Second Crack — The Leadership Podcast

Beyond Silos: Navigating Organizational Boundaries, with Dr. Jürgen Scherer

March 22, 2024 Gerrit Pelzer, Martin Aldergard, Jürgen Scherer Episode 32
Second Crack — The Leadership Podcast
Beyond Silos: Navigating Organizational Boundaries, with Dr. Jürgen Scherer
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we explore how to navigate organisational boundaries. As enterprises expand, silos and barriers often emerge, hindering collaboration across units, functions, and regions. However, adept leaders understand that success comes from bridging such boundaries, both within and outside the organisation.

Join us as we delve into this vital leadership topic with our valued guest, Dr. Jürgen Scherer, a seasoned leader renowned for his expertise in navigating boundaries in global organisations.

Key Moments

Introduction to Dr. Jürgen Scherer [02:32]

Understanding why organizational Boundaries exist [04:34]

Navigation: A horizontal approach to overcoming silos and fostering connectivity [07:19]

Overcoming “friction by design” [11:08]

Real-Life Examples: Navigating internal boundaries in a pharmaceutical joint venture [22:24] and overcoming industry-wide external boundaries [29:02]

Summary Insights: The skills and traits of effective navigators [32:57]

Developing Navigation Skills: How organisations can cultivate more navigators [37:16]


Reflection Questions for Leaders [43:28]

  • Reflect on a past project: How did you navigate challenges and boundaries, and what lessons have you learned?
  • Overcoming friction by design: Where might well-intended department targets unintentionally hinder company-wide progress?
  • What one action can you take today to navigate boundaries more effectively inside or outside the organisation?
  • Who do you turn to in times of opportunity or crisis, and what qualities make them invaluable? How can you emulate their approach to enhance your own navigation skills?

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To connect with us on LinkedIn, click on our names here:
Jürgen Scherer
Gerrit Pelzer
Martin Aldergård

You can find Jürgen's consulting services on his website www.bxb-exchange.com. Additional info about Martin's and Gerrit's work is  available on  secondcrackleadership.com

Do you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions for us?  Would you like to explore how we can help you to drive results in your organisations through a company-wide initiative or individual executive coaching? Then email us at  hello@secondcrackleadership.com

Second Crack – The Leadership Podcast (Episode 32)

This transcript is AI-generated and may contain typos and errors.

[00:00] Jürgen: And it came down to the two most important figures our company was striving for, improving gross margin and improving cash flow. And these were the two only incentives in the targets we had for both the procurement organization, the supply chain, and the sales and the key account organization. And guess what, many of the internal discussions, many of the finger pointing, many of to say, well, that was my contribution and this is not your contribution. Many of the questions, whether these savings are real savings and can be found, whether these revenues are already established revenues or envisioned revenues, whatever it was, they disappeared.

[00:56] Gerrit: Welcome, dear listeners, to a brand- new episode of Second Crack, The Leadership Podcast. In this show, we explore everyday leadership dilemmas and paradoxes, and we offer thought- provoking questions to invite self- reflection.

[01:12] Martin: Yeah. And today we will explore how we can break boundaries within and beyond our organization. We know that success of any organization depends on how we collaborate across units, functions, regions, et cetera. Yet we tend to see boundaries and silos and friction grow. Especially when the organization becomes bigger.

[01:38] Gerrit: Yeah, Martin, indeed. And leaders must navigate this friction not only within but also outside the organization, for instance, with suppliers, authorities, even customers at times. And these challenges, both internal and external, they are so common that almost all my executive coaching clients bring up such issues in our coaching. Today, we want to unravel this complexity, we want to infuse it with real life experience. And to guide us on this exploration, we are privileged to welcome Jürgen Scherer. Jürgen is a seasoned leader with extensive experience in navigating boundaries within a global context. So Jürgen, welcome to the show.

[02:28] Jürgen: Thank you. Happy to be here. Thanks for the invite.

[02:32] Gerrit: Thanks for joining. And I just give a high level overview of your career because I could go on for half an hour. So, you started your corporate career actually in procurement. Later on, you went on to sales, later to general management. You worked on various not only countries, but continents in the world.

