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.

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?

Ambition, China and Europe

In tomorrow’s edition of leading Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, I have written a column about ambition, China and Europe. The point is straight-forward: The Chinese companies I work with, easily understand that successful companies in the 21st Century need to pursue a purpose beyond profit if they want to engage employees, customers, suppliers and others to work with them and even work for them.

Chinese CEOs are hungry. They are driven by a strong determination to win, not only in China, but globally, and they will win. Not because they are smarter than managers in the west, but because they work harder and because they are more hungry for success.

Therefore I am gradually selling the shares I have in big Danish companies. I simply don’t have confidence in their boards who are dominated by finance people in grey or black business suits with no purpose beyond profit. The boards tend to employ CEOs who share the same lack of purpose. It happens everywhere, in banks, in construction companies, in manufacturing and in service. And even worse, the same lack of vision and perspective is penetrating the public sector under the “New Public Management” umbrella. Just look at the lack of vision in the Danish Parliament.

I am personally neither unhappy nor depressed. Because I have the privilege to start new growth businesses with a purpose and even more importantly, I have the means to go out and make a difference beyond business (for me this is Scouting). But for Denmark and Europe, I am concerned: We are gradually eroding what our ancestors built up and we are getting poorer and poorer every day. I have enough, but this will affect a lot of Danish families who certainly do not have enough.

I invite your comments and contributions. We need them!

How to make open office work for both employees and the company

There is an interesting blogpost in The New Yorker where Maria Konnikova concludes that most open office environments are a failure. I share her conclusion in general, but there are ways to overcome the disadvantages of the open office! And if you can do that, there is potential for creating organizations that are far superior from what we know of today.

Here are two references, which will give you food for thought:

  • UNBOSS (2012), outlines how organizations can achieve greater impact, higher growth and happier employees by defining a clear purpose and involving stakeholders (including employees) while applying a new concept for a knowledge-based organization, which  has open offices and transparent communications as a prominent feature. www.unboss.com
  • Revolution at Oticon A/S – a Harvard case Study which remains one of the most studied business cases in the world. The Spaghetti organization has open offices as a prominent feature.

The Oticon’s “spaghetti” organization has been featured in thousands of books and articles including Tom Peters Liberation Management. More references can be found at

The key to making an open office work for both employees and the company are:

  1. Design the physical environment carefully, taking into account acoustics, visual factors and indoor climate.
  2. Design the office layout carefully to reflect the working styles that you want to promote, and include space for both individual and group work in both silent and less silent environments.
  3. Design the meeting facilities so that they encourage the behaviour you want to see. At Oticon the tables were removed from most meeting rooms and there were numerous spaces for informal stadn-up meetings – of course separate from working areas to avoid people being disturbed.
  4. Install a working culture where employees understand an gain ownership of the rules needed to make the open office function. My experience is that open offices will only work if employees understand WHY they work in an open office and WHY certain working styles are to be preferred.

Intelligently designed open offices are great! Open offices just for the sake of open offices are a nuisence!

Comments very welcome…

Zappos moves to UNBOSS

Zappos – the legendary Las Vegas based retailer – takes a bold move: Bosses will go, the corporate hierarchy is out and titles are obsolete. The conventional chain of command will be substituted by a number of overlapping and self-governing “circles” with the intention to empower employees and avoid that the company becomes bureaucratic as it grows beyond today’s 1500 people.

Have you heard this before? Yes, it is UNBOSS. Zappos calls it “holacracy” and the idea is to organize work around what needs to be done instead of who should do it. Employees are assigned several roles and usually belong to more than one circle. John Bunch who is leading the transition at Zappos, notes that the change decouples the professional side of business from what he calls “the technical getting-the-job-done side”.

I am not surprised. Once companies grow, hierarchies become bureaucracies and flexibility and innovation dies. Look at any big organization you know. They are all the same!

Zappos has introduced the key aspects of UNBOSS: It has a clear purpose (excellent customer service), it engages stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers) as partners and it now introduces the UNBOSS knowledge-based organizational model. The whole thing is based on a strong set of values. Welcome on board and congratulations!

Share your thoughts including other great UNBOSS case stories. Write a comment!

Glædelig jul!

