I consider myself a generalist at heart. I like learning new things by simply doing them. My core skills are in strategy, journalism and leadership. With every new challenge I take on, I try to leverage my skills in at least two of those areas, and combine them with a new area where I still have a lot to learn.
Strongly held views
In lieu of a more formal CV, an evolving list of strongly held views. I see it as a more accurate reflection of my career than a sequence of jobs and trainings. To me, moving forward at work means refining and sharpening my views on the topics I care about.
- A strategy isn’t complete until you’ve decided on what not to do.
- Execution is not the last mile, it’s the whole marathon. A good strategy only gets you to the starting line.
- Crafting strategy is foremost about understanding the context you’re operating in.
- Give people an intrinsic reason to support your strategy.
- If nobody fights your strategy, something is off.
- Journalism, in its essence, is about helping people make good decisions in their lives.
- Fostering a culture of collaboration across disciplines is the make-or-break skill for media organisations in the digital age.
- Users value complexity. As long as you don’t hit them with it, but guide them towards it.
- Visual forms of telling stories are key to driving memberships or subscriptions.
- Open and transparent should always be the default.
- Diverse teams are better teams. Constantly work on your blind spots.
- Always communicate more than you think is necessary. And then some.
- Train and challenge the people in your team to make their own decisions and to flag issues they need help with.
- Spend half of your time working with the team rather than managing it.
- Regularly ask your people how they are and create an environment in which they can give an honest answer.
These views have evolved and will continue to evolve. Even though I hold them strongly, I don’t cling to them when new evidence and new experiences point another way. An incomplete list of people and other factors that have informed these views, in no particular order:
Founding and managing 78s | «Thinking fast and slow» | The annual retreat with a group of likeminded changemakers | Carolin Emcke | Working on and scaling up graphics toolbox Q | The ever inspiring (dataviz) Twitter community | Trying and failing with tagewoche.ch | Seeing colleagues and team members grow and struggle| Anita Zielina | Attending «Leading Newsroom Change» in Oxford | Being a father | Friends of mine who are growing into leadership roles at the same time as I am | Curating the Weekly Filet | The daily struggle to be a good leader to my team at NZZ |Countless people I worked with that made a lasting impression on me | The Journalism Festival in Perugia | Being part of a lot of well managed and even more badly managed projects | This blogpost by Juliane Leopold | Managing managers | Wolfgang Blau | Books by the Basecamp founders, especially «It doesn’t have to be crazy at work» | Lucy Küng | Hyper Island Toolbox | Hannes Gassert | Learning to code at age 30 | Lots and lots of books | …