It’s not personal

Each of us comes into this world with a particular mission, written within our souls. I have myimages own mission as you have yours. We might cross paths as our individual missions in one way or another may interact with eachother’s – however each and every single one of us will still be alone on our own spiritual journey in order to fulfill our own particular mission. And we all have our lessons to learn…our experiences and wisdom to gain. This means that we once or a couple of times in life say or do things that aren’t in the best of interest for our own spiritual growth nor for anyone else – it is however a step that needs to be taken on our journey as we mature and, like a baby taking it’s first steps, are navigating and trying to master something that is so much greater than ourselves. So don’t take anything anyone else’s doing personally as it is not you who are the Star of their show, it is themselves.

If you manage to master this blessing you’ll be able to share of your love imagesCAGT5V9Qbut still not be a target for someone elses harmful words or actions. You won’t need to put your trust in what other people do or say as you will not be affected by it – each and everyone must owe up to take responsibility for their own reality. You can choose to follow your heart always no matter what as no one will be able to harm you – enabling you to focus on how to share of your greatest gift, love.

If being faced with feelings of hurt, instead of choosing any of the “easier” options like feeling sorry for yourself, “paying back” or feeling resentment towards the one who “caused” you pain – in fact inflicted pain on him or herself – ask yourself “How am I going to grow from this? How can I use this to make me my most Divine self? What can I now contribute that I couldn’t have if I had never had this experience?” Embrace the experience – I know it ain’t easy every time but try –, vision the greater Divine picture and learn from it. Always remember, it really really isn’t personal!

 

Concious choices

Most people in this world do not make conscious choices. With that I mean that we do not choose our thoughts nor the feelings or emotions that we are creating. Most of the times we do not even choose our behavior. We do not think about what energy or content of consciousness that wegreatness allow into our conscious mind and – as a result – by that what we allow to remain in our subconscious mind.

In order for us to remain in a state of always making “conscious choices” with regards to every thought, feeling, word, energy and deed, we must first learn the art of self-mastery.  And how do we do that? By learning how to detach – as in disidentify – ourselves. You see, if you are identifying yourself with certain thoughts, feelings, things, etc. you – by doing that – hinder yourself from having the ability to choose.

Now, detaching isn’t all that easy, I know that. Facts are, if you for example instantly react instead of choosing how to respond to the actions of someone else you make yourself a victim. Do you see what I mean? Feelings are a choice – they don’t just suddenly happen to us. They are built up from something – deeply buried inside of you and likely from a (sub)conscious fear you have – and if you do not meet these feelings and detach yourself from them you’ll get stuck.

Remember that our fears comes from love, they are two different sides of the same coin. The only way to dissolve them is to challenge them straight on, regardless if it’s a fear of losing someone, fear of doing something or fear of seeing and being your authentic Self.

imageschoiceWe cannot always control what comes into our life but we do have free choice as to the attitude and perspective we take towards it. Ask yourself, do I want the Spirit or my negative Ego to guide my actions? Do I want love or fear? Do I want oneness or separation?

As I said before, this isn’t always easy – we are humans severely affected by the impact of society – and you will make mistakes that you’ll regret deeply. However if (or when) you do choose wrongly, or do not choose at all at some times, learn the lesson God has given you, forgive yourself – and apologize to anyone that might have been affected by your choice – and make a new choice!

When you have mastered the blessing of free choice you will be in perfect harmony with God because what opens your divine consciousness – the connection with God – is the development and refinement of your spiritual journey.

I will still love you even if you are not perfect. I will still love you even if you’re not always the kind of person I wished you were? I will still look into your eyes with warmth even if I’ve seen your shadows. I will still hold your hand even if I know there will be times you’ll let me down. I will still do everything to ensure your happiness even if you do nothing – because I love you.” – unknown

Do you know “The Almighty GodManager”?

Throughout my career I’ve coached and worked with countless of senior executives who seemed to think they were working in a “perfect” organization – “perfect” or blessed, simply because they were the ones “leading” it. The Almighty GodManager if you wish. I am confident that you too have come across one or many of these managers who are self-proclaimed “leaders” wanting to be in charge of everything yet sadly ends up untitled leading – or even managing – nothing. We recognize them by the way they keep their disillusioned feeling of power close to home, not uncommonly at the organizational level where they currently are at. When working with some of the organization’s strategical questions they are the ones setting the organization’s vision and goals and it is they whom decided when the goals are fulfilled.

