Leadership in its present form no longer seems to work. Looking at the level of employee leadership, none of the leadership models of the recent past can currently secure a sustainable place on the podium. Probably also because leadership appears more comprehensively for managers. They are currently usually strategists, managers and leaders and today also innovators and change agents in one person.

The excessive demands are not far away. At the same time, the needs of employees fall by the wayside. It can’t, probably won’t stay that way. So where will leadership develop into?

How leadership still shows itself today

Today we often still meet executives who have learned their trade in the big schools of management and leadership, whether in St. Gallen or Harvard or … and have practiced over many years with sometimes more, sometimes less success. They are still involved in classic line or matrix structures, usually in a double mission as managers and leaders.

Mostly measured by the results that can best be expressed in hard figures – whether these are figures related to production or sales of products and services or figures that reflect the satisfaction of customers or the team.

At the same time, however, there is an increasing demand in these areas: to give meaning to one’s own actions and those of the team or to make them visible, to discover and develop talents and to see and enable each individual team member. And, last but not least, make sure that the processes are adapted to an ever-increasing dynamism and at the same time are already being acted on using scrum & Co agile.

And how leadership is lived at the moment

Sometimes we meet completely different managers in the here and now. Those who grew up in the last named “school”. They have learned from the outset not to think and act in long, medium and short-term planning cycles but rather in backlogs and sprints.

They have always been project orientated, are at home in the agile manifesto and are well aware of the importance of customer centricity. Team spirit is their elixir. Managers who do not distinguish between entrepreneurs and leaders. Their names are different. They name themselves owner or master and they are part of the team. In their understanding, it is also the group that counts, less the individual and his needs and development.

As a rule, however, these “managers” don’t really find their place in the classic silos and have a great deal of difficulty with the required “management-suitable” slide flows, the benefits of which they don’t see at all.

Managers are increasingly in question

Let’s face it, being an executive today is far from desirable. One of the named types is torn between the different requirements and expectations, even today driven by the classic pattern of goal achievement in time. The growing demands of a changing workforce, be it Generation X or Generation Y and Z, are increasingly demanding.

In fact, employee retention figures today are often not good, as the latest Gallup Engagement Index shows. This is a trend that is continuing and is exerting even more pressure on managers who are already working hard. The most questioned one is the direct manager, who is unable to live up to the expectations of his employees.

On the other hand, if one asks managers what they see as the reason why “leadership is less and less successful”, one hears of a lack of concentration, a rapid flood of stimuli, generally lower competence set-ups, especially in a dynamic environment and fear of making decisions. Or from a reluctance to face change, a so-called “fixed mindset” of the older generation of employees.

Together with the colleague who comes from an agile childhood, the manager outlined here increasingly experiences emotional overload reactions. Even if for different reasons. Both are not happy in the current structure and have a rather manageable happiness index.

Leadership does (not) meet the expectations of employees

And they’re not alone. If we change perspectives, we can draw an even more critical picture on the employee side.

Even if employees show themselves slightly more satisfied with an agile manager. All in all, however, the leader doesn’t really come off well. Only the fun and joy factor is usually rated a little higher in this management concept.

If one asks the employees, however, their subjective view is that they learn too little personally, are not sufficiently empowered and are not appreciated by their superiors. Or that there is a lack of responsiveness to their individual needs, such as reconciling work and family life or dealing with the increasing dynamics of work. Many employees today have the impression that they are not developing fast enough or are not able to contribute their talents. They do not feel sufficiently informed and not sufficiently perceived as human beings. In their eyes, individual support should be given even more weight.

Instead, they experience that their supervisor measures and aligns them by numbers, at least in the classical structure. Too little work is done in a team and that motivation often suffers from a feeling of pressure.

New leadership concepts alone do not solve the central challenge

The attempts to solve these challenges with approaches such as Transformational Leadership” or more recently “Servant Leadership” have not yet led to a lasting change in the situation.

They subjectively generate more happiness in the individual and thus make a significant contribution on the way to a more humane working environment. With this kind of leadership, the fulfillment of the expectations of the employees is better secured than with conventional formats.

However, the actual challenge is not solved in this way – the combination of the requirements of promotion and demand bundled in one person at the same time. Whether on the part of the manager or that of the employee, a bottleneck always arises. How authentic and unconditional is promotion if at the same time the focus is on output? And where will the individual contribute his or her energy when numbers and people compete?

And then there was something else – the customer

To make it round. We haven’t even talked about the third in the alliance, the internal or external customer yet. The customer, of whom we know that his expectations are mutating by leaps and bounds. The fact that he is becoming more and more “unpredictable” or demands to be analyzed very precisely, observed and understood.

To create products and services that uniquely live up to customer’s wishes is the aim. To establish wow-experiences and fulfil customer needs, even if the customer is not aware of these yet.

No, the customer no longer deviates from his expectations and requirements. On the contrary. He experiences confirmation in the fact that the fulfillment of his concerns has the highest attention. Many machines and systems are finding it easier and easier to identify customer needs in time and propose suitable solutions at the same time.

In order to always be up to date here and to meet this pressure of expectation appropriately, it is imperative to give the customer’s voice a greater hearing in a timely manner and to prioritize his point of view.

Where is leadership heading?

“Leadership” in the sense of a healthy and sustainable organization can and should therefore be viewed from three perspectives: employee, customer, performance. The competences required to cope with the tasks in the respective dimensions are very different.

