suppose, hence we seeing so much consolidation in the industry. When at the show I heard that my old boss said to someone at a meeting that ‘I was the best sales person he ever hired’. It is nice to have these things said about me, of course it would be nicer to have heard it from him. The industry is a village, lots of familiar faces, networking, and shaking hands. That’s what I love about it, some great friends you find, connections you make.

In between coming back from Germany and going out to New York, I try to spend as much time as possible with my boys. Travel is full on again, and more than planned, but the job needs to be done. It isn’t glamorous. On Tuesday I got a chance to take them to school and chat with them in the morning. A lovely autumn day it seemed. I missed them coming home delayed and exhausted on Thursday but we made up for it on Friday and Saturday. They do not like me being away and I do not like the travelling either. But it is part of the parcel and it will get better. Important in my opinion is that we talk about it, and that I carve out the time with the family when I can. This is to make sure you do not neglect the most important part of your life. They need to feel valued and given attention, being the most important things I have. Given I love my job, always enjoyed working, family is still there forever, and building a relationship with your kids starts now. As my boss once said, success doesn’t mean being successful in your job only, there is family and other things to consider too. That goes in line with a book I finished reading this week which examines how we – you – measure your life.

In other news, after my wife gave me an amazing bracelet for my birthday, a Buddhist one that makes me feel more grounded and reminds me to be mindful, I got myself another one. It has seven different coloured beads, representing chakras and remind you of virtues too. I enjoy wearing them, alongside my colourful and changing watch straps, in order to remind myself daily of how grateful I am. When on flights and trying to relax my brain and taking a moment to just not think, I touch those beads, reflect on what’s happening in life and cherish the love and focus on the important things in my life. This is important to me, and I am pleased to have those reminders with me.

Before I finish off a few thoughts on the Apple event this week. The iPhone X is amazing. The technology is the future of what is there to come. In my opinion Apple has pulled off an amazing phone packed with mind blowing technology. I also believe that technology will become available to mainstream iPhones in the years to come, and for now is more a gimmick. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have one, but I cannot justify the money for it. So I might just hold on to see how the technology will find its way in the more affordable versions over time. Hence I need to check how to upgrade to the iPhone 8 for now.

It has been a busy week. Exciting with the official showcasing of our new company joint proposition at dmexco. Fully booked, exhausting flights. Networking, fun filled conversations, discussions, open exchanges about the things there are and things to come. I am happy, content about the life I am living and the situation I am. Zen. It is busy but change is good. I am excited about change, whichever way it might turn out. When you read this on Sunday night I will be on the plane to New York for a quick trip. Life isn’t bad as long as we are aware what is important to us, how we measure whether we prioritise correctly and as long as we are in zen with ourselves.

Thanks for reading and tuning in. Have a fantastic week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (407)

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Monday started off nicely and when drafting my blog I realised I ended up writing a whole post on Brexit. See Brexit.
So I had to stop myself writing another post just about train strikes on Tuesday. The RMT union, rightly or not, strikes. Again. Overrunning engineering works added to the misery. I finally was on my way on the first train (!) running from Brighton to London. Just before 830 am. Two hours later than anticipated. I am up early anyway. I can change my schedule but my employer expects me in the office for 9 am. And they should do. The ongoing situation with Southern Rail is inexcusable. It is utterly disgusting in this day and age. But I wouldn’t add anything to the conversation by getting annoyed.

So I breathe in and out. I decide how I feel. Southern cannot make me feel a certain way. I cannot change the situation. I can only accept it. Doesn’t mean I like it. Far from it. Totally out of my control. The same is true for my headphones. After spending a small fortune on my Bose noise cancellation wireless headphones I exchanged them on Monday. Interrupted and intermittent connectivity. I have been testing the new ones all week. It seems better and I am in close contact with Bose support. We will tackle that. The sound of the Bose headphones are just too good.

