Blog Has Moved | New Posts Available

287012-Photo by Andrea Reiman on Unsplash 1400x900 EngAfter nearly five years of Leading in a Complex Environment, it is time for a fresh approach. From now on, this blog, together with a guiding structure around it, continues at the new location. To continue receiving post notifications, please register for the language you want to receive new post notifications in:



Posts already available in the new location

Guiding Questions for Agility at Enterprise Level

Guiding Questions for Prevention: From Unacceptable Behaviour to School

Guiding Questions for Business Intelligence, Big Data and Analytics

Guiding Questions Leading the Way Out of Tough Problems

Posted in Leadership | 6 Comments

#socialeinnovatie: De wil is er. Het belangrijkste obstakel lijkt nu bespreekbaar en dus oplosbaar. | Zorgdenkers Netwerk

Eén week geleden was ik op de conferentie sociale innovatie. Het was een boeiende bijeenkomst. Aan de ene kant bleek de urgentie voor sociale innovatie veel hoger dan ik had gedacht. Aan de andere …

Source: #socialeinnovatie: De wil is er. Het belangrijkste obstakel lijkt nu bespreekbaar en dus oplosbaar. | Zorgdenkers Netwerk

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#socialeinnovatie: van klacht naar veranderbare oorzaak en oplossing | Zorgdenkers Netwerk

. Klagen lost niets op Klagen is eenvoudig. Klagen lost echter niets op, integendeel. Het veroorzaakt eindeloze discussies, korte termijn acties en mislukte projecten. Vertrouwen gaat verloren. Tre…

Source: #socialeinnovatie: van klacht naar veranderbare oorzaak en oplossing | Zorgdenkers Netwerk

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Does this Conflict Exist in Your Organization as Well?

For many years, nobody knew how to get this conflict solved. In 2011, the missing element was published. It turned out to be a single word!


Curious on how you can get colleagues on board within just a few minutes and how to get the ball rolling? Then, let’s practice the five questions to make it happen.

  1. Which practices have become preferred practices during the past 10 years? Please select from this list (one selection per row).
  2. Which best practices and methods are primarily based on practices of the left column and which on the right column?
  3. In what other areas do you see a preference for either the left column or the right column?
  4. Anything popping up in your mind?
  5. Do you have a proposal for a guideline solving this conflict?

Please send the totals of question 1 and your answers to the other questions to Don’t worry if you can’t answer questions 2 to 5. We will respond as soon as possible.

Posted in Agile, Avoiding Traps, Best Practice, Bregret, Brexit, Bridging the Gap, Bureaucracy, Change Management, Communication Skills, Conflict Resolution, Constructive Dialogue, Effective Solutions, EU, European Union, Governance, Leadership, Leading, Lessons Learned, Management, Project Management, Quality Management, Risk Management, Root Cause Analysis, Scrum | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Besteht dieser Konflikt auch in Ihrer Organisation?

Lange Zeit wusste niemand wie dieser Konflikt zu lösen war. In 2011 wurde das fehlende Element veröffentlicht. Es war nur ein Wort!


Neugierig geworden? Möchten auch Sie wissen wie man Kollegen innerhalb von ein paar Minuten dazu bringen kann dies zu unterstützen und man einen Stein ins Rollen bringen kann? Das ist über nur fünf Fragen möglich. Es funktioniert am besten, wenn Sie erst selbst versuchen diese Fragen zu beantworten und wir hierauf reagieren:

  1. Welche Arbeitsweisen wurden die bevorzugten Arbeitsweisen in den letzten 10 Jahren? Die Arbeitsweisen bitte in dieser Liste wählen (eine Arbeitsweise pro Zeile).
  2. Welche Methoden benutzen überwiegend die Arbeitsweisen der linken Spalte? Welche die der rechten?
  3. In welchen Gebieten werden überwiegend die Arbeitsweisen der linken Spalte eingesetzt? In welchen die der rechten?
  4. Fällt etwas auf?
  5. Haben Sie einen Vorschlag für eine Richtlinie, die diese Herausforderung löst?

Bitte schicken Sie die Anzahl (links und rechts) von Frage 1 und, soweit möglich, Ihre Antworten für Fragen 2 – 5 nach Wir werden schnellstmöglich reagieren.

Posted in Agile, Bürokratie, Best Practice, EU, Europäische Union, European Union, Führungskraft, Governance, Leadership, Management, Methode, Project Management, Quality Management, Richtlinie, Risk Management, Root Cause Analysis, Scrum | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bestaat dit conflict ook in jouw organisatie?

