How to Add Value To Your Team

teamwork-615159_1280What´s your philosophy when you are recruiting a new employee? Do you look only for the formal qualifications or do you make sure that a candidate will add value to your team?

Conscious leaders are always looking to add value to their team and their organization, including when they are recruiting new employees.


Are You Really a Compassionate Leader?

There’s a great deal of focus in my life on personal and professional growth right now. It consumes me – in the most positive way – and I find it absolutely great, fun and so very inspirational. Anyway, I was talking with a friend today about my thoughts on the importance of a leader being compassionate – personally and professionally.

I firmly believe that no successful leader or individual can lack compassion as to me that equals being unaware of your true essence as a being. A compassionate individual sees things in people – they see their strengths and weaknesses as well as their passions and fears. They see what makes others special and they work to draw that out. A great leader recognize that compassion begins from within. And that it is only when you can forgive and love yourself, as you can give that forgiveness and love to others.

Fall, to rise again

However it seems that it is not until one individual, at one point or another in his/hers life, truly has fallen down that (s)he fully develop – and practise – compassion as it should be practised. This might not be so strange though considering that it usually is in the process of getting up from such “fall down” that you discover who you really are, what you truly care about and how you want to live the rest of your life. You learn so much more on the way up than you possibly can do at the top.

“Maybe it is true that it’s only when you have nothing, that you can learn what is truly meaningful to you!” – Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

A great compassionate leader has done this journey, personally – spiritually – and professionally. And it’s through that journey – those challenges – that they have come to recognize that each and every one of us have something special within us. Such aware leader, or individual, also knows that it’s only through developing a meaningful relationship with another person that you can draw the gift of genuine compassion out in the open.

“Compassion is a verb.” – Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

It’s not enough to just feel it though. Compassion is worthless unless you in fact do something with it! And this is why humility is the precursor to compassion. Humility is what opens you up in a way that enables compassion to “flow in” and become real.

A compassionate relationship

In a compassionate relationship you pull another person in by genuinely listening and asking questions. There’s a valuable lesson for you to learn from every individual and situation you encounter. As a compassionate leader you constantly need to ask yourself,
– Do I make people feel better about themselves?
– Do I make them feel like they are capable of achieving more than they ever thought they could do?
– Am I courageous enough to enpower others or does my fear cause me to micro-manage/want to control instead?
– What can I learn from this individual and this situation?

“Great leaders dare to be vulnerable” – Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

That’s what compassion is all about – letting go of fear, daring to be vulnerable and be encouraging, caring, sharing, listening and loving towards others! And it’s amazing, it can be as easy as just listening or saying a kind word to a loved one, a stranger or a fellow employee.

True compassion

In his book An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life, Dalai Lama writes that true compassion “has the intensity and spontaneity of a loving mother caring for her suffering baby. Throughout the day, such a mother’s concern for her child affects all her thoughts and actions. This is the attitude we are working to cultivate with each and every being. When we experience this, we have generated great compassion.” Simple. And beautiful!

“A man is walking along a beach and comes across a boy picking something up off the sand and gently throwing it into the ocean. Curious, the man asked, ‘What are you doing?’

‘I am throwing starfish into the ocean,’ the boy answered. ‘The sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them in, they will die.’

The man said, ‘Well, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t possibly make a difference.’

The little boy bent down and he picked up another starfish and threw it into the surf. He smiled at the man and said, ‘But I made a difference to that one.’ ” – The Star Thrower

Tuesday’s Wisdom: It’s Not About You

Leadership is not about You. Your special talents and gifts are not about You. Your Life is not about You nor is it for You. Your life and your purpose is to be serving other beings – sharing of all your talents – for a greater good. It’s all about service.


A wise person knows that perception…

imagesCA0416D2…shapes everything that happens in life. And perception is a matter of choice. Indeed, it’s a blessing to be able to choose how personal experiences and the world at large are viewed. As a result, we can choose to see peace, rather than conflict; love, rather than fear; abundance, rather than lack; and we can to see a divine plan, instead of random chaos. Abraham Lincoln is credited with wisely saying: “Most of us are just as happy as we make up our minds to be.” So very true.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

Choose happiness and you will be happy. Choose to see the best in your team and they will be inspired by it. Choose to see other beings as fellow spiritual travellers and they will feel encouraged. Choose to see your employees as team members and they will fight for victory. It is truly amazing how fantastic and simple life really is. Don’t make it complicated – it’s so very easy.

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.


