Chapter 16

The redis­covery of the high-perfor­­mance group

The state welfare system has allowed many people to organize their life as singles. HR management also focused exclu­sively on the individual employee at companies for a long time. But now, however, people have redis­co­vered the superior perfor­mance of well-trained groups. You have to be competent and a team player to success­fully contribute to the work of a group.

Erosion of the family

Nobody can survive alone in the long run. People are designed to live in groups. Humans are born much more “unfinished” than any other creature and will only develop when they are in contact with people that are fond of them. Mothers play a key role here. Families are the default group for survival. Over time, families have taken on a wide variety of forms: as a primitive horde, a stone-age group, clan, family tribe, collective, and extended and nuclear families.

Humans learn how to adapt their behavior to other humans as children in a family and later on in other groups as well, especially in groups of their peers. When this socia­liz­ation process is impaired, behavioral disorders occur. These disorders also affect society. Conversely, changes to society have an impact on families. Today, families seem to be dissolving in some societies.

As in many areas of the world still today, families also were respon­sible for dealing with the impacts of life threats like illnesses, disability, and unemployment. Family members were there for each other. As a community for procreation and survival, families ensured that children and young people were prepared for their time as adults who are able make it on their own. Elderly people used to remain socially embedded in the family and were able to help out as they were able.

But then families were influ­enced by the impact of more indivi­dua­listic notions: It’s every man for himself. Self-reali­z­ation, is desirable these days. Profes­sional life is consi­dered a space for personal develo­pment. The workplace is a point of reference for income, prestige, contacts, and a social security net.

Conse­quences of the social welfare state

The welfare state created the framework condi­tions for shaping an individual lifestyle. The respon­si­bility of the family and the effects of threats to life have been shifted to coercive insti­tu­tions. Childcare at day cares and educating young people in schools are equally part of the government’s tasks that have been a matter of course for a long time. The last thing to be regulated by the welfare state in Germany was the risk of having to care for the elderly. Why would you need family any longer? The welfare state relies on successful businesses to maintain the basic condi­tions of individual wealth. This also applies for indivi­duals: People who need a job need to have a successful employer. Since companies need to survive on markets, the level of incidental wage costs plays a key role for their compe­ti­ti­veness. Because only profi­table companies can pay taxes, take over social security contri­bu­tions, offer jobs and pay wages and salaries. Unemployment in an economy indicates that the job market is unable to balance the supply and demand of labor. In parti­cular, compen­sation does not come about when labor costs cause losses for one company and are lower elsewhere. The only thing that works is reducing the costs of labor.

There are also problems for the opposite scenario: If there is a shortage of suitable young people for the work that needs to be done at companies, the companies will have to cut back on production or expand to other countries or recruit employees from abroad. This results in conflicts with the local population which would prefer that everything be produced locally.

A society that cannot balance supply and demand on the labor market due to state welfare measures bites the fingers off everyone involved — society, the state and the individual. Companies are no longer able to fulfill the tasks delegated to them by the welfare state. Their growth potential is shrinking, they are making losses and ultimately they are being worn down in global competition.

The welfare state’s job-based survival system runs into trouble when there are no successful businesses or not enough of them. Socialism’s radical attempt to turn the state into an entre­preneur has failed dramatically.

Entre­pre­neurs discover the power of the group

Until recently, companies too focused only on the individual. It was up to the individual employees. And they had a job description. The employee was expected to have highly specific profes­sional quali­fi­ca­tions, profes­sional experience, and job-related qualities. Many companies used to be (still are?) managed with an autho­ri­tarian style. Just like the motto that the Romans already knew: Divide et impera! Divide and conquer!

Employees were only connected with each other in the pecking order. The official channels had to be observed. The employees had to compete for the favor of their superiors. This was the only way to have a career. These times are a thing of the past in some indus­tries at least, which was a result of the compe­tition on the markets.

Compe­titive pressure has led many companies to rethink their approach to employees. They are no longer consi­dered soloists but as members of a team. The companies have had the experience that an autho­ri­tarian management style no longer provides for the produc­tivity required for surviving on the markets. This is why they are redis­co­vering group-based perfor­mance potential.

Companies as pioneers of a new solidarity

At many companies, the profes­sional proof of quali­fi­ca­tions is merely a door-opener for the hiring process. Potential employees are selected according to additional quali­fi­ca­tions for which colla­bo­rative skills are starting to be of critical impor­tance. During the selection process, the appli­cants must prove their ability to work on a team to pass the subse­quent aptitude tests.

