When I talk to top executives in today’s energy industry, it often feels as if they were modern manifestations of Kafka's bucket rider ("Kübelreiter"): They know that their traditional means of producing energy (and thereby making money) are running out; they honestly, enthusiastically, and full of hope make plans to reinvent their business, tap into potential sources of replenishing their empty buckets, and think of creative marketing and communication approaches to explain their intentions.
However, despite doing everything right and with strong conviction, they still find themselves misunderstood and rejected by those they interact with – be that society, politics, colleagues, customers, business partners, suppliers, or any other of the myriad entities making up the universe of today’s energy industry.
Kafka’s bucket rider gets out of his misery by realizing that the empty bucket he was zealously trying to refill with coal can actually serve him much better as something very different: As a mount to not only get on the way to fulfill his mission (“… once down below my bucket ascends, superbly, superbly..."), but also, in the end, to escape the narrow world that was holding him back ("And with that I ascend into the regions of the ice mountains and lose myself to never return.").
The Italian writer Italo Calvino cites Kafka's story in his "Six Memos for the Next Millenium" as an illustration to the virtue of "Lightness": "... the idea of this empty bucket that carries you way above where you were looking for help, and above the egoisms of others [...]. And in addition, if the bucket was full, it would no longer allow us to fly".
I offer personal executive coaching & counseling for top executives in the energy industry, working with them and their teams to develop, strengthen, and expand mental strategies for
- setting directions,
- making decisions,
- leading organizations & people
in an increasingly unpredictable, uncertain, volatile, ambiguous, and complex business environment.