I am not perfect, on the contrary. Of course, considering the fact that we in our western world tend to crave perfection in all its natural and imagesunnatural forms you might think that my statement may not make sense. It is however a statement which is deeply true and for that I am very grateful. You see, my imperfections and perfections – the divine essence of whom I really am – are the results of a passionate fascinating interesting life lived. A life that has taught me so much and made me experience even more…but most of all it have made me grow as a person – and as a spiritual being. My journey has taught me who I am rather than the one I, or anyone else for that matter, thought I was. And the best part is that even after 18 years of “awareness” and “lessons learned” I am still learning wonderful things about myself and of what our spiritual paths has to offer. It’s fantastic and I am so very very thankful!♥

In her book “Radical Self-Acceptance” buddhist teacher and author Tara Brach talks about the importance of acceptance of who you are – who you truly are. A part of this is to recognize all our feelings, each and every one of our thoughts and analyze our actions – all in order to truthfully know ourselves. This means that those feelings of unworthiness, shame, feeling unloved…all of them can teach you something about yourself without victimizing you. If you are willing to pay attention to them – acknowledge them as being part of who you are – they can tell you about yourself and your spiritual lessons in a truthful divine manner.

For people of our times – individuals who are working on their self-improvement, in a spiritual sense – these feelings are signals of something that imagesCALSVBUUwe fear (although it may take some really honest inner dialogue to see what it is) and therefore need to work with. We are not to reject them or deny them but to embrace them as what they are. It is not until we do this as we truly can heal and become whole. It is everything about you – perfections and imperfections – that contribute to your uniqueness and it is all the events in your life – the good experiences and the ones that left a wound in your heart – that create the mix that defines the fascinating spiritual being that is YOU.

It is also by accepting our own imperfections just as much as our perfections that we can get to experience the love of others despite their “imperfections” – the experience of a true soulful spiritual loverelationship – as we recognize the reality of the spiritual being they are. Remember the greater picture – the Divine Purpose – “rather than a journey of perfection our journey is towards wholeness” as stated by Tara Brach. Spiritual worthiness. 🙂

“Until you see the necessity of owning all of who are, you can’t extract the jewels from every experience of your life and your story will continue to use you. It will continue to clobber you over the head and make you act as though you’re small. But the moment you see the value in the parts you hate as well as those you feel good about, the moment you recognize that painful event as the perfect ingredient to make your recipe complete, you will witness the magic of transformation. You will bless what you formerly saw as a curse. You will watch as the horrid becomes holy.” – Debbie Ford

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?

Lead with awareness

Great leaders lead with awareness. That means that they aren’t only using their knowledge, experience and intelligence as foundation for theirpersonal_growth leadership. Leading with awareness is something more. Leading with awareness is about how to use all the three mentioned qualities in an ethical and moral way – it’s about leading with your heart. Leading with a servant mindset. Awareness is what we gain as we throughout our entire life put our thoughts, ideas and values to the test, and by that get a deep insight of what we find to be right and wrong as well as good and bad. Not only for ourselves but for others – many individuals actually come to the conclusion that what provides meaning to life is really not when it’s all about “me” but about “them”.

Yet awareness isn’t what our “modern” world seem to seek, or even truly appreciate. Not in our society and not as desired qualities in our leaders. What we do seem to appreciate however is money, fame and power – all three which are considered as “signs of success”. The more money, fame or power that we can get or achieve, the more successful we “are” or consider ourselves and others. Money, fame and power are something that’s truly sought after in our society. And it seems to be a fact that once we gain either money, fame or power – or some or all of them – we can not get enough of it. We just crave more and more of it – to fill a void of something that we can not put our finger on. Like an addiction.

“Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A quest for money, fame and power isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. King Salomon said that “money are great servants but bad masters” and there’s certainly a great deal of truth in that. Money, fame or power are not goals in themselves but resources to use wisely in order to serve others! Money can absolutely create great possibilities, fame can most definitely open doors and power can be well used to create long-term values in a selfless, servant and compassionate society. But only if we as leaders are courageous enough to move beyond our ego and lead from our heart, with awareness of what’s going on around and within us. By taking advantage of our experience and combine these with our own core values, our inner wisdom can work as a compass which at all times will guide us right – not only in our leadership but also in our own life.

But how do we do this? How do we, as leaders who want to grow not only in our leadership but also as human beings, lead with awareness? How do we in the best way lead and serve others with our heart as the guiding light? These questions will be discussed further in Gusto Life Group’s Servant Leadership-article series during this year. You are very welcome to share your thoughts, ideas and insights on this subject with us – either via the comments section or by e-mail.

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?


“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