SMP LeaderTalks

A manager unwilling to listen is unable to lead.

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Dialogue: the key to success

We like engaging in communication. We seek frank, give-and-take dialogue with those with top-level competency And we stand behind our arguments. If you too enjoy straight talk on hot topics, we invite you to join us at the LeaderTalks.

Playbook of successful transformations. -
Dr. Alexander von Preen meets Georgiy Michailov.

About successful leadership, city deaths and why change starts with you.

"Time for something to change!" Anyone who says that puts their company on a transformation course. The problem: Only very few manage to stay on this path. 
The result: most of the time, implementation fails even before anything moves. Our guest in the current SMP LeaderTalk shows how it can be done differently. He knows: Transformation works - if there is a clear playbook. Dr. Alexander von Preen is CEO of Intersport. And he has radically driven transformation there. His secrets to success? Start with yourself. Turning employees into players. And: Write down the recipe for success and share it. For example, in the form of a playbook. What's in his, von Preen reveals to Georgiy Michailov in this episode. 

The two also talk about how a parking lot started the transformation. And they take on von Preen's second passion: Because as President of Commerce, his heart also beats for retail. In this SMP LeaderTalk episode, the two discuss what opportunities he sees to prevent the extinction of cities and what he thinks was positive about Corona.

No more cuddling - Georgiy Michailov meets Wolf Lotter.

About the art of positive argument culture, utopias, capitalism and why performance must be worthwhile.

"Performance must be worthwhile," "Utopians are lazy sods," or "Harmony is for people without arguments." Pithy words. Strong opinions. And a clear stance. Behind these pithy theses is Wolf Lotter: journalist, author, podcaster and co-founder of the business magazine "brand eins." He is not only known for not mincing his words, but also for his thoroughly provocative views. He talks about some of them in this SMP LeaderTalk with Georgiy Michailov. 

The two have an inspiring conversation about the pursuit of harmony, the tense German relationship with capitalism, and current political problems. They also talk about Lotter's thesis on why performance must finally be worthwhile again. Lotter explains his opinion of utopians and they deal with typical German phenomena such as looking back or bureaucratic madness.

*Video only in German

Secrets of successful parenting and parenting happiness - Georgiy Michailov meets Dr. Reinhard K. Sprenger.

On children as ego prostheses, shrinking parents, and self-care.

This SMP LeaderTalk is a real highlight: Not only because management guru Dr. Reinhard K. Sprenger is a guest. But also because he is the first guest to participate for the second time. Sprenger is a high-profile leadership expert and management consultant. And he's bringing along a real highlight topic. Because this time it's not about leadership topics, but about parenting.

In his book "Elternjahre. How we live with children without losing ourselves" he deals with this sensitive topic. After all, parenting means enormous pressure on parents to do everything right. But what does "right" mean anyway? And does parenting always have to focus on the children? Sprenger changes the perspective. He looks through management glasses and realizes that it's the parents who have to be at the center of parenting.

What exactly that looks like, how parents manage to remain a couple despite parenting stress, and how fatal it can be to use one's own child as an ego prosthesis - Sprenger and Georgiy Michailov talk about this and more in this current episode of SMP LeaderTalk.

*Video only in German

The art of behavioral psychology for maximum success - Georgiy Michailov meets Prof. Dr. Matthias Sutter.

About patience, homo psychologicus, the price of morality and the way to the top.

We all want to be successful. At work and in our private lives. Easier said than done. But how do you do it anyway? For our guest in the current SMP LeaderTalk, the answer is clear. The proven expert in the field of behavioral psychology Prof. Dr. Matthias Sutter is sure, success depends on many factors. One of the most important: patience. 

In an interview, he reveals to Georgiy Michailov why he believes that patience always has something to do with our decision-making behavior. How important it is that the economy should finally be about homo psychologicus instead of just homo economicus. And he takes the unpopular view that transparency can certainly be problematic.

In the current episode, the two get to the bottom of many more exciting questions: What does it take to really get to the top? Why are swimming against the tide so important? And what advantages does diversity have for us?

*Video only in German

Memorable narratives for maximum sales success - Georgiy Michailov meets Roger Rankel.

Why the best story wins and how to make successful sales calls.

A painting company that knows its craft and guarantees absolute cleanliness? And who you don't have to pay if he works uncleanly after all? Sounds like a big heart for customers? Yes, but also a remarkable narrative. And that's exactly what you need if you want to be successful. 

Our guest in the current SMP LeaderTalk knows the impact of these remarkable narratives - and how to create them. Roger Rankel is the No. 1 sales expert and knows what matters in successful selling. 

With Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner, he shares his tips for successful sales conversations. He translates the classic pillars of sales psychology into real-world examples and reveals the problem Starbucks solved. Learn that and more in this episode.

*Video only in German

Transformation know-how meets happiness philosophy - Georgiy Michailov in conversation with Henning Werner.

About discipline and kitesurfing. And about a special book that you can't buy.

This episode is something special: It is a double premiere. Because with entrepreneur, researcher and ifUS Institute Director Prof. Dr. Henning Werner, Georgiy Michailov not only meets the first transformation expert as part of SMP LeaderTalks, but also the first author whose special book cannot be found in any bookstore.

And this podcast episode is just as diverse as Werner's vita: The two talk about surprising insights during Werner's "Certificate Course Transformation and Turnaround Manager", about his personal new record in kitesurfing and about "The Philosophy of Happiness" - his heart project for real satisfaction in life, of which there are only 20 copies.

If you're now wondering where Werner gets the motivation for his multifaceted life, he would probably answer: 'The motivation thing is over - discipline is what matters.' But Werner is not concerned with world records. Rather, it's about making the most of his opportunities, talents and framework conditions.

Find out here how he takes the various areas of his life into his own hands and what helps him pursue his goals.

*Video only in German

Superpower: The good in people.

A conversation about the right drive for transformations.
Georgiy Michailov meets Frank Steimel.

A beacon of hope or a spectre? Transformation turns upside down, changes and brings something new. Not everyone wants that. But if you are prepared to embrace it, it offers a number of opportunities.
Nevertheless, it is not a foregone conclusion. On the contrary. Companies have to do something about it if transformation processes are to be successful. In other words, they need to define a clear corporate goal. And: Know where you want to go.

For our guest in the current SMP LeaderTalk, these are just two of many success factors. Frank Steimel has a wealth of experience in corporate management and transformation. Another important insight: knowing when to stop.

And he has another important message for all managers: Try to see the good in people. Because there's a lot of potential there that we don't expect. It is the job of good leadership to bring this out and transfer it to companies.

In this podcast episode, he talks with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner, about how his experience in emergency rescue helps him with transformation processes, how much information employees really need, and what qualities good leaders should have.

*Video only in German

Radical negotiation at the border: Georgiy Michailov meets Matthias Schranner.

What matters when it comes to everything

A scenario that brings beads of sweat to the foreheads of even experienced negotiators: A village that is to be evacuated. Residents who have been resisting for years. And entrenched protesters who are going all out. 

Negotiating here is not for the faint of heart, Matthias Schranner has to take over here. For the professional, the most difficult negotiations with demonstrators, hostage-takers or in the drug milieu have long been part of everyday life. A tough school - from which we can also learn something for our negotiations.

Schranner reveals exactly what in the current SMP LeaderTalk. He says: "It doesn't matter whether you're negotiating with demonstrators in Lützerath or trying to get a higher salary. The principles are always the same. The negotiation expert reveals what these are in a conversation with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner. 

The two also talk about the mistakes it's better not to make in negotiations, how to deal with outrageous demands with confidence, and why good preparation is crucial to negotiating success.

*Video only in German

Effective leadership through a new understanding of roles – an interview with Prof. Dr. Armin Trost

German managers generally have a good understanding of leadership. And if there are problems in companies, they certainly don't come from the boardroom.
That's how the answers sound when you ask executives about leadership in their companies.

Does this mean that our companies are full of good leaders? Unfortunately, no. Because not everyone who leads also leads well - it's the effectiveness that counts.

The guest in our current SMP LeaderTalk has a clear stance on the subject of leadership. Prof. Dr. Armin Trost says: Good leadership has a lot to do with self-reflection and self-efficacy. And he says what no one wants to hear: You have to develop a good understanding of leadership for yourself, and that requires patience. No one takes it from us to find the right understanding of leadership for ourselves. You have to do that yourself. And that requires patience.

It's not easy. But it's the only way to turn managers into effective leaders. Trost also finds that it's okay to show more trust in your employees.

And he reminds us that friction doesn't always have to mean arguing. It can even be a form of appreciation. In the current episode of SMP LeaderTalk, Dr. Armin Trost and Georgiy Michailov also talk about different leadership models, why women are the more agreeable people, and why companies urgently need to stop coddling their employees.

*Video only in German

The story of the positive future – an interview with Erik Händeler

The energy crisis is dominating our everyday lives, artificial intelligence is unsettling us, and Germany's position as a business location is wobbling. So what does our future look like? 
Rarely have we wished for a crystal ball so much. But will things really be as uncomfortable as they seem at the moment? Or are we so worried that we can no longer see the opportunities?

We won't get an answer from the crystal ball. But we do get an answer from a fascinating and visionary guest: futurologist and science journalist Erik Händeler. He takes an optimistic view of the future and is certain that we will overcome problems like the energy crisis in the medium term. And we don't have to be afraid of an all-powerful AI either. 
He explains why he thinks so in an interview with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner.

Händeler brings an exciting thesis to the table. He is certain that our economic prosperity is not dependent on monetary factors. On the contrary, he believes that factors such as family, values and our overall social behavior are the biggest influencers on our prosperity. Crucial location factors are also growing in importance. The basis for this assumption: the theories of the Russian economist Kondratieff. What this is all about is discussed by the two in this current podcast episode.

They also talk about Germany as a business location, why (mental) health will become our biggest problem and what our behavior has to do with economic prosperity.

*Video only in German

The self-developer philosophy for more success in life – an interview with Jens Corssen and Dr. Claudia Drews

Hand on heart: How often do we torture ourselves through our lives? We see problems in everything, get angry about things that we can't change anyway, or sink into whining and complaining about our big and small aches and pains.

Jens Corssen is a psychologist and behavioral therapist. In the current SMP LeaderTalk he promises: If we stop complaining, our quality of life will increase. And he gives us practical examples that we can apply directly. For example, when we are stuck in a traffic jam again in the morning, his suggestion is: Instead of getting angry, accept the traffic jam as a situation that cannot be changed and look for options to deal with the unpleasantness.

He is certain that we ourselves are capable of freeing ourselves from the spiral of complaining and powerlessness. How? By not complaining, but by looking at these situations as a coach. This attitude not only works in traffic jams, but can also be applied to the everyday work of managers.

But how do you flip this switch? In an interview with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner, he and Dr. Claudia Drews of the Corssen Drews Academy reveal the role that self-development plays in this process. The two also explain why failure is too often accompanied by fear of punishment, how psychological safety can change that, why self-confidence can be trained, and why we should embrace uncertainty much more.

