Julegaven til din chef


Alfred Josefsen er klog. Jeg bruger kun sjældent det udtryk og kun om folk der har noget vigtigt at sige. Det har Alfred.

Hans nye bog “I øjenhøjde” indeholder 100 små essays om ledelse. Nogle er selvfølgelig bedre end andre, men ingen er ligegyldige, for de handler om hvad det vil sige at være leder i konkrete situationer. Skoleledelse: Hvad handler det i virkeligheden om og hvorfor går det så ofte galt? Forandringsledelse: Hvorfor det kan blive en mani. Værdibaseret ledelse: Hvorfor ord ikke er nok. Og så videre: Alfred endevender begreberne kort og klart og ingen er i tvivl om hvad han mener.

Jeg kan lide bogen fordi den er konkret og praktisk. Ingen snobben for det smarte. Fokus på det der virker i praksis. Et opgør med meget af det der er god latin på bjerget.

Giv din chef bogen i julegave. Og køb et eksemplar til dig selv og dine kolleger så I er på omgangshøjde.

Embrace globalization – don’t fight it!

Copenhagen Airport is the stage of two labor conflicts: 1) SAS cabin crews object to being transferred to a subsidiary with less favorable working conditions, and 2) Danish labor unions object to Ryanair’s policy of not negotiating with unions. Labor unions protect current privileges while airlines strive for lower costs. A classical conflict which builds on the assumption that employees and employers have opposite interests. Behind both conflicts is the increasing globalization of the labor market: Why should airlines pay more for a Danish cabin attendant that does the same job as a Latvian colleague who is willing to work for maybe 50% salary?

I don’t think labor unions can successfully meet the challenge of globalization with conflict: Companies constantly strive to be competitive and therefore they  employ the people who add most value. Competition is the main source of wealth: Just think of how steeply airfares have dropped over the last ten years, and how many people have therefore now been able to travel.

Ryanair offers a lousy employment package from a Danish point of view and therefore probably no Danes will apply for jobs in Ryanair as long as they have unemployment benefits that are more generous. This is fair. Fortunately for Ryanair there are thousands of people from less privileged countries who will go out of their way to work for Ryanair. This is also fair.

The Danish labor unions meet both the Ryanair and SAS challenges with conflict. Why not embrace them instead? Why not meet the airlines with dialogue? Ryanair won’t talk, so leave them alone and they will probably fail to get any Danish cabin attendants. Bad luck for them. But SAS and others will be highly interested in working together with unions to find new and innovative ways to create more value by collaborating better: providing better service, eliminating waste, responding faster to changes, reducing costs, coping with sickness, reducing turn-around times and -costs, and more. New solutions don’t emerge in a climate of conflict; they grow out of mutual respect and trust. Such collaboration will lead to more value generated per working hour and a both a good company and a good union make sure that the gains are shared fairly. That’s embracing globalization and that’s what labor unions should do.


Terror in Denmark – not only their responsibility

Last weekend’s terror attack in Copenhagen shocked me like anybody else. How could a person (or a group of persons) attack innocent people at a meeting and other people celebrating a young person in their synagogue?

There is no excuse for this deed. Period. But there are things we can do to reduce the likelihood that such things happen again. We have a responsibility to act.

I am a co-founder of Løkke Fonden which focuses on boys who don’t function well in our society, including young men like Omar el-Hussein. Such young people need special attention and Løkke Fonden is committed to find ways to help them find a place in our society. One project, Drenge Akademiet (The Boys Academy) helps boys advance two years in the core subjects in just two weeks. Imagine if Omar had been part of such an experience.

I am also involved in Danish Scouting. For decades, Scouting has reached out to less privileged young people, but we have not been sufficiently successful in all ethnic communities, and at least we were unable to reach Omar. Imagine if he had learned to take responsibility for others and if he had acquired Scouting’s basic values. You may think that Scouting’s values are incompatible with Islam. Think again: two thirds of all Scouts in the world are Muslims.

My point is that we all have a responsibility to embrace young people (in particular boys and young men) who have difficulty adapting to our way of life.

Tell me what you can do. Write a comment.

Don’t wait for recovery – Create your own recovery!

Business leaders and politicians wait for the economy to recover. Until it does, they plan for no growth or modest growth, which in my view is a self-fulfilling strategy. So, don’t wait for the economy to recover – create your own recovery!

In my view, the key is to start a new business or to start a new venture. If you don’t yet have a good business idea, it is probably because you don’t have a clear enough purpose. Here is an example: Alexander Kierulff is passionate about helping people to be happy at work (his purpose). He started blogging about it and gave himself the provoking title: The Chief Happiness Officer.

