Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Return of Young Ambassadors to Skien

Last year more than 1300 people interacted and thoroughly enjoyed the company and talent of The Young Ambassadors from BYU. Would you like to meet them again?

It's true! If everything turns out the way we're planning it, The Young Ambassadors will return to Norway and Skien on Saturday the 3rd of July. We still need final confirmation, so no promises yet. But if you want them to come, please give us your quick feedback via this online form. DO IT NOW!

...yes, we know, the 3rd of July is in the middle of everyone's holiday season. But would you really enjoy your holidays without The Young Ambassadors?! ;-)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Are You Carrying the Load?

Do you find yourself carrying the weaknesses or defects of other people? Is there a good reason for you to be upset about it? Or just maybe, could there be someone that ought to be upset with you in much the same way that you are with them..?

Maybe society can be classified into two major groups - in every respect:

(1) Those who carry the load
(2) Those who add to the load

Today I'm asking: "Which one am I?"

First of all I'm thinkin', the question should probably be rephrased: "Am I a burden to others, and can I shape up?"

In some respects we're all carrying a (heavy) load of some kind. It may be a major project or just a small every-day task... Regardless of what it might be, we should be careful not to become too self righteous about whatever it is we do. Why?

Well, as far as I understand, we're all in an "ecosystem" of give and take. Let me share two quick examples to illustrate:

EXAMPLE # 1 - Carrying the Load
Today I'll be doing another round of public service picking up trash in the local community. I know from previous experience that such an activity gives me a positive kick. While at work my thoughts almost always are "what makes people just toss stuff around like this"? In my mind I may also be thinking: "At least I don't add to the amount of trash myself..."

EXAMPLE # 2 - Adding to the Load
...but then, what kind of a self righteous attitude is that?! I may not be polluting the environment in that particular way. However, in many other settings I myself am probably causing a heavy burden on society and the people around me, too, both with regards to environment as well as in other areas... For instance, I rely on weekly maintenance from others when it comes to keeping my office clean. On my accountant for handling all my paperwork. On my colleagues during big events and training venues, and yes, sometimes on my wife to help me remember where to find stuff around the house.

Summum bonum; who are we to judge others for being a burden? We're all carrying a load, but likewise, we're also adding to the burden in so many ways. Are we not?!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Power of a Compliment

The power of a compliment is fantastic. But be careful to do it in a sincere way. Too often we miss wonderful opportunities to lift people beyond our wildest imagination.

About a year ago I shared some thoughts about paying attention to the people around us. Today I'd like to do a quick follow up. I've seen individuals literally go through the roof because of a simple compliment. In fact, it never ceases to amaze me.

So tell me, what is a compliment ...and can I share some thoughts I've had lately?

First of all, if you want to make a difference in the life of someone, try to find "the best stuff" in them. But not only the best, also look for the small. When you open your mouth, make sure it's a clean compliment. Don't include negative feedback in the same sentence. It ruins the value of your shared feelings. (And we so often do this without knowing!)

Second, do it sincerely. Don't compliment someone with a hidden agenda.

Third; making eye contact makes all the difference!

My last little thought on this... Exemplify whatever you say. So often, almost daily, I hear "the beginning of wonderful compliments", but then they quickly evaporate simply because people don't spend the time to elaborate and explain in detail what they mean. Relate specifically from real life examples what it is you mean. We love to hear someone tell stories of our own life and example among others.

The need for recognition is, of course, no different in business. As a matter of fact, research provides clear indications that positive feedback is what poor managers miss and what the best managers are good at. Pay someone a sincere compliment today!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Twitter Search Versus Google Search

What's the difference between a Twitter search and a Google search? What is this Twitter thing, anyway..?!

So I get a lot of questions about Twitter. Why? What? Who? How? ...and mostly why ;-)

Well, there are a lot of good reasons why you should make use of this tool. Maybe one way of explaining it could be by highlighting the difference between a Twitter search and a Google search.

When you search at Twitter, what you will find is typically real time information, i.e. you can follow opinions, questions, information, discussions about anything that's taking place right now - at this very moment (or recently). It allows you to participate, research, learn and collaborate in a completely different way. Simply put, Twitter is accessing information from a different angle, and there's a lot more speed to it.

Obviously, there's a lot more to it than this, and I'm still learning myself. For instance, people easily grow frustrated when making their first few searches at Twitter Search. Normally, they search for stuff and find... nothing. Two words of advice:
  1. Keep in mind what people are twittering about. When searching Twitter use words that especially interest you. You are more likely to find people and information with relevant information that way.
  2. Use the advanced search and/or make #-based searches. For instance #salestraining is an interesting topic i visit periodically.
If you look into it, you'll find that Twitter opens up a whole new world of selling, networking and innovating.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What About Twitter..?