*Video only in German

Serendipity Coincidence – an interview with Prof. Dr. Christian Busch

Superglue, the brownie recipe or post-its. We all know them. What do they all have in common? Great ideas that have enriched our lives - and that all came about by pure chance. Even the discovery of America wasn't planned at all. Now you could say that was simply a product of chance. No more and no less. Or?

Prof. Dr. Christian Busch is of the opinion that there is more to it than that. And that's why he's looking into this very question. His main concern is whether serendipity can be actively brought about by one's own actions. And he has a clear opinion on the matter: It's possible. 

In an interview with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner, he explains why he is convinced that happiness can be actively induced. And like a muscle, this ability can be trained over and over again. 
The prerequisites for this are: rethinking thought patterns, being open to new things and giving the unexpected a chance. 

He gives examples of the role serendipity has played in his life so far. And he reveals how to create visions that you can also achieve and what responsibility leadership has in this context.

*Video only in German

About living at the limit – an interview with Reinhold Messner

Reinhold Messner's life is characterized by absolute extremes. He is considered a mountaineering legend, a border crosser, an adventurer, but also a philanthropist and an artist in life. Whether crossing the Antarctic, conquering all 14 eight-thousanders or founding foundations and museums:
For Messner not simply a challenge or the hunt for the next record. There is a completely different drive behind it. The connection with untouched nature. But above all, overcoming the impossible, and doing so with as much abandon as possible.

On his expeditions, Messner has faced the seemingly impossible on several occasions. Faced with unsolvable challenges. Nevertheless, he has not given up. In an interview with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner, he explains how he experienced this and why, in his view, one should definitely dare to tackle even the biggest tasks, even if everything points against it. Among other things, the two talk about what it means to lead a successful life. And they get to the bottom of the big questions: How do I correctly assess my abilities when it comes to life and death? What are my personal limits? How do I overcome the greatest challenges and how do I find meaning even in the useless?

What we can learn from his experiences? To look at our problems and challenges from a different perspective. And: methods that make it possible to survive at 8,000 meters - they also work a few thousand meters below.

But Messner also teaches us an important lesson. Namely, that it can be essential for survival to throw off ballast. And we learn about real goosebump experiences: What do near-death experiences actually feel like? 

*Video only in German

Beyond budgets and rigid traditions – an interview with Prof. Dr Franz Röösli

If you look into many German companies, you will see a lot of entrenched traditions, rigid processes and a "we've always done it that way" mentality hovering over everything. Progress is nowhere to be found. No wonder that even in management, the "command & control" philosophy is still followed. What may have been progressive in the past is now outdated and no longer the measure of all things. Why? Because in plain language it means: regulations, control, strict hierarchies and top-down decisions. That's exactly how you can't lead in today's VUKA world. And yet this is the reality in too many companies.

If you want something to change, you have to take action yourself. That is exactly what our guest did in the current LeaderTalk. He has not only helped to develop a more modern alternative, but also a better one. Prof. Dr. Franz Röösli and his co-authors have created an adaptive leadership model based on 12 principles. From practice for practice. And that is exactly why his model is so effective. He talks to Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner, about exactly what makes this model stand out. The two discuss topics such as the right understanding of values, talk about how decisive the right choice of personnel and trust in employees is. But they also talk about what is behind Beyond Budgeting and why one should urgently turn away from the classic annual planning process. Röösli also reveals why the right irritations are definitely a sign of modern leadership.

*Video only in German

The human being as an obsolete model? – an interview with Prof. Marco Huber

We’re in the year 2030. The idea of doing your own homework has long been a thing of the past. And jobs such as that of a bank adviser have long since disappeared from our everyday lives. Everything is now controlled digitally, by artificial intelligence or robots. Human interaction is increasingly rare. The human being is heading for obsolescence. A scenario that sounds like science fiction. And yet it is at least partially already reality. 

Nowadays, AI software such as Chat GPT can write whole dissertations without difficulty, or pass a Master’s degree. Systems are becoming better and better – and it’s happening fast. So we have to ask ourselves: If artificial intelligence is getting better and better, faster and faster, will AI soon be doing our jobs? Is there still a need for human beings? And if there is, for what?

For Prof. Marco Huber, it is clear: AI is here to stay. And it will intervene in our (professional) day-to-day lives more and more. This also means that AI systems will change our lives dramatically. What does that mean for us now? Is the consequence really going to be that humankind now has an expiry date? Huber’s research is practical, and therefore leaves room for hope. 

For him it is clear that in future it will not be a case of whether we use AI models, but how we use them. One way or another, AI is going to turn our lives upside down. And precisely this is what the AI expert talks about in this current LeaderTalk with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner. He points out the opportunities and potentials for the field that at first glance appears to be most threatened by AI: namely education. But Huber not only goes into the advantages of AI. He also reveals where problems can arise with programs like Chat GPT. And he ventures to give an outlook on where the AI journey may take us in the next few years – and where it is unlikely to take us.

*Video only in German

Formula for change happiness – an interview with Susanne Nickel

Upheaval, transformation, change. Strong words with huge impact. Or none at all.
It always depends on how you approach things. Quite honestly, most of us don’t really want any more changes. And is it any wonder? After all, change means leaving your comfort zone. Going where things get a little uncomfortable. Nobody likes to do that, especially if they’ve actually been feeling really comfortable for a long time.

If you want to change that, you need really convincing arguments. And you’ll get them from Susanne Nickel. In our latest LeaderTalk, this leading change expert talks to Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner, about change. And about what we secretly all know, but do not want to hear: No one is going to change for us. Change always begins with ourselves.