[02:56] Gerrit: And nowadays people can benefit from your experience: You are a university lecturer, you are a consultant. And what actually brought us here together is that we are former colleagues. So at one point in time, we worked for the same company. As I said, you have a rather long CV. What specifics would you like to add?

[03:18] Jürgen: I would like to add maybe one component, and thanks for the introduction, and that is reflecting a little bit on your last comment. The combination of bringing in practical experience with some academic, if you want to call it, or conceptual background. I have a PhD from a business school and enjoyed the time at the university before I got into my, business career.

[03:51] Jürgen: And I always had in mind to return to university and share experiences made throughout the different business roles. And that I call a pracademic, is something which, combines the two elements. And I think the topic we will talk about today, boundaries and how do we overcome boundaries, is a very good example because what we see, and we will come to this in a second, I believe what you have described already on a high level in organizations, is unfortunately what we see at universities as well.

[04:34] Jürgen: pracademic on the show. I think it's the first time and, and it's a wonderful term and it's a wonderful combination. It's lovely to have you here, Jürgen. These boundaries, what are the challenges with these boundaries, what problems do they create in an organization?

[04:55] Jürgen: Yeah, as you, as you described Martin, we see these boundaries, left and right. So, when we think about boundaries, we think often about, functions and the way they work or don't work well together. We think about regions, the cultural aspects of boundaries, obviously. When we think about divisions within an organization, particularly large organizations with very diverse portfolio of divisions, we often recognize that one division is inventing something which has been invented in another one already two or three years ago, and there are more and more examples. And this, this silo approach, which is a very vertical approach, is obviously, hindering an organization to work effectively and efficiently together, because whatever you do within your silo is not optimizing the entire enterprise. 

[06:04] Jürgen: And as we now look at extended enterprises and networks, it's said it's no longer companies competing against each other, it's supply chains or value chains competing against each other. We need to think about even broader and open, Gerrit made the point, to the suppliers or the suppliers of the suppliers, and the customers and the customers of the customers. So, instead of vertical organization principle, we need to look at horizontal organizations. And that is, that is the challenge and to basically open up these silos. Sometimes words are used like breaking silos or busting silos. I wouldn't go that far. I would say as long as we are able to permeate and to let through the know how, the information, the learnings between those silos, whether they are functional or divisional or regional, then already we are moving in the right direction.

[07:15] Jürgen: And getting more to a horizontal approach than a vertical approach.

[07:19] Martin: And now leaders that needs to operate in this environment, where we need to think much more horizontally than vertical, so they need this skill set, these abilities or characteristics to maneuver here. How would you describe those skills? 

[07:39] Jürgen: These are typically capabilities that go beyond a functional or a divisional or a regional scope. So you need to have the ability to bridge those kind of silos. You need to go into what's called often white spots. You need to connect the dots. These are all terms which you hear when you start identifying what is needed.

[08:11] Jürgen: There is another term which I like a lot. It's called betwixt and between. So these people, these leaders, they sit literally if you look at, not a formal organigram, but a more, real life organigram of organizations, they sit literally at these boundaries, and they sit there for a good reason because they know that this is where the juice is. This is where the difference can be made. This is where projects often stall and fail and they are very eager to identify those, to pick them up and to work on those.

[08:57] Martin: Jurgen, is that something that is because this person, him or herself is seeking out those type of challenges? Or is it more that the organization identifies this person's unique capability and puts them there.

[09:15] Jürgen: Excellent question. My observation, and maybe I should add here that, that I have done, structured interviews with individuals from very different backgrounds, different businesses, different industries, different regions to understand better, what these people do. And by the way, I, started to use a term here, taking analogy from outside the business world, I used the term navigation to connect these dots, and to overcome the silos and to cross boundaries. My observation is largely, it is still driven by the intrinsic motivation of individuals doing it.

[10:11] Jürgen: I have very rarely seen yet organizations that structurally have identified the strong need for doing more navigation in order to overcome silos, to cross boundaries. But I would, I would strongly advocate that as we understand better what these people do when they navigate and how they actually overcome what is challenging in many organizations, that organizations pay much more attention to it and develop these people more consistently and more structurally, then leaving it to them by themselves, picking it up and trying to manage complex situations. 

[11:08] Gerrit: When I listen to you, maybe before we dive deeper into the individual skills and capabilities. While I was listening about also how Martin introduced the phenomenon of silos, I wonder if I take this issue back to a higher level, to actually the design level of the organization. Let's say the organization grows and at some point in time I have to compartmentalize. And the typical structure is I have maybe the different business units, then I have finance, different functions, etc. And I like this example that you gave. There's then the C level. And I think for them, it's natural to look at the organization as a whole. But what we then do, almost by design, we are creating these silos. You mentioned the organizational chart, and we can look at it then, right. Under the CEO, we have maybe six different people, and then it's broken down, and you can really see these vertical boundaries that you were referring to. Now, the problem that I see in my everyday coaching is that we then have, maybe even in departments that work closely together, like marketing and sales, they may have different KPIs. So the leader of that, let's call it a unit, his or her success will be measured primarily by this part of the organization. And it may be even financially relevant for them, through incentives. And, and we can continue forever. I mean, I spent a lot of time of my corporate career in manufacturing and there was friction with sales, there was friction with finance, because the C suite may set up goals for the year, SMART targets, and then we try with best intentions to break it down. Okay, how do I make this relevant for sales, for marketing, for finance, for manufacturing. But then we optimize within this unit without looking right or wrong. So, uh, right or left. So before we now go to the skills of the individual person, do you have any suggestions what we can do already on the design level to start breaking these vertical boundaries, to encourage, uh, these high, often highly driven individual leaders to play as a global team.

[13:41] Jürgen: Yeah, it's a,very accurate description of probably one of the biggest challenge that needs to be overcome to break the boundaries and to work across silos. The aspect of targets and as you rightfully say, the link to financial incentives as most organizations do it. And I would, I would repeat very briefly what I said before. I don't think we can bust silos, I don't think we can break them. It's, it's very difficult to organize an organization, to structure an organization, without giving it a certain functional slash regional slash divisional often matrixed organization. It's just needed in order to provide this kind of order and I'm not saying it should be completely out of order. There are examples, we all have read about these things. Organizations that work without a management, management free organizations. That's a fantastic idea, but it doesn't work for BASF with a hundred thousand employees, to be very clear, and it doesn't work for many other organizations.

[15:06] Jürgen: So, I'm back to, if we accept a certain structure for good reason and for many external reasons, reporting, financial reporting, and, and, and, we can still permeate, and we can permeate much better. And one way of doing it, and I give you a very precise example of the, the time we were working for the same company, which has been a specialty chemical company. I had the opportunity to oversee and to manage two organizations at the external end of our company. One was purchasing and supply chain management, so the upstream side. And the other one was sales and key account management, the downstream side. And this is very rare, I know that, and it seemed to be maybe to some people very strange at the beginning. But what we did in line with senior management with the C suite I was reporting into, was to say, let's get rid of of the functional targets. So the purchasing guys had saving targets

[16:29] Gerrit: Mm-Hmm. 

[16:29] Jürgen: and the sales guy had a revenue target, whatever, and it was obviously a little bit more complex. And let's say what combines the two ends or what combines these functions working in the same value chain for our organization. And it came down to the two most important figures our company was striving for, and I would say almost every company, is thriving for, it's improving your gross margin and improving your cash flow. And these were the two only incentives in the targets we had for both the procurement organization, the supply chain, and the sales and the key account organization. And guess what, many of the internal discussions, many of the finger pointing, many of to say, well, that was my contribution and this is not your contribution. Many of the questions, whether these savings are real savings and can be found, whether these revenues are already established revenues or envisioned revenues, whatever it was, they disappeared. Because at the end of the day, the financial controller hit the button, got the numbers out, gross margin was up, gross margin was down, net working capital was improved, was not improved, and we were all sitting in the same boat. And this is back to navigation. Now we are in the same boat and we try as a team to navigate the enterprise through whatever challenges are out there. So back to your point, it is doable, it is possible despite the fact that you still work in functions in regions and divisions, but it needs a concerted, consolidated effort and the willingness of the different areas to accept that having shared targets, having joint targets, that makes sense for all, of course, are much better, you are much better off with them than remaining within very narrow, very questionable, very one dimensional, very siloed targets.

[18:51] Gerrit: I think that's a wonderful example. I hope many people will listen to it, and then, the target setting and the measurement of key performance indicators will improve globally. Wonderful.

