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What does Time Management and Animal Totems have in common?

They both have to do with where you focus your Attention! Externally and internally

You cannot really control time, can you?  So how can you manage something that is out of your control?

Well it is not really possible. We all have 24 hours in a day to our disposal and there is nothing we can do about it!!

It is more about Attention Management. What do you put your External attention on?  

If you focus on the big pile of problems, that is what gets your attention. If you on the other hand focus on one small positive side of the same situation, that is what gets you attention.

The choice is  yours and that is within your control!

I once had a client; a Country Manager who was fed up with his job. He had a pattern that every three years in the same job he became so bored that he quit!

He wanted to stop the pattern because he did have an exciting job with a future there. But he was just so fed up by all the problems and obstacles he saw around him .

So, we worked with what he was paying attention on.  He was focusing on all the obstacles he saw at the same time – and there were quite many.

He had a hard time determining whether one was more important than the other so I asked him; if there were just one main obstacle that was creating all the others what would that be, you think?

He sat silent for a while… then replied: I think it is the procurement department of the company.

So he put all his energy and effort to look at how to replace that obstacle with better solutions.

The second thing we did was to look at some kind of inspiration he could use to build up the courage to do something about it after he found some possible solutions.

So, we went into the world of Indians and their Animal Totems – Internal Attention!

I took him on a mental Journey and asked him to close his eyes and go for a walk up a river in a wonderful forest, behind a huge waterfall, into a welcoming tunnel, and out to the most beautiful landscape he had ever seen in his life..

When there, I asked him to look around and register the nature and some animals around him. It could be birds, mammals, fish.. anything. Then I asked him if he saw one specific animal he felt a connection with.

He nodded. Then I asked him to let the animal come to him and give him a personal message. After sitting with the animal for a while and gratefully let the animal go he returned back through the tunnel, out from the waterfall passage, through the forest along the river and back to the room where we were sitting.

When he opened his eyes they were sparkling. He looked relaxed but excited at the same time.

I asked; what animal did you encounter? He said – a Deer.

So we looked up the meaning of the Deer in the symbols of Indian Totems (From the book Animal Speak by Ted Andrews) and the meaning of the Deer was; Gentleness and Innocence – Gentle luring to new adventure.

There were more to read and after examining the animal and his particular situation we made a plan on how to use the strengths of the Deer. In this case Gentleness and Innocence.

His biggest fear was to criticize the management and then experience hostility which had happened before with a former employee who later was fired unofficially because of that.

But by thinking about the situation as a Deer to behave innocently and present the case as a Gentleman and that they were all in the same boat together. And by presenting this as an adventure like the Deer, he managed to turn the whole company around. He got new areas of responsibility and a high jump up the career ladder for more years to come.

The pattern was broken!

If you want to become more structured with your time, maybe this is one way to explore.  By determining the most important obstacle to focus on at the time, and find strength and inspiration from the Animal World to overcome this obstacle and accomplish your goals.

What if you broke your patterns as well?

Well, wouldn’t that be something! ; )


The Leader as Coach

Mother Theresa with a child without arms

How to succeed through others?

Do you, as a leader, sometimes experience that it can be really hard to get all your employees or team members to go in the same direction? That important and urgent tasks take up too much time for you to follow up be the true leader you truly want to be? Through a coaching leadership style, you can create results through your employees by inspire them, facilitate, remove obstacles, ask questions and give feedback. You will develop self-propelled and independent employees who take ownership and responsibility for what they do, release their potential, create well-being and lots of empowerment in the workplace. Isn’t this what most leaders want?
1. Know your employees – know yourself!

When Mother Theresa held a speech in front of the world’s top leaders, about what characterizes a great leader, she asked the following two questions: “Do you know your employees? Do you love them?”. That was all… Then she left the stage.  How much time does a leader spend on this? Are they too concerned about results and goals that they don’t really take time to get to know their employees? Alternatively, take time to show their appreciation of them? To be able to focus on this, it is all about prioritizing questions like: “Why do you get up in the morning and what makes you want to go to work everyday? What are you passionate about and what gives you kick and energy?” These questions are just as relevant for the leader as for the employees.

The philosopher Socrates had a credo saying, “Know yourself”. As an intrusive gadfly he constantly reminded the leaders back then about the emptiness of ignorance. He said that the human life was not worth living for those who did not search into themselves. Some important questions to ask were: ” Who are you as a leader? What do you stand for? Who are you most capable to lead? What are your limitations/weaknesses and what is your plan to improve? What are you willing to sacrifice?” An excellent leader knows himself and knows the employees well. A great leader appreciates the employees, shows it often and thereby has a competitive edge because he has the knowledge about how to create the results they need over time.

