Sikte och timing

Så här års summerar många av oss året som gick och planerar nästa år. Verkligheten är som den är, varken bättre eller sämre, och att veta var man är ökar förutsättningarna att nå sina mål.

Jag har i många år drivit projekt utifrån att effektivt samla in intern kunskap genom kommunikation, att summera och visualisera i bilder för att snabbt få fram bra lösningar och genomföra dem med hjälp av enkla metoder utan mängder av detaljer och tung administration. 2014 valde jag att dokumentera det i en bok “Ledarskap och klokskap - konsten att få dig själv och andra att vilja”. Arbete med Ebok och den amerikanska versionen pågår. Glädjande nog får jag från många håll bekräftelse på att jag har tänkt rätt. Men mina egna finansiella resultat har inte varit de bästa. Jag kan alltså konstatera att jag inte har gjort allt rätt eller i alla fall inte i rätt tid.

Man behöver inte sikta mycket fel för att missa målet. 2 mm fel märks inte mycket när man siktar men det blir tydligt när man inte når målet. Skjuter man på rörliga mål är timingen helt avgörande. 2 mm fel i bedömningen av tiden och målet har passerat eller är inte framme ännu.

blogg (11).jpg

Den senaste tiden när jag har planerat nya aktiviteter har jag intervjuat många om vad jag gör rätt och fel. Siktet verkar inte vara fel - dvs de metoder jag använder och skriver om är de flesta överens om är helt rätt - men timingen verkar jag ha missat. Företag och organisationer är ännu inte beredda att lämna de traditionella sätten att driva projekt. De resultat som företag når med traditionella metoder är fortfarande tillräckligt bra i förhållande till förändringstakt och nya krav.

Vilka beslut tar jag inför 2017? Jag bestämmer mig för att fortsätta att skriva och jobba utifrån de metoder jag tror på. Tiden talar för mig så jag hoppas och tror på att jag kommer att få möjlighet att genomföra projekt med resultat som överraskar mina kunder. Samtidigt kan man inte äta sina visioner så jag kommer att bredda min utbud under 2017 inom helt andra områden som även de ligger mig varmt om hjärtat. Det kommer ni att höra mer om inom kort.

Som alltid uppskattar jag oerhört mycket att få höra era synpunkter om det jag gör och skriver om så att jag kan sikta bättre och ha bättre timing.

Jag önskar dig den bästa av jular och ditt bästa år någonsin!

Sliding doors?

Facebook can be annoying when you are reminded about things you posted 1, 2 or 4 years ago. But sometimes I can, in retrospect, see that it was a moment which led to a change or a moment when I didn’t have a clue what lay ahead of me. Sometimes I choose to share such a memory but more often it makes me think or it can even be a reminder I did not need. Some time ago I was reminded about a change in one of my projects that led to me taking on a totally different project which led me into taking a step away from the stream in which I had been swimming for many years. Good or bad?

You might once in a while think back on episodes that you now know made a difference and think you would have made another decision if you had known the outcome. But is that really true? If you are really true to yourself there are in most cases good parts among the less good ones and you did want the good ones? Very few stories of your life are all good or all bad. The same goes for job changes or carrier moves.

In my case the result so far is a successful renovation project, a book (soon in English too), more books in pipeline, several trips around the world but not as many interesting business projects as I would like to have had. And less money! I asked myself whether I would have made another decision if I had known and I still haven’t been able to find an answer. It is not easy to know even when you look in the rear mirror so why worry?

Some years ago I worked in a company that aimed high, almost succeeded but failed and went into bankruptcy instead of becoming a mayor player in the industry. Was that all bad? I can say that the players that made it were better suited and as far as I know the owners made good new carriers in other industries.

Since you probably wouldn’t make another decision even if you knew the outcome, you would not want to miss out on the good things in front of you and you will not know what lays ahead of you no matter how long you shilly-shally you might just as well make a decision and GO! Good luck on your journey! I always love to hear your good and less good stories so give me a call or send me an email and tell me all about it!

blogg (12).jpg

Too much is just about right?

Is less more? Or is more better? Or is too much just about right? That could be an interesting discussion at your next party or staff meeting. Almost every time I talk about my model for handling problems and project activities someone tells me how important it is to get all details right. I can understand the scary feeling when “less is more” is discussed.

Why is “too much” a dangerous way even if most people feel secure when they can have everything? Time and other resources are limited. Focus on the right things will therefore always lead to a better result. So what is the best - but not most convenient - way to manage your projects?

  1. Focus on the 80 % that really matter and since it normally only takes 20 % of the time to get those 80 % sorted out you will have plenty of time for pedagogical presentations and quality assurance of the important issues.
  2. Do not dig into details until they are to be solved which normally comes later in the implementation phase when the solution and circumstances have changed. Or have you worked in any project that did not change before or during implementation? The details that matter are very seldom the same in the beginning of the project as at the end of a project.
  3. Your documentation should not be longer than that people actually read and comment on every part of it. Hand on heart - how often do people read and comment on your 40/60/100 pages report? Do you get much more comments when you present a short summary and pictures? I know the answer after having delivered good results in many challenging projects.