Needless to say these individuals find themselves working upstream a lot, often huffing and puffing about their overwhelmed sense of “important tasks to do” as they feel the urge to do “everything  by themselves” – after all, they are the ones “running the show”… The chosen one. Except they are not. Not really. No, let me rephrase that…not at all.  Their employees are most likely  working harder. In trying to figure out where the organization is heading and what their own part really is in the organizational big picture. Meanwhile they are also huffing and puffing about their huge work load, with no time to help a colleague yet not at all willing to give up any of their enormous amount of tasks to anyone else. At first sight it looks like a busy well run organization – it has to be since everyone is working so extremely hard, right? But at a deeper look you’ll see nothing but chaos with everyone being busy doing nothing remotely productive for the organization. Dollars ticking away for no reason and only because of the one at the top of the organizational chai – a very high price not only for the customers but also for all the stakeholders, including the employees, the shareholders, the community and in the end, the nation.

So what can we do about it? I’d say, many things. We know that in successful organizations leaders live and breathe the company vision. A vision that is created  by the entire organization – created from bottom up, not the other way around. These leaders undoubtedly supports the imagesCA9RY216implementation of the vision by encouraging their employees to put focus on specific and powerful goals. In doing so, they are creating an energetic value-based environment where their employees are empowered to creatively take part in the overhead strategic plans as they work towards the fulfillment of the vision. It’s natural, in order for your vision to manifest you first need to make sure your employees feel ownership of it and it’s fulfillment.

But that’s not it. Apart from involving your employees in the process of setting your organization’s vision you also need to let them participate in setting the organization’s goals – goals that are perceived by your employees as meaningful. Your goals need to be challenging enough for your employees to step up yet not so unrealistic that they feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of it, clear so that they are easy to understand for everyone, time-specified so that everyone knows when they are to be fully implemented, measurable so that you – and your employees – will know when they actually are reached and few for the purpose of maintaining focus. Secondly you need to ensure that you employees understand the connection between their actions – their de facto work – and your set goals. By dividing the main goals into smaller goals and further to individual goals for each employee, your employees will be additionally stimulated to do their very best to fulfil the organizational goals.

There’s no doubt that the greatest of leaders create an inspiring vision for themselves, their people and their organizations. For these extraordinary leaders this vision is not only words on a piece of shiny paper but it also has a deep meaning – it’s supported by the organizational values. In an ideal organizational world the organization’s vision together with its well-accepted and lived-by values create the frame within which employees act. In a perfect organization leaders do not simply point at the organization’s vision and actually expects it to be owned and followed by the employees.

Leaders who empower their entire organization to persistently workimagesCACFCKRX towards the fulfillment of the organizational vision and goals not only create a sense of personal value to the organization’s stakeholders but also intensify their feeling of being an important part of something – part of the community. These truly servant leaders know that by supporting their employees’ growth while fulfilling the organization’s goals they create a positive force of appreciation, loyalty as well as a culture of discipline. Discipline to do what needs to be done and to put short-sighted or even selfish needs aside for the greater good – the bigger picture.

Great leaders knows that if they want more they need to give more and by their own actions they inspire their organization to do the same – one step at the time and then yet another. The foolproof roadmap to Success.

Action from inside out

Leadership, business and relationships are all about trustworthiness, about being reliable. It’s about competency and character. It’s no secret that most individuals choose to follow the leader who has managed to combine these two and by that create a imagesCAFE6D2Vsense of trust and reliability. However, in order for us to become trustworthy leaders we first and foremost must really know ourselves – our own personal values – and what we want. You need to be able to lead yourself before you can lead others wisely. It’s about action from inside out.

Before you successfully can lead others through good and bad times though, you need to truly know who you are and what you want. Ask yourself questions, the right kind of questions that’ll ensure that you’ll get to the core of what you truly stand for. The ability to ask the right kind of questions are just as important as the capability of finding the right answers. When our priorities are in harmony with our personal values we not only set the foundation for a stronger sense of satisfaction with ourselves and our lives but we also achieve a sense of personal strength and inner security– the kind that people notice and feel “safe” with and to follow. The kind of leader that people get inspired by and want to follow.