2. Have a clear vision!

From Ibsen’s play “Kongsemnene” you will find this great dialogue:

Bishop: “Who does the grandest deed in the world?”

Skule: “That does the greatest man!”

Bishop: “But who is the greatest man?”

Skule: “The bravest one!”

Bishop: “So says the chief. A priest would say the most faithful. The wise man would say the most literate. Even so, it’s none of them Earl. The HAPPIEST man is the greatest man. The happiest man does the greatest deeds. He who receives the demands of time with passion, by thoughts he doesn’t understand but shows him the way he does not know where leads, but which he travels and must travel until he hears the crowds scream in ecstasy, and he wonders and finally understands that he has accomplished something GREAT!”

Why is it so important to have a vision? It is through this driving force a leader can create meaning and purpose for himself and his employees. These leaders know why they go to work everyday, and they are passionate about their vision. They radiate inspiration, and they make people want to follow them both in good as well as bad times.

3. Turn the negative to the positive!
What does a leader do when there is dissatisfaction, indifference or negativity in the workspace? How can he turn this to something constructive and good? Charles Dickens describes a breakthrough like this in the story “A Christmas Carol”. The story tells us that behind the destructive behavior and attitude of the old Mr. Scrooge lies a fundamental limiting belief. A belief about greed, scarcity and stinginess. To change this,  he encounters the Ghost of the Past, The Ghost of the Present and the Ghost of the Future. Mr. Scrooge learns why he has ended up like he has, the consequences of what he has done, and finally, sees a horror scenario about his future – if he continues on the same path. This becomes so powerful to him that he changes his fundamental belief and becomes a positive, generous and happy man. It is about being conscious about your limitations, what beliefs lie behind and what consequences this leads to now and in the future.  Then you can change the limiting beliefs into new, positive and constructive beliefs that you really believe in and inspire to help others change theirs.

It is all a matter of what you believe in! 

Lederen som Coach

Lederen som Coach!

Hvordan lykkes gjennom andre?

Opplever du som leder at det kan være vanskelig å få alle medarbeiderne til å trekke i samme retning? At viktige oppgaver som haster tar for mye av arbeidsdagen din til at du får vært den lederen du egentlig ønsker å være? Gjennom en coachende lederstil kan du skape resultater gjennom dine medarbeidere.ved å inspirere, tilrettelegge, fjerne hindre, stille spørsmål og gi feedback. Du utvikler selvledende medarbeidere som har eierskap til det de gjør, frigjør deres maksimale potensial, skaper trivsel og oppblomstring på arbeidsplassen. Er det ikke dette de fleste ledere ønsker seg?

Hvordan bli en coachende leder?

1. Kjenn dine medarbeidere – kjenn deg selv!

Da Mor Theresa skulle si noe om hva hun mente kjennetegnet en dyktig leder, stilte hun følgende to spørsmål: ”Do you know your employees? Do you love them?” Hvor mye tid bruker en leder i gjennomsnitt på dette? Er man kanskje for opptatt av resultater og mål at man egentlig ikke kjenner sine medarbeidere så godt, eller tar seg tid til å virkelig sette pris på dem? For å ha dette i fokus handler det om å prioritere tid til spørsmål som: ”Hva er det som gjør at du står opp om morgenen og har lyst til å gå på jobb?” Eller ”Hva gir deg kick og energi?” Dette gjelder like mye for lederen selv som for sine medarbeidere. Den greske filosofen Sokrates var opptatt av sitt credo som var ”Kjenn deg selv.” Som en innpåsliten klegg minnet han dem stadig om uvitenhetens tomhet. Han sa at det menneskets liv er ikke verdt å leve som ikke søker inn i seg selv. Noen viktige spørsmål å stille seg selv er: ”Hvem er du som leder? Hva står du for? Hvem er du best egnet til å lede? Hva er dine begrensninger og hva er din plan for å snu dem, og hva er du villig til å ofre?” En leder som kjenner seg selv godt og som kjenner sine medarbeidere godt og som klarer å sette pris på både seg selv og dem, har et konkurransefortrinn fordi de vet hva som skal til for å skape fremragende resultater over tid.