Lange tijd wist niemand hoe dit conflict was op te lossen. In 2011 werd het ontbrekende element gepubliceerd. Het was slechts één woord!


Benieuwd hoe je collega’s binnen een paar minuten kan meekrijgen en de bal aan het rollen kan brengen? Dat kan vanuit vijf vragen. Het werkt het best als je eerst zelf probeert deze vragen te beantwoorden en wij hierop reageren:

  1. Welke werkwijzen kregen de afgelopen 10 jaar de voorkeur? De werkwijzen graag uit deze lijst kiezen (één keuze per regel).
  2. Welke best practices en methodieken gebruiken voornamelijk de werkwijzen van de linker kolom? Welke die van de rechter kolom?
  3. In welke gebieden worden voornamelijk de werkwijzen van de linker kolom gebruikt en waar die van de rechter kolom?
  4. Valt iets op?
  5. Heb je een voorstel voor een handvat dat deze problematiek oplost?

Stuur de totalen van vraag 1 en de antwoorden op de andere vragen naar Geen probleem als je geen antwoorden op vragen 2 t/m 5 hebt. Wij zullen z.s.m. antwoorden.

Posted in Agile, Best Practice, bureaucratie, complexiteit, constructieve dialoog, EU, European Union, Gezamenlijk bewustzijn, Gezondheid, Handvatten, kwaliteitsmanagement, Leadership, Management, projectmanagement, risicomanagement, valkuilen, zorg | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Was the Brexit Lesson hard enough to stop Solving Symptoms and start Solving Root Causes? ‒CALL TO ACTION

with Nancy Hoffmann and Geoff Slater           DeutschNederlands

It must have been some 15 years ago when I was first confronted with something peculiar. Practices and methods that had worked well in the past did not work any more. This created unwanted complications such as people losing their jobs for the wrong reasons, project failure rates going through the roof and ever increasing costs e.g. of health services. Despite the huge suffering this created, Call to actionnobody in charge was willing (or able) to do anything about it. Instead, all the attention moved to treating the symptoms this created. With the results of the Brexit referendum at hand, it is now painfully clear that this is no longer sustainable. One wonders, was the lesson hard enough for our leaders to stop solving symptoms, stop the shame and blame culture and start solving root causes once and for all? For the sake of European Citizens and our children, this is a call to action.

Albert_einstein_by_zuzahin-d5pcbug from Wikipedia comsWhat springs to mind is Albert Einstein’s famous quote “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”. Isn’t this the perfect situation to apply that thinking? Well, there is a challenge. Changing common ways of thinking is tremendously difficult, isn’t it? Somehow, our unconscious mind makes us fall back into old habits and, hence, applying the same level of thinking that created the problem. It is our goal not just to call for action but to create a new way of thinking.

We aim to achieve this by illustrating how we can get to the root cause of one of the issues leading to Brexit, the EU crisis and so much more: bureaucracy.  Did you know…

  1. That it is possible to explain how unnecessary bureaucracy is created via just one root cause?
  2. That the missing element to create guidance was published in 2011?
  3. That, with the root cause and the guidance available, we can create a ‘simple’ guideline to eliminate the unnecessary bureaucracy at its root cause?

If you feel like us, that a new level of thinking is needed, we invite you to apply a ‘new’ way of thinking right away. We invite you to let go of questions like “do I have the time to read this?” and ask yourself “how much simpler, enjoyable and healthier could my life be if I contributed to making this new level of thinking happen?” You can contribute by simply reading this, spreading the word, providing feedback or starting something yourself. It is all up to you. Let’s start with some observations.



binoculars-769036_1280 pixabay freeA while after my observation that practices (= working practices, best practices and methods) were not working anymore and while doing analysis work on project failure rates, I made a further observation: Even the experts could not oversee the impact of their changes any more. This happened because the environment had become too bureaucratic, complex and dynamic to comprehend. Yet, management had to make decisions. Of course, the inevitable happened. Some managers got blamed for failure and were replaced. But, it didn’t end there. Even with the best of qualifications and intentions, their successors found themselves in the same trap.

Experts and managers thought “our practice worked well before. We must have done something wrong. Let’s try harder next time and make sure the goals will be realized.” With each round, valuable time and resources were wasted. Bureaucracy and complexity increased. Few realized that motivating practices got replaced by practices creating frustration and downward spirals. Those who recognized it may have tried to intervene, but their voices went unheard for about a decade.