Ideally, the potpourri of skills required can hardly be provided by one person alone. Not only because this is an enormous demand on the skills profile of a single person. Rather it is for the high-level personnel itself, above all even more for coworkers, a difficult balancing act to present themselves in contradictory roles authentically.

How credible is a person who, at the same moment, makes a claim for excellent quality that is justified from the customer’s point of view and demands its implementation from the employee, whom he should simultaneously develop and promote in his role as a promoter?

People at all levels of organizations are increasingly exposed to this dilemma. Which voice should be followed? How passionately can a point of view be represented? How authentic or manipulative is a leader in the eyes of an employee? And, what should the employee orientate himself to? Today the demand for excellence and quality? And tomorrow to be encouraged to build on individual strengths?

Another dilemma arising from this management model is talent development. Should a manager, who today is still primarily measured by performance records, report his real high potentials in talent pools and thereby bear the risk of suffering a loss of competence in the team? A real conflict.

Quite apart from the fact that leadership is transferred to the shoulders of the team in the medium term, current theories of organizational development are believed.

And what if we simply rethink that?

We are currently working on what this might look like in concrete terms. Today, tomorrow and beyond.

More about that in another blog.

Virtual coaching claims an increasingly important role in the context of modern qualification concepts. Why is coaching so important in tomorrow’s learning? Does coaching over the telephone or the Internet have any effect and if so, how does it work?

The learning of the future – different formats and methods

The demands on modern and innovative learning concepts are enormous. A wide range of skills needs to be developed in a varied and efficient way. At best, the learning formats should be effective, sustainable and up-to-date. In addition to increasing knowledge, the focus is and will be on developing mindsets or attitudes and sustained learning transfer. Working on our own attitudes is rather difficult, as this requires actively working on some of our deep convictions.

Each learning format has a different focus. E-learning primarily addresses the development of knowledge competencies. Classical classroom workshops or trainings focus more on the application of knowledge. Community learning is intended to ensure that knowledge is shared more effectively within the group and that an exchange of experience and collegial supervision take place. It makes a significant contribution to ensuring the transfer and integration of what has been learned into everyday life.

Aim and effectiveness of e-Coaching

And what is the significance of (virtual) coaching? It is the ideal format to activate the volition of a learner. But it is about more than just motivation. Coaching can develop personality, stimulate self-reflection or encourage a change of attitude. It is also an excellent choice for flexible learning support.

As part of Future Learning , coaching usually takes place virtually, i.e. via telephone or video conference. Thus, compact coaching sessions offer a way to maintain an ongoing coaching schedule over time regardless of distance, eliminating the need to travel. This makes virtual coaching extremely time and cost efficient. This, in turn, facilitates real long-term support for any learner.

Is virtual coaching effective at all? We have known for some time that coaching in itself is effective (Grover & Furnham, 2016). Also virtual or telephone coaching has an effect. According to current studies, there are no significant deviations compared to live coaching (Jones, Woods & Guillaume, 2015).

So it is no small wonder that this qualification format is more and more en vogue.

Fields of application and effect mechanisms of online coaching

When can virtual coaching be used?

It is always the format of choice when the focus is on supporting qualification programmes that are designed for the longer term development of individual learners. As this case shows, the coach acts as a link between the learner and his learning progress. It is the go-to method when learner and coach are spatially separated and regular live sessions cannot be realised.

In principle, coaching, even in virtual format, can be applied to these topics:

  • Process monitoring and process reflection
  • Target definition and target-process evaluation
  • Self-reflection and reflection on content
  • Review of competences and learning objectives
  • Development of learning successes and fields of development
  • Introduction of, implementation of and support for exercises
  • Personality development
  • Mindset Change, work on attitude and volition

Virtual coaching has a similar effect as a face-to-face format. Through the working relationship, empathy, esteem and increasing trust, learners can usually get involved with the content and development steps can be experienced. Structuring the process, asking questions and discussing exercises, goals or own topics leads to reflection and a deeper processing. The resources of the learners are usually strengthened. In addition, positive effects on a variety of psychological factors such as self-efficacy can be demonstrated.

Virtual coaching has proven to be particularly beneficial when coach and coachèe meet in person at the beginning. Although this is not absolutely necessary for the success of the coaching, it is certainly an excellent support.

Of essential importance is that the coach is experienced or suitably qualified in virtual work. Implementing coaching effectively via computers is an art of its own that needs to be practiced. After all, two levels of communication are severely restricted, body language and mood/atmosphere. This means that the linguistic design of the process is of even greater importance, as is the case in coaching anyway.

Virtual coaching – the heart of Future Learning

The importance of coaching for FutureLlearning will certainly continue to grow as it supports learners in two different ways:

  • Continuous monitoring of the individual learning process: In regular “coach calls” learners can clarify questions, structure their individual development process or check competence development. In a digitalised programme, coaching takes over what digitalised tests, artificial intelligence or e-learning cannot yet do.
  • Personal accompaniment of the human being: However, in an optimally designed and efficient qualification programme, people usually seek personal relationships and contact. Reflection and appreciation can hardly be experienced through the web. This social part of the development work can only take place in a person to person connection.

Virtual coaching thus combines economy and efficiency with the human component in the learning of the future. Attitudes and mindsets can thus be successfully addressed and developed.

Also worth reading in this context could be our Blog Coaching – a powerful instrument of individual change.

This blog was written by Nicklas Kinder, who is currently writing his dissertation on the topic “Coaching” at the University of Salzburg.

