Friday, October 30, 2009

Why gamble gambling?

I could never figure out why anyone would buy a lottery ticket! Today I came across a wonderful blog post on the subject by Seth Godin. His point of view is beautifully put forth: "It's not the destination, it's the journey".

Besides all the devastating side effects of gambling, to me gambling is like a game you can never win. In fact, just by "playing the game of gambling" you've chosen a loser's lifestyle.

Whenever I put it this bluntly some people respond by trying to defend the fact that many lotteries support charitable causes. Well, that only makes it worse though, doesn't it?! If you're going to support charity, at least do it secretly and without the selfish objective of getting something (I might add "much bigger") in return.

"Helping Clients Succeed" is world class

A year ago I browsed through the ES Research report on their thorough analysis of sales systems and vendors. When I learned that Franklin Covey's Helping Clients Succeed clearly came out as the best among them all - second year in a row - I just had to find out more!

Today I'm a certified facilitator and trainer in this system too, and yes, I understand why it came out on top, again! ;-)

--removed chart--

The high-end evaluation is measuring a combination of Solutions Range and Solutions Effectiveness. Mahan Khalsa and his book Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play is a winner!

In Grenland I'm delivering this training 9th - 11th of November. If you're in sales, you just don't want to miss it. To get other dates for training e.g. in Oslo and Bergen, send me a request.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Increasing interest for innovative design

Now that's what I call a boat! ...or rather, a yacht.

"You just gotta see" the graphical and architectural design teaser at YouTube for the Wally Hermès Yacht. Wauw!

I don't have an inherent interest in neither boats nor cars, but design and innovation connected is something that seriously inspires me. With my interest for "sales" and "selling" I've grown to appreciate how important design is to selling and sales success. It's about position and perception, which counts heavily in any situation where people need to be convinced.

There's a Norwegian company behind the development of the hull. Even though I'm not ready to enjoy such luxury myself, considering all the poverty and suffering people in the world, I do believe such an innovative industry does much good and is very much needed as a whole.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Our dear friend

Some people just always serve by giving and giving and then giving again. Their lifestyle is simply "service to others".

We have a close and dear friend like that. When she visits with us she does nothing but help out all day - and night! And the best thing is, we can feel that she does it purely motivated by goodness. I wouldn't want to ruin her joy of rendering selfless and unpaid service by telling the world who she is.

I suspect by being anonymous the reward feels even better. However, we do want her to know that we appreciate all that she does. Of course we keep telling her in person, but this blog post is a tribute to you, *******. Thank you! You mean the world to us!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Clock backward or forward?

Tomorrow, this coming Saturday night, it's again --time to adjust time-- for Daylight Saving Time.

Now, do you remember whether it's one hour backward or forward? (BTW, did you know it actually varies across the globe, depending on where you live?) Here's how I remember whether it's one hour backward or forward...

Rule of thumb no 1
When winter is approaching and days grow darker, DST compensates by giving me an extra hour. I'm not too fond of the dark nights and the cold winters here in Norway.

Rule of thumb no 2
When summer approaches days grow brighter and to me it's kind of OK that DST steals an hour. It doesn't matter that I lose an hour of sleep, simply because I'm just so happy to see more light and warmer days anyway.

Funny, but those are my childish thoughts and how I always easily remember. So tomorrow night DST favors me ("comforts me") with an extra hour of sleep by letting me adjust time one hour backward.

Open Source is not the only one way

Since 2004 I've been working actively with Open Source as a business model. And I love it! However, unlike many others out there, I'm not an Open Source fanatic, i.e. I don't believe Open Source is the only way "to do software".

Open Source is a business model more than anything else.

As such, it's one of several options. There's a time and place for everything.

You're saying: "But Open Source is the future?!" Oh sure, I believe it holds a major place in future software. But just like any other business model, as circumstances change, so will our approach to making the necessary adjustments. I'm not saying we shouldn't proactively influence future trends and ways to share and innovate, but merely that...

"one way only seldom is the only one way".

Having been with eZ Systems for several years, the past two years I've also been closely involved with Gaiaware. Gaiaware just released its Gaia Ajax 3.6 Beta. If you're a developer using .Net, then this technology will blow you away! And yes, it's Open Source ;-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The principle of reciprocation

Whatever you send out comes back. Here's one of the reasons why:

I just love the simplicity and power behind the principle of reciprocation. Robert Cialdini is a great authority on influence. May I suggest that you spend two minutes - two minutes only - to reflect on how you might change your basic approach while interacting with the people around you?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Evaluation as a means to improve

I love the principle of evaluation. It just makes so much sense to me:

Find out what worked out well and do more of it. Uncover what didn't work and either change or eliminate it.