Alexander learned so much from his dialogue with others about happiness at work, that he decided to write a book about the topic. He wrote the book in a collaborative effort and today the book “Happy Hour is 9 to 5” is an international bestseller. Soon Alexander could turn his passion into his job and today his company employs several people and makes a nice profit. Alexander didn’t focus on Happiness at Work for that reason. He chose his cause because he was passionate about it and because he wanted to make a positive difference.

This is the model that I recommend you follow. The UNBOSS puts purpose above profit, but he or she does not forget profit. Profit is essential for anything to be financially sustainable and profit is the fuel that allows you to have an even higher impact next year. The UNBOSS doesn’t know all the answers him- or herself. He or she engages others in the cause and creates a business model that will maintain their engagement out of self-interest. Running a business or an organization that way changes everything: people, structure, processes, marketing, supply chain, communication, R&D – everything.

Just do it! – let me have your comments.

What’s your Cause?

I have a cause. Do you?

My cause is to make the next generation of leaders better than the present one.

What do you think? If you don’t have one, why don’t you? Here is why I love my leadership cause:

  1. The cause is worth fighting for, not only for me, but probably also for you and for many other people. Imagine what the world would look like if we had better leaders: More happiness, more wealth, more dialogue, more understanding and less pollution, less conflict, less stress and less waste. WOW! Can you imagine any better cause?
  2. The cause is realistic, because there are organizations such as Scouting and Guiding which today involve more than 50 Million young people in leadership training. One in three leaders today have already had an average of three years of leadership training through Scouting and Guiding. And we can easily reach more than one half of all leaders in the world.
  3. Everyone can join. Would you think a lot of people would join if my cause was to make money for myself and my family? Absolutely not. They would need to be paid a salary to join. The good thing about my cause is that people join without being paid. They are as passionate as I am.

My cause guides my worklife and much of my other activities including this weblog.

What’s your cause? To make money for yourself and for your family? To become powerful and famous?

I think these two are bad causes because they are only about you. A good cause should be about what you can do for other people. It is about your impact – the difference you want to make.

Everybody can make a difference to other people, small scale or large scale: You can make your community, your company, your country or the world cleaner, happier, more fun, safer or richer. You can develop a skill, a profession, a concept or something else and share it with others. You can fight injustice, discrimination, poverty, pollution or waste.

So in my view, people with no cause waste their lives.

My cause, next generation leadership, gives me tremendous joy. I am never bored: jusk think about how many examples there are of bad management which can be improved. I always have something to ask about and to talk about. Who is the best leader you have ever met? And the worst? Why? I learn every day because I am focused, because I reflect and because I try to apply what I learn.

Be courageous: Share your cause with me and about 20.000 others who read this blog every month. Write a comment below.

My personal “Hall of Fame”

While it is easy to be a critic these days, I want to praise some people that I really admire. I think they are worth admiring in my “Hall of Fame” simply bevause they give most to society.

Teachers, who despite being burdened by bureaucracy and petty rules, remain passionate about teaching children and developing their social skills, I admire the teachers who, despite being disrespected and subjected to unfair scrutiny by those unqualified to judge, remain determinedly true to their vocation.

I admire Entrepreneurs who cast off the safety net of their ‘good jobs’ and ’reasonable income’, in a quest to create something new. I admire their determination and willingness to work long hours to develop their projects, whilst struggling to comply with the demands of VAT accounting and other governmental bureaucracy. They must struggle for each and every order and receive no backing from the banks, whose modus operandi is to lend money to those who have no need for it.

I admire Scout leaders who give their precious time to participate, week after week, in activities involving other people’s children. I admire their patience, tolerance and respect for the parents of those small scouts; they often forget that the Scout leaders receive no payment for the time and energy devoted to developing leadership qualities in their children. Indeed, some parents believe they can make the same demands on unpaid volunteer Scout leaders as on the teachers at their children’s schools.

I admire the sons and daughters who, despite leading busy lives of their own, make time to care for their elderly parents in hospitals and nursing homes.

I admire craftsmen, who take pride in doing a proper job and who strive to keep the professional bar high. I also admire developers who have the ambition to create homes and offices that are not just great today, but which will still be significant in fifty or a hundred year’s time.

I admire politicians, who dare to be themselves and speak from their heart, even if the cost is losing votes.

What do these people I admire have in common?

  1. They are passionate about what they do.
  2. They cannot be tempted by the lure of quick fixes or fast money.
  3. They are genuine.

Therefore, they are worthy both of recognition and reward. Similarly, there are some, who fall into my ‘hell of fame’ and they are:

Politicians, who compromise on their principles and election promises in order to gain re-election. These politicians, I detest, because they cheat the voters and undermine the nature and future of democracy.

Bosses, who think first and foremost of themselves, their bonus schemes, career moves and golden handshakes, instead of the employees and the businesses they are entrusted to lead. To lead is to serve the greater whole, rather than just oneself.

