The Art of Listening in a World that can’t stop Talking

‚Momo listened to everyone and everything… even to the rain and the wind and the pine trees – and all of them spoke to her after their own fashion’

The German writer Michael Ende published one of his masterpieces Momo in 1973. Momo is a little girl of mysterious origin, living in the ruins of an amphitheater just outside an unnamed city. She came to the ruin, parentless and wearing a long, used coat. She is illiterate and can’t count, and she doesn’t know how old she is. When asked, she replies, “As far as I remember, I’ve always been around.” She will be the one leading the fight against the Grey Men who aim to steal people the time.

I would strongly recommend all children to read this book with their parents! The stor

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Erzähl mir was! StoryWork in Salzburg


Erzähl mir was ! StoryWork in Salzburg.  

Wir sind die Geschichten, die wir über uns erzählen. Wenn wir unser Bewusstsein und Aufmerksamkeit auf das Erzählen und das Erzählte richten, gelingt es uns Persönlichkeitsentwürfe & Unternehmenskulturen zu erleben, zu reflektieren und zu gestalten.

  • Impulsabend StoryWork am 17. Sept. 2015 um 19 Uhr. Eintritt frei.
  • Ein 2-tägiges StoryCamp vom 18. bis 19. Sept. 2015
    richtet sich an alle, denen Unternehmenskultur ein Anliegen ist.
    Achtung begrenzte Teilnehmerzahl! Kosten: € 750.- (zzgl. 20% MwSt.)
    Für Buchungen bis 31. Juli € 690.- (zzgl. 20% MwSt.)

Wo? 2nd Floor, Franz-Josef-Straße 3, 5020 SALZBURG

Achtung begrenzte Teilnehmerzahl! Anmeldung hier auf der Website (siehe unten) oder über

Inhalte des StoryCamps:
  • Teil 1: Dimensionen des Erlebens und Zuhörens
    • Deep Listening, Double Listening
    • Persönlichkeit und Führung
    • Die Kunst des Fragens
  • Teil 2: Das Aufspüren und Erzählen der eigenen Geschichte
    • Storytelling versus Re-Authoring
    • Kultur und Authentizität
    • Glaubenssätze und Transformation von Erzählmustern
  • Teil 3: Das Schaffen einer gemeinsamen Geschichte
    • Vielfalt und Community
    • Vision und Wunder
    • Unternehmenskultur gestalten


StoryWork goes beyond Telling

Zuhören … in unserer Kultur haben wir vor allem gelernt, mit unserem Intellekt zuzuhören. In diesem Workshop geben wir auch dem empathischen und generativen Zuhören Raum. Eine Art doppeltes Zuhören, das den impliziten Bedeutungen nachgeht, die für das Funktionieren einer Geschichte oder deren Brüche verantwortlich sind. Zuhören und fragen auf Augenhöhe, ohne zu bewerten. Fragen, das nicht der Informationsbeschaffung dient, sondern neue Erfahrungen möglich macht. Ein bewussteres Hören auf diesen Ebenen erlaubt es auch, die Stimmung einer Gruppe zu erfassen, Spannungsfelder früh zu heben und fruchtbaren Boden für co-kreatives Arbeiten zu schaffen.

In jeder Gruppe erfährt man als Einzelner den Widerspruch zwischen dem Bedürfnis und der Scheu gesehen zu werden. Ohne Vertrauensvorschuss geht gar nichts. Die Präsenz der Führungsperson setzt dabei wesentliche Akzente. Wer führen will, muss wendig sein und bereit, in unterschiedliche Geschichten einzutauchen – auch, um zu sehen, welche Seiten in uns jeweils die Führung übernehmen. Daher dreht sich die zweite Säule des Workshops rund um ‚das Erzählen der eigenen Geschichte’.

Im dritten Teil erleben wir die Vielfalt der Geschichten und wie diese zu einer kollektiven Geschichte werden, die mehr ist als der größte gemeinsame Nenner. Die Geschichte, die dabei entsteht, ist in die Zukunft geworfen, eine Vision, die sich aus der Community der Erzählenden nährt. Wir sehen uns die Widerstände an und unterscheiden, welche Elemente losgelassen, integriert und welche verändert werden müssen? So gesehen gründet Veränderung in der Begeisterung für jede einzelne Geschichte. Cells that fire together, wire together. So einfach, so kompliziert.

Sie werden:

    • Geschichten hören, erzählen und schaffen
    • Narrative Strukturen in Gruppen erforschen
    • Die kulturelle Einbettung ihrer Geschichten reflektieren
    • Situativ neue Führungsdimensionen erleben
    • An der eigenen Geschichte arbeiten
    • Neue Möglichkeiten und Handlungsmuster erfahren
    • Eine gemeinsame Vision verabschieden

Der zweitägige erfahrungsorientierte Workshop stellt Werkzeuge und Methoden bereit, um Ihre narrativen Fähigkeiten auszubilden bzw. zu vertiefen. Egal, ob Sie als Führungsperson, Berater oder Change Facilitator arbeiten, Sie werden Inspiration für einen neuen Umgang mit den Geschichten entdecken, die unserem Handeln zugrunde liegen.


Loose track and Story your Magic out

karl may museum

On my way back from the Czech Iapop conference ‘Authentic organizations and new rules of Power’ with Julie Diamond, I booked a flight back from Dresden instead of Prague (2,5hours drive away) and it turned out to be a big gift. But one thing is creative planning, another one is to loose track … here the story …

When I arrive at the airport, after a beautiful Prague to Dresden journey, I find out that my flight  at 20.45h is canceled … aren’t these moments …. breathtaking … my first reaction is an angry non-understanding: sunday evening, how is this possible, in our days, with a company like Lufthansa, ok – Germanwings, but still, it ruins my next 24h.

Then a pragmatic more analytical voice calms me down: what is really important tomorrow … kids are still well cared, access to email possible, things can be organized differently  … annoying but not really existential. Relax.’

After two more hours of ‘meditation’ in a slow-motion queue to get the ticket rebooked …  I feel in a slightly grumpy mood surrounded by even more grumpy people … I finally get a voucher for the Radisson Blue Hotel in Dresden Radebeul. This shortly connects me to my adventure spirit: who knows, what this is for?

The adventure spirit stays only shortly … then I quickly come to the realistic conclusion that a stereotype hotel in Dresden’s suburbs at 22.30h will probably not host any more treasures. My imagination power is capitulating about such ‘non romantic facts’. I fall asleep without any further creative trace.

In the very early morning on my way back to the airport, I flirt, in a sleepy remote mode with a festival poster at the side of the street and ask the taxi driver about it. He starts to tell me that Karl May lived and was buried here in Radebeul. What? Suddenly, I am awake, I get excited, the territory now gets my full interest.

Did you know that the – in our days well known – Winnetou creator  … spent several periods in prison because of theft and fraud?! And that he behaved so well in prison that he became responsible of the jail library. Based on books and his imagination (but no real experience), he created access to at times unknown worlds like America and The Orient. He formed the famous archetypes Winnetou and Old Shatterhand and builded a strong metaphor of transformation from hate to love of opponent cultures. Thank you, Radebeul, yes, I found my treasure on this extra trip. It gives me wonderful material to reflect on my inner winnetou-old shatter hand tension and connects me back to the vision of their brotherhood.

What is ‘loosing track’ good for? In my case, the following happens: after a first ‘shock’, I start to sense, I catch stories, I do not focus anymore on the arrival, I collect narrative material, condense it, find treasures, answers, solutions … de-tours teach and remind me to connect to my intuition. They enrich my arrival!

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

“Fluent” by John O’Donohue (Conamara Blues)

Julie Diamond speaks about power intelligence which means not only to learn how to deal well with power, but also to be aware of your very own superpowers. Watch a short video of Julie summarizing her new rules of power:

Next time loosing track I will remember right away (or perhaps not)…  that this is another great opportunity to further explore my very own magic!

Image: Karl-May Museum, Radebeul


Mother- and/or businesshood


Some weeks ago in an interview setting, I was asked ‘how do you manage your daily life: working on your own and having three kids?’

Honestly, that is not an easy-to-answer question, for me personally it has been a long journey. I went through different organizational models, here some milestones:

1) after giving birth to my first child,  I left my Italian working place, coming back after 6 months with a 70% Germany based assignment

2) after my second child I was about to be promoted in a group leadership position and returned with 100% which nearly resulted in a burnout and made me step back from my leadership responsibilities working 50% on a ‘smoother assignment’,

3) after my third child I wanted to do things differently and took the maximum of 2 years maternity leave … and started after one year to do projects on my own  … afterwards I came back as a 70% internal strategy adviser before I dared the big step –  a step I always dreamt of – to start my own business.