To follow a “less is more” approach is more demanding. The Project Leader or Program Manager has to understand what is important and not and make the presentation clear and easily understandable. He will need people who know their reality who he can trust to be sure to present the right 80 %. But on the other hand that is what he is being paid for! And it feels much better to get paid for making a difference. By using this approach you will deliver just as good results at a lower cost and in much less time.

So what if things are not right when the solution is implemented? If there are details that will prove the solution wrong? That happens just as often if you have presented detailed reports since they are so seldom quality assured anyway and by a “less is more” approach you will have plenty of time to modify the solution. How often is it not necessary to modify the solution even when each and every detail have been discussed?

In my book (that will soon be available in English too) I write more about how to keep track of details so you have them readily available when you need them later on. If you want to know more right now I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

I would love to hear about you success with your project decluttering!

blogg (13).jpg

Lös problemet!

Känner du dig lite stressad eller har du lite för lite tid? Dags att öka tempot eller skapa mer tid för de saker du vill hinna med? Så här års ska det mesta göras klart. Du vill säkert hinna träffa dina vänner innan jul, en och annan glöggfest, adventskonsert och något luciatåg vill du säkert också hinna med. På jobbet ska projekten hinna leverera enligt årets plan och av någon outgrundlig anledning har en hel del blivit försenat. Allt detta och lite till gör att antalet stora och små problem och beslut du behöver hantera är fler än vanligt. För att underlätta får du här en påminnelse om en enkel och klok modell för att hantera problem och annat som behöver åtgärdas.

Förstå - analysera - bestäm - genomför

blogg (14).jpg

1 Förstå

Skjut inte budbäraren! Det finns en anledning till att personen presenterar problemet för dig. Det försvinner inte för att du förnekar att det finns. Fokusera på budbäraren. Lyssna och ställ frågor tills du förstår vilket problem du står inför.

2 Analysera

Det finns alltid mer än en lösning på ett problem. Hitta snabbt möjliga lösningar genom att göra enkla sammanfattningar och rita bilder. Ju kreativare möten du har desto fler reaktioner får du och fler och bättre alternativ kommer fram. Ibland är alla inte helt engagerade för att de är stressade eller inte känner sig berörda av frågan så gå vidare till beslut när du har täckt in 80% av detaljerna - vilket brukar vara efter 20 % av tiden.

3 Bestäm

Se till att du har målet klart för dig och våga ta ett snabbt beslut, kommunicera det och ta åt dig av reaktionerna. Ofta är det bättre att ett och annat beslut rivs upp än att vrida och vända för länge på lösningsförslagen. När du presenterar beslutet med pedagogiska bilder är det lättare att se bristerna än under processens gång och det är mycket bättre att ändra beslutet innan det genomförs än att som är alltför vanligt - genomföra felaktiga åtgärder.

4 Genomför

De flesta metoder och modeller företag och organisationer använder för sina projekt är komplicerade och administrativt tunga så vill du vara effektiv och nå snabba resultat rekommenderar jag att du hoppar över dem och istället använder enkla verktyg, korta rapporter och bilder. Lättare sagt än gjort när de flesta företag styr stenhårt mot projektverktygen. Eftersom forskning inte har kunnat påvisa nyttan med dem så gör vad du kan för att förenkla. Prioritera korta pedagogiska presentationer med bilder och du kommer att genomföra lösningarna snabbare och ha en mycket bättre överblick genom hela processen/projektet.

Modellen hittar du i “Ledarskap & Klokskap - konsten att få dig själv och andra att vilja” och har du frågor är du alltid varmt välkommen att kontakta mig. Jag nås säkrast via mejl ylva.johansson@ybj.se eller telefon 0706105700.

Attitude! Molly 95

Does attitude impact your life? Even if a lot of research show that - many still argue against it. I am though convinced that attitude impact everything but I am also well aware that attitude is not always easy to change. Mainly due to our resistance - we don’t want to change our attitude!

I would like to positively impact everybody’s attitude and as many of you know I always look for role models. I need them as my own reminders and as stories to tell. A few weeks ago I met Molly 95. She has faced many challenges in her life. She has lost children and has for many years taken care of a child with a serious mental condition. What a woman!! I believe she is one of the most positive, constructive, curious and learning persons I have ever met. When she talks about her daily life it sounds like a person under 30! She lives a busy life and loves to take a drink with her daughters and some of their family and friends on Friday evenings and always takes the opportunity to take the happy hour drinks with her neighbours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Wednesdays she sees one of her daughters and one of the other evenings the other daughter stays over. In feels like an energy field around her. And she has a really positive attitude toward life every day!

Many of my friends half her age don’t want to drive in Stockholm! Molly is sorry that her daughters don’t want her to drive any more due to the very hectic traffic in the San Fransisco area.

What can we learn from Molly? A lot but I will only mention a few things so I have a reason to write about her again later on.

  • When someone suggests something nice even if it’s a late night activity we should say YES! Molly always does.
  • When someone suggests a change in our life we should say YES or at least not NO! Molly just moved closer to her daughters but of course have to make new friends leaving many of the old friends behind. We often don’t accept some negative consequences of a decision even if the decision primarily would lead to good things.

Let us all go “Molly” during November!

blogg (15).jpg

How do you think?