Whether we are talking about personal issues or the big change process in a company. But Nickel promises that change can be fun. And what is more, those prepared to get involved really do achieve something.

Susanne Nickel’s rousing talk is not just inspiring. She also shares a tip or two with us on how to get out of our comfort zone. Or how some real whining can advance our cause.

We also talk about the difference between the inner child and the fit adult, and we discover why The Hungry Caterpillar is a good example of a successful change process.

*Video only in German

Between climate panic, paralytic fear and a positive future – an interview with Vince Ebert

We ought to be pretty optimistic about our ability to prevent climate change. After all, we’ve got some innovative technologies, some great ideas and the creative minds to make them happen. We’re on the right track. So what’s all the fuss about? 

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Right now, we’re experiencing the extreme climate changes that are taking place at first hand. Despite all efforts, there’s a steady stream of climate disaster stories in the headlines. If you look at it like that, we have little reason to be optimistic about the future.

It’s time to break away from this typical pessimism and look at things from a different perspective. Vince Ebert already does. He says: climate change is happening. But he also says: There are plenty of reasons for hope, big and small, that we can draw courage from. He’s going to share them with us and explain why we can stay optimistic.

The (political) comedian and physicist knows exactly what he’s talking about. In the current LeaderTalk he chats to Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner, about why he believes our climate policy future isn’t as black as we think. 
But he also mercilessly confronts us with the unpleasant truths. Like the one that we all should really be clear about: we can’t stop climate change any more. But we can accept the inevitable – and adapt to it.

Vince also shows us that we should be listening more to practitioners than theorists when it comes to climate change, and why the emergency landing on the Hudson River proves it.

*Video only in German

Using your brain to achieve success – an interview with Prof. Dr. Volker Busch

Medial junk food, news 24/7, and being constantly online. Our brain is flooded with stimuli on a daily basis. Even in our leisure time, we are permanently surrounded by media exposure. So it’s high time we unplugged. But that is easier said than done. One person who is very familiar with this vicious circle is Prof. Dr. Volker Busch. He knows how difficult it is in today’s world to clear your head – in the truest sense of the word. But there are solutions – ways to escape the hamster’s wheel. And he reveals them to us in the latest LeaderTalk with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner. Together, the two of them plunge deep into our brains and embark upon a fascinating journey. And it leads us to Busch’s most important message: that we have to show more bite, instead of just giving up.

That also means fighting for what is really important to us in life. And he tells us how to achieve that, too.

The magic word: focus. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a question of concentrating on an exhausting task, solving a social problem or consciously concentrating on doing nothing at all. The secret to almost everything is to persevere, to really keep at it. In the talk, Busch reveals the secret of how we can make our lives easier and free ourselves of too many thoughts by focusing on the right things.

He also considers the question of what distinguishes self-worth from real self-confidence – and how a “deep hour” can help us find the right focus.

*Video only in German

Positioning as the supreme discipline – an interview with Peter Sawtschenko

“If you are not gaining customers automatically, you are wrongly positioned!” states Peter Sawtschenko, leading expert on positioning strategies. So if you know what you can achieve, you can release a whole lot more energy and potential. The reality in German companies is actually quite different. There are real treasures slumbering away there. From undiscovered products to innovations to genuine world firsts. 
And most companies have no idea that they’re there. Which means that there is potential there that is not being used, and USPs that are not being recognised. 

That has to change. And Peter Sawtschenko knows how to do it. He specialises in helping companies to gain a new perspective – and in thus unearthing the odd treasure.

He is convinced that companies have to look at themselves from a different angle. And this includes learning to recognise hidden potential and then also to use it. 

To this end, he has developed the approach known as energy resonance positioning. And he has already used it to turn more than 500 companies completely upside down. What does he do with it? He uses it to turn the innermost outwards. And thereby opens previously closed doors to hidden USPs and potential.

Sawtschenko tells Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner, exactly what is behind all this. In the interview he delves deep into the workings of German companies. And explains why almost all German companies fail to recognise and use their true potential. In addition, he gives a fascinating insight into the world of real cult brands. And he lets us in on the secret of why even some absolute top brands sometimes fail when they stray from the right path.

*Video only in German

Sleep as a game-changer – an interview with Prof. Christian Benedict

24 years is a long time. Especially when you realise that that is exactly the length of time we spend sleeping on average in our lives. So does that mean we lose around 8760 days to sleep? Fortunately not, says the leading sleep researcher, Prof. Christian Benedict. He knows that good sleep is the key to better performance and health, and a higher quality of life. However, it is not just the duration of our sleep that is critical, but above all its quality. 

Because when we come to rest, all sorts of processes take place in our bodies. We process the impressions of the day, get rid of unnecessary ballast, and make space for new things. And as this happens, our bodies take a break and regenerate.

But all this only works if we do not simply sleep – but sleep well. Then sleep can achieve much more. It makes us efficient, healthy, clever and creative. 

In the current LeaderTalk with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner, he takes us on an exciting journey into the world of sleep. And he shares his conviction that we can become high-performers through the right sort of sleep.

With the help of fascinating scientific findings, Benedict lets us in on the secrets of successful sleep. He confronts us with the fact that our eating and drinking habits are crucial for the quality of our sleep. And indeed in both positive and negative ways. And he reveals the insider tips that really do help when you just can’t get to sleep.

