Management concepts turned upside down

// Corporate Culture, noventum

At the 2015 noventum Business unusual Forum, author Niels Pfläging demanded ending the pyramid

Uwe Rotermund, managing director of Münster-based business consultancy noventum consulting, had extended an invitation to the 2015 Business Unusual Forum, and 90 company owners and managers from all over Germany came to discuss new management approaches and management methods. On Friday, September 25th, at the Factory Hotel in Münster, they experienced a day filled with provocative presentations, thoughtful conversations, satirical exaggerations, and a lot of self-activation. The moderation of the day was handled by Oliver Pauli, improv theatre maker from Münster.


The central theme, which was woven into the whole day, was already provided in the event's title: A management model that takes the changed attitudes of the working people into account and that provides motivation for the future, has to turn things upside down. Management, as it has been taught and lived for more than 100 years in industrial society, is similar to a pyramid. The organisational chart of a company documents what it is about: The thinking and planning takes place from the top down. "This model is completely antiquated", according to the firm conviction of the day's main speaker, Niels Pfläging. At the event, the author and self-proclaimed "management exorcist" presented his polarising theses and provided a major impetus to the discussion among the guests, most of them managers themselves. "Network vs. Pyramid" – this alternative was interwoven through his much-discussed presentation.


"To give is more strategic than to take." With an impassioned plea, Kurt Smit, the second speaker at the 2015 BUF campaigned against the logic of a radical ideology of competition. How do the right employees end up in the right positions? Smit provided answers for business practice from the fields of psychology, sociology, and biology. His conviction: If management principles aim for selection and dominance, productivity losses, dissatisfaction, illness, and burn-out will be the results. Future-oriented leadership aims to establish and maintain cooperation amongst all parties involved. Scientific insight and business practice lead to superior leadership ethics.


A special characteristic of the BUF – Business Unusual Forum, which has been organised by noventum consulting since 2007 in constantly changing form, is the emphatic activation of the attendees. In workshops with the speakers as well as with presentations of their own, personal experiences and concerns are presented. In the so-called "barcamp" – a kind of competition of speakers for the audience's attention, several speakers compete for permission to present their topic in-depth after a majority vote of the audience.


At the end of the day, Uwe Rotermund was satisfied and confident: "Management is changing and nothing remains the way it is. And active managers like us should be writing the schedule! With our Business unusual Forum, we will stay tuned to this topic in the future, too."



noventum consulting

Dr. Matthias Rensing


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