Management – a high performance sport

Quite a few managers talk about their position (behind the scenes), as if it were a killer job. Well, admittedly, our job is one in which “masculinity” is sometimes glorified a bit, one likes to bask in its own virility and indestructibility; However, and it is worth mentioning, there are always medically relevant side effects such as hypertension, gastric ulcers and heart attacks. The cemetery of the managers is well filled …

In the early years of cave diving, the number of fatalities was enormous. Again, the attitude was: A little loss is now. But the divers thought and were able to learn. Analysis of the dive accidents revealed that, among other things, overloading the diver with a variety of scuba tanks, various gases, hoses and other equipment resulted in serious or even fatal accidents. The so-called task overload brought the diver, the dive team in bad situations.

This resulted in a diving and equipment philosophy that has become known today as DIR (Do it right). And what about us managers?

Do we have a DIR, a do-it-right system?

I’m afraid no. But on the contrary. We are hopelessly overburdened. We have several methods, heuristics, approaches, philosophies in our luggage. There are also meetings, business reviews, Excel, PowerPoint, and and and.

To clear up time. Time to clean up the thicket. Time for focus. It is especially important to keep this focus when the times are dynamic (VUCA!) When agility is needed. It travels more comfortably with light luggage. Now the question arises, what is to pack so everything in the backpack. For me the answer is clear.


In my opinion, the “old” management philosophy of Schneller and Weiter is obsolete. Superficially. The focus on Faster and Faster often leads to a tiring battle of material, which is carried out at the end of the day on the back of the acting people, without reaching the desired fast and further. It is important to keep to thinking and wondering if it could be any different. The solution lies in focusing, in dropping ballast, in concentrating on the essentials. Not always the question of what else could be done. But: What else do I need to successfully reach the goal?

The cave divers developed the DIR system, the climbers the direttissima strategy. Now it’s time for us managers to develop a similar pattern.

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