Great leaders know themselves – they lead from their values and visions. Everyone needs a vision for their life – a clear image of a desirable future. The creative process during which our vision takes form imagesCAZTIOLHacts as catalyst for our future and an inspiring vision based on guiding values gives us a sense of purpose, something to work towards.

Great leaders also create a shared vision for their organization’s development. In this vision they coordinate and direct their employees focus towards the shared projects. It is when everyone is moving towards the same direction that great results are accomplished. By involving your employees in the process of creating the organization’s vision – with grounds from a solid foundation of organizational values – your employees will feel a greater sense of understanding and ownership of the vision’s purpose and implementation.

The process of creating an organizational culture based on values and visions takes time. It also requires leaders who not only lead from their heart but also have a great sense of integrity, communications skills, a desire for cooperation and the ability to keep a sense of simplicity. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to demonstrate to your employees the importance of your organization’s values and vision – “walk the talk”. It’s also you that needs to show the connection between the values, the vision, the organization’s goals and your employees’ individual goals. However, in successfully managing to do so, you ensure that the entire organization work towards the same destination – creating the future that you want.

Define your personal values in life – what’s important and less important to you? Reflect on how your personal values affect you in your life and in your leadership – are you working to get a pay-check or for a purpose? What kind of human being and leader do you want to be? How do you want your fellow human beings and employees to describe you? What are your weaknesses and strengths? What kind of development do you need in order for you to become the best you want to and can be? How do you envision your future? If you could mould the future for yourself what would it look like?

Put people first and the money will follow

Most organizations claim that their employees are their most important asset. Or at least that’s what it says in oneimagesCAPEOUR2 of their policies, although some might not live up to their words. Either way, there’s an increasingly raised awareness that the employees – and other stakeholders – are the ones making all the difference in an organization. This awareness has brought with it a shift of focus in many organizations, from an organizational culture previously focused on ‘money’ to instead being focused on ‘people’.

This is not to say that ‘money’ doesn’t matter for these organizations. Of course it does. But these organizations broaden their perspectives and offer more. People-centred cultures are dedicated to create good relationships with stakeholders and by that deliver a better value than any competitors. And as with any other work culture this is naturally reflected in leadership behaviours.

imagesCAYPC6VDPeople-oriented leaders share a set of beliefs and values that are about “putting people first”. Such leaders are constantly learning and adapting to “people”-requirements yet still, or maybe because of that, adapt effectively and swiftly to competitive conditions. Put simply, people-oriented – or servant, service or personal – leaders know that by putting the people first the money will follow.

I want to share two great videos with you in which the featured speakers are taking about what I call servant leadership:

– In the first video one of the most inspirational women I’ve come across, Colleen Barrett at Southwest Airlines, talks about the importance of making employee and customer satisfaction the highest priority: Servant leadership I 

– The second video features bestselling author Tom Peters, talking about what happens when you treat your employees like customers – and when you don’t: Servant leadership II

What’s your thoughts on servant leadership? Do you think it makes any difference to the bottom-line how you percieve your employees, customers or other stakeholders? And do you think it makes any difference to your employees or in your recruiting efforts?

 

Quantum life and leadership

Like many others I enrich my life with great, challenging, fun and sometimes mind-blowing activities and experiences that in some way(s) or another(s) moves me further on my personal and professional journey. However, as we know it is not enough to simply gain theoretical knowledge about something or experience it at infrequent times but our newly received wisdom also need to be practised to be put into full effect. Last night I read this short article “Live a quantum life” by Dr. Darren R. Weissman on the subject and I’d like to share it with you as inspiration on your very own path!

“How do you live a quantum life? I believe there are five steps. In the science and art of numerology, the number 5 signifies being open to love; living with compassion; embracing freedom; needing constant change; and striving to find answers to the many questions that life poses, not just for ourselves but also for all of humanity. To live a quantum life, it’s imperative to do the following:

1. Live with vision. All great leaders throughout history have had a clear vision of a truth that resonated deep wvisionithin their hearts. This vision became the catalyst that set into motion a new way of thinking, feeling, and being. All great leaders, as a result, maintain their clarity of vision regardless of opposition or perceived capabilities. To live with vision means to take the time to silence the mind so that you can see and embrace your truth. Activate the power of the sixth sense—intuition—and trust it to guide you.

