Maike Benner and Lilli Rohde: Covid-19 / Adaptation Scenarios Can Help Businesses Recover

0
483

 

By Fatima Gorezi

Lilli Rohde and Maike Benner are business consultants, consultants, international speakers and book authors. They are the founders of Mal! Sh, an international business consulting and consulting company based in Frankfurt, Germany. In this interview for Star Business magazine, they not only tell more about their entrepreneurial journey, but also share practical details of how they left the corporate world to start their own business. Recently, the authors of a book on time management, they show how businesses should understand and respond to the crisis left by the coronavirus. A reality not only in Germany, but throughout Europe. While they have been visitors for two years in a row in Albania, Maike and Lilli are enthusiastic as they talk about the hospitality and sincerity of the Albanian spirit, which they, as they say, immediately appreciated and loved.

When you came up with the idea for “MaL! Sh ”? Your company has an interesting name, what is behind this name?

Lilli: Starting our own business was always something we had in mind. We have gained useful knowledge and experience which we want to share. The feedback after our consultation and counseling sessions during our professional moments has always been extremely positive and has served to encourage us. Challenging processes and structures and creating ideas for improvements and starting to implement them was and is part of our character.

Maike: We both needed a change in our lives and we were convinced that time had never been better than now to make a change in our goals - no matter how big or small it would be. We have chosen MaL! Sh as the name of our company, as a combination of our letters of the name and because it is an attitude towards life that best describes us and our values. The origin of this Arabic saying is not to dwell on the past or focus on things that went wrong and that you can not change. For our values and those of our company this means taking the past as an asset that shaped you that you should use to shape your future. Learn from the past - Live now - Shape the future

Through what mechanisms do we help entrepreneurs and professionals to change their lives?

Lilli: We live and lead by example. We are convinced that every entrepreneur and professional should live up to their dream: it means starting and having a successful business or a fulfilling and growing career. We believe this is what every person deserves. Most people waste their time at work, with companies or businesses that they do not like and that are not fulfilling their dreams. We have also been in these stages in our lives, but once we have broken the chain, we know that everyone must thrive to reach their highest level of fulfillment. Sometimes a “kick in the god” and a helping hand are needed to guide you clearly towards the road. And this is where we come into play. We support our clients, be they enterprises, entrepreneurs or employees in internal processes (Why finding, team training, intercultural topics, tools and systems, digitalization), marketing and branding (messages, Avatar clients, channel selection social media, strategic planning) and sales processes from prospective research and beyond.

You are very good friends and business partners. How would you describe your business relationship?

Maike: MaLish is the result of the combination of our strength in all aspects. We hold ourselves accountable, we are creative, we have fun in business and in our private lives and if we discuss a topic or client with controversy, we always manage to come up with a solution that includes both views.

Many people say that it is much easier for us because we are two, but what does not seem to be that: having such a great friendship and running a business together is a chore that requires finding compromises.

Lilli: Communication, open and sincere trust is essential to run a business together and maintain friendship. Fortunately, we have built our friendship first and proved to each other that we can rely on each other in every situation and challenge. These private experiences made us go the business step. We are proof that women's empowerment can really work.

Maike Benner and Lilli Rohde: Covid-19 / Adaptation Scenarios Can Help Businesses Recover 1

Where and how did you find your passion for empowering people in business?

Lilli: Our vision to start our own business and the MaLish company was driven by the fact that we saw so many wrong decisions made by our former employer, which to us were so obvious, but we did not have the power to change them. So we want to empower people to look at their business from a different perspective and not waste time and money and really focus on what will lead them to further developmental steps. We always tell our customers the truth, even though it is not always comfortable.

Maike: We strongly believe in the power of combining the advantages and knowledge of the corporate world and entrepreneurs. We provide this with our 'Coaching Compagneur' program. After working with us (in consulting programs), our clients have tools, systems, personalized processes and really work for their business. Our self-assertion is to empower our customers to think outside the box, to realistically evaluate their business and opportunities, and what is most important to take action, of course together with us.

What is happening on a global scale with businesses because of COVID-19 and especially in Germany and Europe? How do you see the situation?

Maike: The current situation is challenging for all of us. For the first time, as never before all businesses, in all industries and all countries are affected and the decline of world GDP and globalization will fall sharply. This is the bad news: we are in a crisis.

