21st Century Leadership: 1st TrendLab in Shanghai, China

»The word of VUCA sounds very VUCA, while the world of VUCA is really VUCA.«

That is a very interesting comment shared by one of the participants in the first TrendLab in Shanghai on February 28th, 2014.

Initiated by SYNNECTA, invited by AHK (German Chamber of Commerce), and hosted by Bosch China, the first TrendLab: 21st Century Leadership attracted more than 20 general managers and HR directors from different companies. Dr. Ruediger Muengersdorff, CEO of SYNNECTA GmbH as a chief speaker, shared different trend scenarios with the participants and moderated the rounds of discussion on leadership.

Back to the comment at the very beginning: VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) might be the best interpretation of the overall situation of the dynamic world: New technology is accelerating the industries; social media and IT technology connects the world more than ever; customer relationship is getting more challenging and service is much more in focus than products; Generation Y shift their needs and more and more get into management role … speed, development, change, trust are all keywords in China.

What will be the future challenges in leading companies in China? Take Generation Y as an example. Generation Y in China mostly mean the post-80’s, the generation who were born under the one-child policy, used to be the »little emperor« in a family. The need of them in a company is not to make money any more but to identify, is not to be a worker but more to be an explorer. Compared with the post-70’s, post-60’s, they have more willingness to show their opinions and need more recognition. How to find out their motivators to drive them forward, how to link them rather to the company than to the managers are the challenges for leadership. The crucial challenges for managers are how to gain more confidence and trust and how to support their employees in their development. How to motivate employees and how to find the right person for the right task? Self-steered work in projects might be an idea – if passion they have is not constant enough, achievment and responsibility are important to drive associates. Beside these, mentorship is a very hot topic which participants expected a lot to develop in companies in China.

Looking forward to the future, to developlocal decision power, to enhance China R&D, inter-culture knowledge and experience are all challenges and development trends for leadership in China.

The participants agreed that the TrendLab provoked a lot of thoughts and were keen on continuing cross-company discussions to stimulate innovation and to better prepare for the changing leadership role in the 21st century.

Vicky Qian

New office in Cologne

Movement in Cologne City: SYNNECTA inaugurates the new office

Although the word »real estate« may not appear as something moving in the first place: A new property needs a lot of activity before it is inaugurated – and is also able to set some things in motion. Exactly this happened when SYNNECTA Cologne moved to our new office. First of all: We created more space. Space we will use with our clients, partners and friends.

This means also: They will move in our direction more often than before. Now Having three conference rooms, there will be a lot more possibilities for meetings and events. Coaching, training and workshops all have different demands that we will from now on be able to fulfill – and our great fundus of material will be applied much easier.

We will stay in the center of Cologne – just one klick ahead from the great cathedral – but in a quiet area close to the Rhine. After refurbishing everything just the way we imagined, we finally moved to our new office on September 23rd. Of course, we are benefiting from the situation to re-organize ourselves internally. As you see: The »state« in »real estate« is nothing that can detain us from moving forward.

The address for account of SYNNECTA GmbH in Karlsruhe will not be changing. All appointments, events and workshops in Cologne will from now on be held in the following address:

An der Münze 1
50668 Köln


A retrospection on a gathering of organizations in Amsterdam

Is there such thing as friendship between organizations? Or isn’t the interaction in business context more about cooperation, networking – or even competition and rivalry? These are not the only factors. Organizations are also able to cultivate deeper relations that are based on trust, sympathy and revelation.

Castrum Peregrini and SYNNECTA intensively engaged in this thesis on October 9th and 10th 2013 in Amsterdam. Looking at both organizations’ histories, this adventure may not be that surprising any more.

