What you can do for your commitment and against toxic structures


Imagine this: a highly paid top soccer player refuses to go onto the field because the lawn has been mowed. He says the psychological burden of the change would be too great for him. Or a production line in automobile production was converted and the employees complain that they can no longer work like this, that they first have to be taken along, explained about the new "working model", discussed with them and that a change process, workshops and a long-term support, the psychological stress of the change would be too great, otherwise many employees would certainly slip into burnout.




The inner decision makes the difference

Strange ideas, right? The only thing keeping the top soccer player and manufacturing workers from their jobs is a choice. The situation is similar with agile methods. It's not rocket science, you just have to follow the processes that are described in detail and then, by reflecting on the process, find out what works even better for the individual situation, what brings more results and added value and keep optimizing. Whether in top-class sport, in service occupations, in industrial production or in trade: payment is made for performance, for results, for products produced, for a massage, for a freshly cared for nursing home resident, for a parquet floor laid or for a new shell. It's relatively simple: money for results, that's the basic contract between employees and employers or contractors and clients. There is only money if the performance is right. Or there are customer complaints that can be read relatively quickly on Google or other rating portals.


Without working on the mindset, little moves 

Why are there more and more consulting firms that accompany lengthy agile transitions? Running workshops after workshops with almost no change. Why do companies and teams go through lengthy and strenuous so-called change processes? What's going on with office work right now?


Scrum claims “double the work in half the time.” If you don't see a significant increase in work throughput or completely different results after implementing Scrum or Kanban, then something is wrong. I have seen and accompanied Scrum and Kanban implementations in all kinds of areas: in legal departments, in compliance departments, in development, in central functions, ... in my experience, the difference between functioning agile teams and non-functioning agile teams is only one: the commitment factor , at the same time one of the agile values that the Scrum Alliance recommends for an agile mindset.


Without an inner decision there is no competitive result 

Our world is changing, customers demand high-quality performance and concrete results or problem solutions for their money. It is no longer enough to move your body into an office every day, to do something there under external control without concrete results for an end customer. It is no longer enough to go from meeting to meeting for days without asking yourself what you are doing there, how long you really need to be there or what the purpose of the meeting is. Rather, it is the change to conscious, effective and result-oriented work. This also allows me to go home earlier. If you can't sell the service, the job is obsolete. There is now a term for unconscious organizations that are more concerned with themselves than with the outcome for their customers: toxic.


Without an inner decision, toxic parts increase

 There are so-called "Toxic Assets" translated as "rotten assets or securities". Say something is wrong with these assets, they will probably have to be written off at a loss. I haven't heard the word lazy in relation to a person for a long time. You could also say it in a friendlier way: comfortable. It often seems to me that hardworking or ambitious have already become swear words. I've also often seen committed employees being devalued "He has too high demands." "He has to be careful not to lose the others." "She's not married/has no children, she simply has too much time .” Presumably they disturbed their colleagues' comfortable mode too much.


This week I had a very exciting conversation with an Indian technology group. The desire for growth, expansion and focus on results was clearly felt. This company has a specific goal and wants to achieve it. Of course it is easier to move in young structures, the whole system is less complex and less connected

enriched with contaminated sites. However, in the coalition agreement of 2005, even the German federal government decided on the program of reducing bureaucracy and better regulation. This program is controlled by the National Regulatory Control Council, measured specifically by the bureaucracy cost index.1 It remains to be seen whether it will be enough to be competitive with the economy from India, China or the USA in the long term.




How do I find an inner decision?


Actually, it is enough to observe how a daily stand-up works in order to find all the necessary starting points. Using the usual three questions:


What have I done since the last stand-up meeting?

What will I do until the next stand-up meeting?

What obstacles or risks are there?


There are only two reasons why these three questions cannot be answered honestly or not at all:


The product vision is not clear, the end result or how a team will add value is not clearly defined. -> you can work on that

Toxic structures, not to say toxic behaviors prevent transparency -> you can work on that

When a product vision or end result is clearly defined, all further work steps are just a logical sequence. As long as the answer to the first question is: "I don't really know what I'm supposed to deliver here." the product vision still needs to be fine-tuned.


