repeatedly reported on the Dutch people’s preference for deep-fried delights on
harlekin.blog, I would now like to address the issue of how the citizens of my
adopted country manage to keep fit despite these temptations.
observations, I can say that this must partly due to the fact that cycling is
still extremely popular in the Netherlands, even in sub-optimal climatic
conditions. All manner of more or less roadworthy versions of child seats,
child trailers, etc. are to be seen often with mothers or fathers and three
small children distributed around the bike.
HR Business Partner – the modern court jester in companies?
This is a contribution by our guest author Christoph Henties. Christoph already published the three-part “Organisations Learn Jazz” in June this year. We are very happy to have him back this week.
Recently, in a conversation with an experienced, committed HR manager, she quoted one of her superiors: “Our job in HR is solely to implement the board’s decisions and measures.” I visibly felt the restrictive effect of this statement of loyalty to the hierarchy on my interviewee. The disappointment at neglecting one’s own ideas for constructively shaping creative personnel work for employees and the organization was all too noticeable.
of the court jester came to my mind: a figure who could tell the authorities
unpleasant truths without fearing the consequences. This figure could mention
the unspeakable. It had the task of telling the ruler the truth, had the
freedom of fools.
the start of the new millennium, conditions for mobile work got better. The
number of Deutsche Telekom DSL connections grew from 0.6 million in 2000 to
13.3 million in 2008. The introduction of Skype in 2003 by Niklas Zennström and
Janus Friis made it possible for the first time to make video calls without
having to pawn house and home. So I (finally) had video at my disposal in
addition to telephone and email, which had become prevalent by then. My laptops
became lighter and more powerful and had integrated modems.
decision aid for hungry foreigners in the Netherlands
French fry fans don’t always have an easy time in the Netherlands, because the established “extras” to French fries are different from what we know from the average chip shop elsewhere. Since we take the life-support function of our Harlequin blog very seriously, we would like to support you in your decision-making here as well.
Recently I was asked for a holiday recommendation, to which I unhesitatingly responded: Asia. ”Ooh, nah, it’s hot and dirty there” was the reaction.
Our recent experiences in Japan proved the exact opposite. The first thing that strikes you as you speed into Tokyo on the high-speed train is how clean the place is. Crowded, yes, what do you expect if you cram 38 million into a city? But the houses are spotless and well-tended, no graffiti is to be seen, and the streets free of litter, chewing gum and dog souvenirs. They say they had to remove all the litter-bins after the sarin attack on the underground, but that alone cannot explain such cleanliness.
noticed those stickers? They are proudly displayed on cars – mostly on the back
and often on vehicles like the KIA Carens and the Peugeot 807. Very rarely or
not at all on a Mercedes Benz SLK or an Audi TT. You may think: “Oha! The
latter vehicles are well-endowed with horsepower, while the former are in need
of it.” With this I counter with the Opel Tigra Twin Top, which even with
the largest engine produces a modest 125 bhp. Now you might think:
“Eureka, I‘ve got it. The latter are made by German carmakers and the
former are from countries less skilled in car making.” I counter such a
foolish assessment with a dry “Citroën C3 Pluriel”, a convertible
like SLK and TT, which is built in a country that stands for French bread and overpriced
red wine, and in terms of power potential still lags behind the above-mentioned
often sport small screens at the back fastened to the headrests, which is never
the case for the latter. To all those who now think: “The latter can only
accommodate two people, while the former can accommodate six to seven”, we
can only shout “Brilliant!”
When I was in Canada one guide gave us an important piece of advice about bears: “Black bite, brown down”. In other words, black bears can be intimidated (unless they’re with their young or cornered), so make lots of noise to repulse them. All you can do with brown – or grizzly – bears is make yourself as small as possible on the ground and pray they may lose interest. Good advice for the workplace? Not all of us are bear whisperers.
Blame Management (Part 2) Undocumented, but practised processes of project management
Part 1 we introduced ourselves to the significance of this falsely demonised
topic in society and companies, it is time now to become more concrete.
requires a common understanding of what it is all about.
Definition of terms
term “blame” has also been very common in the German-speaking world
for some time, but there it is increasingly used in its progressive form of
“blaming”, i.e. accusing someone of something. In my opinion, we
should expand the definition in the corporate environment in such a way that it
better fits actual practices:
responsibility for negative events or circumstances to the lowest still
plausible, but politically most defenceless hierarchical level.”
falling leaves, persistent rain and colder nights dread falls upon us… When I
went to my car yesterday in a good mood, it was already there! She was waiting
for me, unmissable, right in the middle of the door to the underground car
park! That’s my door, it wanted to tell me. I would have liked to have agreed
with it and run back up the stairs immediately. My breathing became shallow and
my body began to make movements the mind considers nonsense, but my mind had absented
itself anyway. You guessed it. On the door sat a cobweb spider, aka a house
spider, altogether about 6 cms across.
Why am I
telling you about my fears?
think it’s time to make fear socially acceptable. Fear is a deeply human
emotion that unfortunately sometimes makes us do things that don’t make sense.
I often experience this in companies. But first things first.