*Video only in German

Pattern change in the economy, New Work and Bullshit-Bingo – an interview with Markus Väth

Freedom and flexibility instead of rigid structures and complex processes. New Work promises a sustainable future world of work. What sounds good in theory barely takes place in practice. Why not? Because approaches we have used up to now fall short. What we need to really change something is a true change in pattern. Of this Markus Väth is absolutely sure. In the current LeaderTalk, he reveals to Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner, what he means.

His approaches go beyond existing thought patterns. He relentlessly uncovers weak points and rethinks the world of work. And in doing so, he turns our working landscape completely inside out. At the centre of his somewhat different New Work approach is the human being. Because people are what make the difference, Väth is sure. As managers, for example. But only if they understand that a sustainable working world is linked to freedom, personal responsibility, meaningful work, development and social responsibility.

However, Väth not only explains the role of leadership in his New Work approach, but also discusses in the talk the fact that social media strongly emotionalise our discussion culture. He also shows how urgently we must get away from bullshit bingo and why a look at professional sport shows that sometimes, we simply have to get on with it.

*Video only in German

How to always stay on course – especially in a crisis – an interview with Prof. Dr Ronald Gleich

Inflation and rising prices. We are going through demanding times. The economy in particular is currently facing huge challenges. Many find themselves looking for the right course at the moment, hoping to steer their company safely through these stormy waters. The bitter news is that there is no end in sight as yet. But Professor Dr Ronald Gleich of the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management knows why German companies can still look to the future with optimism.

In the latest LeaderTalk, he explains that even crises can offer real chances for growth and success. Gleich is convinced that what sounds like a contradiction can in fact be reconciled if the right mechanisms are applied. And he also reveals how this can be achieved. To do so, companies will however have to rethink their strategy. Controlling is going to have to be a particular focus of attention. This is no longer just about classic financial management. Risk evaluation, for example, plays a more decisive role today than ever before.
And controlling must be made even more accountable. When it comes to successfully implementing transformation processes, for example.

Professor Dr Gleich addresses this subject with a mixture of scientific theory and the familiarity of practical experience. In conversation with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner, he talks about his findings and provides valuable impulses. He is for example convinced that controlling in fact only needs 15–20 key indicators, and he is sure that a good controller cannot get away with not dealing with the future in his work today. But for him to be able to do this, today’s business studies degrees must urgently adapt to the new reality.

*Video only in German

The invisible game: enhancing performance with brain science – an interview with Professor Kai-Markus Müller

Do people automatically look for the lowest price? And under what circumstances are we prepared to pay more? These are the interesting questions we’ll be discussing today. We weren’t even concerned with these issues until relatively recently because there is no evolutionary pressure urging us to automatically search for the lowest price. Nevertheless, pricing has evolved into one of the most important economic levers, which raises the question of how pricing impacts businesses and consumers. This is where it gets interesting because our thoughts tell us a number of things about our perception of prices.

It’s worth taking a look inside our brains to discover what they are, according to neuroscientist Professor Kai-Markus Müller. His NeuroPricing method reveals what people really think about prices in a matter of milliseconds. It works before our conscious perception kicks in and we start thinking tactics, which is why NeuroPricing delivers fascinating and important insights into consumers’ minds. 

The secret of the invisible game is equally interesting. How can businesses effectively prepare their customers for price increases? Perception also plays a central role in this process because price adjustments are to some extent below the perception threshold – and therefore invisible. That’s an important insight for businesses, especially when they are putting their prices up. 

Müller uses his Invisible Game method to answer other interesting questions such as: How can I train my subconscious to be aware of and respond situationally to the invisible game? Or why is the success of a business so closely linked to its sales strategy?

Professor Kai-Markus Müller provides the answers to these questions and other insights in his new book and in the latest LeaderTalk with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner. They discuss relevant aspects of pricing as well as the issues of when we are willing to pay higher prices and how businesses can improve their profits with NeuroPricing. Müller also shares the pricing mistakes that major international chains such as Starbucks make, and explains why price increases should always be properly justified.

*Video only in German

Future leadership: Why putting out fires is an important aspect of good management – an interview with Lars Vollmer and Mark Poppenborg

You can’t have a future without a past. That applies to most areas of life, especially or particularly future leadership because 20th century company management is definitely defining the future of leadership.

So what exactly is good leadership? Most people associate it with very specific personal qualities. But is it really that simple? Is there a personality trait tool kit for a good team leader or a good business manager? It’s not that easy according to Lars Vollmer and Mark Poppenborg, future leadership experts, who were interviewed by Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner.

A good leader isn’t defined by their personality traits, but by their good judgement. Someone with the ability to judge the right decision generally also has the ability to be an effective leader. And a leader who can inspire their team by communicating a determination to make things happen will help the business to move forward. Poppenborg and Vollmer are convinced that being an introvert or extrovert, cultural background, charisma or lack of charisma, are unimportant and we can see that too if we let our gaze wander into the world of professional football, for example. Here, too, good judgement plays a crucial role. The basic principle of ‘talent recognises talent’ applies in football for a very simple reason. Talent scouts are generally skilled footballers who know exactly what they are looking for and can recognise real talent when they see it. Ultimately, it isn’t KPIs that count. It’s the judgement of the talent scouts. Professional football is also a business enterprise, so we can transfer the same principles to modern management.

Managers who fail despite having good judgement are generally not to blame. Their failure is almost always related to structural deficits within the organisation. So it’s worth finding the fires and putting them out if you really want to change something, say the founders of the ‘intrinsify’ think tank.

Check out the latest LeaderTalk to discover the other ingredients of good leadership, the tools that are available and what the two men discuss with other experts in their think tank.