When you go online, you'll find millions of people using Twitter every day. It may appear as though everyone knows what it is and how to apply it in a private or work setting. However, this is not the case "in real life" (i.e. not online or in cyberspace ;-).

If you ask any person "on the street" about Twitter, most people have not even heard the term. It's true! My questioning people has lead me to an estimation of about 6 out of 10 actually still don't know anything about Twitter. OK, so it may vary both demographically and geographically, and it certainly does. But here's my point: Even though Twitter has the fastest adoption rate online ever, most people still don't know about it and are missing out on this amazing communication tool - big time!

Yesterday I did a quick poll among some enlightened friends and contacts (just simple unvalidated questions), and even here the statistics reveal "ignorance" or great potential, to put it that way:

Among experienced every-day computer users the big majority still don't understand or use Twitter.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Norwegian Channel for Board Members

Friday the 23rd of April we're kick-starting the online Channel for Norwegian Board Members - Kanal for Styremedlemmer i Norge (KSN).

The 4th Friday of every month at 15:00 I will be doing a 30 minute interview with prominent and experienced board members / directors accompanied by an online dialog using Twitter at #styremedlem.

The first well-known individual interviewed will be Erik Gudbrandsen. A month ago Erik resigned as the Director of the board at Ernst & Young.

Erik's many years of great success and experience will give you a sneak peak of what it's like to be at the helm of big business (join broadcast here).

Network of Board Members
The LinkedIn group "Styremedlemmer i Norge" driving this initiative now consists of more than a thousand members. The last hour only more than 70 key people signed up. It's growing fast!

Mark your calendar for Friday 23. April 15:00 CET for the first broadcast and interview with Erik Gudbrandsen. Send your twitter messages and questions with #styremedlem. (Note! The interview will be in Norwegian.)

Erik Gudbrandsen in on my list of "Great People".

Monday, April 12, 2010

Love Unfeigned

Look up "unfeigned" in the dictionary and you'll find words such as true, sincere, real and genuine. And now you're thinking, what's he on about? Let me share some personal feelings and reflections...

I remember one early morning in 1997, while out delivering mail on my bike, I witnessed a father and his three year old son. Dad was agitated and took it out on this small boy. Boy! was I shook up. I wanted to go over and tell that man straight. How could he be so harsh on his own helpless son? I could tell this kid had no idea why his dad was so angry. I thought: Why not slow down, lower your voice, give him a hug and explain what you'd like him to do?!

Since then, I've witnessed overzealous parents time and time again. We probably mean well, but here's my plea to all of us, parent or no parent: "Please, let's try a little harder to be gentle and good to the young ones!"

If you're not sure about yourself and how it's going, try listening to objective feedback and/or e.g. apply the human endowment of self awareness. Choose to proactively show love unfeigned!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BI Alumni

BI Alumni now counts more than three thousand people at LinkedIn. It has become an active forum and meeting place. If you have any affiliation with BI, you might want to join.

One and a half year ago I launched the Alumni group for Handelshøyskolen BI (Norwegian School of Management) at LinkedIn. Believing it had a lot of potential, this group has now grown to more than three thousand former students and has become the largest independent Alumni network of Norway. The daily growth rate of this group is steadily increasing.

Since then I've initiated close collaboration with the staff and administration at BI. The group is now managed by all the key managers of the school and is a great way to get back in touch with current or former students and faculty. Whereas other alumni networks easily are outdated with regards to contact details and other important information, LinkedIn is mostly up to date on the latest news of where people are and what they are doing professionally.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Combating Pornography was just launched and I think it's a site and initiative greatly needed in today's world. The resources that have gone into this are well spent.

I believe there can be little doubt that moral standards are under constant attack. For instance, what we see in the media today was deemed outrageous just a few years ago. Sooner or later we all need to consciously and seriously consider where we stand in this regard - whether we believe it's right or wrong and whether we will accept it or not.

Today, everywhere around us, there are enticing messages of acceptance related to pornography. Those of us who believe this is no good thing should stand up and voice our opinion clearly. However, there's a battle more important than any other, a way in which we offer the greatest support to this cause, and that is teaching and instructing our own children and family members one-on-one. If parents teach values and moral standards effectively, I believe nothing else will have a greater impact on the future of our society.

A few examples of similar initiatives or websites with useful information: