Germany, the land of poets and philosophers. Also the land of the doer. But does this still hold true today? Let’s remind ourselves: In a modern world based on the division of labour, the economy can only survive if it asserts itself as a future technological and scientific pioneer but - despite committees, decision-making processes and hierarchies - also retains its doer qualities.
We are now all extremely well trained in our fields. Knowledge titans. Strategy giants. We know everything and then some: what disrupts us, who our enemies and competitors are, what the future holds. At least in theory. We think that by talking about it, convening meetings, setting up steering committees and attending training courses we are acting. Which is a fallacy. If we look more closely we are too often chickens when it comes to taking action. Or paper tigers, if you like.
Why is this? It's our culture of mistakes. Those who act lose out. We look in on ourselves too much. We spend too much of our time optimizing costs and processes and we completely forget that it's not marketing and the media that have changed dramatically, but the customer. We have to get out of long meetings, out of our own corporate bubble and closer to people. Today this is called Customer Centricity. Human Centricity would be a better term.
The keyword here is pragmatism: a behaviour that is based on known situational conditions, where practical action is placed ahead of theoretical reason. When risks and scenarios are analysed and the benefits recognized, then you have to take the leap. Not for nothing is the word "pragmatism" derived from the Greek word "pragma" meaning "action".
Our intuition, or acting without conscious use of our intellect, is formed from our experience of past decisions. Our famous trainable gut feeling. We need to learn to get hungry again. To seize and act on our dreams. Our founding fathers had more pioneering spirit than we do. They just decided to do something and off they went. Sometimes in the wrong direction ... but even when you fall flat on your face, at least you are on the move.