[19:06] Martin: Now we talked about organizational design, more from the organization system structure. And if you bring it back now to the individual leader again, what I can do as an individual leader leading from within this system. And I'm thinking like this, that all leaders, independent of where I am, I need a certain degree of navigation skills. I can imagine this is always useful. So can we start to elaborate a little bit, what should I be trying to develop? What do I need to become better in? 

[19:40] Jürgen: Maybe one, one point I want to stress the aspect of a cascaded leadership or a leadership from within when it comes to navigation. And this is actually the reason why I started to dig into this and to do some research and to start writing about this topic.

[20:03] Jürgen: I have read, probably a ha 10, 15, 20 headlines over the last years were someone says: the organization needs to navigate, we need to navigate the challenging environment, we need to navigate uncharted conditions,

[20:24] Jürgen: we need to navigate the new AI opportunities. The term navigation has exploded in literature, in all type of literature. But then I asked myself, who is actually navigating? It's not an organization that navigates. It's the individual that makes navigation possible. So that may be an additional aspect I wanted to add. But to your, to your question, Martin, what are navigators actually doing? And this is the main trigger for my interviews that I have ran with various people and the way these interviews go,  is I introduced the topic very briefly because the term navigation in business and the term navigator is obviously something most people don't immediately understand, but if you explain what they are roughly doing, very quickly you get a feedback of, oh, yeah, I know someone, I have met someone who actually did this. And these are the people that I have interviewed. 

[21:50] Jürgen: And in those interviews, I actually asked the navigators to tell me about a project where they think that their navigation was crucial to bring that project across the line. So it was a self- selected project that they have been talking about and it's often stories. They share stories with me and maybe I can briefly explain one or two, if that would be fine. 

[22:24] Martin: I think it is nice to share through a story. 

[22:27] Jürgen: Yeah, so here's Mike. Mike works for a very large pharmaceutical company. I'm not going to name it, we call it PharmCo. And Mike was involved as a senior R& D manager based in Europe, in the headquarter, in a project where this pharma company wanted to establish a joint venture with a startup in the US. He was in the evaluation phase. They identified a huge potential because this startup had a couple interesting new medical products in their pipeline. Long story short, the joint venture was formed. Mike was no longer part of that exercise. About a year or two year into this joint venture, everything went sour, everything went the wrong way. And again, Mike, working in a different department, different tasks, got to know that things are not going well. He stepped up proactively, went to his boss and said, listen, I know it's not my cup of tea, but I have seen the evaluation. I'm still convinced we can make money. Can I get back into the project? Can you make me responsible for the project for a period of time? They were very happy he did. So Mike stepped back in. First thing he did after looking at the numbers, the figures, everything, he sat down and talked to both sides from a very non- business perspective. He wanted to get the emotions on both sides. And guess what? The typical corporate culture startup clash. The corporate culture were all complaining that joint venture wouldn't do what the big corporate organization wanted them. Vice versa, the startup said they all want stuff which we absolutely don't need, they slow us down, and, and, and.

[24:34] Jürgen: So he listened, and tried to understand both sides, and brought them back together, and changed, with the help of the PharmCo organization, the organizational setup took the existing leader out, implemented a new leader who had nothing to do with the whole thing and actually put that person on site in the US, with the venture company instead of having that person sitting in the corporate headquarter. They changed the incentives and that is a long story but essentially we could say it was along the line I explained before in moving two very different incentive schemes to one combined where they all felt they can contribute. Changed a little bit the governance of the project with a few other people and continued a very open communication dialogue. And he stayed on board of this activity, although gradually he let the new implemented project managers and tools and measures work for themselves. He stayed on board until about, I 15, 18 months later.

[26:02] Jürgen: The first product that was in the pipeline got launched. Surprise, surprise, three years later, all three promising products were launched. And they, they not only matched the original expectations, they succeeded the original expectations of bringing new market and value to both organizations. And the joint venture continued to be, to be very successful.

[26:31] Jürgen: So what's the, what's the bottom line here? The bottom line is this guy, Mike, was very proactive, number one. Number two, he identified a problem which many people knew, but he was keen and willing and courageous enough to take responsibility, to take it personally. He asked to become responsible for it. He then listened, and he listened over and over and over, to the underlying issues. And then he took action and changed a few things which were crucial to make that happen. And he stayed on board, continuously communicated, got the glitches out of the system and made sure that the project would get across the finish line. And if you sum this all up, I think it's a very nice example of what a leader, a proactive leader would do when he or she would become a navigator.