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The commuter nightmare. A lot of people feel the strain and pain. It makes people sick. And I wonder why or do I get sick? On Tuesday I couldn’t leave the house before 8 to catch any train. On Wednesday I was in London before 8. Madness. No reliability or consistency. The fear and worries of the train company’s delays reflecting bad on you and your ability to be at work. Companies luckily understand but they shouldn’t have to. And neither should we as commuters. A never ending story but shouldn’t we just get a reliable service most of the time? The other challenge is that most people don’t know how to use the commuter time. I have habits. In the morning it is very much about me-time. I read. Without (many) exceptions I try to go through a book every 10 days. On the bus it is a mix of emails, podcasts, preparation for the day. Depending on the day I might just chill out to some music. On the way back I work on the bus. Time sheets, feed reader catch up. On the train home I usually work. If there is nothing to work on, which is rare, I read or watch some catch up TV, an episode of a TV series or chill out. Moving forward I also will make sure to finalise my next productivity book. Once I finished reading Bruce Springsteen’s biography. Yet without that routine and use of the time to accomplish something, this commute would be hell. Now it is one of my most productive times of the day. The reduced strike service causes less delays and less time to work. I get home quicker. Bit odd, and counter productive 😉

Due to the strike I also changed my exercise routine. A nice run on Wednesday night, given I had time, resulted in a 43.16 for the 10K on my treadmill. Result. My body went in overdrive and resulted in some ‘stress pimpels’. Never mind. I enjoy challenging myself and pushing boundaries. I feel like I am moving in the right direction and get a few things done at the moment, clearing out the old, bringing in the new input. I am looking forward to a break, to recap on a few things, and make sure I am not missing anything in life. Half term is not too far away! On the other hand there are things that seem a bit off at the moment. Without wanting to go into great detail, just when you think things are all happily moving along, more change is in the air. I hope for positive change of course but that isn’t always guaranteed. Sanity is what you must aim for.

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Coming back to Springsteen’s biography I realise a few bits about life. No great revelations but essentially, as you grow up, you notice more and more that your life isn’t at all different to other people’s life. Bruce said in one of his chapters that ‘I loved as best as I could, but I hurt some people I really cared about along the way. I didn’t have a clue as to how to do anything else.‘. I see myself having done that in the past, and had to learn a lot about loving people. Something that just didn’t come natural to me. I am great in building rapport with people, mastering situations, dealing with people and having a higher EQ than some. Yet under the skin, the love and appreciation for people beyond the daily interaction was something I had a hard time learning. My wife would be a in a better position to tell you, but also my kids. It took me a long time to come to terms of what fatherhood means to me, and how to love kids in the right way. To appreciate them seeing the world from a different place and to understand how to change my perception to their level. It is a wonderful world, once you are in it, but getting there didn’t come natural for me.

Where is that coming from? I often had doubts if I could ever learn it. If I say that Bruce gives me the confidence that it is normal, I don’t have many other people I could ask. But that’s what you learn in life, that actually the challenges you have, the things that you worry about, are the same things everyone else is worrying about. With personal nuances of course. Talking about his puberty, Bruce writes ‘I was a punk, grumbling my way through….My dad’s journey on this ship was probably one fo the most meaningful of his life and I couldn’t respect it.‘ – and I can remember those days when I was just a grumpy old teenager, and so can many, that didn’t respect their parents. And looking back we will feel bad. When Bruce looks back and says he would like to turn back time to change it or get a second chance to make it better, we often don’t get this. We often only have this one chance in life, yet we mess it up. And so what, you might be thinking. You are probably right. I have regrets in my life but I am not worried, don’t want to go back to rectify them. I found my closure in life a few years ago. I went through the exercise of writing letters to people asking them for forgiveness and closure. The ones that wanted, replied. And it is good, it is healing for me, and hopefully it was for them too. We move on in life and need to focus on what lies ahead of us, not looking back. We cannot change the past or dwell on it. We would go crazy. Would I love to go back in time to rectify things? No, I honestly would not. Maybe I don’t have enough baggage and my things are small in comparison to others, yet when in puberty, I am certain my kids will go through the same thing and I will experience life from the other side. What goes around comes around I suppose. Cycle of life.

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I am not quite sure where I am leading with that. I look around the full ram packed train which I am on at 7 am in the morning due to the strike in order to get a seat and look at the commuter crowds. If we took a snap shot of those people and ask them the above questions, they would all agree. Life is what it is. No surrender. No regrets. Moving on and up. We can change the now and are obliged to make the now the best one yet. We must ensure that we always give our best, to keep winning and moving in the right direction. I am certain of that.