*Video only in German

Released from the cage. Why freedom and individual responsibility improve performance – an interview with Oliver Sowa

Many projects and bureaucratic structures give us a framework in which to act, but they don’t provide motivation according to Oliver Sowa, CEO of the Beutlhauser Group. Seven years ago, after a workshop with management guru Dr Reinhard Sprenger, he and his fellow directors abolished all bureaucratic obstacles in their company. Among the many resulting changes, holiday leave applications are now a relic of the past, and regional decisions are made locally. The company’s senior management created an action framework that gives employees the freedom to make decisions and the sense of acting on an equal footing. All these things have improved the atmosphere, the spirit and, more importantly, performance, said Sowa in an interview with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partners. This is mainly because of the insight gained at Sprenger’s workshop that you can’t motivate people. You have to give them an environment in which they can motivate themselves. The expert for transformation and change in the high-end SME sector went on to explain that this was also the reason why they abolished the sales commission model when the new management style was introduced. As a result, the sales team is now far more client-centric and bolder in its decision-making. By making these changes we have disproved all common assumptions that the sales organisation only works if individuals are incentivised by monetary rewards, said Sowa proudly. In their latest podcast, Oliver Sowa and Georgiy Michailov also discuss why a company has to operate like a good host, why it’s important to treat employees as adults and allow them to act like adults, why unnecessary complexity slows everything down and the impacts of Reinhard Sprenger’s theories at the Beutlhauser Group.

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Trapped in the comfort zone. And how to free ourselves from that – an interview with Andreas Kuffner

Generation Z is no longer willing to perform?! They just curl up in their comfort zone of smartphone, tablet and social media, and are simply not what we would call high-performers. But is that really true? In our latest podcast, the systemic coach Andreas Kuffner and Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner, explore this question, and discuss how we can create a good framework for performance and success for ourselves and others.

In principle, the current generation of young adults is of course capable of performance, but the system in which they have grown up does not encourage them to perform, says the former competitive athlete and expert in team development. And so it is our task to create structures and new approaches that really inspire children and young people. Not through pressure and doggedness, but nevertheless with a certain discipline, and always in an environment that provides psychological security. This is also important for our annual New Year’s resolutions, says Kuffner. The mistake we tend to make is that the resolutions are usually way too ambitious, and the pressure thus too great. We must get used to thinking in small steps, and to deriving stamina and strength for all our plans and resolutions from the small successes we experience. Because it is these small successes that give us the self-confidence to continue, to master difficult situations, and to proceed with courage.  Olympic rowing eight champion Kuffner is well-placed to know this. Because even that ultimate goal of Olympic gold needed lots of small successes along the way to maintain his motivation at a high level.  This is of course also where a good team can help. A team in which it is not about being the best yourself, but in which you want to achieve the best you can together as a team. Of this the team player Andreas Kuffner is absolutely sure. 

And if we then also get into the habit of asking what exactly we are doing things for, rather than just calling them into question, we will advance, we will perform. The ways and recipes there are for this, why our experiences strengthen us, and how good relationships can help us to create something new – this is what Andreas Kuffner and Georgiy Michailov are going to discuss in the next 50 minutes.

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Self-presentation over expertise. A lesson in body language, voice and posture – an Interview with Monika Matschnig

If we don’t make a good overall impression, we won’t be heard, says Monika Matschnig, Germany’s No. 1 expert on body language, in conversation with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner at Struktur Management Partner. That doesn’t mean that only appearances count and content is not important. But a study from Allensbach shows that body language has almost three times the outward impact that the content has. Which is why charismatic people are much more likely to be heard. This is nothing new, Matschnig knows, but the fact that charisma can be learnt perhaps is.

It begins with posture and here, the expert has a simple tip: If you imagine trying to hold a pea with your buttocks, then you’ve got the right body tension. She recommends you try it immediately. Gestures also reinforce your message. By a factor of 12! People often don’t know what impression they are making, explains Monika Matschnig. Which is why she works a lot with video, especially when it comes to gestures and body language. This quickly makes clear what people need to work on and how they can change something effectively. Thanks to her long experience in training courses on rhetoric and communication, the graduate psychologist can also recognise when someone is fibbing or lying. She demonstrated this in her documentary “Die Wahrheit über die Lüge” (“The truth about the lie”), which was shown on the Franco-German TV channel Arte. The question is, however, whether we always want to hear the truth, or whether we need to know it. “We should prevaricate and fib as much as we can”, says Matschnig, “when it’s a case of something positive”. Pro-social lying is what she calls this. Anti-social lying, on the other hand, should be recognised when someone blinks fast, or their voice has a higher register. So if body and statement contradict one another, the body is telling the truth.

You can find out about this and much more on gestures and posture, hearing and listening, mirrored behaviour and why the same body language usually means people are on the same wavelength, in our latest LeaderTalk.

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Between esotericism and evidence based leadership. A discussion of dark triads, charisma and underdogs – an interview with Prof. Dr. Ralf Lanwehr

The dark triad – a combination of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy – is an unfavourable personality trait that is at the same time perceived as being particularly charismatic, says Ralf Lanwehr, Germany’s most funded business psychologist and expert in evidence-based leadership. In conversation with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner, he explains that it is very short-sighted not to attempt to change this unfavourable trait. Because just as charisma can be learned, narcissism can be partially unlearned. Lanwehr and Michailov discuss different management methods and explore questions such as why, for example, the underdog narrative succeeds; what advantages a “Mia san mia” winning mentality has (“Mia san mia” being the self-assured club motto and rallying cry of Bayern Munich, meaning “We are who we are”); or how you recognise effective management methods “when your questionnaire research in HR is quite simply fit for the bin,” as Lanwehr makes clear. If we want more evidence, we need to back experimental research, he says. A method that has long been used in marketing in the form of A/B testing. That way, leadership coaching and personality training would not ultimately remain just expensive disappointments.