In recent years, some individuals received attention; individuals like Jim Collins, Recardo Sempler, Jan Rotmans (Netherlands), Jaap Peters (Netherlands) and Albert Einstein (!) with his famous quote (see above). We now see many examples where ‘new’ practices such as self-organisation and giving professionals the space to do their job, deliver impressive results. However, these are often at a relatively small scale, respectively ‘green-field’ approaches. The following question still remains to be answered “how do you transfer large organizations, let alone government and EU organizations, to these ‘new’ practices while the obstacles from the ‘old’ seem insurmountable?”.

Whatever the leadership type in charge in the years to come, the following is crystal clear:

  1. As long as the symptoms of crisis are being ‘solved’ whilst their root causes remain intact, more ‘new’ symptoms will pop-up. The crisis will worsen and downward spirals continue.
  2. Going ahead with the Brexit means that desperately needed resources, especially those of our leaders, will be gridlocked in the treatment of symptoms, fire fighting and meeting cost savings pressures. In turn, there will be insufficient priority to get to the root causes and to get them solved. The speed of downward spirals will thus increase.


Call to Action

For the sake of EU citizens and especially for the sake of our children!

family-1244795_1280 pixabay freeWhatever your position as a leader or decision maker, whether it is in a small city government somewhere in Europe, in a ministry, parliament or a pan-European organization, in a political party or in business, let’s please stop solving symptoms, stop the shame and blame culture and start solving root causes.

The choice is yours. Though, from the perspective of your voters, citizens or clients, we invite you to consider this: How do you want to be seen in five or ten years? As somebody who has contributed to worsening the crisis or somebody who has contributed to getting us out of the crises and, hence, a real leader?

(By the way, doesn’t this justify a second referendum?)


How we can find Root-Causes and the Guidance to get them Solved

compass-390907_1280 pixabay freeTo get to the root cause of unnecessary bureaucracy and the guidance to eliminate such bureaucracy, we need to go through a little discussion first. Don’t worry. This won’t take much of your time. It consists of the 5 questions below.

For this to work, we need contributions from people having experienced bureaucracy first hand. That can be from within the organization that you work for or from an external Which enforcing their practices upon you, your project or organization. If you have such experiences, please provide your answers to the following questions (brevity would be appreciated):

  1. How do you perceive yourself: As a voter/citizen/employee, professional/expert or decision maker (politician/director/manager)? –Feel free to share your profession as well.
  2. What was the perspective from which you answered the question on the form above (can’t open it? Download pdf-reader)?  –Feel free to answer the question from multiple perspectives.
  3. What are your totals from the form?
  4. Could you name a few ‘places’ where you think bureaucracy comes from?
  5. Any further observations in this context you would like to share?

Once there are sufficient responses, we will continue with the second part. In this part, we will ‘develop’ the root cause of bureaucracy and a ‘simple’ guideline to get rid of the unnecessary bureaucracy.


In Summary

start-1426743_1280 pixabay freeLet’s get the ball rolling and help our leaders with a starting point from which they can lead us out of crisis. Your contributions will help us all to make it happen. Watch for more to come!

To receive automatic notifications on the second part, just register via the “Follow Blog via Email” at



EOetringerSqEugen Oetringer has a passion to get to the bottom of high(est)-impact problems and to solve them once and for all. In the 1980s/1990s, he worked in an environment where solving problems once and for all was the culture. When this culture was replaced by following best practices and all sorts of problems popped up, he re-applied the old techniques. To his surprise, this delivered insights and results in areas where the popular practices had failed. Eugen lives in the Netherlands, is an active member of Rotterdam Kantelt”, the “Zorgdenkers Network”, “Stad van Morgen, Eindhoven” and Think Tank Project Netherlands; all of which are initiatives of engaged citizens contributing to a healthy and prospering society. He is an independent analyst and strategist.


NancyHoffmannNancy Hoffmann is an art historian, curator, critic and ‘creativist’. She is co-founder of the Foundation Creative Action Now, involved in the movement called ‘Netherland Kantelt’ and co-founder of ‘Rotterdam Kantelt’. The latter is a movement that started in late May with 177 individuals and various initiatives from Rotterdam. Goals are to make the city more sustainable, humane and stronger via co-creation.


GeoffSlaterGeoff Slater has always had a passion for efficiency of operation based upon his experiences working for a government department and in the IT industry.  As a consequence he has always maintained a keen interest in processes that are practical and deliver results without the bureaucratic overhead that this can often entail. Now retired, Geoff resides in the UK and has been an interested observer of the Brexit campaign and the aftermath that now exists.



Posted in Best Practice, Bregret, Brexit, Bureaucracy, EU, European Union, Leadership, Management | 5 Comments