When it comes to toxic behaviors or a toxic corporate culture, every individual can ask themselves “What am I doing here right now?” “What is this job good for?” “Who is this job for? It is no longer enough to do what everyone else does, it is no longer enough to do any job for a certain salary. Each individual has to search for what really fulfills him, what he really burns for and feels passionate about. Without this knowledge and without this inner commitment, without real commitment, professional soccer players will not achieve a victory and the assembly workers will not produce a competitive car.




Make it easy…


I would describe all other demands and complaints to the outside world as sensitivities. This conflict can only be resolved internally and requires work on oneself. Of course, it is much easier to give the responsibility to someone else. The boss is stupid, the manager not so or so, the project manager does this and that wrong, the supplier, the consultants, if I want to find excuses and culprits, I can find some. There is only one person responsible for working on one's own inner being: Everyone for themselves. There are a lot of tools and approaches for this, and the effectiveness of mindfulness and movement has long been scientifically proven. The same applies to both approaches: I have to do this work and stop wanting to talk about it. It's like paying a personal trainer to build conditioning, but spending an hour discussing training theories with them instead of just doing the workout with them. Toxic structures can be recognized by a lot of discussion and low work throughput and by toxic behavior such as complaining, scolding and gossip about third parties, knowing better, devaluing, artificial excitement or drama attacks. All behaviors that seem more like they come from the defiant age of 3-year-olds than from the reasonable behavioral repertoire of adults.




Honest and not very spectacular: quiet is the new "cool"


In our overstimulated society and dopamine-driven brains, we tend to expect big things. This creates processes in the brain that are comparable to drug addicts. It always has to be bigger and wider, always more spectacular. The more spectacular the goal, the higher the probability that the dopamine trap plays a major role. In order to find my inner voice, I have to be quiet, go into withdrawal and listen to myself. When I train every day, bit by bit, insights come into my consciousness. Inner commitment is made up of many small and subtle elements: I want to secure the existence of my family. i want to help someone I want to help develop this technology. I like meeting my colleagues every day because I like my colleagues. It's totally individual, but I have to be honest with myself because there is very definitely someone out there who feels that fire and is better for it. If I cheat myself, then I also cheat those around me.




Or to put it in the words of Steve Jobs:


“Your time is limited. Don't waste it to live someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important: Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what y

ou truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. …Stay hungry, stay foolish.”2


Pretty easy

If I don't know exactly what my job is for several weeks and if I can't figure it out, then my job will soon become redundant. It's a matter of time before someone else discovers it and draws consistent conclusions from it. If I don't know why I'm doing something, I'll always be worse than someone who knows exactly what they want. I shouldn't waste my lifetime just moving my body to one place every day, not my mind and passion. One would remove rotten apples from the fruit basket before they light the others, right? The people from the Indian technology group know exactly what they want, do you know it too?


Three specific tips: 

Establish a daily routine for yourself with the aim of testing your inner commitment and collecting positive goosebump moments. They are your indicator and lead you to your own personal source of energy: a 30-minute walk during your lunch break, writing in a diary, meditating, doing sports or yoga, a cold or hot shower, whatever helps you to come to you and your inner voice Listen.

Keep your own playing field clean: Stay away from gossip about colleagues, don't complain how bad everything is, always try to think: What can I do now, at this moment, to create clarity and transparency in this situation. Prepare every meeting, know exactly the data and facts of this topic and your area of responsibility. No opinions, no personal experiences, just facts. How many customers are affected? How much turnover is behind it? How high are the costs? What are the exact parameters that make up the problem? Don't discuss irrelevant issues, especially if the other person doesn't know the facts. If you don't understand what your job is: ask your manager. If she can't tell you, ask other executives, ask your boss-boss, if he can't tell you ask your boss-boss-boss, until you get to the CEO. If he can't tell you what your job is, find an area or company that appreciates your commitment, don't waste your life.

Address toxic behaviors in colleagues: You can change any situation in which you are present. Ask colleagues why they speak negatively about others or the employer. Ask them why they get up every day and go to this work. Demand a clear vision, demand commitment from your colleagues.




1: https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/themen/buerokratie reduction/der-buerokratiekostenindex-434042 und 



2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc&ab_channel=Stanford


Photo by Loren Biser on Unsplash 

Photo by Md Mahdi on Unsplash