But even more problematic for Lanwehr is the current “new work” development. For a country like Germany, without natural resources, employee empowerment is extremely important. Because that is the only way to establish a culture of innovation. However, “new work” as it is being implemented at the moment often brings with it disorientation, arbitrariness and egoism. Because no one understands that freedom can only be established within a clear framework, says the business psychologist. This is also true for the transformation of a company or team. “Change always brings resistance,” the business psychologist knows. That is why it is important what the employees trust the manager to do, and how fair and comprehensible decisions are. Because only then will the losers in a change situation join in alongside the winners, who will participate anyway.

Listen to more on work-life or life-work, the dark triad, the challenges for integrators and separators, and why the sacking of coaches does not usually have any effect, in our current podcast.

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Incorrect assumptions, wrong-headed bans. How game theory and freedom of the individual ensure prosperity – an interview with Prof. Dr Christian Rieck

Crises erupt suddenly out of normality because we are unable to predict certain things, and our attempts to change situations through targeted prohibition are short-sighted according to Professor Christian Rieck, a leading expert on game theory who is a popular YouTube influencer with over 270,000 followers in Germany. Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner of the consultancy Struktur Management Partner, interviewed Dr Rieck, who elucidates everyday phenomena as well as political, economic and historical developments by applying game theory.

Because who wants to save CO2, for example, if it causes their own standard of living to fall in the process? It would be much better to indicate ways in which people can maintain or even improve their standard of living by actively contributing to climate protection, Rieck is certain. With the help of game theory, the well-known YouTube influencer gives important explanations of everyday but also political, economic and historical phenomena, and thus also provides the basis according to which we can make better decisions in future and adjust rules in such a way that we are not plunged straight into another new crisis. He thus also questions whether the unconditional basic income can really guarantee the living standards of all, and comes to the conclusion that it is actually just a trick. The average person in society would in fact become poorer, and a new crisis would thus be provoked through false assumption, the gaming theoretician explains in the current LeaderTalk. So how can we manage to prevent or compensate for such false assumptions? Through lots of personal freedom, Rieck makes clear. Personal freedom forms the basis of an individual’s will to change. And in order to sweep people along with us, we need to dispense with hollow words, clear presentations and lectures of all buzzwords, and above all, speak rapidly. Because with the right bit rate, simple language and good content, listeners just do not have the time to get bored, the professional advises in conclusion. In the current podcast, you will also hear what else game theory explains, why it is the explanatory basis for systems theory, and how Prof. Rieck’s concept of “Digni” money could secure growth and prosperity in the future.

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The myth of “motivation, conflict and victimhood” – why the decision is actually in our hands – an interview with Dr Reinhard K. Sprenger

Why enduring suffering is easier than taking action is a core question explored in the work of Dr Reinhard K. Sprenger, who is a prominent expert on management and leadership in German-speaking countries. In an interview conducted by Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner of Struktur Management Partner, Dr Sprenger explains why constant authenticity is not desirable, for the ultimate goal for managers is always self-management. Leadership is effective when it empowers other people and organisations to lead themselves.
So it’s not about motivating others; it’s about avoiding demotivation and promoting personal responsibility. Finding motivation and the courage to take a decision are thus up to each individual, as the successful business writer explains. Tune in to the latest podcast to hear more about the myths surrounding motivation, culture, purpose, and conflicts as well as a number of decision-making tips.  

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Future success. Does saturation pose a threat to our innovative capacity? – an interview with Sven Gábor Jánszky

In this podcast, Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner, talks to Europe’s most innovative trend researcher, Sven Gábor Jánsky. Together, they explore the question of what the labour market, leadership and innovative capacity will look like in future. First of all, we need to emerge from our saturated state and recognise that we may be doing well, but that we are still far from reaching the top. We need to change structures, starting with education, which lacks innovative capacity at the moment. We need to connect with “the hungry” in the workforce, because they are the ones who have the drive to create something new, to go different ways, and to advance both the economy and society. There is huge potential, especially in our small and medium-sized companies, says Jánsky, but to unleash it, we need the courage to make changes. You can hear more on his forecasts and future scenarios in this podcast.

*Video only in German

Fit. Fitter. Way out front. Why only a healthy lifestyle can permit peak performance – an interview with Patric Heizmann

The combination of psychology, artificial intelligence and the simulation of complex decision-making situations has made Professor Dr Dietrich Dörner an exceptional figure in psychological research, and a much sought-after interview partner for Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner. Together they explore the question of what indefinite complexity does to people, and why we keep making the same mistakes because of our failure to take side effects and distant effects into account. The key thing is correct assessment of oneself and the situation. In order to burst our own filter bubble, we need people who analyse, keep cool, and are prepared to lay a finger in the wound. Dörner wants us to understand events in their context. And at the same time he warns us not to overgeneralise our own successes and success strategies. How we can train operational intelligence to make it a success factor in decision-making – this and much more is what you will hear in this podcast.

