On May 13th 2017 20 innovative managers from economy and administration met at the 7th symposium of Denkwerkstatt in Mannheim. They have been invited by the directors and founders Dr Martina Nieswandt und Dr Roland Geschwill. And again, as in the years before, intensive discussions took place – this year about “measuring and evaluating”.
The opening speech by Roland Geschwill dealt with Peter Drucker, based on his quotation: What you can’t measure, you can’t manage”. This was no easy moment for Peter Drucker fans. “To deal with figures always means to deal with emotions as well. That does not mean that one cannot act with scales and ratios, crucial is the way how one works with them.” By this Roland Geschwill stimulated an intensive first discussion.
Jens Thomas, Performance artist and Jazz-pianist, thought –provoking asked: “Actually, what is a goal?”- The following discussion revolved around the question of flexibility of (correct) goals.
“Prediction of human potential – a myth?” was the question, business psychologist Claudio Thunsdorff, consultant at Denkwerkstatt, stated. He talked about diagnosis and personnel work in times of digitalisation. Therefore, he showed the historical changes and procedures since the upcoming of personnel diagnosis. Additionally, he introduced some tests that are used by international organisations. The following discussion showed that there is an urgent need to discuss evaluation methods.
Diplom-Psychologe Andreas Pfeiffer, consultant at Denkwerkstatt , addressed the “Measurement in a complex world, trends in organisations”. He followed the question, if it could be unnecessary to measure and how to judge a measurement. Based on his thoughts the guests discussed the pros and cons of measurement.
Martina Nieswandt showed how performance-measurements at Google and Co look like and which goal-systems the use. In addition she challenged some of our basic concepts and ideas about performance and its distribution, that today are the basic of most existing performance systems. That followed a broad discussion if the Google-way would also fit to Germen organisations and culture, that is more sceptical and mistake-oriented than the US.
The closing speech was presented by Katrin Thomas (systemic therapist) who showed quite another perspective on the topic by following the question, what aftermaths evaluations brings about children and grown adults. In German the word “measurement” is “bewerten” and this word includes another word: value (Wert). So, although Wert is a positive word in German, most people regard evaluation and assessments as negative. A positive organisational culture, however, can increase the self-worth of people. So, the circle to the start of the event was closed.
As always, the guests were coddled by the fantastic kitchen of Andreas Stolze, owner of the Party-Planer, Mannheim.