“Uploading” enables shaping the future

The term “Uploading” originally comes from Otto Scharmer and his Theory U. “Uploading” describes the conducive attitude and suitable behaviour of each individual in order to shape their own circumstances and future. With an understanding of “Open Mind”, “Open Heart” and “Open Will”, people act consciously and autonomously. He sees himself as a proactive and constructive co-creator of a community. It makes a meaningful, value-creating and sustainable contribution to organizations and society. The meaning of “Uploading” can be understood as an individual creating his or her own substantial contribution and bringing it into the system. The individual thinks, feels and acts on its own and makes this output available to others. Based on its own free will and for the good of themselves and others. That is courageous. This is how the future is co-created.

“No, like this” and “Wow, so” seem en vogue today

Uploading” thus stands in contrast to “downloading”, which is also described by Otto Scharmer. It is about the ongoing reproduction of information already available. Regardless of whether this information is evaluated positively or critically. “No, like this” and “Wow, so” are two sides of the same coin. They express the individual’s actions, which are more owed to the swarm. One joins a trend or a group and follows this view. This has little to do with a reflected individual view and design. Rather, one remains true to oneself and one’s mindset, reinforcing it again and again.

As soon as an individual, a group or an organization shows its edge, i.e. its own point of view, the feedback is not long in coming. Towards the one extreme as well as the other. If the Positioning meets the zeitgeist, it can lead to countless likes and a quantum leap in followers in no time at all. Conversely, countless platforms invite you to give room to your own displeasure, which can quickly grow into shitstorms and hate triads. The more populist the tone, the better. Sometimes the content is no longer important. What this overshooting behaviour does to us as society is another completely different subject.

Co-creation begins by leading yourself

Admittedly, in our world today, every day a whole series of themes become visible that give cause to marvel or to shake one’s head. At the same time, one could be distracted or standardized every minute. Push notifications, Alexa, messenger services, social media and many more try their best to win over our attention. It is a huge challenge to resist.

The daily dynamics, the exponentially developing flood of information and the much-mentioned digital transformation challenge us beyond measure. It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of things or to form one’s own picture. We are increasingly reaching our limits. It seems tempting to join “like-minded people”, to have a pre-selection of information made, to follow the chosen swarm. And thus, to put one’s own thinking, feeling and acting back.

But how much of a human being does then remain? Is this still worthy of human beings? Or is it more like being a machine?

If we want to keep being human (s), it is advisable to become stronger and more conscious to become a co-creator again. And to shape our own future proactively. Use your own potential and create added value. To express oneself, in coordination with the expression of others.

Otto Scharmers supports “Uploading”.
With the aim of “Presencing”, i.e. to “be present” as a human being and to help co-creating.

First of all, this means to lead oneself.
To do so, the following first steps are recommended:

  • Check your own “downloading” status and make a conscious decision to change
  • Consciously “switch off” disturbances and create more time to be mindful with yourself
  • Consciously form one’s own opinion and use a variety of sources of information for this purpose
  • Give space to personal intuition and learn to listen to it

To do so, techniques for the development of mindfulness (such as mindfulness-based stress reduction) can be a great support.


A Company Future Journey is a very familiar topic for us. Since our foundation, “The Company Journey Guides” have accompanied people and organizations in a variety of ways on their journey of finding an identity, cultural design, reorientation of business models as well as working and learning formats.
We know about the power of a vision and have learned to appreciate and prioritize the value of a purpose. We have often been able to experience how individuals and teams regain their full strength when the meaning of their own actions becomes clear, or how each of their strengths can be brought to bear. Sometimes we have even experienced a silence which occurs when it becomes clear how personal values and needs are in line with those of the organisation.
And yes, we have also gained experience with the fact that every change is gladly repressed and rejected initially before the path through resistance leads the way to shaping the new.

Departure – every beginning is hard

At the beginning of this year we set off on our own journey again. Our experiences during our projects gave us the courage and drive to start our own TCJG Company Future Journey.
It was easy to set off so far, questioning everything and verifying its future sense and suitability.
At the same time there were doubts and appeasements. Everything is actually (still) going well. And we have enough to do. Why should we now expose ourselves to a “pupation”? Especially since we know that our journey will lead through the four fields of the Change House (Claes F. Janssen). Defensiveness and resistance need to be expected along the way.
Things became turbulent right at the beginning. At first, we didn’t agree, neither about our departure nor about the direction. Leaving our comfort zone, even if it was just mentally, caused stress.
At the same time, it became obvious: now is the right time to leave. There was already a big crack in the cocoon. And a butterfly was waiting for us.

Start with the WHY

Following the principles of Simon Sinek , the first part of our journey led us to the WHY, the description of our Purpose.
Along this way we first dealt intensively with our past, our achievements and effectiveness. We reviewed our values and the motives for our actions. We found that our: values (mindfulness, truthfulness, sustainability) still remain valid.
At the same time, we analysed our strengths and identified what makes us unique.

We then asked ourselves what really mattered to us. Then we quickly agreed: human beings. And their unique and unmistakable contribution to shaping a company’s future.
We had already arrived at the “Purpose” and the caterpillar had hatched.

Taking time during the HOW

The short rest at our Purpose made it clear to us how invigorating it is for the entire team and it therefore was a real pleasure to continue our journey. Very quickly, the “Silver Line” on the horizon became clear. That’s where we should be heading. We empower people and organizations to shape their future and actively contribute to making this possible. WOW!

