Von Zuwendungen und Erwartungen

Wir alle brauchen Aufmerksamkeit, Zuwendung und Liebe, es ist ein Grundbedürfnis des Menschen. So weit so gut, so einleuchtend. Jedoch ist die Art, wie uns Zuwendung widerfährt entscheidend dafür, wie wir Beziehungen zu anderen Menschen gestalten. Es ist ein hochkomplexes Geflecht von moralischen Verpflichtungen, Bedingungen, Erwartungen und Emotionen. Zuwendung ist für unser Wohlbefinden so notwendig, dass wir sogar negative Zuwendung, wie beispielsweise Schläge, Hohn, Spott und Hass, in Kauf nehmen, als gar keine Zuwendung. Ich will hier einmal versuchen diese Abhängigkeiten ein wenig aufzudröseln. Continue reading “Von Zuwendungen und Erwartungen”

Principles of Communication

Our communication is influenced by unconscious processes which are decisive for success or failure for the scheme of our relations. Even non-verbally, we always transmit plenty of information when talking to or with others and thus influence their behaviour.

On the occasion of the international project meeting for the CITCOM project, Isabell and I gave a workshop about the principles of communication.
The first part was delivered by myself and went into the basics of our communication, in the second part Isabell introduced a framework for devising a communication strategy and how to execute it successfully.

The feedback we received showed two tendencies: most of us aren’t aware of their communication patterns and don’t really want to discover the source of these unconscious influencers. Secondly, people want to have easy answers to complex questions, expressed by the demand on ready-made communication strategies: a website, a bit of Facebook, some emails, etc.
Understanding communication processes and developing a good communication strategy is more complex and a job for professionals – you can hire us 😉
Enjoy reading it! Continue reading “Principles of Communication”

Love, Peace & Leadership

Museu DaliIntroduction

Leadership – is the art to support and encourage others to achieve common goals.

Good leaders are enablers, helping people and organizations to perform, develop and master changes.

Leadership requires strong emotional intelligence and empathy to reflect people’s needs and necessary changes. Reality shows that this is easier to understand than to apply in practice.

The acting, direction and success of organizations depend decisively on the competencies and maturity of those people who are in power.

When talking about leadership, you can quickly get into very controversial discussions about power and the misuse of power, social responsibilities and justice, free spirits, community sharing and declination of authorities, something between peace & love and authorities.

It’s an emotional topic because as written above, its appearance depends on the personality of human beings.

In this article, I’ll explain, by using Transactional Analysis models, what leadership means, what makes someone a leader and reflect on leadership styles and complementary behaviour.

Do people need leadership?

Human beings have the inherent need to know how to spend their life time, to be secure and guided, to feel safe, respected and accepted. The need to structure time is aimed to be spent on such activities which secures one’s survival, to get inspired and accepted by others. Thus we have social rituals, search challenges, are engaged in professional and private activities and establish intimate relations to special people.

Doing this, we follow universally accepted rules, laws and people who are guiding us to achieve common aims and objectives, who empower and protect us.

Sometimes, we all just need somebody who sees the light at the end of the tunnel for us 😉

What is leadership?

There is no general definition of leadership. The common basic ground defines leadership as the ability to lead people in order to realize specific, measurable objectives.

For me, leadership is organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal by influencing them. Leaders influence people directly through personal competencies and indirectly through organizational structures, systems and tools, e.g. human resources management, customer relationship management, quality management, business indicators, planning systems, etc.

Leadership is a part of the management as leaders have to plan, coordinate and control activities, resources and people.

Leaders are in a certain position/role in an organisation, who are equipped with the power to take decisions.

As leadership is always focussed on the achievement of certain goals, the required personal competencies of those leading people depend on what is needed in a specific situation in the organisation.

Therefore, leadership is always balancing personal competencies and relations to colleagues and employees in accordance with the aims of the organization, and the own role/position. This is a permanent, ongoing process.

competence balance

What makes someone a leader?

There are no natural born leaders.

Charisma and having the authority alone does not make that people follow with all their passion and energy to achieve a common goal.