Our develo­pment as a society has turned family people into singles. As a result, many people no longer have the skills necessary to work together success­fully in a group. There is a lack of behavior such as informing others, listening, expressing yourself clearly, speaking in good time, showing appre­ciation for others, working together, planning together, making reliable agree­ments, taking a step back, helping if necessary, etc. In order to reduce this lack of ability to work in a team, companies are now spending lots of money on measures for HR and organiz­a­tional develo­pment. This is the only way to adapt and improve the quali­fi­ca­tions of the employees to meet the changed requi­re­ments, and parti­cu­larly the soft skills for employees in management positions. Companies are partnerships of conve­nience, and not true partnerships and certainly not life partnerships. Companies try to catch up and compensate for what has been overlooked and neglected during the personal develo­pment of their employees. But: Companies are not partnerships, nor are they families, they are working groups whose aim is to make a profit.

Self-develo­pment as a prere­quisite for the ability to work in a group

The develo­pment of social skills is necessary in order to be successful in profes­sional life: creating a community, gaining trust, being recognized and being productive. Peaceful coexis­tence with a partner, in a shared apartment or in the family also depends on social skills. They help avoid unnecessary stress. Improving social behavior begins with self-reflection. During this self-reflection, you should not lie to yourself, but openly and honestly admit what causes you diffi­culties when you are around and working with other people. Most people have no problem naming other people’s mistakes. But they are reluctant to admit their own mistakes. An important question — as parado­xical as this may sound in this context — is whether you can be alone. Those who know how to keep themselves busy and even enjoy being alone now and then don’t run the risk of becoming dependent on others. They rest in themselves, are balanced and balancing group members.

Freedom, power, and complacent slaves

Some people consider group norms to be like a strait jacket. Since they do not want to accept their loss of freedom, they attempt to take the lead. They want to have an impact on shaping the norms. They attempt to gain power over the other members of the group. They feel that their power over others gives them more freedom. This is what makes positions of power so attractive. People who see their life as a struggle are based exclu­sively on categories of power. They live out their freedom by restricting the freedom of others. History has many examples of how this works.

People tend to follow autho­ri­tarian leaders. This spares them having to take respon­si­bility. They try to avoid tasks that force them to make decisions. They want their peace of mind; others should take the rap. What is important to them is that they are doing well, that their standard of living is not in danger. Living like a sated slave is not an uncommon way of life.

Developing your perso­nality is a lifelong learning process that always requires new efforts. The insti­tu­tions of our society that ensure survival have recognized the great need for social skills. And the term “learning organiz­ation” was coined. Companies keep giving their employees new impetus to meet this demand with HR and organiz­a­tional measures. Collect all of the different sugges­tions and implement your personal develo­pment program.

Groups are not harmony clubs. There are tensions in every group. Misun­derstan­dings arise again and again. Conflicts of interest build up. Sympa­thies and antipa­thies resonate. Conflicts break out. Learn to deal with the group dynamic processes involved. There are workshops and seminars that simulate corre­sponding experi­ences and provide insights.

In the future, companies will pay closer attention to their employees meeting the requi­re­ments of working in a group. They need to boost perfor­mance, which can only be achieved through the synergy of groups. This means the following for the individual members of the group: being able to learn, keeping your knowledge up-to-date and always expanding it, constantly training your skills and honing them, as well as expanding your experi­ences and making it your behavioral fund of action. For, just like in soccer, only strong players can form a powerful team.

Life’s balancing act: Self-esteem

Chapter 1 Life’s balancing act: Self-esteem When you apply for a job, your cover letter usually includes a request for a personal interview. This is because…

read more

The conveyor belt to a self-determined future: Asking questions

Chapter 2 The conveyor belt to a self-deter­­mined future: Asking questions The freedom to think Personal develo­pment uses the ability to ask questions. With questions, you can…

read more

One thing you shouldn’t resign yourself to: Handicaps

Chapter 3 One thing you shouldn’t resign yourself to: Handicaps Imperfect – but with the chance that you can  improve yourself Human beings are imperfect. They…

read more

If you don’t force yourself, you will be forced

Chapter 4 If you don’t force yourself, you will be forced In the jungle of influ­ences We are all living in a web of human influences.…

read more

Embarking on self-management: Planning your time

Chapter 5 Embarking on self-management: Planning your time Use your time! In order to have the freedom you need to reach your goals, you have to be the master of…

read more

The spark of determined action: Initiative

Chapter 6 The spark of deter­mined action: Initiative Don’t dream about Never-Never Land! Nothing happens on its own. If you want to survive and have a…