During our HOW, the development of the Governance and the Guiding Principles then again became somewhat bumpy. This is exactly where it comes down to business if you are to take this journey seriously. How exactly would we like to offer our services? What unites us in this regards? What don’t we want any longer, even though it is well familiar to us and makes us feel safe? What do we stand up for with all our strength and also ready to go the extra mile? What can our customers rely on? When do we say yes and when no?

That was really challenging and sent our team through another new process. Frankly, the doubts and concerns came back. And not everyone was always happy. Especially since it became clear that certain beloved habits would not continue to travel with us.

The result were eight Guiding Principles and four areas, of how we work. And now we are really happy with them. We have set them as a measure for ourselves and thus become effective accordingly.

We have learned: Allow enough time with the HOW. It just takes time. Well, caterpillars, just the same, take their time and move slowly.

Arriving at the WHAT via our customers

Before we actually turned off to the “WHAT”, we took a long detour via our customers. Following the principles of design thinking, we first wanted to find out and understand what they exactly need and what their concerns might be. Where do they see added value and why would they need our support at all?

We created personas for this purpose and looked at the world from their perspective. This was a very enlightening process that we can recommend to every organization and every team. We then carried out a Customer Value Proposition for these personas and were able to sharpen our HOW once again.

Then came the exciting moment: matching the focus of our customers with our core competencies and strengths. And four new and inspiring business areas emerged from this: Mindset first, Leadership? – Leader-Shift!, Zeitgeist L&OD and Hero Customer.

Now is the time to make them come to life. We already possess a certain amount of services and product offerings for these areas from our past and will contribute them accordingly. Others are currently under development, following the DT principles of iteration with our customers. There is still a long way to go. Consequently, our Company Future Journey will continue even further.

Some of our previous services also had to be left behind. They simply no longer have a place in our new travel baggage. We’ve already said goodbye to some of them, while for others this process is still outstanding. This is of course a little bit sad.

And yet: the butterfly is now unfolding its wings. It is magnificent and multi-faceted. And it is the future.

Your Customer is King

“I need to tell you something! You cannot believe how I was treated during my last vacation! I felt like a king” A friend of mine said that to me a few weeks ago and he recalled vividly his experiences from his last summer vacation with his wife on a stunning island in Thailand. I knew that they spent their honeymoon in an exclusive hotel three years ago and wanted to revive these wonderful moments last summer. He told me when they arrived in the hotel, a surprise followed the next. At first, they were greeted by name by the bellboy upon arrival. Then, the receptionist informed them that she already reserved their favourite table on the gallery if they decide to have dinner in the hotel’s own restaurant. When they entered their hotel room, they found two freshly squeezed juices and a hand-written card saying: “Welcome back! We prepared your favourite juices for your sense of well-being. Enjoy!” In fact, those juices were exactly the ones both preferred during their last stay three years ago. My friend was totally overwhelmed, not only by such a high degree of appreciation but also by the surprising effect.

The Needs of the Customer at the Centre of your Consideration

In theory those experiences are described with the term Customer Experience (CX) and are an essential part of a customer-centric approach. Customer Centricity means that the customer is at the centre of all considerations. Critical minds might note that Customer Centricity is only a new way of describing the familiar concept “Customer is king”. In fact, a customer-centric design and marketing approach for products and services goes far beyond a simple customer-oriented method. Customer Orientation itself focuses mainly on customer satisfaction, whereas, a customer-centric approach tries to identify the customers’ needs (a feeling that is rooted in a sense of shortage) beforehand and align the design around the identified needs. This means that products and services are not only designed to best match customer wishes but rather generate greater added value by fulfilling the needs of the customer. This could even generate a demand for innovative products that customers were not aware of in the first place. A popular example is the Apple iPad. The action camera GoPro was originally developed as gadget for ambitious surfer that wanted to record their surf ride. However, in no time the small and solid camera induced a huge demand to record and share leisure activities even if they were not truly ambitious per se.

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos names Customer Centricity as Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for his company:

„The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be earth‘s most customer-centric company”.

Currently, Jeff Bezos tries various innovative solutions for distribution and logistics (such as drone delivery) to reach the customers in their living environment and ease the buying process. The current strategic focus shows clearly that a customer-centric approach is derived from three main dimensions: Customer Value, Customer Experience and Customer Lifecycle.

Ask yourself the following questions: What explicit value does the product offer for my customer, beyond a simple product advantage? Where and how could we create individual customer experiences? How does the customer lifecycle for my product look like? That means: What are the Customer Touchpoints (all potential spots to get in contact with the customer)? Starting from an initial contact until a follow-up after a purchase. Combining these dimensions shows how experience and added value are interlinked across all potential touchpoints.

Implementation of a Customer-Centric Approach

Many companies transform their processes with a focus on extensive Customer Centricity (follow the links below). Showrooms are restructured radically („Audi City“ in Berlin), virtual 24/7 chat platforms (Vodafone) are established and emotional marketing campaigns are launched (TD Bank). However, the return is often not reasonable in relation to expensive initiatives. Costs can be identified clearly but short- or mid-term results cannot be traced back solely to the initiative. Therefore, it is important to present a viable business case.

A success criterion for developing customer-centric initiatives is a customer-driven investigation of needs. In the course of agile development, innovative methods such as Design Thinking proved itself when it comes to exploring the living environment of the customers. Ideas for target-oriented products and services are developed, based on numerous observations, customer interviews and a detailed analysis. The resulting product ideas are iterated in various cycles and further developed with customers. The concluding product is then tested by selected customers and the feedback is considered to create the final product.

