Who’s behind the CACTUS?
We are Ines and Christian Sachs and are the founders of Cactus Competence. While Christian is a project management enthusiast and entrepreneur, Ines takes care things flow smoothly, from the website till the marketing of our brand. She is also the one who will stress-test the approaches to project management that Christian develops and send him back to the drawing board in case it is not fun, easy or efficient enough.
Project management can and has to be fun! The pleasure and enjoyment that comes from achieving a self-setted or given target of a project all by yourself or with your team, let it be big or small, is fantastic.
Working on a project can, should and has to be fun!
Fun is an important motivator. We know this from our own experience. With the fun, the success comes by itself.
With all the fun in the work, we take our concern very seriously and offer well-tried and experienced practical know-how combined with well-grounded theoretical background. Always focusing on the road capability.
We have stress-tested in practice every single tip and tool we present here. We are still working as project managers in the field. This distinguishes us from many other project management trainers.
The CACTUS Team
– the Expert –
Project management expert with more than 25 years of experience in Germany, France, Asia and South- and Central America. And still working as project manager ad interim in the field.
- Author of our Blog
- Speaks German, English and French
- Certified Project Management Professional (PMP©)
- Experienced speaker and trainer
- Qualified psychological adviser
- C.Eng. M.Sc. Mechanical Engineering
– the strong woman behind him –
Web marketing and branding expert with more than 18 years of experience in Germany and France. And still managing projects in this area.
- Branding expert
- Guest author of our Blog
- Speaks German, English and French
- Marketing Diploma
You need a hand from our branding expert? Contact her directly by email!
Here’s what Christian Sachs says about himself:
How I became what I am
Project management is fun. This is the motto of Cactus Competence, that’s what this is about, in everything I do. But who is that Christian Sachs and how I came to the point to help others finding the pleasure in successful project management (again)?
1967 – 1992: Thank you Mr. Teacher
We are moving, constantly. Karlsruhe, Böblingen, Munich, Stuttgart and Paris are the stops, some repeatedly. So I learn to adjust to ever-changing conditions and to cut out dead wood. Furthermore, I understand that I can learn everything I want, even when the teachers say I never would. For example the French language (thank you for that Mr. Wenzel, it’s been a long time and you are forgiven).
Despite this constant moving, I manage to pass my high school diploma within the stipulated time and to finish my mechanical engineering studies with reasonable marks within 9 semesters in the fastest 1%. So already back then, I was all about efficiency.
1992 – 1999: Variety and continuity
The first working years and even more moving. The names of the places are getting more illustrious. Eu in France (is THE town with 2 characters in French crosswords), Gochsheim and Aschaffenburg in Germany, Colmar back in France and Leonberg in Germany again.
I’m gaining experience in the cycle, mechanical engineering and automotive industry.
I’m realizing that I need variety in the job as well and move on as soon as I start feeling bored.
1995 I get married.
For the first time, I start my own business and go bust as fast as I decided to take the plunge. To mentally and financially recover from that “bloody nose” took me no more than 14 years.
At least, the marriage with my wife and today’s business partner Ines is still holding on. Seams that I need one constant in life after all.
1999 – 2004: Valeo shapes
The longest time with one employer, but 5 jobs within 5 years.
The automotive supplier Valeo shapes me most in professional regards. I get to know all project functions, I assume my first project leads. Moreover, I learn to manage teams, to delegate and how to kick off quickly and deliver good results with a minimum training period. I have a nice time and Valeo entirely fulfills my desire for new tasks and challenges.
Yet I realize that a certain work life balance is important to me and that this kind of permanent standby duty is a real pain in my neck. Continually on a plain to fly from A to B, from C to D is not for me. After 5 years I have enough and change – this time not only – the job but the employer too.
2004 – 2009: Promotion and re-start
I’m becoming more and more a kind of generalist. I’m gaining experience outside Europe. China, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, an exciting time.
But again, I’m more far away than at home what wasn’t initially planned but just so happened.
Therefore and because I’m offered a position as director in Stuttgart, after 2 years I change over to the software industry.
I’m bringing in new ideas, the company is growing and getting more professional. The customers are enthused about the improved service. But I’m facing hurdles, the parent company CEO puts me in my place. He doesn’t want to implement some of my suggestions, customer demands or not.
Finally come the crisis, the definitive break and the anew plunge into independence.
2009 – … Project manager, being entrepreneur temporarily
I decide to fully concentrate on project management and start my own business as an interim manager. This allows me to be at the same time entrepreneur and project manager – which in fact is being an entrepreneur for the time of the project.
We launch cactus-competence.com and Ines takes over responsibility of the marketing and website programming (at the time still coded in HTML), besides her activities as trainer.
I’m managing projects in the automotive industry, the service sector and the Internet sector.
I refine my capability to kick off quickly. Since it’s not possible to know everything by myself, I take advantage of my faculty to successfully delegate tasks. The teams appreciate that I give them the freedom to accomplish their tasks on their own responsibility and in the same time cover their backs if things go wrong.
I get my certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP®), but at the same time, I see how the overkill of project management methods and administration deteriorate not only project performance but also the so important fun factor for the project managers and their teams. I also start recognising that if the methods were simplified everybody and not just companies and entrepreneurs could profit from them.
We reorient Cactus Competence to become a consulting and coaching business and we decide that we will strive to help not only companies and entrepreneurs but also individuals trying to reach their personal goals.