Your most important values will have great impact on all your decisions no matter if you know your values or not. So how do you think? What is important to you? It is often not so visible from your current job or living what your values are. A persons entire job or housing carrier tells a lot but a quicker way to find out is to check holiday preferences. Your holidays reflect your current values well so let us start there. How do you spend your holidays or would like to spend your holidays?

I have many friends who spend most of their holidays at the same place. They know that the climate is good, the people are nice, the food is good, the hotel/house/flat is great, the water is clean or the nature is fantastic. So why not go back? Why look for new places that might be worse or just as good when you already know a great place? 

Others always go for the best hotels, the most convenient ways of travelling, the best restaurants and don’t care about the cost. So if they can only afford a holiday every 5 years they do it anyway. And why not have a luxurious holiday? Why do the things you normally do? Shouldn’t a holiday be something extra? If I can’t afford it I’d rather stay at home!

And then there are people like me who love the unplanned, local, adventurous even if it mostly is much less convenient. They often prefer to share a meal with a Sri Lankan family on a local train, third class, before a luxury dinner since the feeling, the memory and the story with the locals stay so much longer in their harts and minds. And why not? Why pay for luxury when people and experiences are what matters?

DSC_0634.jpg

Is one way of spending holidays better than the other? Absolutely not! As a friend of mine said “how do you dare to travel like you do - I would like to but do not dare to”. If you think about values like “security”, “status”, “challenge”, “money”, “freedom”, “harmony” - in which group above do you find them? Tell me how you would like to spend your holiday and I will tell you what you value the most! Then you might realize that those values also steer the other areas of your life.

You might not want to admit that holiday habits is a choice and argue that you make your decisions based on time, money and health! Don’t! Those are just excuses even if they are good excuses. Read more about excuses in my book “Ledarskap & Klokskap” (it will soon be available in English) or contact me to learn more about excuses.

Grup dynamics and adventure

How does it work if you put 44 people in a bus and give them a tough schedule, so they barely have time to take a shower?

I got the most interesting opportunity to study group dynamics when I was talked into taking “the big tree trip” from Sweden to Seattle, down through Oregon and California ending in San Fransisco with foresters, forest owners, and farmers - and I am not a group traveler! I am much more the “backpacker type” who like the freedom to choose my path and timetable.

The first challenge was to present ourselves after a long day in Seattle visiting several sites and traveling south without time for lunch. We started our presentations at 6.30 pm, tired and hungry, and people handled it very differently. Some never stopped talking, eager to tell everybody as much as possible! Others were so nervous that they needed notes. And so there were those who self confidently presented themselves as it was the most natural thing in the world. And finally the most common type - they did what they were told to do and were eager to get it over with.

Now after 7 days together we are a group of people that I barely can imagine living without! We have not had a single conflict or disagreement during this week even though the schedule has been extremely tough with no room for private excursions.


The leaders have been focused on making sure that everyone gets as much as possible out of the trip, i.e., they have been goal oriented, positive and coaching but they have not left room for changes in their plan since they know what we need to do during these 12 days. They have done this trip many times and know! And we all accept it!

I will give both of them my book “Leadership & Wisdom - how to motivate yourself and others” since I like to show them my appreciation. They are doing a great job, but for a person with a growth mindset, there is always room for new ideas and tools.

The things I have experienced so far have exceeded all expectations - I was talked into this trip - and we have several days left with experiences that I know will exceed my expectations once again.

If you want to be positively surprised now and then you need to open your mind and welcome surprises!

blogg-8.jpeg

Extraordinary people

Business is all about people. If you don’t understand people - you don't understand business. To understand people and cultures, all types of group, corporate and social cultures, I travel. I spend a lot of time and money on traveling, and I will continue to do so. This time my trip, with first stop Seattle, is a combination of business and inspiration from, for me, many new experiences (read my coming blogs). 
My trip started with the unexpected meeting with Barbara on my flight. She turned my flight, although seated in the middle, into 9,5 enjoyable hours during which I among many other things learned a lot about what to do in Seattle during my 6 days here. Tired after a long flight I could just look at my notes, put on my walking shoes and start walking! Thank you Barbie I hope to see you soon again!
I met Larry Wood, who you should contact if you want to set up your social media strategy. He put me in contact with my Editor Melanie Baur. If you need newsletters or help with some other information material, she is the one! They have taken me around Seattle and made my days such a great experience. Could it get any better? 
Today I met the CEO of Creative Biz Futures, Jim Bergquist, which is an extraordinarily interesting, clever and creative person. But he is also one of the nicest persons I have ever met, and his story made me realize that I temporarily had lost my vision. He has managed to coach the fishmongers at Pike Place Fish Market to make it world famous and stay world famous for 30 years!! After my long meeting with Jim, I talked to 2 of the guys - what an attitude they have! If you are ever in Seattle buy some fish or a book from them and talk to them - learn from them! 
Yesterday I met Scott Davis, Cune Press, who hopefully will be my Publisher! He took me around yet other parts of the area, and I met his fantastic family and had a great evening of sharing and learning. 
Good relationships can make any environment great - or not that great - so take responsibility for your reality! You create your reality by your attitude and your thoughts.
Between my engaging, fun and interesting meetings I take long walks and enjoy the beautiful and expansive city and watch interesting herds of Canadian baseball fans, a much greater diversity of people than in Stockholm city and enjoy staying at a hotel where I unintentionally get “The Lumberjack Song” in my head.
I have another 3 days to enjoy here among these amazing people that are role models of positive and constructive attitudes.