Design Thinking – a Helpful Method to Create New Ideas for Customer Centricity

We use Design Thinking across industries in organisations as well as in retail to put employees in the shoes of their customers and let them experience the world around them from a client’s perspective. For this, the employees see through the eyes of sample personas with typical characteristics of their customers and go on a customer journey to explore comparable brands and products. Alternatively, the customer could be involved right at the beginning to co-create ideas and being asked about their needs.

We repeatedly face the challenge in the service industry that a customer-centric service behaviour requires a mindset change. It is about a true interest in the person and not only in the customer. It is about putting the customer in the centre, about empathetic listening and an intrinsic disposition to think beyond standards and create individual solutions. Customer experiences do not necessarily require efforts in monetary form such as gifts or give-aways. Extraordinary experiences are rather about authentic attention, individual solutions and the surprising effect. One of my favourite examples for this is the famous Hotel Group Ritz Carlton. A little boy forgot his plush toy “Joshie, the giraffe” in one of its hotels. The hotel returned the toy by post but attached a series of photographs that pictured how “Joshie” spent his last days at the hotel. The pictures showed “Joshie” relaxing in the spa, working in the office and sunbathing by the pool… (see link below). In summary: Customer Centricity is an attitude, not a tool.

My friend experienced that attitude during his vacation at the honeymoon hotel and told me recently that a stay at “his” hotel is already in plan.


Get inspired by a few examples of extraordinary customer experiences:

#10: Ritz-Carlton Helps with Joshie’s Extended Vacation

Customer Experience at TD Bank

Customer Centricity at Vodafone

McKinsey about added value through Customer Journeys

Good old times

Times are long gone when established trainer personalities with a main competence in classical methods were amused when hearing the term “e-learning”. To be honest, I belonged to that guild when virtual learning emerged around 15 years ago and learning modules were just as unattractive as boring. The competence to enable learning was reserved to trainers and instructor-led trainings (ILT). Content was merely provided in live trainings – ranging from sensitisation for topics through required knowledge to appropriate behaviour. Preferably, during two consecutive days at a decent meeting venue with the usual convenience. Huge slide flows were often presented until even the last participant dropped off. That pattern was pricey, intense and inefficient. Would the term “learning journey” already have existed, most probably we would have understood a multi-layer training programme such as a curriculum.

Today, e-learning is a key player

Meanwhile, e-learning has gained momentum and conquered its territory. Today, not only formats and content editing are diverse and interesting but also experts such as FKC design highly attractive layouts for the content. E-learning fits for capacity building of some competences better as it is a more efficient and more effective solution. Especially when it comes to acquiring knowledge and related fields of application, e-learning is an established resource. Smart e-learning modules are far more convenient to provide content and support individual knowledge build-up than seminars or self-study programmes such as PDF’s can do. E-learning also contributes remarkably to preparation and follow-up of classical and even new, innovative modules such as workshops and e-coaching. Besides that, it can be used as learning companion, e.g. as self-guiding eBooks.

Learning Journeys and Learner‘s Journeys

At TCJG e-learning is a solid part when learning journeys are designed. At the same time, we understand e-learning as a component of a learning journey that is supplied by a variety of different formats. Let’s have a look at the term “Learning Journey”. What do we understand by this? Currently, the term “journey” is used massively, e.g. in “Customer Journey” or “Employee Journey” and defines the individual path of a person towards his “goal” (respectively, the satisfaction of his own personal needs). In this light, a Learning Journey is the path of a learner towards the build-up of single or multiple competences. The Journey can be guided by topics (e.g. leadership) or it can be highly individualised. The latter would focus on a continuous build-up of a diverse and individual competence profile.

Characteristics of contemporary Learning Journeys

Thus, Learning Journeys can be understood as individual learning paths that offer various learning modules or smaller learning nuggets that are entirely aligned towards the achievement of a goal. Single components are built on one another or complement and support each other. Excellent Learning Journeys should offer a variation to daily operations, diverse ways of activation and unexpected surprises. They do not follow a certain standard but are rather individual and can be shaped by the learner himself. Despite all individualisation, my team and I always get inspired by a didactic core principle when creating new Learning Journeys. The following steps are verified to sustain learning. First, the learner always gets into contact with the related topic. This is best done on an emotional basis to sensitise the learner (e.g. via a video) and next, offer selected input for the rational mind (e.g. via an e-learning sequence). After that, the emotional and cognitive input can be experienced and the capacity to act is revealed (e.g. via a Live Workshop). Finally, we highlight the added value by inspiring the learner to transfer the gained knowledge and capability into his daily routine and plan the application of new knowledge and skills precisely. Today, essential components of Learning Journeys are, beside mentioned diverse formats, learning communities and peer work as well as the use of learning companions such as the eBook or an e(Coach). In addition, user generated content is currently indispensable.

Outlook into the future of learning and Learner’s Journeys

Learning Journeys are currently in a transformation process, too. Recently, Micro Teaching suppressed current learning formats (even around e-learning) progressively and even the Learning Journey is subject to pressure to adapt. Obviously, trends direct the development away from self-contained learning units, such as WBT’s, towards smallest learning nuggets. The nuggets are available at any time, always accessible and expandable via user-generated content that can be compiled individually in a personalised playlist. What would the established trainer guild respond to all of this…   Links/Sources: Learning Journey

Learning Journeys – SlideShare

Different types of Learning Journeys


The right mixture makes the difference

Maybe you remember it from your own past – the teacher is holding a detailed monologue in front of the class while the first student doesn’t listen anymore, the second doesn’t understand a word and the third is already one step ahead. If your teacher had adopted the method of Blended Learning he would still have the first student’s attention by using small, relevant learning nuggets. Student number 2 would have found all incomprehensible terms quickly via useful keywording. And student number 3 would be working and exercising on his individual learning path. The teacher in front would turn into an accompanying coach who assists in learning, motivates the group, encourages interaction within the group and actively supports practical applications. Of course, this situation is shown a bit exaggerated. But it puts the benefits of Blended Learning straight to the point.

