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  • Writer's pictureflorian hoefling

#thIMPULSE - EDITION 06.2020 - World Environment Day

thoughts & impulses about change & progress


Why Today?* Today is the 5th of June 2020. It is World Environment day – it’s time for nature. In 1972 there was the first significant conference on environmental issues (05.06.1972), organized under the auspices of the United Nations. In December that year the General Assembly adopted a resolution to define June 5th as World Environment Day declaring: “Governments and the organizations in the United Nations system to undertake on that day every year world-wide activities reaffirming their concern for the preservation and enhancement of the environment, with a view to deepening environmental awareness and to pursuing the determination expressed at the Conference.” The first celebration of World Environment Day was in 1974 under the topic: Only one Earth. Since then the UNEP (United Nation Environment Programs) celebrates annually this day to support the “awareness and generate political momentum around growing concerns, such as the depletion of the ozone layer, toxic chemicals, desertification and global warming”. This year is year, in 2020 the topic will be bio-diversity. Certainly something to consider when thinking about COVID-19. It is estimated that 75% of all emerging infectiousness diseases in humans are zoonotic (originated by animals). If we continue deforest, desertificate...endanger the habitat of plants and animals, consider the consequences and probability of re-occurrence of these infectious diseases. Nature is sending us a message. Today, let’s take COVID-19 as a positive messenger for change:

  • Embrace nature to its fullest: Everything comes from nature and returns to nature. We can try as hard as we can but we can not escape nature.

  • Inspire positive change:

  • Think about consumption patterns: I advocate buying “Bio”/“Organic” to not only be healthy but also “vote”

  • Make agriculture more sustainable: how about permaculture instead of mono-culture?

  • Develop greener business models.

  • Make organizations CO2 neutral. Educate and raise your children in awareness to live in harmony with the Earth.

  • Plant a tree!