DSC_0087.JPG
calendar Block
This is an example. Double-click here and select a page to create a calendar of your own content. Learn more

Age vs. creativity? Yayoi Kusama 87

I have been fortunate to meet several fantastic persons aged 80-90 and have made a habit of writing about these role models we all need.  I went to see the Kusama exhibition in Stockholm and was amazed! Not by her magic installations since I have seen so many pictures of them and you are seldom really amazed by things you expect. I was amazed by what she has produced during the last 5 years - between age 82-87! She has painted 1000 giant paintings which means almost 1 every second day (according to the guide). And they are good! I think they are among the best in her career - so far! She plans to make at least another 1000 paintings and continue to paint after she is dead. That is a positive attitude!

We very often say that productivity decreases with age and that creativity almost disappears with age. We say that we don't learn new things after the age of 40 (quoting recruiters). And here she is - one of the most creative and productive persons alive. And she is 87. At the same time, I meet and hear a lot about people aged 16-30 that don't want to do much to make money or a career. They prefer to stay at home where food comes at fixed times every day, and the room is getting cleaned while they play digital games. Are these the productive and creative people the companies and society need? 

And if someone might think that I describe every person aged 87 or 25 you can stop reading immediately! I am against all stereotypes but use them to maybe make a slight difference in the way we look at people. This might be one of my more provocative blogs but since it’s Friday - why not? 

Let us all agree that we need productivity, creativity, energy and a positive attitude to make this world a better place. To do this, we need to nourish all good seeds we find. Let us skip age, race, gender, looks, etc. and start looking at what we have in front of us. We cannot keep up with a changing world if we leave the main part of the most talented world out.
After reading about Yayoi Kusama, I know that she would not have been able to become the amazing artist she is if she had been born 40 or so years later in for example Sweden. So how many Yayoi Kusamas are sitting outside society because they have some mental issues (does Yayoi have them? More than enough) or the wrong skin color?

DSC_0003.JPG

Make the workgroup productive and creative

Don’t we all want to work with people that have energy, a positive attitude, deliver at least what we agreed when we agreed or preferably better and earlier? Don't we also like people to be creative - to come up with new ideas? If you don't agree I am eager to know what you work with and why you would prefer people that don’t do much and never have any suggestions. I am pretty sure I would have much to learn from you since that view is so far from mine. We have a lot to learn from people that don't think and act like us. Every new thought that is planted in our brain will result in a little development of our brain which is always a good thing - scientifically speaking! People around us sometimes prefer when we don't think but we should not take them seriously.

So if most of us want this productive and creative workgroup how come there are so many other types of groups that don't function the way we like? I would say laziness, to take the easy way out and that we don't take the time to realize that the group doesn't work optimally. Most important is that we are seldom rewarded if we improve the way the group functions. I have seen so much improvement potential in the groups I have come across when working with change management and project management. I have made improvements and made suggestions for improvements but extremely seldom been rewarded or had the possibility to spread the knowledge. For me, the reward has been that I have been able to deliver better results in my projects and had much more fun doing it when energy, attitude, and creativity improved significantly. 

Of course, you want to know the quick fixes!

  • Start with yourself - make sure you believe in what you do! There are easy ways to convince yourself to start believing.
  • Communicate! Don’t withhold information. Communicate with pictures and humor!
  • Make sure the goal is clear to everyone in the group and let them question it to understand and accept it before proceeding. If you read what I write about how people function you will know how you get each individual on board.
  • Set a motivating and demanding plan and encourage all initiatives and progress.
  • Have meetings that engage and increase the level of energy in the group. Pictures, surprises and time and room for others to speak! I assure you that it will not take more time for you to prepare fun and engaging meetings but it might feel uncomfortable. Remember that it is outside your comfort zone you grow!

Good luck! You know where to find me if you have questions or want more tips. 

DSC_0791.jpg

Holidays are over?

Now holidays might be over for you and hopefully you are in such a good shape that you are prepared to move out of your comfort zone!

When you are back in business again after a couple of weeks off your problems and projects have probably also taken a holiday. Status is just as you left it or worse. If you feel relaxed you might like to stay in your comfort zone and not ask so many questions regarding progress and expected results. Rethink! Do the opposite. People are happier when they really stretch and accomplish more than themselves and others expected they could manage. 

A safe way to fail with your projects or other activities you perform to cope with the inevitable change that does not take a holiday is to set up a conventional project, make plans and hold extensive meetings. The more documentation you produce in form of reports and templates the better result? Nope! Projects succeed when the goals are clear and the project members are motivated. 

Get out of your comfort zone now when you hopefully are well rested and have gotten some new ideas from different surroundings or from meeting different people. I know I have spent time discussing questions I before this summer didn’t even know existed. I have learned that people I never expected (I know - prejudice) use their spare time to produce ceramics in forms I wouldn't dare to show at home. 