Individual learning paths

How does this work? And what exactly is Blended Learning? The meaning of the word “blended” already indicates a “mixture”. An appropriate and useful mix means not only to learn digitally and virtually but additionally in live and in presence. It means self-determined learning but not left alone and in constant contact with coach and peer group. The underlying theory of learning of moderate constructivism assumes that best learning results incur by following your own interests and individual requirements – with a coach constantly by your side who accompanies your self-determined learning. “Moderate” constructivism (i.e. Roche, Jörg 2008 – Handbuch Mediendidaktik) is a development of the constructivist learning theory. While the learner is running into the risk of being overwhelmed by only self-directed learning and might get lost on his learning path, the moderate version ensures that support and suggestions are given and includes the attendance of the coach. Digital self-learning tools are hip – if used correctly they are certainly useful for some particular learning goals. But studies have repeatedly shown that the motivation may weaken quickly while sitting alone in front of the computer or swiping on the smartphone. The motivational involvement in a group, which meets live and at fixed times, helps to get on with the goal and to pursue on a long-term basis. Pure knowledge, as well as individual strengths and weaknesses, can be well identified digitally: Adaptive systems analyze the individual learning needs and assimilate accordingly. Simulations can be very close to reality. But the best ‘skill’ training takes place in situations when practice comes as close as possible to reality. This includes an authentic setting in an authentic situation of where I want to apply my skills in reality afterwards. This also is the idea of the “70-20-10” rule – usually 70 percent of skills emerge from practical experience on the job, 20 percent from interactions with others and only 10 percent from formal learning situations.  

Explanation of the 70-20-10 rule


Development of individual learning modules/paths

To transfer blended learning into your work life the following applies: The learning content results out of the employees’ competence profile. This content is individually matched with learning modules/paths. To grab and keep the attention and to ensure the optimum use during day-to-day-business, the modules/paths contain small learning units. The so-called learning nuggets include a short video with short questions for example. All learning modules/paths embed constant exchange possibilities with the coach and peer group, live workshops and practical projects.

The best of two worlds

Blended learning thus combines the best of two worlds which are not mutually exclusive, but rather complement each other didactically combined: the world of e-learning and the world of presence learning. It’s like the perfect “blend” of a latte macchiato: The foam of milk should not be missed but the espresso is a definite must for the freshness.

Internal corporate social network? Today this does not stand for social exchange with our network of colleagues at the coffee machine. “A “social network” is a dedicated website or other application that enables users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, images, etc.” That´s the definition found on Wikipedia – in a way a social network itself.

Social Networks have become the prevailing exchange medium for every day communication. If Facebook were a country with 1.44 billion members, it would have overtaken China as the world’s most populous country in 2015. People follow topics they are interested in on Twitter, discussions take place in internet forums, information is accessed via digital knowledge database. At the same time the use of social media becomes more and more intuitive and can be easily integrated in one’s everyday life – at any time from everywhere, accessible via app on your smartphone or tablet.

An increasing number of cooperations use social networks and media, however, predominantly when it comes to external communication. Companies find suitable candidates for open positions via LinkedIn. Commercials posted on YouTube and Facebook reach a much higher number of views than TV commercials – at a global level without additional effort or expense. Opinions users blog about a brand or product influence the corporate image as people trust the “customer experience” of peers much more than advertisement.

It’s time to use these concepts for internal corporate communication as well! More and more corporate social networks are being developed to ensure exactly this for the employees within a company: The feeling of being part of a global online-community, an equal amongst peers at every hour of the day.

But why is this important? And why is traditional communication through e-mail or via bulletin board simply not enough anymore?

Social networks build on mutuality and exchange. Essential for that is the development and maintenance of relationships between companies and their employees as well as amongst the latter. Through online-communities, we break traditional hierarchies, everyone is equally important, everyone has a say. This strengthens the feeling of belonging, the corporate identity.

Social networks foster cooperation and collaboration and encourage peer-learning. No expert in the office? No problem! The corporate chat allows exchange with colleagues in China, Brazil or the conference building next door. Through integrated forums we are able to post open questions that reach all employees – hidden expertise, that individuals have so far kept to themselves, comes to light. The collective intelligence of a company is activated as employees solve problems together.

Social networks save and secure information in a sustainable manner. A new dimension of knowledge management evolves. Instead of replying to e-mails with the same question over and over again, the expert posts his answer via internal blog or on the corporate Wiki. This saves time and capacity and preserves information over time. Thus new employees can access the information even when the expert leaves the company. Further, employees can deepen knowledge according to their needs by following additional links, videos or podcasts posted on the network. As a result the self-management of every individual is enhanced.

Social networks are up-to-date, intuitive and globally applicable. And: Generation Y and Z already consider the times of e-mail passé!