2. Ha en klar visjon og kongstanke!

Fra Ibsens Kongsemnene: ”Biskop: Hvem gjør den største gjerning i verden? Skule: Det gjør den største mann! Biskop: Men hvem er den største mann? Skule: Den modigste! Biskop: Så sier høvdingen. En prest vill si den mest troende. En vismann ville si den mest kyndige. Men det er ingen av dem Jarl! Den LYKKELIGSTE mann er den største mann. Den Lykkeligste er den som gjør de største gjerninger. Han som tidens krav kommer over liksom i brynde, av tanker han selv ikke fatter men som peker for ham på den vei han selv ikke vet hvor bærer hen, men som han dog går og må gå til han hører folket skrike i glede og han ser seg om og undrer seg og skjønner at han har gjort et storverk!” Hvorfor er det viktig med en ledervisjon? Det er gjennom denne drivkraften en leder kan skape mening for seg selv og sine medarbeidere. De vet hvorfor de går på jobb og de brenner for oppgaven. De utstråler en inspirasjon som gjør at folk vil følge dem i både motgang og medgang.

3. Å snu det negative til det positive!

Hva gjør en leder når det er misnøye, likegyldighet eller mye negativitet på arbeidsplassen? Hvordan snu dette til noe konstruktivt og positivt? Charles Dickens beskriver en slik snu prosess i historien ”A Christmas Carol”. Historien forteller oss at bak den destruktiv adferd og holdningene til gamle Mr Schrooge ligger det en grunnleggende overbevisning. For å snu overbevisningen kommer fortids spøkelset, nåtids spøkelset og fremtids spøkelset på besøk! Mr Schrooge lærer hvordan han er blitt den han er, konsekvenser av det han gjør i dag og et skrekkscenario om fremtiden dersom han fortsetter i samme spor. Dette blir så kraftfullt at han endrer sin grunnleggende tro og blir en positiv, sjenerøs og lykkelig mann. Det handler om å være bevisst sine begrensninger, være bevisst hvilken overbevisning som ligger bak og vite hvilke konsekvenser dette har nå og i femtiden. Da kan man snu det negative til nye konstruktive leveregler som man tror på. Ved å ha fokus på  gjennomtenkte spørsmål kan man snu både egne begrensninger og hjelpe andre til å snu deres.

Det handler om hva du velger å tro på!

What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly!

When I stood with my family last night with a champagne glass in one hand and holding my dear ones with the other wishing them a Happy New Year, I suddenly got very emotional. 

Tears welled up in my eyes. I didn’t´t know why, so I went inside away from all the fire works and commotion and reflected a little over this.

The feelings I felt were sadness, combined with fear, gratefulness and expectation. Why? With everything happening in the world – from financial crisis, wars to extreme weather catastrophes and violence, I have a feeling that something is wrong with this world. I am not sure what – is it the system, greed, selfishness or other things?

However, I do know the human nature; it doesn’t like change. And on the eve of change we feel a kind of restlessness, like the feeling before a storm is under way. That it will get worse before it gets better. A feeling we don’t like.

This, I think, explained the feelings i felt, of sadness and fear. A sadness that something is over and fear of losing it. Then I became grateful of having a family I love, a house, a meaningful job and good health.

Still, we are always craving for more with dreams and goals. To stand still for a while and to really feel how grateful I am, makes me very happy. After gratitude came the feeling of expectation. Of what, I don´t know. Like I said, maybe it is the restlessness that change is coming. That is inevitable. A change we need, one the world needs, one that will lead to a much better world.

Therefore, I love this saying,”What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly” (Lao Tzu) So let´s all work together to make our world become a butterfly and let’s say goodbye to the caterpillar phase with gratitude, trust and hard work!

Happy New Year!

Wear your heart on your sleeve in social business

What does ”being social” really mean, especially in business? Well, businesspeople are people too. You can be personable without being private. Many confuse this and think that if they are not private, they are impersonal. This may not be the right way to connect. When you are personable there is a higher probability that you will connect and get results. Shakespeare describes this well I think; ” to wear your heart on your sleeve” It means to display your emotions, show openness and vulnerability, and appear faithful.

How do you display your emotions openly and why should you in the first place – especially in business? There is a book called ”The five love languages” by Gary Chapman. He describes five different languages we can use when we want to get in contact or recognize the people we would like to connect with. And at the same time show openness and faith. The 5 connection-languages are:

  1. Words of recognition
  2. Acts of service
  3. Gifts
  4. Quality time
  5. Physical touch

This means that everyone has a preferable “connection-language” and tends to use that more than others. However, the receiver may have a different language to you, and here is where we tend to misunderstand or not get connection at all. Let me use an example. Say you want to help an unhappy customer. You decide to offer him or her an act of service. The customers’ language may not be this but quality time, and may expect that you have time available and listen for a while. That person may not feel respected or understood by you if you don’t listen and continue to offer favors. You miss your chance to connect. You feel you have done a lot, and the customer feels he or she has got next to nothing.