There is not One solution to the business & kids challenge, there are many … and none. Some understandings I gathered on my way:

  • to follow my heart, not outer expectations. there are so many ‘how you should do’s’ around this topic.
  • As a mother, I am not irreplaceable in caring for my kids. especially fathers, but also other well selected people can do a wonderful job and I strongly believe, kids profit from diverse teachers.
  • A educational principle does not need to be based on continuous presence or control, I like to give space to a certain self-organization and independency in my kids’ development.
  • Children are wonderful teachers in playfulness, foolishness and intuition. It is so good to give space to these parts.
  • Time and energy are so limited resources. I always ask myself, what does really matter today?

In daily life, one of my recipes is to combine structure and intuition. I am happy to have a good access to both, although I know for real mastery the wandering between them can still become more fluid. Structure creates routines which make daily life easier. But the more of the Unexpected occur, the more intuition you need. Isn’t it like all maneuvers through complex situations?

Writing down my reflection about mother- and/or business hood I become aware that I often have felt limited in one or the other area by dealing with both … as if the two sides were in competition. What if they just started to collaborate ?! What could this mean in terms of real daily life?

Image source: Huffington Post, Canada, 31st of March 2013




TRUST or How to turn Stone into Gold


Once there was a village that laid on the edge of a vast mountain range. The people who lived there were very different, but one thing they shared was …  a rumor.  The rumor was about a man living in the mountains and having the magic ability to turn stones into gold. One day a young man decided to explore this story and he left the village despite all the warnings about the dangers of the mountains and the dubiousness of the rumor that he so persistently called a story.

 After a week of wandering the young hero came to a cave-like dwelling from which a thin old man stepped out seeing him coming closer. Without hesitation, the young man asked the old: “Are you the man who can turn stones into gold?” And the old man replied unexpectedly in a very clear manner: ” Yes, I am”. The young man shyly asked further: “This is certainly a very complicated process that is impossible or difficult to learn! “” No, it is quite easy” replied the old man instead.

The young man had tried to anticipate many things: not to find the man, to despair of his secrecy or not to be able to fulfill his high demands. Now he stood in front of him and everything suddenly seemed simple. So simple, that suspicions arose in him. But now he had no other choice but to put everything on one card and to believe in his good fortune. Encouraged by the straightness of the old, the young man asked him then to reveal his big secret.

To his greatest surprise the old man did not hesitate, after he sat down, to spread the mystery before him: “First you have to look for a stone. It must be a stone that really suits you. Choose him carefully and do not hesitate to take it, once you find it. Then get up to the top of the next mountain that seems most appropriate to you and wait for the full moon. Make a fire there and one hour after midnight you throw the stone in the fire and it will turn into gold before the morning dawns. “

The young man thanked the old man many times and went along his way. He soon found the right stone and the appropriate mountain. While he was waiting for the full moon, he started to doubt. “What if I have forgotten something?” “Everything goes so easily and without obstacles. Can this really be?” With the time passing, his doubts grew and he decided to go back to the old man to ask him if he had forgotten something important.

When he comes to the cave, the old man came out greeting him as friendly as the first time. “Master,” the young man began a little embarrassed, “I have done as you have told me, and I fear to have forgotten something.” The old man listened to all details of the young man’s experience and assured him that he did everything right. The young man stayed obsessed with the fear of doing something wrong. On his way off, he stopped walking, turned around and poured his doubts into a final question:

‚Master, a very last question: is there anything I should not do at all in the full moon night?
The old man took a while watching the young man thoughtfully and gave an answer he had not wanted to give: Yes, there is something you should not do at all in this night and that is …. to think of a White Bear.’

Thanks to my friend, mountain expert and co-storyworker, Wolfgang Tonninger, for sharing this beautiful tale about ‘Turning Stone into Gold’ and reflecting it into business culture work and ‘forbidden questions’ ( ). Building on this, I focus on the question ‘how could the young man not have arrived at asking the last question?’

This brings me to the phenomena of Trust. We spent much energy in control, we want to predict the unknown, to fight the fear to be disappointed. As long as we control, we are in continuous tension. But how to get to this luxury state of Trust? The following little film shows two Cirque de Soleil acrobats in their need and excellence in trusting.



To trust is not an easy, but a slow and steady process. Once we are able to trust, we can relax, we can let go and live in the very moment. Let me go further and say, trust is not only a relational phenomena. Referring to the story above, the main obstacle for the young man was not that he did not trust the old man, but that he did not trust … himself? or in magic to happen?

Trust is the relationship to the unknown. So how can we turn  ‘Fear into Trust’? When we succeed to find a meaning behind crisis or challenges, we can turn fear into trust and find the strength to go through difficult situations. Working with stories is one way to open a space for dialogue and for exploration and for sharing a deeper meaning.  That is why stories are such a powerful tool in facilitating change. They are able to transform stones into gold. Trust me!


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