Skip the massive project plan! No research has shown that a detailed project plan presented in several different ways will lead to an outcome that will positively surprise you. The classic project models will lead to some results but the time and cost will be extensive. Time and money spent often end up 2-4 times higher than expected.

Make an alternative plan or if you are higher up on the ladder - ask the project leader to do it. You will probably get into arguments about this but you can handle it as long as you are sure about what your goal is.

  • Goals should be Clear, igniting and timed! Decide to be comfortable that details will be solved in due time.
  • Motivation is key! People will not be motivated by writing another long detailed report with more headings that substance. They will be motivated by being able to impact the outcome, to be able to influence how the work is performed and that they feel the job is meaningful.

Your mission is to set up the project and communicate so that all people are motivated. Now you will have no problem to achieve good results that will surprise you but it will not be comfortable. You will be outside your comfort zone - i.e. where things really grow!

More practical tips are found in “Leadership & Wisdom - How to Motivate Yourself and Others." Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need practical tips for communication, motivation, presentation or information gathering. I am always here for you!

omslag_eng_ebok copy.jpg

Lazy or mindful or?

I suddenly realized it was several weeks since my last blog! That has not happened since I started my blog. So have I given up, been lazy or been practicing mindfulness? The truth is neither, but for some reason, I have not prioritized the blog. Why not? I might be because the blog has not yet reached enough readers. Or that the weather has been too good?

What have I been doing the last weeks? I have had 4 mayor priorities:

  1. My book “Leadership & Wisdom - how to motivate yourself and others” 
  2. My elderly relatives
  3. My family
  4. The small wonders of life and myself

The title of the American version of my book is still not decided, but the editing is almost finished so I can proceed and hopefully get it published soon. Like every author, I hate being edited so that process is sucking energy even if I know it is necessary and my editor is fantastic.

The elderly relatives are not here for that much longer so the time spent with mother 82, father in law 88 and aunt Very 90 feels like the right priority. We have traveled around with them visiting old friends, eating good lunches and looking at churches.

I have had a fantastic trip to see the midnight sun with my mother and my daughters. We have had a lot of time together during that week which is rare in our busy lives! I also spent 4 days with my teenage daughter swimming, picking berries, chasing pokémons and relaxing in our garden house! If you know teenagers, you know how glad I am to have had time to really socialize with her. I have also had more time with my other daughter than in years, and we had great talks about everything. Invaluable! Not to mention having carried out several projects on our houses with the man of my life. That cannot be regarded as less than great priority.

blogg-2.jpeg

The small wonders of life have gotten more attention from me than in many years. I have been swimming, eating all kind of berries, having ice-cream in the sun, doing my morning yoga and relaxing. Why do I include myself in the small wonders of life? Since without “me” there are now small wonders in life that I can see. Most of us spend too little time on what we need and really want to do. If you think about how valuable your health is and how you tend not to prioritize it - if you are totally honest - you have the chance to “redecide” your priorities.

 

blogg-3.jpeg

Self-motivation

One of the most common questions I get when discussing projects or challenges at work, in my networks or with family and friends is “how do I lead myself, how do I get myself going?”. 

When challenges are not too tough and there is flow in some areas we can manage to motivate ourselves to take on also the less nice challenges. But when it seems as if the challenges and problems are hitting us faster than we can handle them we lose faith. Suddenly every small problem feels like a giant obstacle that is impossible to tackle. So what should you do when you feel knocked down by your problems? 

blogg.jpeg
  • Find an area from where you can collect positive energy - sun, walking, weightlifting, music, movies, chocolate, knitting, chopping firewood, etc.
  • Take small steps and focus on one challenge at the time. Each step is a step forward - however small!
  • Ask yourself if the challenge you meet should be handled at all. Sometimes we try to succeed with things someone made us believe we want when we actually did not want to do it at all. That is often a reason for things to become big problems - we have postponed them for too long.
  • Be a cheerleader to yourself! Tell yourself how good you are and celebrate even the smallest progress. You have a tendency to undervalue the appraisal that comes from yourself so give yourself more appraisal than planned.
  • Get out of your comfort zone! Admit what motivates you and do it! I dance, I talk to myself, I act as if my favorite football team scored - and it works! I am known to be a master at self-motivation and productivity and I have been my own boss for many years.
  • Pretend to be an entrepreneur that has no other choice than to get himself going to get food on the table!

I send you all the power you need to have a fantastic summer being motivated to take on challenges and handle problems with a smile! 

 

Change Management

That we live in constant change is no surprise, and we accept it in theory, as a statement. When it comes to implementing the theory, to take action, it becomes a different story. The questions and objections we use are many! An example is “Is this change that will last?” Well, the answer is NO because a change never lasts since we live in constant change. And still, we actually want to know whether a new phenomenon will last before we are prepared to adopt it. We also want to know if others have tried it, preferably for a longer period, if there is evidence that it works - and will last! If we trace this behavior back, it protected us from eating the wrong things or being eaten. A life-saving attitude! Still valid in some situations. But you will die from not adopting too. When there is no cheese left you have to find new cheese (“Who moved my cheese”).

As a person, you can be more or less reluctant to adopt a new phenomenon. You can be an early or late adaptor or selectively early or late. Some are early adopters when it comes to food but late in technique or vice versa. Some people I know will easily buy the latest technique but refuse to try vegetarian food. Some people rush out to buy the latest fashion while others wait so long that they are almost early for the next time it will be fashion. I wore tie and braces when I was a teenager, and my teenage daughter is wearing them know. Had I been a late enough adaptor I would have been hot today…

The biggest threat to companies is to be too late and too unwilling to change and the second biggest threat is to be too early to adopt change. Too late and your products or services will be obsolete but too early nobody will understand you. When you time it perfectly, you make a fortune!

I meet a lot of entrepreneurs in my networks, but most of my clients are big, old, stable companies and organizations. Many small companies are good at timing the adoption, and if they don’t, they won’t survive. Too many of the big companies are far too late adopters. I am sure that will not be a profitable path the coming years. I am sure we will see big companies struggling to survive if they don’t become better in change management. Each employee can help. Don’t be afraid to speak up!

blogg-4.jpeg

Meeting? Make it a good one!

 

Make this week different! If you work in a big company or organization you probably spend a large part, maybe the majority, of your time in meetings especially if you work as a specialist or as a Manager. Research shows that very few meetings are effective and even more seldom do you leave a meeting full of energy. Unfortunately that’s true also if you lead the meeting.
 

Since you are very busy I will give you the short track to successful meetings. If you think this is too basic I can assure you that these simple tips should have improved most meetings I have attended. I could tell you many stories around point 5-6. This is not in all parts applicable for pure information/lecture:

  1. Be enthusiastic in the invitation and communicate that you look forward to the meeting!

  2. Set up a clear agenda, highlight the goal for the meeting and give a short description of the context! 

  3. Ask all participants to prepare for the meeting (read your material or prepare their questions).

  4. Prepare at least 1 surprise for the meeting. It can be fruit, candy, a story or a different set up in the meeting room. It will change the mindset and create a more positive basis for the next meeting.

  5. Be structured - keep to the agenda and make sure you go through everything you planned. 

  6. Don’t talk too much - big NONO! Leave room for the participants to talk. Why should they otherwise attend?

  7. Use humour - a few laughs will lead to better results and people will be more willing to talk.

  8. Use pictures or illustrations rather than text. I know it can be challenging for you but it will be worth it. People can’t read and listen simultaneously! 

  9. Summarise the meeting, linked to the agenda, and tell the participants what will happen next.

I look forward to attend your next meeting! Since I probably won’t I would love to hear how it went!!

20160929_092707.jpg

Projects - waste or investment?

Are you running, working in or planning a project? If so - do you consider it to be an investment or rather a waste of time and money? If it’s the latter you are unfortunately probably right. Most projects do not deliver anywhere close to the wanted result and definitely not on time within budget. The reasons are quite well known. Goals are not clear, communication is inferior, the administration takes too much time and energy and motivation is low. The keys to success are motivation, relations, and communication. How can you change your project from waste to investment? In a world where anticipating and handling change is the single most important key to having a competitive advantage you cannot avoid running “projects” but that does not mean the activities have to be set up as a traditional project!

Use the simple 4 step model: 

ModelED.jpg
  1. Start with focus on understanding the problem the project is supposed to solve. I joined a company in a role that after 6 weeks of improving processes and getting rid of the backlog wasn’t there anymore. It’s very common that projects are set up to solve the “wrong problem”. 
  2. Analyze what possible solutions there are to the problem. This is the second most common trap. Managers set up a directive based on the knowledge they have. You or another experienced person come in and should question the directive since it’s in most cases not very good. There are almost always better solutions available and they are seldom neither more expensive nor difficult but often more inconvenient, more different and nobody likes change! 
  3. Decision is an underestimated obstacle. The lack of ability to make decisions, communicate decisions, question decisions and be prepared to change a decision is often hidden behind very good excuses and rational reasons. Organisations overanalyze to postpone decision making, they avoid to communicate so they don’t risk to be questioned and they rather stick to a proven wrong decision than to admit they were wrong. So silly! Make quick decisions but communicate and let them be questioned. Most quick decisions are just as good as the slow ones but in the communication process the expertise in the organization can have a saying and when managers are prepared to change a decision the respect grows and people are prepared to take more responsibility next time.
  4. Implementation is the long but fairly easy part. The only very strong advice I have is to skip heavy administration. Focus on the 80 % that will take only 20 % of time and money. Everybody feel secure when they can dig into each tiny detail and investigate it thoroughly but what happens is that the team loses the overview. Suddenly everybody is discussing details and nobody the result they are going to achieve. Trust me I have seen it happen more times than even I would like to admit. 

The model can be found in my book "Leadership & Wisdom - How to Motivate Yourself and Others." 

A few useful keys that will guarantee success if you stick to them:

  • Ask questions - other people know more than you in many areas
  • Listen to what they have to say (don’t laugh - most people never listen to the reply they get)
  • Don’t be prejudiced - if someone was wrong last time does not mean they are wrong now
  • Be prepared to change - nothing will remain as it was, just admit it and be more positive to new ideas
  • Be visual! Draw pictures and let others do the same. A picture says more than a thousand words. The visual intelligence has increased several times more than our IQ the last decades.
  • Be short! Less is more! Use only 50 % of the material you planned. Let there be silence! The good ideas often need a bit of silence - air and room to grow.