We sometimes remember snapshots that might be, over time, look bigger than they are. Like the famous objects in the rear view mirror. Yet often the opposite is the case. We lay to rest what we have to lay to rest. It’s done.

I am done. I am done for this week. An amazing week. I feel in more control of things and had a few things I took care of. Nice. I feel like I am winning. In my game. Getting shit done, adding value. But that’s all I want. All I can ever ask for, isn’t it?

Have a fantastic week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (399)

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Iron sharpens iron – one man sharpens another. Darren Hardy spoke about Rivalry this week. It’s a proverb. Nothing wrong with that of course, the key is what the quote stands for. Iron sharpens iron – as one iron, one man grows, the other grows too. If you are getting up every morning and have someone to fight, you want to better yourself daily to become better than the other person. You want to win. Then he wants to win too. You might become friends and you strive by competing with each other. You help each other to stay focused, motivated and push each other towards the top. Like a sparring partner. I like that analogy and think you should too. Find someone to work against, someone who motivates you and take massive actions towards ‘beating’ that person. In a good way of course, become friends and push each other to success!

A different, in between week, this week it was. I mean, it was my last week at my old work. I tidied things up, did a final hand over, updated what had to be updated and put my work and mind to rest. I reflected on the last 2.5 years. The accomplishment of putting another product on the map. The ability to put something out there in the market, position it, sell it, make it successful. I enjoy that part. There were struggles, challenges and fights but overall, it wasn’t a bad time. I had a few managers I learned from. Good mentors. It was good and I am truly thankful for the opportunity. It was also time to move on. One email I got this week summed it up. Farewell, Goodbye and Amen, as Hawkeye Pierce said in Mash4077.

Listening to another Mentee Podcast, career development is not only about money and what you do, but more about why you do it. The ultimate thing is if you can give back, and if you are able to make a difference. And I deep down believe that I can make a difference and help, support and develop myself and others. That in itself is worth the change in career and focus. Having met most of the people, it will be a fun time ahead! I really look forward to start working with my new team. A team to grow and coach. Unlocking potential and driving business forward. Working on strategies, new technologies and deep diving into some industry topics. What is there to learn? Where can I make a difference? Getting direct input from clients, that will be different. Weren’t they the holy grail to sell to a little while ago? Also, the ability to change suppliers and technologies if they stop performing. Not relying on one but more than one supplier if you like. There are many solutions that are interchangeable, so building the relationships with the right ones is key. Spotting the sales people talking BS when trying to sell you the latest programmatic solution.

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For now I still have some time to reflect. I start at the end of the month. My priority for the coming week is to spend as much time as possible with my family and give them some time back. When you get to the cross roads of your career, open a new chapter in your life, one likes to think about life. About priorities. Those are clearly with my family and the progress of my children – personally and in education. I guess for any parent, there is no doubt that health, development and happiness of your family comes first. Then it is you/your partner, and what you have decided to do with your life. Both of which will impact the main priority of course. I have been thinking about how we model our life on what we know from when we grew up and realised that over the years the technology advancement, let it be iPads or iPhones as the obvious ones, have influenced the way our children grow up. The younger generation is working seamlessly it seems with the challenges of technology and uses it to their advantage whilst we use it as a necessary evil almost. And by the time they have children, things and life as we know it would have changed again. When I was a kid I was dreaming of this big house with this big stereo in the corner. CD shelves. Video cassettes. I enjoyed libraries and always thought I would have one myself. And virtually we do. We have the videos, the CDs and books I wanted. It is still the same, yet different, and in a different format. The world is changing, advancing and nothing will be the way it was. That’s not a bad thing though.

So let’s embrace future developments. Let’s embrace change and let’s embrace technology. Let us accept change in our life and the opportunity to influence the outcome. To trust in the positive outcome. That is fun, that is helping you to grow and make a difference for the better.

Go get them and enjoy the last days of summer.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (396)

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The end of July. Wow. This year flew past. It is Thursday when I start this post, and this week passed quickly too. I don’t even know what I did on Monday. Amazing, and good to see I am busy. There are so many things I need to be sorting.