Have a look at why that is not necessarily a change for the worst in this video on “E-mail trees”Video E-mail trees

In addition, this video by Erik Qualman, the bestselling author of Socialnomics, as well as Digital Leader and What Happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, provides more interesting facts on social media and social networkingVideo Social Media Revolution

While sometimes the solution to a specific work-related problem is obvious for external observers, the directly affected person might stand in his own way. He might not gain access to the right solution. Good advice or technical instructions are not of any help. Often facts are known, but cannot be utilized.

A clear case for coaching. Working on a solution starts with the analysis and clarification of the coachee’s concerns. Customized and focused. The key competency of the coach is to listen closely, to read nuances between the lines and to ask the right questions in order to disclose the key issue.

Then the coachee’s goal is identified. What would it look like if the situation or problem would have been solved already? Usually the coachee is capable of describing the goal and to capture it in an image. The coachee draws strength from this image, it gives him wings. Then, the path towards the goal has to be sketched, building the framework which leads towards departure . On the way it might be helpful to hand refreshments, to install safety nets, to reduce the risk of falling or relapse. And to make sure the coachee does not lose his courage. As soon as first milestones have been achieved and the remaining path towards reaching the final goal looks clear, it is the coach’s time to leave.

That is it for the process. Essentially coaching enables new links inside the client’s mind to gain access to solutions already known. After all, the coachee is the only one who knows best what fits him right. Although he might not immediatly know that he is already knowing it.

The movie below brings some inspiration on the topic coaching:

Coaching Explain Movie

A company’s success depends largely on the competence and commitment of its employees. However, qualified personnel selection and development is challenging. Basis of a systematic personnel development process is the personnel diagnostics. It serves as a tool to identify the potential of its employees and determine individual developmental needs.

Goals and Tasks of Personnel Diagnostics

Personnel diagnostics provides critical impulses to increase the success of organizations. Firstly, it helps to minimize the risk of ill placed personnel. Here, it performs a central role in the recruitment process. Secondly, personnel diagnostics plays a role in identifying high potentials and ensuring the professional success of individual staff members. Differentiated competence analysis ensure that a fit between person and function is guaranteed and that individual skills are developed and modified in accordance to job requirements.

Diagnostic Methods in HR Development

There is a wide range of different diagnostic instruments and procedures, by which the suitability within an internal selection process can be found, individual SWOT profiles can be created, and qualification requirements can be analysed. Typical processes are, for example, simulation -based methods, biography – oriented methods, intelligence and personality tests, as well as interviews.

The Assessment Center (AC) is one of the most popular and most commonly used methods, although its predictive capability has continually decreased in recent years. This is mainly because redundant and standardized exercises are used. The AC is a multiple diagnostic method that combines various partial procedures. For potential diagnosis within organizations, the promotable potential AC and the HR development AC are used.

Diagnostic methods absolutely must meet certain quality criteria. Particular attention should be paid to the qualification of the persons involved. Assessor training, applying the principle of multiple-assessor verification as well as the rotation of the assessors are therefore essential components. Finally, utilized instruments should be able to precisely measure the criteria.

To increase the informative value of the assessment center for an organization it is essential to firstly develop an organization and function specific competence profile and to apply it in the competence assessment. Secondly, the methods and exercises used in the AC must be aligned to the everyday work life of the participant with practical relevance.

Individual assessments / human audit methods have become particularly popular in recent years because they allow a greater individualization and e.g. allow cross-cultural aspects to be considered.

Trends and Challenges

Globalization and the associated increase in collaboration in international teams and projects, alongside the high volatility in the markets also require appropriate adjustments on a diagnostic level. „Working across borders ” is no longer the exception but the rule and requires the promotion of multinational diagnostics.

Individual values diagnostics also continues to gain in importance.

At the same time, virtualization is progressing and calls for appropriate adaptation in the personnel diagnostics space.

In recent years, a strong increase of online testing method could be observed. The online utilization of IQ tests, knowledge tests, personality tests or case studies enables the measurement of processing and response times, adaptation of tasks of previous test performance, as well as an interactive design. So-called self-assessments guide participants through the work environment on a virtual plane. Online method thus not only examine knowledge, but inform people. Therewith, self-selection can be leveraged.

Some skills (e.g. knowledge) may be transferred more efficiently and more cost-effectively through virtual channels than through in-class lectures. In other cases, personal contact is essential for an accurate diagnosis and cannot be replaced by e.g. videoconferences or calls.

Personnel Diagnostics at TCJG

TCJG utilizes personal diagnostic instruments in the development and promotion of people. Therefore, often use „Management Audits” not only for pure location determination but also as a means to derive development plans.

We also offer individual concepts and solutions for junior development programs. To identify talents and their potential we run programs such as the „Talent Development Workshop“ (support assessment for junior staff, as individual or group process). This gives us a good foundation to accompany these people on their way to leadership positions.

A special TCJG offer in personnel diagnostics is that of individual values analysis. This instrument is especially valuable for organizations concerned with brand engagement and cultural change.

Submitted by our blogger Kristina Ressler

Be it personal or professional environments. Via classic channels such as movies or TV. Or mobile on-the-go, via tablet, cell phone etc:

A flood of video content accompanies us on our daily movements. In the field of training and higher professional qualification film has also long established itself as a learning medium.

Here, film itself plays only a small part in the overall context of so-called blended learning. It is yet to be seen in what way and to what integrative overall concept the medium of film will find its application in the field of learning 2.0.

