The Line of Survival

by Rainer Runzer

Do you know what it takes to be a “good manager”?

University degree? Many years of professional experience? Broad knowledge of operational issues? Decision-making? Communicative skills? The ability to motivate employees? Profitability? Customer acquisition? Sales increase?

Yes, this is a question that managers like to rave and philosophize about. But let me answer the question differently:

The only thing it really takes to be a good manager is to be entered in the commercial register – and the individual definition of “good”. That’s all there is to it

I say there is exactly one thing that makes a CEO a “good” CEO: a clear survival line. A clear line exactly at the point – to be determined individually – that is absolutely necessary to achieve a goal.

Unfortunately, few people see it that way. They set themselves goals – just like becoming a good manager – and then, for lack of definition, make the achievement of these goals dependent on the demands of others. And therefore can’t get out of having to. They “have to” acquire more knowledge, they “have to” stay in the office even longer in the evening, they “have to” butter up the supervisory board.

Why survival line?

Why do I call this point the Survival Line? Because survival is also about the minimum requirements of breathing, drinking, eating, covering against heat and cold, sleeping and excreting. Everything else is encore.

Anyone who now believes that the survival line is just below the target will not get out of his previous patterns of thought and action. He fights and fights and ejects adrenaline because he thinks he will never reach his goal. How tiring!

However, if you are aware that the survival line is usually banally low, you will overcome it much faster and then find yourself in an energetic state of enthusiasm and joy. He releases dopamine and thus has access to his creativity and new ideas.

Unfortunately, many do not dare to do this because they think it would mean giving up their dreams. This makes them believe that the ambitious and stress-oriented “more and more and more” society is also doing this.

But it is just the other way round: Those who set their survival line high, curtail their dreams, because they make them a must.

What do you really need?

So the only question that remains is how you manage to keep your survival line low.

Well, first of all, you must realize that a low survival line does not mean a low target. And then get clarity about the absolutely necessary points to achieve the goal.

And if you should lapse into a philosophical treatise on possible fulfillment of duty, ask yourself at every point: Is this really necessary?




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