Happy World Environment Day! Florian _______________________________________________________________________ Business Tools for Free The “coachant” leader resources Free coaching sessions from top coaches online. As I have already written in #thIMPULSE – EDITION 03.2020 I am a big fan of “the coachant” leader approach: So how can we become better coachant leaders and not spend a fortune on training and certificates? In order to get more familiar and to develop the necessary skills there are tons of free resources on the web. However two people I think have created exceptionally valuable content on their respective websites and with launching their podcasts “reboot”, “where should we begin” and “how’s work”, which I would recommend listen to if you want to leap-frog. Reboot: Is the creation of the team at the same company “reboot” headed by Jerry Colonna ( In this podcast Jerry offers FREE coaching sessions for entrepreneurs who sign up on his website. The coaching sessions are live and not-staged and they offer a perfect training for coaches, leaders and entrepreneurs only by listening. Jerry is an ex-venture capitalist, professional coach - “the CEO whisperer” - and author of the book “Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up” (highly recommendable). Where should we begin: Is the podcast created by Esther Perel where she gives access to couple therapy sessions. How’s work: Is equally a podcast created by Esther Perel where she gives advice to entrepreneurs and business people how to improve workplace connections. Esther Perel ( is a Belgian psychotherapist who focuses in her approach very much on the tension between the need for security (love, belonging) and the need for freedom (adventure, distance). Esther has written the book “Mating in Captivity” and gave two popular TED talks, "The secret to desire in a long-term relationship" ( and "Rethinking infidelity ... a talk for anyone who has ever loved" ( I am a big fan of both and I can only highly recommend their work!  _______________________________________________________________________ Business Idea for Free Homeschooling platform Kindergarden & School meet Meetup & Udemy. My visionary thought: a self-organized homeschooling platform that is accredited as official school education. Problem: Everybody in this world is relying on the institution “school”. It is a great achievement to have kids going to school, for sure. But as we experience these days due to COVID-19, when schools are closed, problems in the society get big. We are too much depended on the institution “school” to educate, bring-up, guard and form our kids. And there is the alternative movement who prefers to take on this responsibility by themselves and not to outsource this to a third party. They prefer to homeschool their children and often are resources scarce. Solution: Create an online / offline homeschooling platform that offers the parents an alternative to the physical institution “school” worldwide. The platform curates knowledge and learning streams that build the equivalent to state education. Everyone can offer courses, tutorials and lessons. These can be online but also regional offline clusters can be built. A support, feedback and rating function assures peer-feedback and quality control.   Commercial concept: It would be a subscription model with different possibilities: free access to the courses, guided stream for a certain country specific school system, add ons like certification… If the idea resonates with you and you would like to exchange further, e.g. scalability, commercial concept,…I am happy you contact me: _______________________________________________________________________ A Though about Culture Chinese Culture - 8 lessons I learnt from living and working in China #2 mianzi 面子, the most delicate but also the most precious notion to take care of. Look me in the eyes baby and I tell you who you are. In this concrete case, you do not see any motion and will certainly not be able to tell what is on baby’s mind. The face is without expression. Even when in rage or anger, even when in joy or happiness, the face will not reveal this. But of course, the notion of “face” is far more subtle and far more delicate AND certainly it is far more important. In summary, it is the essence of dealing with Chinese. If you are causing a Chinese to lose the face, the connection and relationship is lost. If you are able to give face…you are THE winner!! Sounds easy, but it is in reality very difficult. First of all to intellectually understand the concept is quite abstract for westerners. “Face can be described as a combination of social standing, reputation, influence, dignity, and honor.” Losing face means everything that could devalue a Chinese. It could be anything: saying directly "no", forgetting to invite somebody, criticizing in public, refusing support...There are the obvious ones and there are the subtle ones very difficult to get. Then to apply it on a day to day base is even harder. Our western natural temper and upbringing gives us a disadvantage. We value honesty and direct feedback. To grasp the notion of face we need deploy empathy and patience, sometimes even the exact opposite of being brutally honest. Hiding and packing honesty differently. But on the other hand, it is like with all things in life, good intentions count and TRYING (and of course, this article will help ). Most importantly: if you apply this and understand it perfectly it does not mean that it will necessarily lead to short term business success BUT certainly to cultural understanding and long term success!! A good example to illustrate this concept was a cultural dance competition I was participating in a very long time ago (do not ask why and how). Every contender had to present their dance performance and judges were marking simultaneously. But at the end, instead of defining a winner, all contenders won an award, just different awards each (from most creative to most authentic). So in essence everybody was given face for their performance and nobody had to loose (a very motivating aspect in this case). When translating this into the business world, you will find similar approaches when it comes to company awards, raffle draws…in the company environment. This is also very relevant for giving feedback to employees or colleagues: direct and very black and white feedback tends to be very harsh in China. Typically feedback is packaged in far softer words and tones or even no words but only a subtle change of behavior or body language. Chinese are typically very skilled in reading non verbal cues. Often Chinese bosses do not even give feedback but the employee will inherently know what the boss is thinking by reading his body language and the change of attitude towards the employee. This of course avoids loosing face. I can very well remember when I had to face such an experience when I was just dispatched to China.  I got the task to re-organize the seating arrangement for my team. The first thing I did was to check and get the confirmation from my boss, who was one of the two top guys in China. He agreed easily and in my head things were already done and decided. In order to accomplish the task now, I needed 2 more tables for my team. To get them I had to see the facility manager and just needed to get a layout alteration sheet signed and that’s it. Motivated and highly energetic I went to see him and was flying over my little speech of change, new department, AND the big boss already approved… AND he replied: I can not help you. He said he would need to review the whole seating arrangement and will then be able to come back to me. WHAT it is just a signature nothing to be reviewed, A SIGNATURE ONLY!!!!! Not possible as he is responsible he needs to review ,…So I had to wait,… This was a very good first lesson I had to learn: By asking directly the big boss and not involving the facility manager I did not consider his face. Something in his responsibility was decided without him triggered by this young and new guy. In order to keep his face he needed to review and check. Maybe I should have started by inving him for dinner and having some drinks together or by getting introduced by a common friend or manager (see #1 guanxi). Patience helps Florian. Note to myself for giving "face":

  • Give praise when merited, avoid overpraising.

  • Consider sharing personal stories and be personal when engaging with Chinese.

  • Invite when possible. At least make a hard effort to pay.

  • If there is a mistake, be objective do not personalize it. 

  • Pour tea when sitting at a dinner table to the host, my neighbors or big bosses.

  • Accept business cards with both hands and read the name on the card consciously.

  • Consider a small gift, something personal or typical German.

  • Being authentic, show flaws and make flaws. Do not be over-perfect, you are allowed to make a fool of yourself (at karaoke, at the dinner table when it gets late with the drinks,…).

  • For the alcohol drinkers: when you cheers to somebody, lower the rand of your glass when toasting.