Good luck in making your project the best investment you ever made! If you have questions or additions - you know where to find me!

Skriva en bok = såpbubbla!

Jag är helt övertygad om att kreativiteten är vår allra viktigaste egenskap. Alla behöver vi värna våra idéer och nya tankar som kommer att göra skillnad för oss själva och andra. Minsta lilla gör nytta! Eftersom jag just nu är inne i en skrivarprocess så väljer jag den som exempel men det kan vara vilken kreativ process eller idé som helst, en rapport, en renovering, ett beslut om utbildning, byta jobb etc som kräver att du tänker om och tänker nytt. Det går upp och det går ner men det går ändå framåt - håll den tanken! 

1 Idén!

Idén kommer till mig via en mängd olika konstigheter och sammanträffanden. Ofta har det nog legat och gnagt i mitt undermedvetna men det är alltid ett par tydliga kommentarer eller något jag läser som gör att jag utbrister - AHA! Och idén är där. Nu senast var det en blick som sade “den boken får du inte skriva” som fick idén att fästa. Idén är så vacker och tydlig men ändå lite svårbegriplig - som en såpbubbla. Jag brukar unna mig att mysa med och i min bubbla ett tag. Det kan vara timmar, dagar eller veckor.

2 Berätta?

Jag måste alltid berätta om min idé. Andra vill hålla tyst men jag vill testa hur bubblan “låter”. Det är inte alltid kul beroende på vem jag berättar det för. Vissa ifrågasätter andra kritiserar eller talar rakt ut om för mig att det inte är någon bra idé. Bubblan dalar sakta mot marken. Någon person då och då är extremt positiv och jag studsar vidare med en intakt såpbubbla som svävar högt ovan mig och glänser i solen.

blogg-1.jpeg

3 Börja skriva!

Nu kommer det svåraste steget i hela processen - att sätta fingrarna på tangenterna för orden framstår helt plötsligt som platta, ointressanta och helt omöjliga att få ihop till något som någon kommer att vilja läsa. Splash! Såpbubblan blev en våt fläck på golvet. Här kan en ganska lång period av försök att få upp eländet i luften igen starta om den har kraschat helt. Ifall det finns lite luft mellan såpan och golvet så kan den få luft igen och segla upp i luften. Och det bästa av allt är när bubblan förvandlas till en solid och tydlig bokidé som håller ihop.

4 Hålla i!

Om jag har kommit så här långt - vilket jag har gjort många gånger och fallerat så är det hårt arbete som gäller. Skriva utan att kritisera och försöka att låta bli att visa upp det som inte är klart för då är vi tillbaka på steg 2 och nära en ny Splash! Jag måste vara tolerant mot mig själv och tillåta många halvt skrivna avsnitt och att materialet inte alls håller ihop. Jag måste acceptera att boken inte har någon struktur, saknar tydlig målgrupp och att det mesta jag har skrivit är ganska tråkigt.

5 Historien tar form!

“Nu roligt börjar komma” som finnen sa efter den tredje ölen! När formen börjar synas och strukturen finns där till en målgrupp som har börjat utkristallisera sig är skrivandet lätt. Det kan vara svårt att ta paus för oväsentligheter som mat, barn och städning. Har jag i en sådan här fas uppdrag så att jag bara kan skriva på kvällar och helger håller mitt liv på att haverera totalt.

6 Granskning?

Hujedamig för denna fas. Så skönt att något finns att granska men så hemskt att människor ska kritisera mitt “barn” som jag har slitit så för att få till. Snacka om att ta det personligt! De ställer obehagliga frågor och hittar brister jag inte hade förutsett. Visst gör det boken mycket bättre och är nödvändigt men kul är det inte. Beväpnad med stort tålamod och stor tacksamhet mot dem som orkar läsa och kritisera - för de är ju så viktiga - kommer jag igenom med ett manuskript i handen.  

7 Utgivning, marknadsföring och försäljning….

Här har jag en del att lära mig så det är bäst att jag inte skriver om det. Mina metoder har inte varit de vanliga och resultatet inget vidare men jag har bestämt mig för att lyckas genom hela processen med min nästa bok.

Var befinner du dig i din process? Var brukar du ge upp dina drömmar? Hur blir du nedslagen i skorna? Gör annorlunda nästa gång och se det bara som en fas du måste igenom. Du får så gärna dela med dig av din process!

 

Lead - stop controlling!

It’s easy to spend your time trying to control instead of leading, coaching and motivating others. The main reason for it being easy is that it can be done without having to be too engaged in others. You don’t have to understand them, you don’t have to talk to them and you definitely don’t have to ask open-ended questions to them. Another important reason is that being in control gives you a feeling that you have accomplished something. Do you dare to continue reading?

People spend loads of time and energy on controlling. Most Managers and Project Leaders, unfortunately, spend the majority of their time controlling. They build and maintain structures, tools, and methods. They have many meetings around controlling and measuring and few around goals and creative solutions. What does controlling add to the result? Does it take you closer to your goal? If you read research in this area the sad truth is - not much! 