Triggering emotions, increasing motivation. Depicting processes and content precisely. Completely individualized, practical and location independent. These are the classic core competencies of the established teaching video. But even here, the digital future has already arrived, enabling the learner to experience virtual environments via Augmented Reality. Hot topics here are Stereo 3D, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. These developments are supported by social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Co., which complement the interactivity of the content further. A huge range of variably usable tools are emerging, which offer the chance to expand learning 2.0 to a new level in the near future. But there exists the danger of getting lost in the maze of new media and losing focus on the topic of learning. Therefore, it is all the more important to integrate the films as a meaningful part in a modular and holistic learning path structure.

In addition, learning as we know it has been under scrutiny for a while now. As part of an innovative, free and global learning culture, the internet as a platform hosts numerous so-called MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses). They provide freely accessible teaching content. In most cases, content is delivered on the basis of video production in a variety of formats. Lifelong learning is therefore open to the public and completely independent of institutions such as schools and universities.

An interesting and entertaining contribution to the topic of future learning, offered from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), a published and animated speach from Sir Ken Robinson in 2008:
Ted Talk Ken Robinson

Another very humorous TED Talk by Salman Khan tells the story of a now highly successful, non-profit e-learning platform, the Khan Academy:
Ted Talk Salman Khan

One example of a MOOC e-learning platform is Iversity:

A powerful video content creation software (with a free trial) is Videoscribe:

Todays world grows ever more global and ever more digital. This entails great changes for the organization of work places as well as for society. The way people collaborate, share knowledge, acquire skills and learn continuously changes. People desire a flexible working environment and to be able decide themselves when and where to do what. Anywhere and anytime is the motto.

This also applies to learning. The future of learning is social, mobile, anywhere and anytime. Research shows that more than 80% of learning happens informally. This represents a great challenge for companies as how to design a work place that fosters and supports learning in this new way and that meets the learning needs of their employees.

Adidas is a great example for a company that took exactly the right approach. Its strategy – The New Way of Learning – brings learning back to the workplace and lets its employees equally teach and learn. Adidas provides an open and collaborative, social learning environment and creates a new culture of self-driven and life-long learning. For this, they founded the “Adidas Learning Campus” which enables its employees to decide when and where they learn, to choose what and how they learn and to network and collaborate. By creating an open and collaborative work place, Adidas has its finger on the pulse of current affairs and enables its employees to steadily learn and grow.

So, what does this mean for you or your company?

Adidas “New Way of Learning” strategy and its Learning Campus provide inspiration for how to face the challenges of the new (learning) trends. Rather than resisting change, Adidas jumped right into the wave of individualism with a collaborative spirit, inviting employees to co-create the future. They were able to take the timeless wisdom of “Everyone’s a teacher, everyone’s a learner” and apply it to the digital age. Chapeau.

The Company Journey Guides en route – our goal: the Starnberger Lake.

We circumnavigate the water, admiring the magnificent scenery and enjoying a hot, beautiful summer day – on Vespa scooters. On our trip we change the perspective to the other side. We, The Company Journey Guides, usually guides ourselves are now on a guided scooter tour around the lake and therewith are able to experience the perspective of our customers.

Enchanting scenery, beautiful insights and outlooks. Mild summer breeze. Laughter. Air. A delicious picnic. Seeking and finding guidance. Overcoming stumbling blocks in the form of manual gears and flat tires. Experiencing team work and support. Beat and happy to return.

We thoroughly enjoyed it. You need to experience it as well. We are working on it!

The new Leadership Report 2015 by Zukunftsinstitut is out! It shows the latest and most important trends for successful leadership in today’s and the future’s world of collaboration and innovation.

Today’s world is more fast-moving than ever. By planning everything precisely and in detail, companies are wasting their resources. Hence, companies have to be flexible in order to adapt to the changing conditions. That’s what the Leadership Report calls for – Organizational Agility. In this fast changing world it’s of great importance for companies to be agile and flexible and not to get lost in planning.

So what will the future for organizations and companies be like?

The future employee will be a knowledge worker who is an expert on a certain topic and works for several different companies for projects on this field. The future workforce requires a flexible organization form – a fluid organization as it is called by Zukunftsinstitut. This organization form is characterized by “open and interchangeable membranes” instead of rigid organization boundaries. The task of future leaders will therefore be to design such a workplace where employees are free to innovate and where they are emotionally connected to their task and workplace. Leaders should internalize and set an example of what makes up their company in order to be successful.

And what does this mean for you?

The future is about uniqueness and flexibility. So, stop planning, reflect on yourself and on your strengths, orientate yourself, fall into the chaos and lead!

Download the new Leadership Report by ZukunftsInstitut

Gmund, sustainability and corporate values

Surrounded by the alps and adjacent to a serene lake lies the Bavarian town „Gmund“ – and its name sake paper company. It is a family business, a paper manufactory, which has stayed true to its craft for 180 years. And this quite successfully.

Why specifically did we choose this supplier for the creation of our office equipment and not any other manufacturer?

Well, we are united by equal values ​​- sustainability, innovation and authenticity.

Like us, Gmund Paper creates its goods in Upper Bavaria and services the global market. And, like us, they do what they do with great dedication.

Gmund Paper is committed to continuous innovation – constantly developing new collections and offering innovative and customer-specific solutions. Like us. Not to mention the commitment to sustainability, minding the environment and mainly working with regional partners – without accepting compromises in beauty and goodness of their creations. Cooperating and collaborating with customers to find the best solutions and a clear commitment to the importance of learning and development. That clearly resonates with us deeply.

Check out GMUND Paper