It’s a set of meta-competencies which characterize leaders:

Leaders are

  • able to cope with high pressure, occurring through changing situations, competitors, colleagues, employees, time limitations, etc.
  • conscious about own strengths & weaknesses: they know their strengths and the negative sides of it, what is needed in certain situations, which competencies they want/need to improve and develop.
  • able to do self-reflexion & self-regulation. They are keeping the countenance (poise) towards others and own abilities, they are able to recognize and reflect on own behaviour and know how to avoid own negative behaviour.

Knowledge about own behaviour patterns and the ability to analyze them is the key of a high interpersonal intelligence. We need to know not only our strengths but also our dark sides to be able to act positively and according to the situation/moment and stay flexible in complex situations and roles.

Let’s try to understand the complex human personality a bit better.

How we behave and function

I guess, that everybody already recognized that people can appear in different modes. Sometimes the same person appears as a clear, strategic thinking person, in another situation like a defiant child or an authoritarian despot.

To understand and analyze such behaviour and the related feelings and thoughts, we structure it according to their appearance: like a child, an adult, a parent. In TA we call it Ego States.

There are no stereotypes which might be an excuse for behaving in a certain way, but by analyzing our own behaviour (and that of others) we can widen our perspectives and understand our own, unique patterns of behaviour and their likely consequences. It helps to observe and understand the complex system of feeling, thinking and behaving of a person.

On the one hand, we can understand where the behaviour is coming from, on the other hand, how it appears in action.

human functioning

The Parent Ego State has a positive as well as a negative side:

A person, acting in a thoughtful, constructive manner can lead in a foresighted manner to influence others, in a positive way, by also being supportive and giving orientation. Too much of all of this turns this behaviour into a negative effect: it diminishes the abilities and willingness of others to think, act and behave responsibly.

However, using this Ego State we express the grade of our professional and social responsibility, how we behave as an answer to the behaviour of others.

The Adult Ego State is visible through clear, fair, objective and an appropriate behaviour.

The Child Ego State has also a positive and a negative appearance.

On the one hand, a thoughtful behaviour conform to social standards and rules, a free, creative mind is, without any question, desirable. The flipside, too much of conformity is visible in rebellious behaviour and recklessness.

The behaviour we show decides what is our self-understanding and how we are in contact with others.

In both Parent and Child ego states we are replaying, or automatically re-acting, archaic material. When triggered into doing this, we have no choices; we just play things the same old way once again. It is in the Adult ego state that we have our choice of options (Berne 1961 Transactional Analysis In Psychotherapy: a systematic individual and social psychiatry, p.76). When we are in Adult we are in touch with and account for present reality: “The Adult ego state consists of one’s current age-appropriate motor behaviour; one’s emotional, cognitive and moral development; one’s ability to be creative, and one’s full contactful capacity for engagement in meaningful relationships.” (Erskine & Moursund 1988: Integrative Psychotherapy in Action, p.20)

We can easily recognize the different modes of others by watching gestures, listen to the sound of the voice and the words used. To realize our own behaviour, we need to look into ourselves and reflect, if we react according to the current situation or, if we react like we always did when being a child.

Self-reflection and self-regulation is the key meta-competency a leader needs to have as this ability impacts our relations to others.

Behavioural Modes 1

The Ego States model eases to understand the source and appearance of our behaviour.

Analyzing personalities demands professional support but leaders (as well as all other people) need to understand the different behavioural modes with their positive and negative effects they encounter in themselves and others.

behavioural modes
Giving each mode a name makes it easier to assign distinctive characteristics and differentiate more precisely between them.

Control – dominating mode

When in this mode, we focus on negative aspects, on mistakes. We think to be in the right and require from others to conform and insist on obedience. It’s not only that we force others, but also ourselves. We impend, warn, punish.

Others might conform or be rebellious.

Control – structuring mode

In this mode, we empower through inspiration, we motivate and help others in using their potential. We set achievable aims and establish supportive structures. This can lead to great team spirit and to the development of others’ competencies.

Care – over-cockering mode

We shower others with help, support, attention, we mix up needs with wishes. We put ourselves on a pedestal. This leads to sadness, frustration and leave alone others. As a results, we are confused because we get no thanks and are left disappointed.