  • Don't negotiate the bottom line, assure that in a negotiation it always feels like a compromise.

_______________________________________________________________________ An Impulse for Leadership* For One Who Holds Power’ May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a vocation, Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve. As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its wings, May your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills. When the way is flat and dull in times of gray endurance, May your imagination continue to evoke horizons. When thirst burns in times of drought, May you be blessed to find the wells. May you have the wisdom to read time clearly And know when the seed of change will flourish. In your heart may there be a sanctuary For the stillness where clarity is born. May your work be infused with passion and creativity And have the wisdom to balance compassion and challenge. May your soul find the graciousness To rise above the fester of small mediocrities. May your power never become a shell Wherein your heart would silently atrophy. May you welcome your own vulnerability As the ground where healing and truth join. May integrity of soul be your first ideal. The source that will guide and bless your work. To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O'Donohue _______________________________________________________________________ An Impulse to Change My perfect run… …or how to change in milliseconds. The first “official” run I can remember was a run with my dad. At that time I was probably around 9-10 years old. I was heavy into football so I imagined myself sporty, fit and unstoppable. My dad on the other side, was not – at least not to my knowledge at that time - doing any kind of regular physical activity (which is wrong as I found out recently). So we were going for a walk and somehow I started to challenge my “unsportive” dad for a run to return home. He laughed and agreed. I ran off, quick and ahead. One quarter into the race, it looked good for me.   Approaching roughly half of the race he overtook me. Three quarters into the race I saw only his heels from far away. Then it was all over…I could not see him anymore. Running, like most of the physical activities, alters the physiological state. Many studies support the fact that people who exercise regularly benefit from a positive mood boost and lower rates of depression and have an improved self-esteem. Physiologically our bodies release endorphins that by interacting with the brain receptors reduce the perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in our bodies. Tony Robbins takes this one step further: “Motion creates emotion”, by modifying the physiology of the body consequently our mental state gets changed.   This change can be achieved by, as described above, running, but also by only standing up, jumping up and down or simply changing your posture. You can observe in the mirror your posture when you are happy as opposed to when you are sad. There will be a difference and you can play with this difference on purpose. If you are feeling down, just shift your posture…try… This can even further reinforced according to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, when considering her “power poses” (which in research literature are very controversially discussed but from anecdotal standpoint are very often backed up*). So the bottom line of Cuddy: “adopting expansive postures causes people to feel more powerful.” For details check out the popular TED talk of Cuddy: . Another great resource for this phenomenon of posture is the first rule – the lobster story - of the great Jordan B. Person book: 12 Rules for life – an antidote to chaos: “Emotion is partly bodily expression, and can be amplified (or dampened) by that expression.” However he goes even one step further with the importance of posture: "To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life , with eyes wide open.” So if you want to change one thing very quickly right now: change your posture!! For me it is the pleasure of movement, the hormonal rush and the immediate possibility of changing my mental state that make running attractive for me. Additionally I feel the tranquility and peace of nature around me (if you chose to run outdoors). When I am conscious and calm I even include a practice Eckhard Tolle is describing in his book "The power of now", to focus on the state of presence. It is to feel an experience all my senses while running and contemplating the beauty of the surroundings and nature instead of engaging in thoughts.  On a psychological level, my feelings are getting soothed, my emotional state changes and I can create space for alternative thoughts or just no-thoughts. And finally I got the chance for revenge a couple of years back. 17k “Isar run” in winter with my dad. I paced off quite quickly, my dad on my side. At the 10k mark we were running side by side, easy. At 12k I could still see his heels. At 15k he was already crossing the finish line and was waiting for me. AND he was 67 years old at that time!! A great lesson I got taught by my father. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” John “Coach” Wooden _______________________________________________________________________ Quote of the month “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Václav Havel _______________________________________________________________________ Journaling Question* To continue with the emotion of fear. Where are you running from and where to? This can be a country, a lifestyle, a memory, an event, a person…. Take 20 minutes to free-write on everything that comes to your mind. No structure nor correct grammar nor a real thread. Happy progress!! _______________________________________________________________________ Gratitude Thanks for reading until the end...I feel humbled and grateful! You have feedback? Please leave me feedback in the comments or send me an email: . Thanks! Florian _______________________________________________________________________ References* Why today? A Thought about Culture An Impulse about Leadership An Impulse to Change Quote Journaling Question

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