Have you experienced something like this?

In social media, communication is about connecting with people to get a win-win value out of it. This applies when you connect on any network like Facebook, Twitter or more professional networks like LinkedIn or Companybook. (Companybook is a new social network for business-to-business). What language do you use to connect, get attention, or to get people to come back?

Here are the languages that you can use to connect. See which ones apply naturally to you and which ones you need to practice more on. The golden key to connect is to use all five languages; switch elegantly between them  and adjust according to the persons needs or to the situation at hand.

1.Words of affirmation

Words of affirmation are all about saying something that makes the person feel seen, recognized, respected or heard. It could be a compliment or a mention of someones name, work or accomplishments. However, Mark Twain  said this about giving compliments: “You should always give a compliment that lasts at least 50 days.” One way to do this is to show gratefulness. People appreciate gratitude more than compliments, and they last a lot longer.

2. Acts of services

To offer some acts of service means you do something for the other person. It could be favors, finding out something, plan something or do some practical chores for the individual. These acts of service require thought, planning, time, effort and energy. If done with a positive attitude, they are indeed expressions of care and compassion. It takes customer service or any business relation to a higher level.

3. Gifts

Gifts can be anything that you would like to give to someone to show them appreciation. It can be a gift card, a bonus, a special offer or simply some digital gifts like in the examples here; digital-gift-ideas. This gift is something that makes the reciever say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or “She remembered me”. A gift is a symbol of thought and compassion. They come in all shapes and colors; some are expensive and some are free. However, to the individual, the cost will matter little. What matters are the thoughts behind, the time spent on it and how personal it is. There is one gift however that is more powerful than most tangible ones; the physical presence in times of crisis. This means that your body becomes the symbol of gift to that individual.

4. Quality time

Quality time means undivided attention. It means to listen with your heart and be yourself when asking questions or giving feedback. The individual will feel respected and cared for if you do this right. Quality time means two individuals sharing their thoughts and feelings. It calls for sympathetic listening with a great understanding for the other persons desires and needs. Quality conversation also means self-revelation. In order for the other person to feel understood and cared for, you must share something about yourself as well. Be open and transparent.

5. Physical touch.

In real life physical recognition means touch. It can be a hug, a clap on your shoulder, or a handshake. Digitally, it is a bit different. For someone with a physical need, this means that they feel what you communicate in their body. In social media this can be giving a thumbs up, smiley face or using a language with physical metaphors. Once in a while when you meet with your business relations outside the digital world, don´t be afraid to give him or her a genuine handshake, a hug or a clap on the shoulder.

So, I encourage you to “wear you heart on your sleeve” and apply these five connection-languages in social media and especially in your business relations. Wait and see what happens, you might be surprised! One thing is for sure; no single area of business affects the rest of business as much as meeting the emotional need for care and compassion.

Er du rev eller pinnsvin i sosiale medier?

Jeg er en av de som brukte litt tid på å venne meg til sosiale nettverk som Facebook og LinkedIn. Jeg har aldri vært en av de tidlige brukerne eller en superbruker. For meg var det litt skummelt først, jeg tenkte at det jeg skrev ville være synlig for så mange. Jeg var redd for å gjøre feil eller å skrive noe som folk ikke liker eller finner nyttig. Men, jeg er en veldig sosial person og jeg har jobbet med mennesker i over 10 år med coaching og personlig utvikling. Så hvorfor ble jeg redd?

I Jim Collins “Good to Great“, bruker han metaforene rever og pinnsvin om selskaper. Reven blir brukt som et symbol på den typen bedrift som “lusker rundt”. Den syns det er vanskelig å fatte beslutninger, og prøver ut diverse komplekse strategier mens han lurer på når tiden er inne for å angripe og gå for sine mål. Denne typen selskap går for altfor mange mål samtidig, bruker opp mye energi og er ikke konsistente i sine handlinger. Selv etter grundig planlegging mislykkes de ofte eller i beste fall slumper til å lykkes.

Pinnsvin på den annen side har en stor ressurs: piggene. Det rusler rundt uanstrengt, klar over farene, men klar over at den har en velfungerende strategi. Hvis det angripes, vil det rulle seg sammen som en ball. Angriperen møter en bunt pigger. Når trusselen er borte, ruller det seg ut igjen og fortsetter å spise, snuse eller streife rundt som om ingenting hadde skjedd.