We did not understand that too much support hinders a healthy personal development of achievable aims, expectations and possibilities.

Care – nurturing mode

This mode is the back side of the overcockering mode. We show our empathy and respect for others and ourselves, we do not depreciate others nor ourselves. We encourage the development of implicit confidence, self-esteem and acceptance of oneself and others.

Socialized Self – cooperative mode

We are self-assured, friendly and considerate to others. We are able to listen, to give, to find solutions. We have good relations to others and enjoy spending our time with them.

Socialized Self – compliant/resistant mode

The back side of the cooperative mode, when we feel overstrained. Depending on how we like to react in such situations, we tend to be rebellious or have over-conformed behaviour. However, we get nervous, make mistakes and are constantly between rebellion and the wish to please.

Natural self – spontaneous mode

In this mode we are free, creative, vital, we are uninhibited to do whatever we like without losing the appropriate sense for our situation, position and age.

The individual temperament decides how we can balance between lavishness and aloofness.

Natural self – immature mode

Here, we do not take any responsibility, we do not care about the consequences of our actions nor do we make provisions. We easily lose control of oneself, have no sense for appropriate reactions or thoughtful behaviour. We are selfish.

Reality Assessment mode

We are in the here and now, fully aware of our thoughts, feeling and behaviour and open for incitations from others. We are able to select logically what is necessary to develop strategies, making decisions and are realistic concerning the situation.

Even if we know our weaknesses, our sore points triggering our negative modes, we are not completely able to eliminate those behaviours which limits our positive attitude but we can control it to a certain extent.

We easily integrated the positive modes into our Adult Ego State. There, we also transferred our negative modes, which, ideally, we keep behind closed doors, always remembering the situations when they occur.

However, the following graphic make clear, that our behaviour, thinking and feeling in the present is determined by all these five behaviour modes described above.

structural behaviour

Our acting in the here and now might be blighted by manifested behaviour from our childhood, e.g., a person, always against anything others say or provide probably activated her rebellious (child) behaviour mode.

We all know situations where we not fully assess the current situation, when parts of our negative modes blight our reality assessment. Then, we behave automatically as we always did in our childhood, we do not act autonomously, our judgement is warped.

And everybody has its own favorite mode when triggered with unforeseen or insecure situations. This has a very simple advantage: we instantly know what to do as we survived such situations long time before, we do not have to think, it is subconscious, it just happens to us.

Leadership Styles2

As written above, depending on the situation and objectives of the organization, different competencies, different leadership styles are required.

There might be situations where it’s not helpful to start a participatory process, where just fast decisions are necessary without paying attention to a common agreement.

Leadership styles are the expressed behaviours of the leader. However, each behaviour mode has its complementary mode, each behaviour provokes a certain reaction.

When describing the leadership styles I am looking for the symbiotic relations between the different modes.

Authoritarian Style

The leader is in priority in the dominating mode. Decisions are taking solely by the leader, others are depreciated:

  • I am the only one working
  • I am the only one who is taking responsibility
  • The others can’t do it, they do not know how to solve that
  • The others don’t take responsibility

The leader is almost always overstressed. The others, often gave up, don’t really take responsibilities, they mentally quit their job. Whatever they do, they can’t suit the leader.

When behaving like this, we call it a symbiotic relation: the parties behave complementary regarding their responsibilities. The leader acts over-responsibly, has fear to lose control or to show feelings, and prefers to act independently.

The others don’t realise their true potential and are prone to give their responsibility away, they are passive, depreciating the leader and oneself.

All in all, this style is very destructive, it kills creativity and positive development of people.

Controlling Style

This style is the mild form of the authoritarian style, paired with the power to punish or promote somebody, e.g. decisions about bonus, further qualification, replacements, etc.

The danger is, that these activities appear sounded and clear, but often hides a patriarchal thinking which goes along with depreciation of others. It’s a kind of manipulation through kudos and blame.

  •     He/she can’t take this responsibility as he/she is already overloaded with work or other problems
  •     You haven’t yet enough experience to do this job
  •     You are too young/new in this job

This leads to a competitive and distrusted working climate and over-conformity of employees. They take only those responsibilities which are given, they do not show any initiative.