The good news is that economic contractions can prove to be opportunities to gain new customers, increase sales, differentiate yourself and your company in the market, and take the lead.

It goes without saying that the first moment of shock is great and many people will suffer in terms of health and economy, as millions of people are out of work, there are companies filing for bankruptcy and entire industries are disappearing.

However, although we are facing a lot of uncertainty - it is also a time to learn and use specific strategies to turn the tide. While things are tough, you need to start finding creative solutions to work from home, be productive, adjust your strategies and products, and focus on your goals.

To give you an example: For more than two months we have been working on a three-tier LinkedIn training concept workshop, all based in our Frankfurt office. We had to leave the office and return these online workshops within a few days.

Lilli: The way you choose to respond to difficult times will also determine the passage or not of the crisis. One of the biggest challenges most people face these weeks is their tendency to keep comparing the current situation to yesterday and want it back. However, the only thing that works is focusing on the future and forgetting the past. Remember how we talked before about the meaning of our company name Malish? - Learn from the past - Live now - shape the future.

Hard times require you to 'discipline' yourself more in the way you handle your daily life. Remember, you have always had a difficult time. Will you survive, the question is whether you will come out better or worse this time?

You have recently written a book about time management. Tell us a little more about the subject?

Maike: Yes, the project on the book is special. We had been thinking of writing a book for a long time. Our initial "plan" was to "one day" write a book about our MaLish entrepreneurial journey, full of stories and anecdotes about our business endeavors, our international travels, our deep friendship, and our determination to succeed. But also, we were open to writing a business book if that opportunity came up. Then one day, in December last year, a close friend referred us to a publisher who was looking for experts on the topic of time management. This topic was quite nice because on the one hand we had developed excellent time management strategies within our previous corporate career in order to stay on top of the workload. I, for example, became very proficient in front of the computer when I got a job as a Price Manager; with hundreds of calculations on hand to process every day.

On the other hand, we had just completed the development of a Quiz and a small time management manual. Your readers are welcome to get the dog developed here.https://compagneur.com/time-management-quiz/

The publisher was enthusiastic about us and our approach and so we started writing the book. Writing a book together is really challenging. We have different styles and it is necessary to define the structure first in excellent detail. Since our mission is to provide content that is practical, we decided to divide the book into two parts: one part by talking theoretically about time in general and of course covering methods known as Pareto or Eisenhower.

Lilli: The second part is based on our experience and how we manage time. We have created 26 chapters based on the German alphabet: each letter covers a topic for example M = addition. Within the chapters we provide applicable advice for employees, entrepreneurs and business owners on the relevant topic. Using the collection example, we are talking about how employees can handle appointments more efficiently or how important it is from a business owner’s point of view to have efficient appointment times. For us it was important to provide thought behind the Compagneur. Our Compagneur training program (offered to employees = Compa and entrepreneurs = neur) combines the structure of the corporate world and the entrepreneurial spirit by providing career training and business development for individuals. The book will be offered by the publisher as a book to be included in the university curricula as well.

Maike Benner and Lilli Rohde: Covid-19 / Adaptation Scenarios Can Help Businesses Recover 2

We are very proud of this and look forward to receiving feedback from students. Our book was released on May 9 in its print, eBook and audio version. It is currently available in German, but we are thinking of translating it into English and who probably knows Albanian as well? (Laughs).

The book is available on Amazon at this link- https://www.amazon.de/Tatort-Zeitmanagement-Zeitdieben-rausholst-Produktivit%C3%A4t/dp/3965833715

You have traveled to many countries and been to Albania twice in recent years. What are your impressions of our country?

Lilli: We immediately loved Albania and the people there as soon as we arrived, were received with so much love, sincerity and curiosity. When they first came to Albania in 2018 as participants and speakers of a conference, we immediately regretted that we had not planned for a few extra days to get to know the country better. But what we saw and experienced only in Tirana was enough to convince us to return and extend the next visit. What we liked about Tirana was its history, its vibrant past, the mix of cultures and cuisines. A tour of the city through Tirana showed us the unknown sides of history.

Maike: Coming back a year later - again for business - we were amazed to see how much the English level and hospitality had improved within a year. We can feel the passion and the will of the power of all Albanians to create a new and fruitful future for them and their families. This time we had the opportunity to spend a few days in Durrës on the beach, an experience after which we recommend our families and friends to plan their next vacation trips in Albania. With a rental car we explored more parts of the country and headed to Prizren in Kosovo. We really look forward to coming back soon.

