Skip to main content.

Archive for November, 2020

Frygt, frygten som styringsværktøj

Fear as constructive guidance

Setting goals – in life and in work – may be a very good way of achieving what you wish for. However, the factor which usually determines what we finally decide to do or not to do is our fear of consequences.

So why not explore our fear? It may be justified, but then again, it may not. You won’t know until you turn around and look it in the eye.

Tim Ferriss has given an inspiring TED talk on the subject.

His message of how important it is to understand your fear as well as the means within your grasp of setting things in motion and so create results is thought-provoking, and his tools are very useful.

Model for analyzing your fear

First step – analyse your fear and your means of action

What exactly am I fearing … (the theme of your fear)

  • Define: Define the worst thing that could possibly happen
  • Diminish: Explore what you can do to minimize the risk of such a thing actually happening
  • Repair: Explore what you can do, or what kind of help you can seek, if the worst should happen anyway

Next step – possible gains

When you have established the details of your fear and what you can do to diminish or to handle it, then ask yourself:

  • What could I gain if I still persist in doing what I fear, either partially or in full measure?

Third step – The price of retaining status quo

Finally, you ask yourself, what is the price of remaining in status quo? What do I risk by NOT saying, asking or doing what I imagine could have fearful consequences?

When you have completed these steps you will be in a better and more enlightened position for deciding what you should do.

Imagination versus reality

“Fantasy is often more painful than reality” – Seneca the younger

At some point I learned that shaping a vision, a dream or an imagined goal is the easy bit. Turning it into reality is the hard bit where the battle really stands.

But when I use the “Fear-model” from Tim Ferriss, I feel that it´s the other way around.

Making everything more concrete is what makes it all easier.

It may still be tough enough to follow through, but what is at stake will be made clearer to you, and the means of action will stand out, giving you a sense of security.

Do you dare? I hope the tool will work for you.


Fellowship in leadership

As an owner-leader you often long for fellowship because your sovereign position also makes you feel alone, even lonely. Everything is up to yourself – all the ideas, the solutions, the decisions … It’s all in your own hands, seemingly.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. It depends on perspective.

Influence from the inside and out

In an occupational setting it is tempting to think that decisions and actions mainly stem from your own free will and thoughts. You may accept that to a certain degree you are influenced from without, but you´re still confident that basically you think and act as an independent agent. You see yourself as capable of evaluating things objectively and making the right decisions.

And so, perceiving your setting to be like this, you try to influence and inspire others to move forward and develop. It is tough work, and it can feel very unrewarding when the things you wish to happen do not in fact happen. You often end up feeling that you are not part of any fellowship at all. You experience yourself as walking alone.

Or influence from the outside and in

In a more connected – and to me more real – setting you are influenced and indeed formed to an extent where objectivity is more or less nullified; where you think and act in response to multiple influences and intricate relationships that create the scope for what you can register and decide.

If once you accept that even though you cannot always see how you are influenced and where your limits lie, then nonetheless, both the influences and the limits are always there, the wisdom of including the world around you as part and parcel of yourself and of asking for a glimpse of what you do not yet see becomes quite evident. The opinions, ideas, feelings, needs, values, visions, etc. of others will then present themselves to you in a new light.

So, instead of beginning by looking for ways to influence others, you might instead begin by asking: “How can I knowingly let myself be influenced by others and how can we all influence each other in order to allow new possibilities to reveal themselves to us and make things move?”

Fellowship is always possible

The amazing thing is that to others it signals personal strength to invite such a matrix of mutual influences. And you´ll find that somebody always wants to tag along. There will be people enough who want to explore both pitfalls and possibilities with you, to discover their own strengths and weaknesses and to be offered truths in new and various ways; and to help make you aware of what you have so far found it impossible to take into account.

They might be costumers, co-workers, members of the advisory board, business partners, suppliers, authorizational workers, or others. You may truly find yourself in a fellowship.

Gift and obligation

But of course, when you realize the amount of insight that can be gained from such a fellowship, with its stakeholders becoming like virtual co-creators, and what possibilities may pop up of running a healthy and sustainable company, then some obligations will arise too.

An obligation to give due consideration to every challenge from the outside and in, and an obligation never again to imagine yourself as walking quite alone.

An obligation to keep asking yourself how often you seize the opportunity to co-create, co-run and co-develop a better business.

Where would it lead to if you really dared to try?