The journalist, who is willing to write or say anything to increase his/her readership or number of viewers or listeners. It sickens me when I encounter journalists, who impose moral or ethical demands on their ’victims’, which they, themselves, are so clearly lacking.

Trade unions or employers associations who, at the expense of the whole of society, cling to outmoded labour systems (the so-called Danish model), as the power base from where to further their own interests. Selfishness is wrong. Group selfishness is even worse.

Desk clerks, like popes, sitting high on their pedestals. I detest civil servants, public officers and police alike, for abusing the power invested in them by their jobs to annoy the citizens and businesses that pay their salaries.

And what do they have in common?

  1. They all represent outdated systems and power structures, which are in sore need of revitalisation.
  2. They cling on to their privileges, becoming ever more corrupt.
  3. They display arrogance to the very people they are duty-bound to serve.

To which group do you belong?

(Original Danish version published in Jylland Posten)

Bevægelsen vinder over banken

Jyske Bank beskylder Spiir for at hacke og lukker kundernes mobilbank, hvis de bruger Spiirs værktøj til at få overblik over deres økonomi. Jyske Bank går så vidt at true Spiir med politianmeldelse hvis ikke Spiir lukker for Jyske Bank kundernes automatiske overførsel af deres netbank udskrifter til Spiir. Da Spiir efterkommer bankens krav politianmelder banken alligevel Spiir.

Det er sådan virksomheder ville reagere, hvis de var 100% kyniske og ligeglade med alle andre end deres egne interesser. Store banker har rigeligt råd til at betale alle landets advokater for at bekæmpe Spiir.

Og alligevel vinder Spiir: Politiet undersøger politianmeldelsen og konkluderer at anmeldelsen er grundløs. Det skyldes to forhold: 1) Spiir er en bevægelse med et samfundsgavnligt formål, og 2) Spiir er en ordentlig virksomhed der naturligvis har styr på at det den gør, er lovligt.

Spiir er en bevægelse med et samfundsgavnligt formål: Tænk lige på Boliga, som hjælper danskerne når vi skal handle bolig. Vi kan finde boliger, vi kan checke priser og vi kan få en masse andre informationer som betyder at vi kan kigge ejendomsmægleren over skulderen og endog i nogle tilfælde selv sælge vores bolig uden mæglerbistand. Da Boliga kom frem satte ejendomsmæglerne alle sejl til for at standse den gratis tjeneste, men uden held. Boliga er nemlig en bevægelse med det formål at hjælpe forbrugeren i forbindelse med bolighandel. Boliga henter data fra ejendomsmæglernes hjemmesider og præsenterer dem på en måde der giver overblik for forbrugeren. Fra et samfunds synspunkt er dette en god ting fordi det bidrager til forøget konkurrence.

På samme måde er Spiir en bevægelse der hjælper almindelige danskere med at få økonomisk overblik og dermed økonomisk frihed. Spiir henter – med forbrugerens tilladelse – netbankudskrifter for de konti som forbrugeren har i forskellige banker, og præsenterer dem på en måde der giver forbrugeren økonomisk overblik. Ligesom Boliga efterhånden blev overvældende populær vil Spiir blive det, og hverken ejendomsmæglere eller banker bør kunne få held til at standse forbrugerens adgang til sine egne data.

Heldigvis har de fleste banker intet imod at deres kunder bearbejder og analyserer deres egne data med et redskab som Spiir, også selvom en kunde med bedre overblik over sin økonomi måske vil være lidt mere kritisk over for sin bank. En del af kundens over blik er jo at kunden sort på hvidt kan se hvilke renter og gebyrer han eller hun betaler i hver af sine banker.

Jeg glæder mig over endnu et eksempel på at bevægelsen vinder. Hele sympatien er jo hos dem der laver noget som er gavnligt for kunderne og samfundet over for den virksomhed der kun tænker på kortsigtet indtjening og afkast til aktionærerne.

Hvis ikke du allerede bruger Spiir, så meld dig ind her og få et bedre overblik over din økonomi. Det er gratis. Hvis du er kunde i en bank der lægger forhindringer i vejen for din brug af Spiir, så fortæl banken hvad du mener om det.

Og skriv gerne en kommentar nedenfor!

Who has the greatest Social Impact?

Large companies, governments and large NGOs have great social impact. Preparing for tomorrow’s World Scout Committee meeting, I reflected about the social impact of Scouting and Guiding. Combined, their social impact is HUGE! Here are the numbers:

Scouting and Guiding (in the following just called Scouting) have about 50 Million members in almost every country on Earth except for China where Scouting is yet to be allowed. On average, Scouts stay for 3 – 4 years, which means that about 15 Million young people graduate from the programme each year at an average age about 15. Each Scout makes a promise to do his or her best to be a decent person as expressed in different ways around the world through the Scout Law and Promise. About 700 Million people between 15 and 65 have made that promise and trained proper behavior for an average of 3 – 4 years.