Why is it so important to take control? The sad and honest truth is - because you don’t trust your staff or your coworkers. Or you might not be able to understand the result they produce if you don’t get it presented the way you are used to….but I believe you’re smarter than that! 

I will write more about this interesting subject but now you will get 7 keys to a successful non-controlling leadership:

  1. Make sure you understand the goal - what you are going to accomplish. Describe it, visualize it and present it to yourself before you present it to others.

  2. For every task, you add to your agenda you should ask yourself “how does this take me closer to my goal?”. The answer is often - it doesn’t. Remove it directly even if you might feel uncomfortable with it. Be brave! 

  3. Dare to use a “less is more” approach. Remember the 80 - 20 rule. You spend 20 % of your time to accomplish 80 % of the result. Be honest about the remaining 20 %. Is it worth 80 % of the team’s effort? 

  4. For every tool or template, you add you should ask yourself how it adds to the result - and dare to be honest. I saw a folder with subfolders to the subfolders to the subfolders.… It was presented as a good example of a documentation structure. The number of folders was higher than the number of documents it contained. Good or less good? 

  5. Ask yourself if you trust your staff. If you do they can take responsibility if you just present the goal to them. Dare to admit that they are smarter or more competent than you. Because they are - at least in some areas (if you are not one of those very rare superpersons). So they can actually find better solutions than you i.e. controlling them will lead to an inferior result. This is the trickiest area of all for many managers, the failure rate is high - so be brave and strong!

  6. Never have a meeting where you question what people have accomplished - always wow the progress! If you criticise publicly you make people scared and they will produce less next time. You can talk about “the less good progress” in private via positive and constructive questions.

  7. Feel the joy and freedom of trusting your staff and being out of control! You will be watching your staff taking responsibility and deliver fantastic results! 

If you don’t believe in what I say - I’d love to hear your view!

blogg-10.jpeg

Have fun and increase your intelligence!

Sometimes you need verification that you are doing some things right! I am so sure, sometimes tiring sure, that some of the things I do are good for me and others. My family and friends might get tired of me always trying to convince them about the importance of exercising, reading and meditation. It felt so good yesterday when I read an interesting scientific article that agreed with me! Now I might make family and friends ever more tired because now I know I am right! Ok, you can probably find articles that argue against me, but right now I decide what to write. But as usual, I look forward to countering arguments or, even better, hear that you agree with me ….. 

7 things you should consider doing if you want to increase (or keep) your intelligence: 

Learn to play an instrument - I know I have wanted to learn how to play the flute since I was a child. Is the time to start now? 

Sports - actually this is my challenge. I exercise, but I don't do sports. The benefit from sports is that it increases the ability to handle abstract ideas and complex data. I suddenly realize that I can start golfing again! 

Meditate regularly - check for me. I do it most days when I come home after work. I start my days with yoga and reboot my brain in the afternoon with meditation. Stress and worries keep us from concentrating and learn new skills. Meditation helps you to shut out irrelevant thoughts and improve your ability to learn new things. 

Games and play - this part is fun! Crosswords, Sudoku, and building lego are examples of excellent exercise for your brain. Become smarter by playing!! Can't get much better... 

Exercise! Improved blood circulation increases your brain's ability to function. And since it's good for the rest of you too I can't find reasons not to exercise. 

blogg-5.jpeg

Read books! Here we go.... you become better at handling and storing information and improve your language. You learn new things while you have great moments in the sun or your favorite chair. I just loved this article!! 

Learn a new language - Duolingo check! I am now 42 % fluent in Spanish and will definitely take on more languages. A study of 800 persons from 1947 to 2008 showed that learning grammar and new words sharpen intelligence and reduce the risk of dementia later in life. 

So what are you waiting for? Get out there, start having, even more, fun while you increase your intelligence and reduce the risk of dementia! 

I look forward to hearing about your progress!

 

Happiness?

Happiness

Are you happy? Are you happy most of the time or just once in a while? 

I am so extremely grateful for what I have got. So why do I sometimes give up and get so extremely tired? Do you recognise the feeling? Most of us are quite pleased with what we have but most of us are still not happy. Research in this area shows that happiness is like a bump on the road. 

We win the lottery, get married or get a salary raise and in three months or maximum two years we are back on our normal level of happiness. Strange isn't it? Especially since most of us spend a lot of time dreaming about meeting the “right” partner, winning the lottery or getting extremely rich from a great business deal, moving to a house on a white sandy beach, buying a hotel, living in a castle with a wine yard in France, retire and buy a dog, etc. Most people I know dream of another, better life. 

Research also shows that if people suffer from illness or get handicapped their level of happiness is in most cases restored after a couple of months or a couple of years. They are just as happy again even though their health is no better.

Content and happiness does not differ between extremely wealthy people and people leading extremely simple lives and it does not differ between healthy and sick people. Discouraging facts? Well not really since you now know that you will continue to be reasonably happy even if you don’t manage to win the lottery. And there is other research showing that you can increase your personal level of happiness so that your bump on the road becomes more like a step on a staircase. Sounds interesting? 

  • The best way to be happier is to enjoy the ride towards your goals! 
  • Happiness is the combination of enjoying what you have today and looking forward to what you will receive tomorrow.
  • What you value most will make you happy so what do you value most?
blogg-6.jpeg