2. Live with hope. Hope is a natural consequence of having clear vision. Its birth rises from darkness, fueled with the vision of promise. At its core, hope allows you to believe in what’s possible…if one person can, we all can. Feel this emotion in your heart. It’s the feeling that imagines, sees, and knows at every juncture of the journey. Hope is the reflection of truth, wholeness, divinity, and oneness. “Roll up your sleeves” and let’s work together. In a world where many see hopelessness as being as normal as the rising sun, begin today to challenge yourself to harvest and sow seeds of hope.

Passion3. Live with passion. Passion is the energy of your will. It’s what empowers you to take action, transforming hope into possibilities. The question is, what’s your passion? What moves you to get out of bed every day? What makes your heart flutter when you think about it? Do you go to work just to get paid? Do you want to know how to live with passion? Answer this question: What would you be doing at this very moment in your life if you knew with absolute certainty that you couldn’t fail? Allow yourself to honestly and authentically answer this question—from the deepest part of your heart—acknowledging the every-unfolding inner voice of Infinite Love & Gratitude. Decide to act and live with passion. A moment of passion will transform a breaking point into one that is inspirational.

4. Live with discipline. Discipline distinguishes mastery from mediocrity—mastery that comes from spending time engaged in the journey, rather than sprinting the 50-yard dash. Living with discipline means being willing to change—to alter oltacksamhetd patterns of how you consciously choose to respond to your life. With discipline, you can gain insight and wisdom into your true nature. When you accept the inevitability of change, you choose healthier options for yourself.1 Rather than being a rigid set of rules, living with discipline is based on conscious acts of self-love. It’s loving yourself enough to choose between the pleasures of the moment and the possibilities of an infinite spirit.

5. Live with gratitude. These days, almost everyone is talking about gratitude. But what does it really mean? I was inspired by a quote I recently read in a tiny but powerful book on gratitude written on behalf of the LifeLesson Foundation by Lenore Skomal:

‘Our role is to accept what happens to us and to do what we can with the possibilities that life offers us. Acceptance is the key to this. If we can stop trying to figure out what we did wrong to warrant the problems that we face, and just accept it as part of what happens while living on this planet, we can find immense freedom. Life is what it is. And if we can reach unconditional acceptance of that, then the door to true gratitude will open. To live with gratitude is to accept, embrace, forgive, learn, and live with the knowing that life itself is the greatest of all gifts’.”

“Do you wish for…

...kindness? Be kind.
Do you ask for truth? Be true.
What you give of yourself you find;
Your world is a reflex of you.”
– James Allen

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Servant leadership

As we’re entering into the mid-summer in Texas I’ve been reflectingimagesCAP08KUW back on this year’s experiences and how they have shaped me – and the people I’ve worked together with-  to improve further as human beings and leaders. It’s been a year filled with fascinating events, encounters with countless inspiring individuals and lots of new priceless lessons learned. One of the major things that I’ve noticed during this year is that there’s a larger demand for leaders whom lead from their heart. Leaders who with authenticity, integrity and deep passion are ready to build long-term success from a strong value-grounded foundation. Leaders with the mindfulness to not only see through the shallow facades but also with the courage and strength to go another way against the established culture in order to truly serve others. Genuine – real – servant leaders put others first and realize it’s never ever about “me” but always about “them”.

“Don’t just serve for surface value – spend time to let the seed take root and grow in the heart.” – David Gustafson

We, as a society, need leaders whom combine their ability to create great results with a long-term development of individuals and organizations. We need, and want, leaders whom want and are eager to be part of creating a better future and a higher quality of life in all areas of ones life – the kind of leaders whom have and want to share, inspire, support and serve others in building organizations and a society that enhance our ability for compassion and cooperation. We want leaders who lead by serving others and by “making a difference” in the lives of others. I believe that this is also one of the main “trends” that we will not only see but also establish in the coming year of 2015 –a huge demand for and development of servant leaders.

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson

Top 10 principles of change management

fyra-r1We are living in a world where everything changes, all the time, and those organizations who are content with who and where they are will eventually be left behind by those around them.  This does not only mean that we need to be open-minded and ready for never-ending development processes, but also that we should embrace the fact that change is inevitable and that we will always be “students” in life. Below are 10 principles for change management that can be used as a framework during change processes.