Rebellion is also possible, as those personalities do not see the manipulation behind. If they push the border of their area of responsibility, they will be rebuked.

Depending on their personalities, they still believe that they can achieve and decide independently and are building social coalitions with like-minded people. Thus they spend more energy in “if I would have the saying” discussions then in their work.

This is also a symbiotic and therefore destructive relation between the leader and the others and works perfectly when people with the complementary basic convictions come together:

I am the boss and knows best who can do what → I take the responsibility which is assigned to me.

Cooperative Style

The leader has the power to decide, punish and reward and has also excellent professional knowledge. The leader knows how to combine and motivate others to create an open and cooperative working atmosphere, to achieve a common goal.

It works mostly in closed units, e.g. product development, marketing, ect., where disturbing influences are assessed constructively and changes are possible.

This style is focused on rational solution and makes a flexible, free cooperation between the leader and the others in large parts possible.

However, there is still a manipulative part as the leader has the power to punish and reward and tends to be selective in giving responsibilities and promotion:

  •     They still need my support
  •     It won’t work without me
  •     I still need to push forward

The others are convinced that they could not achieve the goals without leaders’ support. They are eager to please.

In long-term, this can be very demotivating and lead to rebellion or passive behaviour.

Anyway, that style seems to be the preferred leadership style in many organizations. It conveys an open, motivational organization culture but it often has a dark side.

Participative Style

This is nearly an ideal leadership style.

The leader is using all his/her knowledge, power, influence, empathy to support, motivate and guide others. He/she is taking care of others without depreciating, enables free development and acts respectfully. It’s not about creating a paradise, it means a realistic solution – and resource-oriented behaviour. Changes are a self-evident part of the job/life. In short, both parties, the leader and the others are acting like autonomous adults.


There are many different approaches on analyzing leadership. I looked at leadership and leadership styles from the behaviour appearance and I hope, I made clear, that leadership is not naturally given and there is no singular characteristic.

Of course, nobody wants to be declared as authoritarian or controlling leader, but signs of such a behaviour are more often visible than expected.

What we can notice is a preferred behaviour in a certain situation. We can’t change our personality but we can change our behaviour.

And there is another point I would like to mention. It is a myth to think that we can split our personality in a professional and private one. We only have one and we often behave in the same way or complementary in our professional and private context. Wherever we change our behaviour, it will for sure impact our personality.

Roles and Context

Roles and context are decisive basics for respectful relations and independence.

Leaders are NOT a part of team, they are in a different role. They lead the team.

A clear distance and self-understanding of the role is necessary to avoid manipulative behaviour which leads to social competition and distrust.

The leader needs to understand the necessity of a healthy, respectful distance which enables free and creative development of itself and others.

Though not only leaders should to be able to change their behaviour flexibly according to the situational context. (You might be a teacher but at home you are a father, a completely different role!)

Leaders are a part of the leadership team. There, they are equal to others.

Organizational Culture

Organizational culture is the collective behaviour of humans that are part of an organization. It is also formed by the organization values, visions, norms, working language, systems, and symbols, it includes beliefs and habits.

As written above, a part of the leadership takes place through organizational structures and rules.

Rules, organisational systems, standards, codes of conduct are made or at least initiated by leaders and it depends on their personalities which culture they create, which image they transmit to newcomers or the outside world and how the organization will be developed. The less permissive the culture of an organization is, the more closed off the organization is towards changes.

In general, the more leaders act free of reality distortion, appropriate to the current needs and objectives of the organisation and staff, the more efficient is the leadership.

A respectful, open cooperation, free of manipulation as well as depreciation results in a lot of love and peace. 😉


  1. http://www.functionalfluency.com/index.php?FF%20Level%202
  2. Ute & Heinrich Hagehülsmann: Der Mensch im Spannungsfeld seiner Organisation: Transaktionsanalyse in Managementtraining, Coaching, Team- und Personalentwicklung, ISBN-13: 978-3873870383


The need to belong

My point of viewIndividual versus group needs and where do I fit in?