[27:40] Gerrit: I think it's a, it's a wonderful example and it reminds me of, actually we did a number of episodes on the inner development goals, and a lot of skills and competencies that you just mentioned resonate so well with me. So when I think, I've never met Mike, but I get an image and maybe expanding this of maybe a more generic image of a navigator, somebody who has definitely the big picture view, does not get lost in the details, and brings together this, I think, maybe unique combination of, on the one hand, Humbleness or humility, not putting himself at the center of everything, but at the same time being also courageous. And then another pair that I see is this, on the one hand, being a very good listener. And I liked what you said, listening to the underlying issues. If I interpret it, it sounds to me like listening also to what is not said. But then not only remaining on the listening level, which may be perceived a bit passive, is then also able to act on it or drive action in the right direction. And being a part of listening is then also communicating. And, Martin, you wanted to add something. 

[29:02] Martin: Actually it triggers me to think about, I've also met somebody like Mike, and perhaps I can share this short project and, and also for the sake of confidentiality, perhaps I can call my navigator, John.

[29:20] Martin: And, this happened perhaps 10 years ago, I got involved in a project, a large chemical manufacturing company in Asia, where John was heading the marketing and sales team in APAC of his business division. And they were in the diaper business, they, were supplying ingredients, components, to diapers, to hygiene industry. And they realized, John realized that this industry had over 200 brands and manufacturers across Asia, and there was obviously consolidation starting to happen. And John said, you know, we want to be part of the change in the industry to make sure that we are a big player in this industry while the industry is consolidating. And, I think he really used his navigation, both the instinct and the skills. He had a network, he knew people, but he also knew that these guys, they don't talk to each other. It's a very siloed supply chain,

[30:26] Martin: and there was a lack of urgency, I think among all the players to do something and everybody were waiting for somebody to do something and everybody was protecting their own interests. And I think this was where John really stepped up and say, you know, I'm got to do something here. And you know what he did? Similar to Mike, he said, I got to get these people together around the same table. And we got to start to talk to each other across the boundaries, across the value chain. So with his, with all of his connections, together we were able to invite the key players. Imagine in the same room, we had the retailers, we had the distributors, we had the manufacturers, we had the suppliers, we even had the supplier of the machines that produces diapers. We had everybody in the same room. 

[31:24] Martin: So these guys were joining without knowing How is this going to happen? Everybody coming in hesitant. And you know what we did? We opened up by, let's talk about what you love about your job. We talked about the consumer. We brought in consumer research and they started to talk and share how is the consumer behavior around diapers in your region, in your country. And you know what? They discovered suddenly, they were passionate about the same things and they forgot that they were from different parts of the value chain. They totally forgot about it. They were talking like one unit about the consumer, about the innovation. And I think this was remarkable because then the second day after a nice dinner, they realized, guys, we have so much in common, it's a win win and we could start to discuss what needs to change because the consumer behavior, consumer expectations were changing so fast and the industry wasn't reacting fast enough.

[32:29] Martin: And it was everything from packaging sizes, to branding, to to distribution, to even the chemicals in the materials, the different regulations in different countries that were starting to come up, what kind of substances you could have in diapers. There was so much change needed and they picked up on it. And I think this was the, I can recognize what John did is similar to what Mike did.

[32:57] Jürgen: Wonderful. I just recorded this as my next interview done and I thank you for doing this for me because it is a perfect example as you, as you just said. And if we look at these two, if we, if we try to, maybe to go a little bit on a, on a helicopter view on those two, and I could add, as you can imagine, quite a few more.