read more

Like the euphoria from running a marathon: Self-improvement

Chapter 7 Like the euphoria from running a marathon: Self-impro­­vement Wishful thinking Being able to do absolutely anything without any effort. In any situation. Like Adonis, bright and…

read more

The foundation of all capacity: Concentration and memory

Chapter 8 The foundation of all capacity: Concen­tration and memory In more and more profes­sions, the ability to concen­trate is becoming a decisive perfor­mance criterion. But…

read more

Dialogue with yourself: Keeping a diary

Chapter 9 Dialogue with yourself: Keeping a diary From sheltered child to explorer and researcher We are all on a research expedition. At least, we all started…

read more

The power station of satisfying work: Motivation

Chapter 10 The power station of satisfying work: Motivation No motivation without a goal! Bright goals are the best motivation. Set yourself goals! And paint your way…

read more

Are you competitive?

Chapter 11 Are you compe­titive? We are the only ones who can decide what consti­tutes work and what value it has to us. Work is our…

read more

Your personal workspace is as important as the bedroom, kitchen, or dining area

Chapter 12 Your personal workspace is as important as the bedroom, kitchen, or dining area Those who want to be their own entre­preneur need their very…

read more

A systematic approach is the key to success

Chapter 13 A syste­matic approach is the key to success Only a syste­matic approach will help you avoid life’s short­co­mings. It’s like playing chess: Success is…

read more

Practice and theory may not diverge

Chapter 14 Practice and theory may not diverge What prejudice do you associate with the word “theory”? And with the word “practice”? Abandon your precon­ceived notions!…

read more

Don’t just dream about money – manage it wisely

Chapter 15 Don’t just dream about money – manage it wisely A fool and his money are soon parted, as the saying goes. And this is…

read more

The rediscovery of the high-performance group

Chapter 16 The redis­covery of the high-perfor­­­mance group The state welfare system has allowed many people to organize their life as singles. HR management also focused exclusively…

read more

The opposite of fluff is meaningful conversation

Chapter 17 The opposite of fluff is meaningful conver­sation Language is the air our thinking needs to breathe. We grow into our mother tongue as children.…

read more

The gym of life: Self-management

Chapter 18 The gym of life: Self-management People are ready to live life when they are able to shape their own life. To do so, you…

read more

The source of endless opportunities for improvement: Mistakes and errors

Chapter 19 The source of endless oppor­tu­nities for impro­vement:  Mistakes and errors We all have to accept that we are imperfect. But everyone also has to…

read more

What makes conflict in human coexistence bearable: Kindness

Chapter 20 What makes conflict in human coexis­tence bearable: Kindness Isn’t life a struggle? It really is a compe­tition. But the compe­titors should treat each other fairly…

read more

Traveling can do you a world of good

Chapter 21 Traveling can do you a world of good A trip you book from a travel catalog may give you the relaxation you seek. If, however,…

read more

Creativity allows you to constantly create opportunities

Chapter 22 Creativity allows you to constantly create oppor­tu­nities People who make creativity a source of their life will benefit from a wealth of ideas, boldness,…

read more

There is a time for everything: life phases

Chapter 23 There is a time for everything: life phases We humans are able to change and adapt and we have a free will. We develop…

read more

Learn to vet information like an expert by living intensively

Chapter 24 Learn to vet infor­mation like an expert by living inten­sively There have never been as many oppor­tu­nities to access infor­mation as there are today. People…

read more

Are you able to be alone?

Chapter 25 Are you able to be alone? People who are at peace with themselves have accepted themselves. They are able to accept that they are imperfect.…

read more

Shared values are essential for living together

Chapter 26 Shared values are essential for living together In the late 1980s, younger employees in parti­cular conveyed to the pollsters that they want to have…

read more

Are you living a healthy life?

Chapter 27 Are you living a healthy life? We long to feel good in our own skin our entire lives. And we can do a lot…

read more

The key for the market of quid pro quo: Competence

Chapter 28 The key for the market of quid pro quo: Compe­tence If you want to lead a self-deter­­­mined life, you must strive to be able to…

read more

A now rare attitude towards life: serving others

Chapter 29 A now rare attitude towards life: serving others Profes­sional achie­ve­ments are the prere­quisite for a wealthy life. Markets are more or less regulated through…

read more

Joy of life

Chapter 30 Joy of life The desire to be happy motivates all of us. But the imper­fection and malice in the world make many people unhappy. The…

read more

Menü