Let’s see. I updated you on my job situation last week. More updates to follow, once hopefully things get a bit clearer, once people are back from holidays. Emails are quiet. News sites are quiet. I keep writing my own news on Linkedin, so if you haven’t seen my articles there, please have a look. Holiday season means slow response times, no decision making. Hey, keep looking forward, enjoy the quieter time, and some of the nice weather. It will get busier before you know it.

In Germany we call it the Sommerloch, literally the summer hole. No, nothing rude, not an a*hole, but the hole the press and everything else falls into when it gets really quiet. My FT is getting smaller by the week, and the content worth reading too. Hibernation almost. I did notice that I got more tired, but a few runs sorted me out again. Some more sleep would be good but too many things are going around in my head. Summer hole. I like that term. It reminds me of home, of the smell of grass from the fields, the freshly cut one. The one they collect later on in the year for hay. It is like the beginning of Autumn, my most favourite season. I know we make it to the end of the year. Things are moving forward. When I grew up I didn’t have hay fever. I now seem to have some allergy. Things are in constant change.

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Talking about change. I noticed this week in particular how change is affecting fast growing organisations. I wrote about it a while ago that when people join organisations at the early growth stage, and they then evolve and these people leave, they might leave with a bad memory. Yet a lot of companies then attract new people. I overheard at an event a few weeks back, that someone said ‘how could you join this company, they are not doing well’. I don’t ever say that about any company. And this is not in regards to my current situation. But companies go through changes and if one person leaves, others transition in. It might just be the right opportunity for them at the time, and works very well. They grow with the company probably for another 2-3 years and then a new group of people transition in, the new old ones out. Only bigger cooperations can afford to job rotate you every 2-3 years, and only a few hang around to grow with smaller companies and continue to have an interesting job for life.

That is one of the reasons of digital staff turnover. Too many small to medium sized companies grow too quickly. Some people cannot cope with the amount of change or like more stability. Some people grow and some outgrow a company, growing personally quicker than the company. Then there are changes, and it is very common. Whether that is redundancy, voluntary leave or head hunted to another position, doesn’t really matter. But this change must be managed very carefully. Companies who do, are the ones that survive, grow and outgrow competitors.

No this picture isn't really the way we live in Scotland ;-)

No this picture isn’t really the way we live in Scotland 😉

So when I am speaking to companies about jobs, I don’t only look at the job. Given my experience I can do most senior jobs unless they require a very specific skill I might not have. Equally important for me is due-diligence within the industry. What is it like to work there? How high is the staff turnover? And if high, why? If low, why? What are the points of differentiation? Are we onto a winning organisation? What are the values represented within the company, what do they stand for? I am a people person and my next step needs to be right. Above is just one example of a whole array of questions and talking points when discussing jobs and positions. With the change of guard there are opportunities and they might just be right for one person and not right for another. That’s what makes our industry so exciting.

In the meantime I spent a fantastic weekend with the family in Scotland. I love being in Scotland and enjoy the Scots, their mentally and the fresh air. No kidding. 15 degrees, slight drizzle and some fresh sea air. Nothing beats that. Whilst you looking out of your living window, across the Black Isle, having a coffee, the peat fire on and think about the things to come, the things to accomplish. You hug your kids as they wake up. You makes sure they are happy and you think, that this is now the only thing that matters. Everything else must wait. Everything else is secondary.

I cherish those moment. The moments that fully fill that summer hole for me!

Have a great week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (381)

A rather odd week if you ask me. I didn’t work my usual day from home, a window shattered next to me without me having anything to do with it, my back had a spasm when running and overall I am drained. The weather cannot make its mind up and my colleague handed back my old accounts as he was leaving. So things are stagnating a bit with new hires coming in soon.

And then….Winning. Being up there and doing things right. That is contagious. Isn’t it? Tuesday was one of those days. We won. We made progress. We made it happen. We are moving to the next level. Life is very much split sometimes.

Being on later train home than usual and thinking that whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve. Patience. Fear is the key driver of procrastination. I am not fearful. We must move forward. Tomorrow is the future. The day after tomorrow, a step further. A step closer. Life is moving in the right direction.

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This week I closed a chapter. Putting things to bed is good sometimes. It hurts. It’s not nice and we move on from there. But we had a good time. We can appreciate, agree and move on. The future is now. It is happening. Either way things are moving on, never stop, never being put on hold.