[33:24] Jürgen: And as you were explaining John's example, many of the other interviews, I had a deja vu with, because again, many of the aspects resonate. This is where I, feel like we are looking essentially at a combination of three key aspects. I mentioned earlier, navigation is identifying where you are, a status quo, you need cognitive abilities to do so, envisioning where you want to go. And ensuring that the resources are there to go there, which a lot resonates with emotional capabilities, if you want to call it. And then very importantly and often forgotten, the ability to make sure that you get from A to B, which very often is not the way you have planned it, still, a plan is needed, maybe more than a plan A, you need a plan B, you need a plan C. And if you take these three core navigation components and you, you try to mirror them with what we were just describing with Mike and John in terms of what is needed, what are the skills to do so, it's a combination of head, heart, and hands. So you need your left and right brain. You need, obviously, data information processing, but you need equally important creativity, you need curiosity, you need imagination. So these are all cognitive capabilities and very importantly I would say, that side, that right side of the brain is often even more important than the left side of the brain.

[35:30] Jürgen: Then you need to get the people, you need to team up, you need to have a passion, a compassion, you need empathy, you need humility, as you were saying earlier, Gerrit, to, to get the people on board because the travel, the voyage is, is not a single person activity. It needs many people to make it happen and to get into the boat. So you need to motivate them and to create, this is what, what you just described with John, Martin, he created an atmosphere of psychological safety. People were able to talk to each other, although they were competitors or whatever, and they felt comfortable in doing that. And this is what a navigator actually does. At that part, he teams up, he, he makes sure that these resources are there, and then by working hands, or she is able to row the boat, to fly the plane, to travel on whatever vehicle you are going, and recognizing as you are going, in my way, I need to detour, I need to get around. I made to step back for a moment and then come back in a different direction. Always having the finish line ahead of you and making sure that you get across. So a cool head, a warm heart and working hands. This is what you need in order to be a successful navigator.

[37:16] Jürgen: This sounds already like a perfect conclusion for the episode today. Before we end it, I would like to ask you maybe one or two more questions. One thing that you mentioned almost casually, which I want to make sure doesn't get lost, you said looking back at a career of 20, 30 years, you only came across a few people that you would call navigators. And I think while I'm processing my own thinking, maybe it's three questions. To be successful as an organization, and of course it may depend on size, how many navigators do you need? If you are at the C- level, what can you do to encourage more navigation activities from individuals. And if I'm an individual leader, maybe not at the C- level, maybe not even in a, in a position that is formally called a leadership position, what can, if I maybe am already equipped with natural navigator skills, how can I bring them more to life? I'm sorry if I'm overwhelming you with questions, but it's just popping out of me. So, so is there a good ratio of navigators to employees? What can we do from the organizational perspective to encourage more navigation behavior, and what can I do as an individual? throughout my involvement with this fascinating topic, I have thought about all three of these questions by myself already. And I got obviously also input from people either through the Navigator interviews and or from talking to without a concrete example, more from a conceptual perspective.

[39:25] Jürgen: Question one. I would say there is no perfect ratio, I would say you cannot have enough navigators. I would say once you are running into the risk to only have navigators anymore, you probably have overshoot the topic. But I guess you get my point. You are perfectly right in assuming that the smaller the organization is, and let's think in startup terms, let's think five, ten people, the chances that you have a bigger ratio of a navigator in there is probably greater than if you think about the BASF with 100, 000 or DHL with 700, 000 people. So it is largely dependent on the size of the organization. But I would repeat what I said earlier. I think we have not enough navigation triggered, cascaded down in the organization and organizations should think more conceptually, and, and deliberately, about how do I develop more navigation, more navigators?

[40:48] Jürgen: And that brings us to the second question. My takeaway from listening to navigators is it goes well beyond traditional training and development activities in organizations. So my, my favorite quote, my favorite saying I've picked up from my personal mentor. 

[41:15] Jürgen: he always said, don't send people to training, you take people to training. What is the difference? The difference is you are involved by yourself when you do training. 

[41:28] Jürgen: You make sure that you become part of that training activity because you want to observe what's going on, you want to work with, your people in that exercise and you want to develop jointly, you want to identify common topics you can, you can work on. And when I said it goes beyond training and development measures of the classical way, I'm thinking much more, and this is what I heard from some of these navigators, training or, or setups that include simulation, that includes scenario thinking. Very often I heard kind of a game based learning. 

[42:13] Jürgen: 

[42:13] Jürgen: The last question I would say the best way to prepare yourself as an individual for that is to go into the white spots once you have seen them. To be courageous enough to take initiative and to trial and error. And navigators are not afraid of failure, they know failure is part of navigation. You not, always will be successful in going where you have been planning to go. The key is to stay on board, not to give up, to ask for help. And you might not get there in the first go, but you will probably be successful in the second or the third attempt. Andthat is the most effective way to become a more seasoned, a more skilled, a more capable navigator if that's the route you want to take. 