Personlig udvikling som leder

How to use muscles and become a good leader

If you want to be a good leader you must use all your muscle power. If you want to use all your muscle power you must work with personal development.

You won’t become a good writer by buying yourself a fancy PC keyboard. Or a master chef from purchasing a good-quality sauce pan.

In the same way, you won’t become a good leader just from having good and adequate leadership tools. Such tools will make it easier for you but they will not create results by themselves. It takes a human being to wield them.

Good leadership demands personal development

But who are you and what does it really mean to work on personal development? There is not one single answer to this question, but still, let me offer you a suggestive example:

When I go to a gym I usually follow a set program in order to work gradually through the different areas of my body. But after a while I feel like making a change and I will plan a new program using new machines. And then I suddenly realise that I have muscles I wasn’t even aware of, as they start hurting! They haven’t been used for a long time but they have a function too, and they need exercise.

It´s the same with personality “muscles”, I think. We all have certain parts or aspects of ourselves that we are not quite aware of, because we don’t use them very much. We tend to define who we are and how we work according to the “muscles” we use the most and know best. In this way we only reveal half the story of ourselves to ourselves (and to others!) and we also only utilize half of ourselves.

This is me (too) as a leader

I am very determined. I use this part of myself – my determination – to a degree that it sometimes comes to define how I relate and react no matter the situation or the circumstances. Sometimes it is appropriate enough, but sometimes it’s more like trying to saw through a piece of wood with a hammer.

I am not always aware of this. Usually it takes a caring and honest bystander to remind me of an inappropriate response. But then, instead of letting my determination go on proclaiming “This is me!”, such a reminder gives me the opportunity – admittedly sometimes after quite a while – to let another aspect of me say “This is me, too.” And then I find that it’s possible for me to change without feeling forced.

I do not need to change completely, and it´s not that perseverance isn´t a valuable quality too. It´s just that I end up with more possibilities on my palette – possibilities to succeed and to thrive.

Attention, attention, attention

If you want to utilize all of your leadership “muscles”, at least two things are required:

  • You need to explore which parts of you are worth exercising more
  • You need to think and act using new perspectives

Especially the last point needs attention. A lot of attention. And a lot of careful nudging. Because your accustomed ways of thinking and acting will keep nudging you too and might well convince you that old ways are better ways, so be careful. And attentive.

Værdsætte forskelligheder

Do you utilize differences in your team?

One of the criterions of success in constructively working together in a team of leaders is to acknowledge and utilize each other´s differences. How do you do that?

On utilizing differences that do not exist to us

According to Daniel Kähnemann, a nobel prize winner in economics and the author of the book “Thinking fast and slow”, a perfectly normal human mechanism is “what you see is all there is”. We see and acknowledge only what our personally toned glasses will allow. The rest is basically invisible to us.

This means that we are always prone to miss out on certain strengths and weaknesses in a given situation, decision or relation. We become insensitive to some of the threats involved as well as to some of the opportunities. And if we are alerted to them we might still dismiss them, even if we know (in theory) that there are perspectives and truths other than our own.

So, if we want to utilize each other´s differences we have to give in to something that, to begin with, does not actually exist to us.

It takes trust!

A story about a team with no prior attachments

It is right after a thorough organizational change of seats in a big company. The rotation has been implemented along with a decision by the top direction to change the leadership paradigm. A newly established group of team leaders now need to turn their part of the organization in a new direction using a new paradigm.

They are all very knowledgeable in the field. They are all experienced leaders. They are used to trusting their guts and themselves.

They decide to park their attachments to (i.e. their pride in) their own personal ways of doing things somewhere outside and instead trust the new organization, the new paradigm and the different views on the new reality and relevant means of action belonging to the others.

They discover that by choosing to let go of attachment to their own accustomed ideas and conceptions and instead trusting each other´s different perspectives and propositions they are each overcoming the mechanism of “what you see is all there is”.

This means that the entire group will gain more insight and will be better capable of navigating the new structure of the organization and the new leadership paradigm in a way that is not contained by the old habits of thinking and acting.

The key is trust and curiosity

When you decide to trust what is seen and recognized by the others in your leader team even if you cannot see it yourself, you will access so many more perspectives on history, situation and goals.

But you need – each of you – to trust the integrity of other perspectives.

What about your leader team?

Have you chosen trust?

Have you chosen to be open and curious far beyond your personal understanding and comfort?