Castrum Perigrini, today speaking of themselves as »Intellectual Playground«, primarily arose out of a group of German exiles in time of National Socialism that used to give young people a chance to submerge and escape from prosecution. In Gisèle van Waterschoot van der Gracht’s home, the »Herengracht« in Amsterdam, they found more than a sanctuary: They also had the chance to pass the time of isolation with conversations about art, culture and literature. Over this they created a firm alliance of intellectual unity – and deep friendship. The former league in the hermetic tradition of the »George-circles« in third Generation put a radical opening to the outside world into practice – and thus translated the original values in a new concept. As a cultural foundation, as a free space, as a network of artists. How can friendship go on in this new concept? Maybe it is exactly this freedom and openness that make intellectual plays possible. And it is the traditions of gathering and talking during shared dinners.

The latter traditions were an essential part of the gathering with SYNNECTA that, as Castrum Peregrini, has always been cultivating not only business relationships, but also friendships. It is one thing that lies in the nature of daily business – since it is mostly about people and their social systems. But it is also because of a deep conviction and passion – without any demand. Mentioned as an example may be the yearly Sophia Workshop that is about exchange and reflection – in contrast to business-orientated networking.

Besides Castrum Peregrini and the participating organizations, representatives of other cultural institutions were the third pillar. Central themes in the conversations were of course friendship and strongly connected values like authenticity – and how to preserve them in times of change.

Friendship is a context that not only supports changes – of individuals as of systems – but also forms them actively. The questions »Where do we come from?« and »What will future bring for us?« play an equally important role in this deep relation as in organizations that need to handle and to organize changes. By answering these questions we can verify the relevance of persisting values. We can mirror and adjust behavior. We can create visions and goals. And who could be on our sides in this process – if not a friend?


Society and economy are shaped by changes. The cycles of supposed stability get shorter and shorter. Accordingly, human resources and organizational development have to question themselves permanently and pose the question whether traditional instruments and theories are still suitable and effective for a company’s needs – or if it is necessary to develop and implement new concepts. However, the focus should still be put on the people, who should be supported in their work and the challenges linked to them.

With our SYNNECTA TrendLab, we pursue the idea to discuss a current »trend topic« with colleagues and customers from different organizations. In this manner we would like to provide an impetus by posing questions, identifying topics and think about new concepts. Furthermore, with discussions, we would like to put potential changes and needs in concrete terms and to recognize the necessary steps leading to a new direction of success.

The SYNNECTA TrendLab …

  • gets enterprises and consultancy together in an open atmosphere
  • provides space for dialogue and reflection of current trends and developments of Human Resources and organizational development
  • is organized and moderated by SYNNECTA
  • takes place in your region (e.g., Munich, Stuttgart or Cologne Region)
  • does not take too long with 3-4 hours

Currently, a TrendLab in Stuttgart Region is planned, taking place next autumn. Topics for discussions could be:

  • Leadership in confusing and difficult times:
    How could an alternative approach of leadership in confusing and difficult times look like? We would like to discuss our ideas and approach with you.
  • Acceleration of the working environment:
    How can people’s work performance least long despite acceleration and increasing pressure? How can it grow and be combined with life quality at the same time?
  • Diversity and sexual identity – a taboo at the workplace?
    How can enterprises face the task of organizational development to include sexual orientation in diversity management and let the public discussion on it become common?

Further information on place and time will follow. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Dr. Johannes Ries: ries@synnecta.com

Sophia 2013 – Control

In February 2013, the 9th Sophia Workshop took place at Klosterhotel Marienhöh, Germany.

The workshop was focussed on »control« and gave our participants not only the opportunity to understand control, the loss of control and alternative ways to control in organizations. But it also paved the way to gain a deeper understanding of one’s own way and need to control, of one’s own fear, and of letting go.

There were different spaces to learn and to develop – in seminars, group discussions, talks and self-reflection, in creativity and in motion. The participants learnt about alternatives of control in an organizational environment that cannot be controlled – and they got an insight in problem solving strategies of gypsies and favela dwellers. Art and control, being creative as an alternative process to control, accompanied the whole workshop – in sculpture, painting and plaster work. Above all, the participants experienced »trust« as an opposite of control when they got carried by the group or while »intentionally getting lost«.

We thank all of the participants for their participation, their curiosity, their openness and their readiness to let go of control, to hold it tight, to look at it and to experience it in different manners.