The Joomla Day New England was the second Joomla Day I attended and the first where I gave a presentation. It seems that I hit the nail with my topic as there were lively discussions during and after my session and I was asked to write everything down.

So here it is 😉

I consult and coach different kind of companies regarding their organizational structure and guide them to develop and implement necessary changes. Doing this I use the methods of Transactional Analysis (TA), a psychological theory, based on psycho-analysis and psychotherapy.

It is used in counselling, organization development, education and psychotherapy. There is a set of models which helps to understand why we think, feel and act like we do, to trace behavioural patterns and ways of thinking, reflect on these and learn to develop alternatives, that will lead to a change of the everyday (working) life.

I am not directly involved in the Joomla project nor do I have strong relations to many members, I just got in contact with some of them and, from my outside standpoint, I was looking with my TA eyes at the visible processes of the Joomla project.

The Group development model by Eric Berne was for me the most appropriate model in that case and so I gave a very short introduction about

  • the visible and hidden structures of groups,
  • the dynamic of groups,
  • group activities,
  • authorities in groups.

This is to give an insight into how I look at groups, but please, this is not a pattern. Applying the model needs more detailed work with a group.

Based on a small survey, I showed how members of the project fit in and that development is possible and needed.

The Need to Belong

Human beings are social beings. We need to be in contact with others, to review our positions, to learn from and share with each other. We associate and, at the same time, dissociate by forming groups to fulfil our personal needs. Even though we all have many different reasons to build, join or leave groups, we all have the same basic needs, we need to assuage our hunger for

  • Stimulus: We need adequate challenges and stimulation to stay in and follow a group
  • Recognition: We need to be appreciated in what we are doing and have done, someone has to take care of us, we need to be seen in our wish for learning and coping with changes
  • Structure: We need to know how to spend our time, how deep we’ll be involved with our resources, emotions and if there is a future in this group
  • Leadership: We need guidance and leadership, a vision
  • Survival: How can I survive in/with this group? Can I adapt to the culture and be safe?
  • Passion: We need to introduce own ideas, show our creativity
  • Quiescence: We need time to reflect and regenerate about activities which happened.

Of course, we need to find all this in a group. Even though, a group is constantly changing because of external challenges or the fluctuation of members, we are seeking to find a balance of these seven motivations. If we can’t satisfy one or more of them, we’ll start revolting, try to change the group or leave it.

Let’s have a closer look at the structures, dynamics and authorities in groups.

The Visible and Hidden Structures of Groups

A group can be defined as an agglomeration of individuals who interact with each other for an apparently common purpose. A group provides great potential for destruction as well as for healing. It is the most powerful environment for individual and societal change, for the better or the worse.

A group dissociates people from each other and has, however natured, a structure. The structure of a group is defined by boundaries, the type of membership and inner and public structure, visible in the organizational chart and staffing. Boundaries can be hermetically closed (when there is no way in or out, e.g. in prison), open to both sides (easy to belong and leave, e.g. Joomla.org) or open just in one direction (easy to belong but difficult to get out or vice versa).

The type of membership defines under which conditions and achievements it is possible to belong to a group:

  • voluntary: You like the idea and it is easy to join as the borders are open
  • optional: You got invited, you can join, but you don’t have to
  • accidental: Your nationality, you are a citizen of a town, etc.
  • obligatory: you don’t really have a choice (school class, army, etc.)

The public structure of a group is easily visible with an organizational chart, the inner structures reflecting the responsibilities and assignments of tasks. This inner structure can be

  • very simple: A group with one leader
  • mixed: Different, but clear, distinguished hierarchies
  • complex: Split leadership with one per working groups/boards
  • complicated: Split leadership in different boards, responsibilities and decision power is delegated to the boards

Complex and complicated structures induce conflicts about decisions, responsibilities and involved persons have difficulties to find their right place; their belonging in such a structure.

According to what is published on http://joomla.org/about, the structure of the Joomla project is complicated (Figure 1).

Structure of the Joomla project

Figure 1: Graphical interpretation of the public structure of joomla.org March 05, 2012

The project has a shared leadership. The different functional areas appears clearly distinguished from each other in the organizational chart, but members belong to multiple functional areas and, additionally, OSM is an independent organization.