The world has about 600 Million white-collar workers and probably about 100 Million of them are managers. We don’t know how many Scouts are managers today, but I would not be surprised if that number is between 30 and 50 Million and it could actually be higher than that. This is indicated by samples in many countries. If the assumption holds, one out of every three managers in the world has a Scout background.

Try to imagine the social impact of this: One out of every three leaders has promised to be a decent person, has learned to respect nature, has learned to meet a foreigner as a friend and has practiced collaboration with others.

Translate this figure to your local community of, say, 100.000 people: About 10.000 of them have an average of three years Scouting background, and out of the 1500 managers in your community, probably 500 have an average of 3 – 4 years of Scouting background.

Nobody knows exactly what the impact of this is, but I trust you agree that it must be great; probably greater  than most mega-companies with maybe one Million employees or even governments of countries with 20 of 50 Million inhabitants.

Scouting’s vision is to double in the next ten years. One generation later, we will live in a world where the majority of all leaders have a background as a Scout.

Come join!

Let me have your comments…

6 rules to simplify complex work

Here is a really thought-provoking 12 minute TED talk: Why structural change is no more the solution when work gets more complex.

Yves Morieux’ six rules are: 1) Understand what your people do, 2) Reinforce integrators, 3) Increase total quantity of power, 4) Extend the shadow of the future, 5) Increase reciprocity, and 6) reward cooperators.

In other words: avoid organizational layers and departmental silos. Empower people and make them work together, forget the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and you can increase productivity and improve employee’s lives.

In my ears, this is exactly the core of Oticon’s spaghetti organization, which we created as early as 1991.

What do you think?

Scouting, drugs, street children – it works

I am just back from the Philippines where I discussed with Philippine Scout leaders how to scale up the great work Scouts do with street Children.

Scouting is simple to understand: You make a commitment to develop into a decent person and Scouting provides the tools to do so. Street children who take drugs and participate in gang wars, know that they aren’t doing the right thing, they want to change and Scouting provides them with a ticket to a better life.

The ticket is to become a Scout. To discover that I have people who love me and care about me; to discover that I am a creation of God who is destined to a better future; and to discover that I can change my situation if I commit myself to do so.

I was speechless when I heard Jerwin tell his personal story. How he was involved in gang wars, how he smoke marijuana and how he discovered that be becoming a Scout, he could change. Now he goes to high school and next year he will go to college. What a difference!

I was also speechless when I visited the two square m home of Queenie and her family in the corner of a city park. The family had lived there since Queenie was born. Queenie is now a Scout and through education her goal in life is to get her family away from the street.

Scouting works because it gives young people the opportunity to learn life skills. It gives them hope and self esteem when they progress in the Scout programme and it makes them feel safe because they are part of something great. They are encouraged by the fact that their school principal is a Scout, their mayor is a Scout, their governor is a Scout and the vice president of the Republic (Dr. Jejomar Binay) is a Scout. Scouting is the prime leadership development in the Philippines with two Million members as it is in the rest of the world.

Here is a summary of what the King of Sweden did on the first day of the visit to the Philippines last week.

What do you think?

Have you been a Scout or Girl Guide?

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Bloggen er et forum for debat og inspiration. Den er et virtuelt torv, hvor vi kan mødes og blive klogere. For tiden omkring 400 personer hver eneste dag. Lars Kolind skriver et indlæg en eller flere gange om ugen og alle er velkomne til at kommentere. Helst med dit rigtige navn og ikke under pseudonym. Kolind kan ikke svare på alle kommentarer, men meningen er jo også at alle skal inspirere hinanden. Hver blog-post tilhører en eller flere kategorier og vil du læse alle indlæg i en bestemt kategori, trykker du blot på kategoriens navn. Du kan også søge på alle indlæg, hvor et bestemt ord forekommer, f.eks. bureaukrati. Du kan læse og skrive kommentarer ved at klikke på ”kommentarer” under blogposten.

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Din boghandler har den. Du kan også bestille bogen online, f.eks. hos Jyllands Postens Forlag, SAXO eller en anden online boghandel. Vil du købe et større antal bøger, f.eks. til alle medarbejdere eller til leder-gruppen kan du kontakte jyllandspostensforlag@jp.dk.

Den originale amerikanske udgave, The Second Cycle – Winning the War on Bureaucracy, er udgivet af Wharton School Publishing i samarbejde med F.T. Prentice Hall Pearsons forlag. Du kan få fat I den og andre sprogversioner på f.eks. www.amazon.com.