[43:20] Jürgen: It's practice, it's practice, it's practice. It doesn't fall from the sky, you are not born with it, you need to develop it.

[43:28] Gerrit: Fantastic, fantastic. We have one more element for learning and actually I emphasize this always in my coaching. It often starts with self reflection. So typically we end our episodes with some reflection questions that our listeners could ask themselves in the context of the navigation skills.

[43:53] Gerrit: We're happy to invite our guests to go first if you like. If you want to have another moment to think about it, you can go last. how do we start?

[44:03] Jürgen: I would love to have Martin start, again thinking about the wonderful example he gave. shared with, with John. 

[44:12] Martin: I have a reflection question: Reflect on a project or a task that you completed and think how did I navigate this project across the boundaries, across these challenges and what did I do well? What can I learn in hindsight so that I become more aware of my skill set? thinking both about the head, heart and hand, but look back at my past experience and learn from that.

[44:44] Gerrit: Very nice. I'm thinking about two questions. One is more on the high level. So if I look at my organization today, where am I actually by design provoking friction? The example at the beginning, do I set up maybe department KPIs that are in conflict with another department and so hinder the organization from achieving the overall goal?

[45:14] Gerrit: And the other one, I hope it's much more practical, an everyday question. So after listening to the podcast today and when you go back to work maybe tomorrow, what is one action that you can take to navigate the boundaries within or outside the organization with others? Jürgen, any reflection questions from your side?

[45:44] Jürgen: What do I want to get across with my self- reflection recommendation would be think about to whom you would go in case you are facing a serious threat or a serious opportunity to get a project started, to capture that opportunity, to materialize on that opportunity, or to try to prevent the threat for your organization. And when you have identified that person, try to think about what makes that person special? Why are you approaching that person rather than anyone else? 

[46:32] Jürgen: And I would argue in more than 50%, I would argue largely more than 50%, you're not going to go to your CEO, or you're not going to go to anyone else at the C level. You go to a peer, you go to someone who might be in a totally different part of the organization, but you know that that individual has the capabilities to make it happen and observe and work with that person to understand how you can develop yourself further in this direction. That would be my recommendation.

[47:10] Gerrit: Beautiful, thank you so much. Thank you for your time today and I'm so glad we could make it happen because I think we've been talking about this for, what, maybe two years already. Thank you so, so much. Jürgen, if people are listening to the episode today and say, wow, that is really so rich and I want to learn more, know more, and who should contact you, why should they contact you, and perhaps most importantly, how can they contact you?

[47:39] Jürgen: I can't answer the first two the, the who and why I have to leave to the listener. But if there is someone who would like to connect with me, I'm more than happy to do that. As probably most people, I'm actively part of LinkedIn. So you will find me there. You will find a soft link also to my webpage, giving a little bit more of background, or that's the easiest way.

[48:05] Jürgen: And I would like to thank both of you, Gerrit and Martin, for the opportunity. Today, I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion and, the examples which you have brought to the table as well. It's. It's, as in my teaching, I always say, if you give a lecture, first of all, it is helping you in preparation to clear your mind and to be prepared to structure. But even more importantly, I learn as much in a lecture from my students as I hopefully get across for them. And I can give this as a feedback to this podcast today, it was a big learning for me as well. I, I take away a few really nice, nice inputs, which further helped me to develop this, idea and this concept. So thank you for, for having me and your time.

[49:02] Gerrit: Most welcome. And we 'll also make sure we put a link to your website and your LinkedIn profile into the session notes. Martin, big thank you to you as well, as always. And this concludes today's episode. If you like what we do, please remember to subscribe to Second Crack on your favorite podcast platform. And it would be wonderful if you could also recommend our podcast to a friend, and of course we would love it if you could leave a positive comment or rating. For more insights about Martin, myself, and our work, please visit our website at secondcrackleadership. com. That's all in one word. And of course, we are curious to receive your feedback, your questions, your comments. Feel free to reach out to us at hello at secondcrackleadership. com. That's all for today. Bye for now.