And evaluation is so basic, isn't it? Evaluation is weeding out both success and failure from one and the same product. When we evaluate, the following inevitably will result:

What's being evaluated usually improves over time.

Evaluation is often forgotten, rarely done, and especially not done on a regular basis. We somehow tend to think it's not necessary because we're able to assess success and failure as we go. But no, effective evaluation actually takes conscious effort!

While I did another public speaking session this morning I made sure to catch the essence of it on film, taking another critical look at myself. Had I relied on external feedback alone, I would have concluded there was little room for improvement. BUT... my own perception of my own performance is also valuable. While watching and listening to myself I clearly saw that I need to do more storytelling. Every time I told a story energy went up. Theoretical jibberish should be brief and to the point. I should do less of it.

Remember what I said about storytelling? Well, maybe today I've become just a tiny bit better at it ;-)

Execution is what you want!

To execute a strategy takes more than just average leadership. Strategy execution is a skill you never learn in school. Then how should we get on top of this?

There are a number of things that make execution difficult. Two of them I find are particularly typical to the organizations I've worked with in the past, and it's the same pretty much everywhere you go. The tendency to be:

Quite dramatically different from what I did in the past, when I go into leadership coaching or other consulting type of stuff, I now focus on getting focus.

Getting focused can be a hard battle, and of many important things to remember, these are in fact the key challenges to actually obtain that focus:
Believe me, it'll change your LIFE!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A growing US deficit is seriously bad news!

I majored in Finance, but you don't need a degree in economics to understand this basic principle:

"Long term wealth grows when money is working for you. It's smart. Poverty is preceded by spending more than you have and when money is working against you. It's not smart."

The United States of America is spending too much money. Period!

Obama may be a wonderful person, even a charismatic individual, but Obama's administration is simply on the wrong track to fix the economy. You just don't spend that much money without a plan on how to repay your debts. (Yes, I know what you're thinking, but remember, the subject I'm on about is long term wealth.)

And why am I concerned? Simply because the economy is increasingly interdependent and global. The US economy will affect everyone else. So yes, the decisions made in Washington should concern European citizens (again, long term) just as much as it does any American. That's why I second Tony Blankley's statement: "Don't increase benefits; cut costs. Now".

While in the US these past weeks I enjoyed a favorable exchange rate, but quite frankly, I'd rather pay more for every US dollar, simply because I believe that's what the global economy needs - long term.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Children can be tough critics

This morning I had... an interesting experience. You may laugh, but it did take me a few seconds to "enjoy" the hard learnt lesson in this one:

As you might know, storytelling is actually a very important part of what I do for a living. During training, it's extremely important to relate relevant stories to exemplify the principles behind what is being taught. People love the entertainment and real-life practicality that stories provide. And as a matter of fact, I like to think I'm not too bad at it - at storytelling, I mean.

Well, early this morning Lucy, who's our four year old daughter, jumped into our bed while everybody was still asleep. So, I decided to tell her an exciting fairytale. I was about half way and all enthused about the tension I had created when she cut me short and whispered: "Dad, let me tell you another story that's a lot more exciting than this one..!"

Well, there you go ;-) Young children can sometimes give us the most valuable feedback, i.e. I guess I still have a lot of room for improvement in this area.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Visiting Performing Arts Management at BYU

Today Eivind and I visited the BYU and Performing Arts Management. Again, I was so impressed with all of them. They are such wonderful quality people, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to interact so closely with them.

From the right: Annalace Boothe, Brad Robins, Logan Wilkes, Edward Blaser, Randy Boothe, Eivind Top, Vidar Top

When the Young Ambassadors from BYU came to Norway, the students at Hjalmar Johansen high school got so excited they wanted to return the visit by traveling to Utah. I was asked to help them produce the revenue to make such a trip possible. By selling and promoting the DVD they produced of the Young Ambassadors show, it now looks like this trip is going to take place in February 2010.

After today's meeting I can hardly wait till they find out all the great stuff that's awaiting them during this visit. It'll be a lot of fun!