 

Below you will find the interview in the English and original version given to Star Business

 

Adaption scenarios can help businesses win the COVID-19

By Fatima Gorezi

Lilli Rohde and Maike Benner are business strategists, consultants, international speakers, and authors. They are the founders of Mal! Sh, an international business consulting and coaching company based in Frankfurt Germany. In this interview for Star Business magazine, they tell more about their entrepreneurial journey but also share some practical details on how they left the corporate world to start their own business. Recently, the authors of a book on time management, they show how to understand and respond to the crisis after coronavirus lockdown. A reality not only in Germany but in all Europe. As visitors for two years in a row in Albania, Maike and Lilli are enthusiastic as they talk about the hospitality and openness of the Albanian soul which they have appreciated and loved instantly.

When did you first come up with the idea for your business “MaL! Sh”? Your company has an interesting name, what does it stand for?

Lilli: To start our own business was always on our minds. We have acquired useful knowledge and experience which we want to share. Feedback after coaching, training, and mentoring during our professional paths were always extremely positive and have served to encourage us. To challenge processes and structures and to come up with ideas for improvement and to initiate their implementation was, and is, part of our character.

Maike: We both needed a change in our lives and were convinced that the timing was never as good as now to make a change to our goals - no matter how big or small. We chose MaL! Sh as our company name as a combination of our first name letters and because it is an attitude to life that describes us and our values best. The origin of this Arabic saying is not to dwell in the past or focus on things that went wrong and that you can not change. For us and our company values this means instead to take the past as an asset that formed you which you should use to shape your own future. Learn from the past - Live now - Form the future.

How do you help entrepreneurs and professionals to change their lives?

Lillie: We are living and leading by example. We are convinced that every entrepreneur and professional should live their dream: means to start and have a successful business or a fulfilling and growing career. We believe that this is what every person deserves. Most of the people waste their time in jobs, with companies or businesses they don liket like and which are not fulfilling them. We also have been in these stages in our lives but after breaking the chain we know that everybody should thrive to reach his or her top level. Sometimes an external “kick in the.” Is needed and a helping hand to guide clears the road. And this is exactly where we come into the game. We support our clients, whether they are companies, entrepreneurs or employees in internal processes (finding the Why, team training, intercultural topics, tools and systems, digitization), marketing and branding (messaging, Avatar customers, Social Media channel selection and strategic planning ) and Sales processes from prospecting to follow up.

You are best friends and business partners. How would you describe your business relationship?

Maike: MaLish is a result of combining our strength in all aspects. We keep ourselves accountable, are creative, have fun in business and in our private lives and if we discuss a topic or customer with controversy, we always manage to come up with a solution that incorporates both views.

A lot of people say that it is much easier for us because it's the two of us, but what is not seen: to have such a great friendship and run a business together is daily work and finding compromises.

Lilli: Open and honest communication and trust is key to running a business together and keeping the friendship. Luckily, we have built our friendship first and have proven to one another that we can rely on each other in every situation and challenge. These private experiences made us go the business step. We are the proof that female empowerment can really work.

Maike Benner and Lilli Rohde: Covid-19 / Adaptation Scenarios Can Help Businesses Recover 3

Why and how did you find your passion for empowering people in business?

Lilli: Our vision to start our own business and company MaLish was driven by the fact that we saw so many wrong decisions made by our former employer which for us were so obvious, but we had no power to change them. So, we want to empower people to see their business from another point of view and avoid wasting time and money and really focus on what will bring them further. We are always telling our consulting and coaching customers the truth –although it is not always comfortable.

Maike: We highly believe in the power of combining the advantages and knowledge of the corporate world and entrepreneurs. Which we provide with our Coaching program Compagneur. After working with us our customers have tools, systems, processes which are customized and really work for their business. Our self-claim is to empower our customers to think out of the box, to evaluate their business and opportunities realistically and what is more important to take action, of course together with us😊.

What is happening on a global scale with businesses due to COVID-19 and especially in Germany and Europe? How do you see the situation?

Maike: The current situation is challenging for all of us. For the first time ever all businesses, in all industries and all countries are affected and the decline in world GDP and globalization will be declining substantially. That is the bad news: we are in a crisis.