1. Experience is the best teacher.
The Roman philosopher Cicero said it, “usus magister est optimus” – “experience is the best teacher”. Although knowledge is easily gained by reading about something or by listening to someone who’s sharing their “story”, it’s a fact that some, or most, things are best learned from the lessons of life and by practical experience rather than from books or a “classroom”. We, as individuals, learn best by doing things ourselves.

2. People don’t resist change, but they do resist loss.
By acknowledging these two fundamentally different things, you’ll realize that by simply include your employees in the “change”-process – the process of further development – you’ll most likely notice a significantly more positive attitude towards change. Create “ownership” amongst the ones affected by the change.

3. Change doesn’t come from the outside, it begins from within.
You can’t make someone else change, it’s not possible. What you can do as a leader though, is to change personalembrace the great possibility to act as a change catalyst for your employees. By your actions and words you can inspire, motivate and empower your employees to want and actively participate in “change”.

4. It is in the ordinary the extraordinary can be found.
This may sound like a cliché but it is in fact true. Development and growth doesn’t necessarily need to come from something new as the result you want just as well might exist in some part, or all, of what you’ve already got. In other words, by analyzing “what already is”, you might find that you can achieve the desired outcome with simple means and minimal effort.

5. Learning from failure.
In order to be able to improve something, we need to change something. However, as we all know there is no guarantee that our efforts to change will be successful – we might fail. And failure is a natural part of life and of growth.  Some might even say that if we are not failing once in a while, then we aren’t trying hard enough. Failure is an excellent opportunity to grow, both professionally and personally. If we are open to see it, we can learn so much more from failure and how we get from “there” to where we intended, than we possibly could learn from instant success.

6. Be specific about what you want and why you want it.
No development process should be started until there’s a clear goal – it’s doomed to fail. If you don’t know what you want and why you want it, you will not get it. It’s that simple.

7. Change is a process.
When people are faced with a development process – a change – they pass through five different stages. These stages are, in order, the precontemplation stage, the contemplative stage, the determination changestage, the action stage and finally the maintenance stage. By acknowledging and knowing theses stages, what they mean and how they affect people, you will have the knowledge of what your employees are “going through”. By that, you’ll be well equipped to work with the process and not (unintentionally) work against it.

8. You can’t please everyone.
As with everything else in life, there are no guarantees that everyone affected by the change will be pleased with the result. However, as a leader it is your responsibility to keep that which is best for the organization as a whole as your main focus.

9. Change requires action.
We often talk about the changes we should or want to do. But no change happens until we actually put our words into action. Walk the talk. Do it!

10. A specific process of change is never “ready” or done”.
Performed changes are never completely “done”. As with everything else, even a well performed change requires evaluation, regular re-evaluation and improvements.

What’s your experience of change (management)? What other important principles do you think there are, that we need to take into consideration?

 

How do you add value to your team?

Successful leaders know that “you’re only as strong as your weakest links”. They know that everyone imagesCAZ3E01Hin a team has his own role to play and that each team member is an important part in the wheel that keeps the organization moving forward.

They also know that no job is a meaningless job – personally I even find it offensive when someone has such attitude regarding certain jobs or workers – and that every individual whom are to become part of the organization needs to be carefully selected.

The question is, how does one select the “right” team member? Well, when great leaders develop teams they aren’t just assembling the right skills or experiences – they are determining the right people, the right individual. These leaders know, often from their own hard-earned experience, that it’s easy to be blinded by a fancy resumé, great numbers or outstanding referrals and, by that, forget what’s really important in the long run – the individual person and the values of that person. These leaders put collaboration high on their own value list and they are well aware of the fact that shared values are essential for a team’s success. The shared values acts like a solid foundation to build the team’s success on.

WimagesCA37NQ0Ahen looking to add a new member to your team and organization, first take a closer look at the values of your organization – what your organization as a whole stands for. And then combine those values with the skills and experience that is needed to get the job done effectively. By doing so you’ll get the “right” team member, one which not only can do the job but also complement your team as well as your organization – the one with the ability to utilize the great resources the other team members possess. And remember, “a skill is generally replaceable, but each individual is unique”.

Useful questions:
– Does this person have something to offer the team and the organization?
– How will (s)he fit in the team’s/organization’s dynamic?
– Will adding this person add to the values of the team and the organization?

How do you select new employees and team members? What’s your top priority? What is it that you are looking for in a potential candidate?