The most annoying bit this week was iTunes deleting my music library. And then they didn’t restore it properly. I wonder if it is just a technical glitch or a general iTunes problem. As it seems I am not the only one having those problems. The deeper you go into the dependence of Apple, the more you realise even they aren’t flawless. Guess no system is. However they still make the best devices in my opinion.

On Thursday night I had a bit of spare time, as the wife was away, and I watched a few Steve Jobs videos on YouTube. Also, I caught up with a few podcasts. I am making sure I am learning and moving myself forward. Patience is key. Things come to those who wait and things are moving.

Looking forward is the theme at the moment. Believing in positive change. That things will change. Things will improve. That is key. And this isn’t specific but in general having a positive and opportune outlook in life is very important. We cannot just stop, put it all down and give in, give up. We must fight, move forward and make it happen.

The moment we lose hope or wonder whether the path we go down is right, we lose power and energy. We must believe in making the right choices. We must believe. Always. There is no way you can give up. Or give in. You must work it out. Whether in private, your job or life in general.

Trusting the universe with what’s happening and that it will look after you. Action=Reaction. Your action determine the reaction. The universe gives back. Direct you if you like. Taking feeling into perspective and lead with your heart not your head.

And then, as I am finalising this blog post sitting on the train, I am listening to a conversation next to me about electric cars. Having just read the Elon Musk book on Tesla and how they push the boundaries for batteries. Yet the discussion, someone owning ‘an electric car’ arguing with someone else about “the charge will never be able to last the promised miles”. The reason I bring that up – a lot of people do not believe. They believe what they have, what they see. They are not visionary and cannot imagine this improving.

musk failure

We all live with limited information. Even if we are fully informed. That is, because we don’t know everything at any one time, as we are learning and as a human race expand our wisdom. Another report this week about the ripples from black holes puts life into perspective. Hawkings was mentioned and interviewed.

There are people that are pushing boundaries. That make things happen and move things forward. I still have a few beliefs that seem to hold me back, like security and barriers in my head.

They are moving, slowly but surely. And I am still young. I might never, and surely will never be a Hawkings or Musk. But maybe I will be able to push the boundaries in my little world. Moving the needle a bit. Contributing to positive change.

Enough thoughts for a day. When this gets published I am touching down in Frankfurt Germany for a family visit – having booked Monday off. Then business as normal in Germany for a couple days, back to the big smoke. Life is busy. Life is good.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (380)

If I look back at this week, it was a funny one to be honest. People are back from their Easter break, heads down, on with their work. So I had days at work just catching up on admin, last minute meeting cancellations and then days where I went from meeting to meeting. Some weeks are like that – not one is the same as the other. I suppose it is good for variety.

Evenings were filled with watching Outlander on Amazon Prime on Amazon Prime. Found some awesome Outlander Quotes, see one here. The wife and I finally found a series we both enjoy. I also watch Bosch, a police drama, which is ideal for treadmill runs. No thinking required whatsoever!

outlander quote

I also managed to catch up with a few friends this week which was nice. What I realise more and more is that one gets so busy doing things, that one can loose focus on the little, enjoyable things in life. Like meeting friends. Like making that difference to one particular person. It is great though and often I am sitting there on the train home, thinking it was a really good day. Most days anyway.

The bathroom arrived too. The next three weeks we are getting our wet rooms done and that will conclude house renovation part ‘one’. Means we have done the front door, back door, garage door, asbestos removal, downstairs loo, downstairs kitchen and living room completely with fire place, upstairs carpet, ceilings, floor boards, most radiators in the house and now the bathroom(s). Forgot anything? Once through, hurray. Last thing on the list is some garden work and the driveway which we hope to have done in May.

Then the new motor. I had another look on Saturday and we are test driving the car again soon. We made up our minds, and given the finance options, we might be able to do it as early as May….then we have to wait a few months to get it of course. We shall see. One step at a time. Oh, yes, the Skoda Superb with most the trimmings.

I ramped up my exercise routine this week also. After a 10 mile run (16K) on Sunday I swam on Monday and did 2 kettle bell sessions and two 10K this week. I am feeling fitter than ever, yet don’t seem to get enough quality sleep. I am struggling with lots of things going on in my mind atm. And this causes me a headache I am not sure how to get rid of.