There is great potential for conflict, as in reality, clear boundaries of power do not exist or are not respected which might be difficult because of the multiple belongings. Responsibilities are not really defined and delegated to specialized working groups and it is not clear how to become a member of the different groups. Not to forget, the big community seems to have no space here.

A lot of the people I was talking to about the organizational structure of the project confirmed that it’s not really easy to understand who is leading what, which activities are going on and how to participate.

This confusion results e.g. in less creative contributions as people do not have certainty about their personal involvement.

Each group has its hidden structure, which is the summary of the sub-conscious image that members have, resulting from their needs, desires, experiences, requests, feelings.

In TA we call this group imago. The imago underlies a permanent development process as the individual motivations, relations to other group members and roles are changing throughout the time being in the group.

The group imago delivers a good insight about how a person positions itself, others and group leaders in terms of their personal involvement. The imago decides the success of a group.

During the session I asked the participants to draw their imago and they came up with some interesting ones which showed a bit of the confusion I described above. None of the few imagos we discussed during the session reflected the public structure. Most of them expressed a forlornness, helplessness and the need for orientation.

This underlines once more the need for a structural change 😉

Dynamics and Activities of Groups

When observing groups, most people think first about group dynamics. It’s important but too short of a thought as this is only one part in the game.

However, the dynamic of a group reflects how the group is acting, the processes in the group (Figure 2).

Dynamic of Groups

Figure 2: Dynamic of Groups

The balance between the cohesive power and the individual preferences will decide not only on how the group is going to be developed, how creative it is, but also about whether it will still exist or split up.

However, the personal development and situation of each group member have a direct impact on group activities and will, thus, constantly change the group.

If the cohesive power is bigger than the sum of the individual interests, the group is better in working on common creative activities. If it’s the other way around, then it puts stress on the group and minimizes their creativity. In rough times of high competition, the group needs their whole potential to stand up against this external pressure. The better the group is prepared, the better they all stick together and give enough space for creative self-expression, therefore the easier it will be to get through such situations (Figure 3).

Group Activities

Figure 3: Group Activities

Authorities in Groups

The entirety of the mental, material and political influences on one side – visible in the rules of decision-making, etiquette, infrastructure and group culture – and the people leading the group on the other side, are the authorities of a group. However, it impacts a group and is of prime importance if the members follow, rebel or being passive.

When analysing the leadership of a group, then we often see three different people, even though there is only one official leader according to the organizational structure:

  • The person in charge, the responsible person, who is calling to account for slips and who gets the merits.
  • The real leader, the decision-making authority, the person who gets the most attention and who has been asking for advice in difficult situations.
  • The psychological leader, the person who has the biggest influence in the group. It’s the person who is already present in the mind of each member.

Ideally, these three leaders are unified in one person. If not, they should at least, work together in an efficient way as not to waste their power in personal fights (Figure 4).

Group Authorities

Figure 4: Groups Authorities

The Need to Belong in the Joomla Community

Preparing the session for the Joomla Day New England, I did a small survey on Facebook, asking people “What is your relation to Joomla?”. Some choices for answers were given, but people had the possibility to add their answers. Multiple choices were possible.

About 50 people answered, I know, this is not representative, but it gives a small insight and shows a tendency (Figure 5).

How to fit in?

Figure 5: How to fit in? – Facebook survey

To get a better understanding of the answers, I grouped them broadly into the basic motivational parameters explained above. For more detailed statements, further analysis is necessary (Figure 6).


Figure 6: How to fit in?Results

The majority of the people are part of the community because it allows them to survive, to live from the products the project delivers. Those contributing are in the minority and here I can only guess why. Maybe, an adequate system of recognition is missing, maybe there is not enough space or it is not easy to contribute ideas. A reason could also be that people can’t find a security in the structures of the project, they haven’t got any idea about the future of the project and thus do not spend their personal resources for the project, even though, a lot of them find the idea of open source software appealing and are stimulated by the people in the project (positive and/or negative).