The good news is that economic contractions can prove to be opportunities to gain new clients, boost sales, differentiate yourself and your company in the marketplace, and take market share.

Is goes without saying that the first moment of shock is great and many people will suffer health-wise and economically as millions of people are out of work, companies filing for bankruptcy, and entire industries disappearing.

Yet even thoughwe're enduring a lot of uncertainty - it is also a time to learn and use specific strategies to turn the tide. While things are tough, you should begin to find creative solutions to work from home, be productive, adjust your strategies and products and focus on your goals.

To give you an example: For over two months we had been working on a workshop concept for LinkedIn training with three consecutive levels, all based on offline presence in Frankfurt. That we had to abandon and take the series online within days.

Lilli: How you respond to tough times will determine how you come through this. One of the biggest challenges most people face these weeks is their tendency to keep comparing the current situation with yesterday's and wishing for it to return. The only thing that works, though, is concentrating on the future and forgetting the past. Remember how we previously talked about the meaning of our company name Malish? - Learn from the past - Live now - form the future.

Tough times require you to get more disciplined in how you handle your day to day life. Remember, you have always gotten through tough times. You will survive, the question is will you come out better or worse this time around?

Currently you have written a book about time management. Tell us a little bit more about the subject?

Maike: Yes, the book project is one of a kind. We had been thinking to write a book for some time. Our initial “plan” was to “one day” write a book about our personal MaLish journey, full of stories and anecdotes about our business endeavor, our international travels, our deep friendship and determination to success. But also, we were open to write a business book if the opportunity came along. Then one day, in December of last year, a close friend referred us to a publisher who was looking for experts on the topic of time management. This topic fitted in very nicely because on the one hand we had developed great time management strategies within our former corporate career in order to stay on top of the workload. I, for example, became very skilled in front of the computer when I had a job as Pricing Manager with hundreds of calculations to process manually each day.

On the other hand, we had just finished developing a quiz and little workbook on time management. Your readers are welcome to take the quiz (https://compagneur.com/time-management-quiz/).

The publisher was enthusiastic about us and our approach and so we started to write the book. To write a book together is really challenging. We have different styles and needed to define the structure first in great detail. As our mission is to provide content which in implementable, we decided to divide the book into two parts: one theoretical talking about time in general and of course covering the well-known methods like Pareto or Eisenhower.

Lilli: The second part is based on our experience and the way we handle our time management. We have created 26 chapters based on the German alphabet: every letter covers a topic for example M = Meeting. Within the chapters we are giving implementable tips for employees, entrepreneurs and business owners related to the corresponding topic. Using example of Meeting, we are talking about how employees can handle Meetings more time efficient or how important it is from the view of a business owner to have time efficient Meetings. For us it was important to provide the Compagneur mindset behind. Our coaching program Compagneur (approaching employees = Compa and entrepreneurs =Neure) combines structure of the corporate world and the entrepreneur spirit providing career coaching and business development for individuals. From the publisher's side the book will be provided as learning book to universities as well. We are very proud of this and looking forward to receiving feedback from student. Our book was launched May 9th as hard cover, eBook and audio. Find the book here https://www.amazon.de/Tatort-Zeitmanagement-Zeitdieben-rausholst-Produktivit%C3%A4t/dp/3965833715

For the time being available in German but we are thinking to translate into English and who knows maybe shqip? (Laugh)

You have traveled to many countries and have been to Albania twice in recent years. What are your impressions of our country?

Lilli: We instantly loved Albania and the people as we were welcomed and hosted with so much love, openness, and curiosity. When we first came to Albania in 2018 as participants and speakers to a conference, we regretted immediately that we hadn't planned for some extra days to get to know the country better. But what we saw and experienced in Tirana alone was enough to convince us to come back and extend the next visit. What we like about Tirana was its right history, it's vivid past, its mix of cultures and cuisines. A city tour through Tirana showed us unknown sides of history.

Maike: Coming back one year later - again for business - we were amazed to see how much the level of English and the hospitality had improved within one year. We can feel the passion and will power of all Albanians to create a new and fruitful future for them and their families. This time we had the opportunity to spend some days in Durres at the Beach, after which we recommend to all our families and friends, to plan their next vacation trips to Albania. With a rental car we explored more parts of the country and drove to Prizren in Kosovo. We are really looking forward to coming back hopefully soon.

Reply

Please write your comment!
Please enter your name here