For mig har 2013 først og fremmest været et travlt år. Jeg har undervist ledere af kinesiske virksomheder i DeTao Masters Academy, arbejdet med at udvikle de knap ti virksomheder jeg er involveret i, holdt en masse foredrag og skrevet en ny bog “Bevægelsen” (Gyldendal Business), købt en ejendom i København og rejst verden tynd for at rejse penge til spejderarbejdet. Fordi man er fyldt 66 behøver man ikke at holde op!

Her er tre ting som jeg glæder mig over i 2013:

  1. at der er rigtig mange der interesserer sig for ledelse og udvikling af videnvirksomheder, især i Asien,
  2. at spejderarbejdet er godt på vej til at finde sin nye rolle som verdens førende lederudviklingsprogram,
  3. at den økonomiske krise er ved at lette; så kan vi komme i gang med flere ting der peger fremad.

Og tre ting, som jeg ærgrer mig over i 2013:

  1. at Danmark synes at være faldet helt i søvn; der er simpelt hen for lidt i gang der kan give håb for fremtiden,
  2. at uduelige ledere stadig sidder på vigtige poster i både offentlig og privat virksomhed,
  3. at vi ikke hylder de mange iværksættere og selvstændige, der skaber nye jobs, nye løsninger og velstand i samfundet.

Min plan for 2014 fokuserer på Bedre ledelse. Jeg er mere sikker end nogensinde på at bedre ledelse om noget er nøglen til et bedre samfund. Gode ledere handler bæredygtigt; gode ledere bygger bro mellem mennesker og gode ledere skaber rum for menneskers udvikling. En god leder kan påvirke hundreder eller tusinder af menneskers liv. En god leder kan inspirere andre til at lede bedre og blive en bedre medarbejder.

Jeg har fået en del kritik af at jeg især arbejder for at forbedre ledelsen i kinesiske virksomheder. Hvorfor ikke i danske? Svaret er enkelt: 1) Jeg bruger fortsat megen tid i Danmark og går ikke af vejen for også at arbejde med danske virksomheder, og 2) Kina er 200 gange Danmark, behovet er enormt og interessen det samme.

Har du lyst til at dele med os andre, hvad du vil fokusere på i 2014, så skriv en kommentar.

Glædelig jul!


Her er en lille bog med et stort potentiale: “Bevægelsen”, som netop er kommet på Gyldendal Business som den første i “High Performance Serien”. Du kan læse den på en aften, men vær forberedt på at det tager længere tid at føre ideen ud i livet!

Budskabet er enkelt: Virkesomheder, offentlige institutioner og foreninger kan tage et stort skridt frem ved at opfatte sig selv på en ny måde, nemlig som bevægelser i stedet for organisationer. Hvordan bliver COOP en formålsbestemt virksomhed? Hvordan kan et fængsel gøre dobbelt så megen nytte med færre fanger? Hvorfor er det bedre at skaffe rent vand til de fattige end at sælge pumper? Hvordan kan foreningen fokusere bedre og skabe mere værdi? Hvorfor er det bedre at stoppe energispildet end at sælge energirådgivning?

Emnerne har jeg arbejdet med før, men nu er det blevet til en lille bog som du får svært ved at komme uden om. Prisen er dog let at overkomme: 99 kr som papirbog og 49 kr som e-bog på Gyldendal Business. http://www.gyldendalbusiness.dk/products/9788702153194.aspx

Spændt på at høre dine kommentarer. Skriv en anmeldelse nedenfor!


Is Rotary a thing of the past? Or a thing of the future?

That’s what I prepare myself to answer at a Rotary conference on 30 September in Copenhagen. What do you think?

Rotary has about 1,2 Million members in 166 countries. In Denmark just under 12.000 members in 272 clubs. The purpose is great: Service above Self, and since 1985 Rotary has worked on a spectacular project: eradicating polio to which more than 500 M USD has been raised.

However, many roatrians I speak to, call for change. They claim that Rorary has lost sight of why it exists. They are embarressed by raising pennies where dollars are needed. They point at numerous examples of rotarians who seem to be in Rotary more for “self” than for “service”. They question the wisdom of weekly meetings and they are highly divided on the question of including women in the clubs or not.

What should my advice to Rotary be? Help me by sharing your thoughts. Here is a small video for inspiration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-uPMniS8DU which was shot at the Copenhagen airport a week ago.

Have you been a Scout or Girl Guide?

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Sådan fungerer bloggen

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.

Sådan får du fat i Kolind Kuren

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.