Combining these results with the group imagos people drew, it seems that a clear leadership and a given orientation structure is not available (Figure 7).


Figure 7: Needs

The balance between structure, culture and dynamics needs to be disturbed for changing a group or an organisation.

When talking about changing the structure of the project, we have to consider that these changes directly influences the balance between dynamics and therefore the culture of the group.

The leadership composition and style impacts the cohesion power. It changes the reasons why a group sticks together and, therefore, it challenges the balance between personal and common interests. How the members of the group cope with these changes will be visible in the allowed behaviour, in the etiquette, the culture of the group.

For example:

An organization of volunteers has developed a good product and it is becoming very successful on the market. The project grows, in number of project members and clients. The lead of the project is loosely organized and those who were there from the beginning feel the need for more organized structures to satisfy the growing number of requests and demands from clients and to reduce the work overload for a few people. They introduce a formal leadership team, composed of some early members of the organization and of some people from outside with more business experiences. These people get paid for their work. The majority of the numerous members of the organization are still happy to spend their time in the organization, share and discuss ideas with other people there. Over the time, the creative input from those people is declining as most of them feel that they don’t get rewarded for their contributions except for those who are in paid leadership positions. Conversely this means that the leadership team needs to find other sources of contributors. They establish an external company which from now on leads the decisions over the further development of the product, from the organization of volunteers to recruitment of their employees.

The changes in the structure of that organization destroyed the balance between the cohesion power and the personal interests of the members of that organization which then again led to a different culture of the organization. At the end of this restructuring process, it is still an organization of volunteers, but with a complete different dynamic and culture.

When presenting my conclusions and thoughts about that little survey, I had no knowledge about the plans for re-structuring the leadership of the project but I found myself supporting a group for preparing a proposal for a new leadership structure after the Joomla day.

However, during my presentation, I talked about some changes, necessary for the further existence and development of the Joomla project.

The big value of the Joomla project is its cultural diversity, with its big potential of ideas and creativity. They need a unique governance to find their place in the project, to assuage their hungers for contribution, recognition, structure, stimulation, passion, quiescence and leadership.

Yes, there is more leadership needed in the project. There is a need for a clear transparent framework for actions and responsibilities to support creativity, to recognize and reward contributions and for continuous evaluation.



Looking from the outside on Drupal

Unfortunately, I could not attend the Drupalcamp in Vienna, instead, a short outline how to classify the structure and dynamics of groups.

The structure

People form groups, when they want to distance themselves from others and create, however natured, a structure. This very simple group description includes two key elements: dissociation and structure.

A group can either be hermetically closed (there is no way out), it can be closed (there is hardly a way in, and hardly a way out) or a group is open (it is easy to belong and easily possible to leave the group).

How permeable the boundaries of a group are, is visible in the type of membership:

  • under certain conditions (Management board)
  • voluntary (drupal.org)
  • optional (on the basis of invitations)
  • randomly (Nationality) compulsory (a school class)

To look at the structure of a group is a bit more complicated.

There is a public organizational structure, depicted in organizational or management plans. The organizational structure is perceived as inadequate, well-organized or as totally over-organized. The individual structure appears when looking at the staff appointment scheme and its occupation. These structural elements are relatively easy to understand, but the critical point in all groups is their latent structure.

The latent structure can be simple (pic 1), mixed (pic 2) – different hierarchies are clearly distinguished from each other or complex (pic 3), f.e., with a shared leadership and many different functional areas that are not really clearly distinguished from each other (even if it seems in the organizational chart as if they are clearly distinct from each other).


Fig.1: Simple structure


Fig.2: Mixed structure


Fig.3: Complex structure

Structural problems in groups arise when these clear boundaries of powers do not exist or are not practised. If, additionally, responsibilities are delegated to more specialized sections, commissions or committees, you can be sure that it comes to conflicts and power struggles, and certainly not to productive work.

The hidden structure results from the sum of the ideas, desires, experiences and perceptions of all members of the group. The hidden structure determines the success of the group.

The structure of the Drupal community to me is this: public organizational structure: (I haven’t shown the structure of the association board. The number of stars as a symbol of the members does not reflect the actual number of members.)