*Video only in German

The logic of failure – or why we should always see events in their context – an interview with Prof. Dr. Dr. Dietrich Dörner

The combination of psychology, artificial intelligence and the simulation of complex decision-making situations has made Professor Dr Dietrich Dörner an exceptional figure in psychological research, and a much sought-after interview partner for Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner. Together they explore the question of what indefinite complexity does to people, and why we keep making the same mistakes because of our failure to take side effects and distant effects into account. The key thing is correct assessment of oneself and the situation. In order to burst our own filter bubble, we need people who analyse, keep cool, and are prepared to lay a finger in the wound. Dörner wants us to understand events in their context. And at the same time he warns us not to overgeneralise our own successes and success strategies. How we can train operational intelligence to make it a success factor in decision-making – this and much more is what you will hear in this podcast.

*Video only in German

Successful value creation and simple strategy – an interview with Prof. Felix Oberholzer-Gee

For many people, strategy is a difficult concept to grasp – something they associate more with magic than with science. And yet it is not that difficult to put together a targeted strategy. It is however important to get it right, because profit follows value, as Felix Oberholzer-Gee makes clear. Why are the best development opportunities to be found in our immediate vicinity? Why is the willingness – of customers to pay, and employees and suppliers to sell – the most important factor in value development? We demonstrate why some companies are so much more profitable than their competitors. The renowned Harvard Professor for Strategy Prof. Felix Oberholzer-Gee discusses with Georgiy Michailov, Managing Partner with Struktur Management Partner, how to redefine the value matrix for good strategy.

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From a service attitude to greater entrepreneurial resilience – an interview with Sabine Hübner

20 years ago, people were already talking about service. And, as Sabine Hübner notes, people will still be talking about service in 20 years’ time. This is a perennial topic, but one that must be redefined and put to the test again and again in relation to constantly changing conditions, the influence of digitalisation and much more. Not least in times of crisis. But how can you successfully generate a real competitive advantage from service, increase your resilience and think of service as being an integral part of your company’s corporate culture? As Germany’s No. 1 service expert (according to the television channel Pro7), Sabine Hübner discusses this question with Benjamin Klenk, Partner and shareholder of Struktur Management Partner, in our “LeaderTalks”.

*Video only in German

Individual resilience, organisational resilience: an interview with Prof. Dr Jutta Heller

Resilience has become a buzzword. The concept is not about getting through crisis unscathed, it’s about cultivating effective crisis management capabilities within your organisation. Your individual crisis competency as well as that of your company. Germany’s most prominent resilience expert, business coach Jutta Heller, will be taking on questions from Managing Partner Georgiy Michailov at an upcoming LeaderTalk on such points as childraising, leveraging experience, decision-making freedom and fostering a culture of trust. The two will be drilling down on the necessity of crisis prevention, shared vision, common values and cross-functional collaboration among several other aspects.

*Video only in German

Break a rule, break free: An interview with Sven Gábor Jánszky

Making out the future, shaping the present: Knowing how to proceed post-pandemic!

This past year serves as a prime example to the world of how entirely unspectacular phenomena can inaugurate processes of ineluctable, disruptive change. Many things taken for granted just one year ago are today unthinkable. Time indeed to look ahead. The question on everybody’s mind is how things will proceed post-pandemic (worst case: no “post”). Partner Jan Rodig talks about the situation in an interview with Sven Gábor Jánszky. Jan, who is known as one of Germany’s leading future researchers and is chairman of Europe’s largest future studies institute, talks to our digitalisation expert on the future for SMEs, touching on rule-breaking, innovation and (of course) digitalisation.

*Video only in German

Radical leadership for radical times: an interview with Dr Reinhard K. Sprenger

What kind of leadership is needed for phases of radical upheaval like the one we are in, and will be needed in future? What defines good leadership? And with everybody talking about flattening hierarchies, what are managers actually needed for? Reinhard K. Sprenger systematically and radically challenges conventional views on leadership. One of his key axioms: “We don’t need managers taking up space in a room. We need managers that open up spaces. In an exclusive interview with Dr Reinhard K. Sprenger, Georgiy Michailov, explores further powerful insights and arguments around issues of leadership and conflict management.

*Video only in German

Artificial Intelligence: an interview with Chris Boos

Using artificial intelligence for real-world decision-making. AI pioneer and entrepreneur Chris Boos talks with Benjamin Klenk (Partner at Struktur Management Partner and expert for e-commerce and digital transformation) in an interview about the definitive signs that we are now in a paradigm shift in management and business decision-making. Since founding a bona fide AI factory named arago GmbH nearly 25 (!) years ago, Chris Boos has been occupied with the hands-on creation of what everybody is only now starting to talk about: Artificial Intelligence.

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Clear thought processes for better decision-making: an interview with Dr Rolf Dobelli

The error of overestimating oneself. Are we really as knowledgeable as we think we are? Can we really move as quickly as we think we can? What benefits can we derive from science in improving our decision-making? In his book The Art of Thinking Clearly, Dr Rolf Dobelli discusses key logic and thought errors we make. He talked in an interview with Managing Partner Konrad Fröhlich of Struktur Management Partner about decision-making quality, the courage to make mistakes and how to avoid crisis situations by taking selective perception seriously as a risk.

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Decision-making in extreme situations: an interview with Prof. Dr Gerd Gigerenzer

Is gut feeling more reliable than Big Data? The research of Prof. Dr Gerd Gigerenzer, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, has attracted worldwide attention for the insights revealed on how people approach risk and decision-making in extreme situations. Though unwelcome to the disciples of global homo oeconomicus and Big Data, Director Gigerenzer has demonstrated how relying on gut feeling can absolutely be the right way to go in highly tricky situations, even when facing extreme risk. Partner David Suedi of our firm had the privilege of interviewing Dr Gigerenzer on this very topic: decision-making in extreme situations.

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