Whilst I wouldn’t call it stress, there is strain on decisions and from discussions I am having. Sometimes when you wake up and think about things, it is difficult to go back to sleep. Yet my cats keep me company, they are settling in and got their last injection this week too. That means they can all go outside as of this week. Hurray. We are getting there. They are still a bit coy to venture outside but they have been. Of course Lula got herself locked into a neighbour’s garage on her first outing. The joys.

Guess life is about patience. The famous roses and perspective. Another great podcast this week said that you only create barriers in your mind. I tend to agree. Reading about Elon Musk who founded both SpaceX and Tesla, you realise human potential and what we are capable of doing. Yet not everyone is willing to take the same risk.

Elon Musk
Tony Robbins nicely summarised it with his human needs. Some people are more security driven then others. Some need more love and growth and others might thrive more on contribution and adventure. We are all individuals. And looking at it from a corporate perspective, a company needs to adjust to every one’s needs. Not just one person’s or the other’s. So understanding the individual, their goals, their background and what makes them thrive is key to being a good manager.

The reason I bring that up is that I am going through a bit of a recruitment spree at work, adding to the team and in the process restructuring some processes. That is fun and never ends. Not without challenges of course but great learning. As a company we are transitioning too, and are in a very sweet spot of our industry. Full steam ahead. I am excited!

One must trust the universe and that things fall into place. Having the above patience and enough stamina. That’s key to success in my view. Things never go as planned and nothing ever comes easy. Hard work always pays off and in the end we are going to be ok. Trust. That’s key to anything I suppose. Any relationship.

Let me leave you with those thoughts. It is just before 7 am on one of those days that I drafted my post. With the real time streaming on Facebook and Twitter, maybe I should consider a ‘Ballueder Video Blurb’ from the breakfast table. Maybe one day 😉

Have a great week and stay safe.
Volker

trust the universe

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Successful change guaranteed?

Maybe success cannot be guaranteed but below’s deck, number 2 in my recent series, is helping you to achieve sustainable change.

Let me know your thoughts.

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Sunday Column (166)

I couldn’t have asked for a nicer start to the week. It was a special day, I had the day off, and for the first time in weeks it was sunny. So the family took off to an animal farm in order to look at goats, sheep, lamas, cows etc. However, the turkeys were evil and really scared Colin. Bless. We did a nice lunch in a country pub and finished the day with playing train tracks at home. Fantastic.

I agree that these birds are ugly and can be quite scary if you are a lot smaller than myself 😉

Obviously reality caught up with me this week at work. I have been busier than normal and lots of things seem to happen. I also did a lot of networking, ending up drinking too much, every night of the week. Having said that, I kept up my running routine and managed my first 30 minute non-stop run on Friday. So I am very chuffed with myself.

This week I had a lot of thoughts. Not only about age but also about where the journey is going. The life journey. It might sound sentimental but when you stop life for a split second, sit down and look at what you like to achieve, then kids spring to mind first. At least with me.

I wanted to watch a movie on Saturday when my wife went out with some friends. But Colin woke up and hence I ended up not watching any. Here is one of my favourite movie speeches though:

A leader, military type, telling his troops that not faith nor race nor anything matters but that for their common goal they need to stick together no matter what. And, that he will be the first to enter the battle, and the last to leave. Heroic yet fantastic.

I never thought that kids became so important. They admittedly did my head in this weekend though. I dropped off Colin at school on Thursday and he was very huggy. When my wife picked him up and he asked whether “daddy was home” and she explained that I was at work, he said “I want my daddy back”. Only 3 year olds can come up with those questions and wouldn’t understand what is going on. On Saturday he wouldn’t settle asking for mum. You can’t win I guess. Hence when working from home, Colin is very much focused on what I am doing. We got some great shots of him and me in front of the laptop, or him using my headset pretending to speak to people. Only 3 year olds…..

On that note we still waiting to hear re our exchange date for the house. Our solicitor seemed to have screwed up a bit and we are very unhappy. Again, things are delayed. Unbelievable. And it is totally out of our hands which is the most annoying bit. I just hope everything is going well and we can move the beginning of June. Fingers and toes crossed.

Let’s see. What meant to be meant to be they say.

Have a great Bank Holiday Monday!

Best
Volker

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