Et selskap som er som pinnsvin kjenner sine styrker og bestreber seg på å gjøre det komplekse enkelt. Den når sitt mål på en bestemt, uanstrengt måte med gode resultater. De mislykkes sjelden og oppnår alltid langsiktig suksess.

Vi kan bruke den samme metaforen på sosiale medier. Hvis du er en rev, vil du sannsynligvis bruke mye energi å tenke på hva du skal skrive, hvordan best uttrykke det og om det virkelig er godt nok. Hvis du har lagd en plan etter å ha tilbrakt timer, dager eller uker på å tenke, kan du oppleve at det ikke blir som du hadde tenkt likevel. Til slutt gir du opp, eller det kan ta lang tid før du prøver deg igjen.

Et pinnsvin vil likevel sitte ned og skrive hva det har på hjertet – fordi den har et spesielt talent som gjør at han lykkes på lang sikt. Dette talentet er en kombinasjon av tre aspekter.

  • Den første er lidenskap. Han vet hva han er lidenskapelig opptatt av, og skriver entusiastisk meldinger, blogger og artikler. Han deler denne lidenskapen med sine sosiale samfunn og øvrig nettverk.
  • Dernest fokuserer han på hva han er virkelig god på – det kan være å finne den beste appen, eller gi gode råd om markedsføring og økonomi, eller kanskje snakke om hans helt spesielle interesser.
  • For det tredje, vet han hva nettverket trenger og ønsker. Han har fulgt dem og lyttet til deres behov, og han har deres interesser i tankene alltid. Clouet er å kombinere disse tre delene i ett, og voila! du er et sosiale medier-pinnsvin.

Så, kan noen bli et pinnsvin? Kanskje ikke i dyrenes verden – men alt kan læres. Siden menneskets potensial er ubegrenset, hvorfor ikke arbeide på disse tre områdene (lidenskap, fokus og empati) og se hva som skjer?

Jeg vet en ting sikkert – hvis du stikker tærne inn i sosiale medier på revens vis kommer du ingen vei. Du må hoppe rett i det. Hvorfor? Fordi det er skumlere å ikke være der.

Are you a fox or a porcupine in social media?

I am one of those who took some time to get used to social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. I have never been one of the early adopters or superusers. To me it was a bit scary at first, thinking that what I wrote would be visible to so many. I was scared to make mistakes or to expose something that people did not like or find useful. However, I am a very social person and I have been working with people for over 10 years with coaching and personal development. So why was I afraid?

The fox and the porcupine of companies

In Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, he describes companies as either being a fox or a porcupine. The fox is used as a symbol of the type of company that “lurks around” and finds it hard to make decisions – trying out different complex strategies, wondering when exactly to attack and go for its goals. This type of company goes for too many goals simultaneously, uses up a lot of energy and is not consistent. Even after thorough planning they often fail or succeed randomly.

On the other hand, the porcupine has one great asset: its quills. It roams around effortlessly, aware of the dangers but aware that its strategy will work. If attacked, it will roll into a ball – and the attacker will get stung by his quills! When the threat is gone, the porcupine unrolls itself and continues to eat, sniff or rove around as if nothing had happened. A company as a porcupine knows its strengths takes the complex and makes it as simple as possible. It reaches its goals in a determined, effortless manner with great results. They seldom fail and always achieve long term success. (Good to Great by Jim Collins).

Are you a fox or a porcupine in social media?

We can apply the same metaphor to social media. If you are a fox, you will probably use a lot of energy thinking about what to write, how best to express it, and if it is really good enough. If you have formed a plan after spending a few hours, days or weeks thinking, you may find that when finally putting it to paper you don’t get the results you think you should after having spent so much time considering the content and form of the message. In the end you may give up, or it may take a long time before you repeat this effort.

A porcupine however will sit down and write what is on its mind – because it has a special talent which makes him succeed long term. This talent is the combination of three aspects. The first is passion. He knows what he is passionate about, and so writes enthusiastic messages, blogs and articles. He shares this passion with his community and network. Secondly, he focuses on what he is really good at – it could be finding the best apps, or giving good advice about marketing and finance, or perhaps talking about special interests. Thirdly, he knows what his community/network wants. He has followed them and listened to their needs, and he has their interests in mind – always. The clue is to combine these three parts into one, and voila! you are a social media porcupine.

Can anyone become a porcupine?

Maybe not in the animal world – but everything can be learned. Since human potential is unlimited, why not work on these three assets (passion / focus / empathy) and see what happens? I know one thing for sure – if you tiptoe into social media like the fox it will get you nowhere. You have to dive right into it. Why? Because the scary part is not being there!

By Jeanette Luytkis HR&Communications at Companybook