Fig. 4: Inner organizational structure


Fig. 5: Hidden structure

The dynamics of a group result from the external pressure on the group (threatened / or relaxed) and its balance between individual preferences and interests of group members and the cohesive power, the power that holds the group together.


Fig. 6: Dynamics

The balance between the cohesive power and the individual preferences will decide not only on how the group is going to be developed, but also about whether it will still exist. The draft above of the hidden structure of the Drupal community reflects my personal point of view. How the balance between cohesive forces and personal interests is, I can only interpret based on assumptions.

Maybe, it would be interesting, if the members of the community would draw their own picture. That would give a good impression about the actual balance within the community.


What drives me?

How do I get into the situation, to not have time?

It happens as follows:

  • Scenario 1:
    I meet (one or more) people, that I find interesting, with whom I’m on the same wavelength, together we are thinking and discussing a bit about different topics, and before I know it, a new idea is born, which we want to realize together.
    This is fun, inspiring and I also earn money with it.
  • Scenario 2:
    Something annoys or inspires me, I develop an idea to change that or to create something new. I am looking for like-minded people, create a project, look for funding and realize the idea.
    This is fun, inspiring and I also earn money with it.
  • Scenario 3:
    I am so curious, the world is so big and colourful and I have always wanted to do this and that ……
    Then there is Scenario 1 or 2.
    This is fun, inspiring and I also earn money with it.

Suddenly, I have so much to do, and I do not have time for other things or time to rest.
The three scenarios are a very good explanation, but what drives me to this restlessness?
I’ll have a closer look using the models of the transactional analysis (TA).

A few definitions in advance:
Ego-state: the unity of thinking, feeling and behaviour
The TA distinguishes between three categories of the ego-state:
If these three ego-states are in equilibrium, meaning that the human being is able to react in a certain situation with all its ego-states according to reality, the world is in perfect order (to say it in a very simplified way).
But of course, it is not that easy. Human beings are not machines and therefore, they do not always react accordingly in a situation. They follow their drivers and their inculations. There is also a TA model for this concept, the model of drivers, which is, however, part of the life script model:

Decisions about our scripts are taken without thought in the early years of one’s life and we follow this unconscious life script so long as we start to consciously assess values, norms, morals and social rules adopted from our parents and consciously use them in the present.
I think, to some degree, it is clear what the model wants to explain. We carry a lot around in our heads from our childhood, and when it is getting dicey, we react the way we thought as good in our childhood.
As a child, I have often heard the following driving messages: “Hurry up, you don’t have all the time in the world!”, “Finish something until the end or don’t even start!”, “Work hard!”

All these drivers have a negative aspect, restricting the personality, and a positive, socially recognized, aspect:

  • Hurry up:
    To be at rest is worth nothing <-> quick, spontaneous, willing, always acting
  •  Finish something until the end or don’t even start / be perfect:
    Never make a mistake, do not forget anything <-> efficient, competent, exact, determined, high-quality level
  • Work hard:
    Always attempt to constantly work hard <-> thorough, motivated to work, studious, hard-working

If one of these scenarios described above start, then my drivers also start. I want to do everything perfect, fast and really well. Which is, per se, not a bad thing. But I do constantly overcharge myself.
I cannot do everything perfect, fast and really well.
I know that, yes, but, if I do not follow my personal drivers, then I am recognized less, worth less. That, I have decided as a child
If I want to change my current situation, then I do have to weigh more between different activities, that means that I have to check all the things I do for cocoate and what I have to continue doing, considering the extent and priority.

Back to my scenarios. Fun, inspiration and money are the three motivators, which I follow in my work.
For the next step, I will look at exactly what has been accumulated over the years at cocoate.com and how much of all that is fun to me, inspires me and yields money.




What do I really want?

I was on travel for few days and all the time I was incidentally thinking on my change process.
The “magic” three words which occurs in all three languages are time, process, result.

So, what do I really want?

I will have time.
Hmm, I have time. To get more time is not really possible, there is a natural limit, isn’t it ;-)?
I do need to be more precise: I want to spend my time differently.
In order to do WHAT?