Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Would You Like Some Plastic Bags?

So we break a new family record of shopping food in the local store for our family of more than NOK 3,000 and the lady at the point of sale still asks me: Would you like some plastic bags?

Why do I always get the question: "Would you like some plastic bags?"

It made me wonder; how would the lady have responded had I said "no thank you", I'll manage. I mean, why would anyone not want a bunch of plastic bags to bring their groceries home when the pile of purchased goods are at a complete overflow? There was absolutely no space left! (Mind you, this time we bought food for a family of seven to last for two weeks.) A lot of fun!

So, just to keep up the fun for next time I wanted to challenge the existing paradigm by actually bringing some plastic bags with me. In other words, I was planning to buy a lof of groceries and then bounce back the usual question. Here comes the question: "Would you like som plastic bags?" And my response, as if nothing was different: "No thank you, I've brought my own" (while pulling them out of my pocket). Oh my! you should've seen the look on her face. It was worth every second of it.

Of course, I know why the staff is instructed to ask whether or not I would like some plastic bags. And I also know why I as the customer should be left with the decision whether or not I want the receipt printed. Yet, it still shows you how weird our society sometimes can be. Don't you think? ;-)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blog for Board Members in Norway

This morning we published the blog for "Board Members in Norway". It marks the beginning of a new channel for updates and collaboration on strategic business decision making.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Support and Improve Our Country

If you were assigned the task to influence your own country and its people, and at the same time decided not to go into politics, how would you go about it?

The past 9 months have been intense. Together with a team of experts in different fields I've been privileged to interact with the aim in mind to influence Norway as a whole; the way business is done, our government and politics as well as academia / research and development.

You're thinking: How come so ambitious?! Well, we have specific plans through The Norwegian Network of Board Members as the main arena to make such influence gradually grow into place, as the media clip that was uploaded today explains. (Sorry, about the Norwegian language ;-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why Honk The Horn?

Why do people honk the horn while driving their car? For most drivers I believe there's a slight misunderstanding as to what the horn is for. It's almost like when children playfully aim a gun at you screaming "hands up". Once you raise your arms in submission, begging for mercy, they pull the trigger, as if they were saying: "Die with dignity, you sucker!" ;-)

When I got my driver's license I was instructed about "honking the horn" as follows:

"Never honk the horn for any other purpose than to save lives - to help avoid or prevent a dangerous situation."

I knew then, as I know now, that most people seriously abuse the car horn. How do you make use of it? To tell other people how mad you are at them? To greet friends? Did you know that, strictly speaking, doing so is actually illegal? I just came back from England where the driving and traffic culture is quite different from that of Norway. In one instance I made an obvious mistake (while having to drive on the left side) and another car saved the situation by honking the horn. I was glad!

The day we left England a driver was upset with me "for no reason" and honked the horn to let me know. Does it happen a lot? All the time. I thought back to the days when I lived in the British Isles and knew there wasn't much seriousness behind it. Many British drivers honk the horn every day for little or no reason at all. If you're reading this, let me share some quick thoughts that ran through my head yesterday:

  1. Because of cultural differences a smart driver will refrain from possibly provoking others more than he or she may be aware.
  2. Every time you honk the horn you run the risk of triggering an accident caused by the sudden fright.
  3. I feel sorry for people who lose their temper so easily. Do you really want other people to feel bad? If someone made a mistake, what good does it do to tell them off? Will it really make them improve? The few times I've had to honk the horn at someone, even though it was to avoid danger, I thought twice before doing so for this very reason.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Board Member's Channel

Board Members in Norway are teaming up via LinkedIn. Collaboration in this particular forum is increasing its membership and activity. Now we're also at YouTube with our own channel.

So we've finally launched the Norwegian Channel for Board Members at YouTube. Now that we've grown steadily to consist of more than two thousand members all over Norway, it's time to start sharing the most critical information with the help of short media clips. The first clip (in Norwegian, mind you) I'll post right here.

This channel will see consistent updates. Why not subscribe to "The Norwegian Channel for Board Members" with a click or two.

This network is among others drawing on the alumni power of "The Norwegian School of Management".

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Perfect Christmas Movie

I know! it's October... But Lillian and I just saw the perfect Christmas movie, and I think you might like to know. This one's wonderful family entertainment on a cold day in December.

Did you ever watch a movie and think; "Wauw, if one could only tell how good it is by looking at the cover..."

Well, I sometimes do. You know, the DVD cover so rarely communicates well what a movie contains.

The most recent of such experiences was "The Note" based on a novel by Angela Hunt. Lillian and I watched it this weekend, and really enjoyed it. The story is about a journalist that discovers an intimate connection between work and her personal life. It shows how good people can accomplish great things.

Recommended movies by Vidar Top

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Visiting Ensign Peak

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of climbing Ensign Peak - on my own. It was something very special to me and a walk I've been wanting to make for many years. The view is wonderful and truly inspiring.

Spending regular private time in reflection and solitude is by far the main source of renewed energy for me. There are different kinds of layers I might like to add to such private moments. It helps to read inspired text or poetry. I may enjoy beautiful art or simply breath in nature by taking a walk. Also, I find that driving long distances for work and business purposes often allows me to just think and let my mind search and wonder freely.

At such times I revisit with purpose and meaning, I ponder difficult questions and challenges as well as evaluate how I'm doing in the different roles of my life. Invariably, I usually come out of such mental or spiritual exercise by feeling compelled to write down thoughts and impressions. To me, it's as if "a once in a lifetime opportunity" is lost if I don't. It'll be gone forever. I simply cannot afford such loss of ideas or inspiration. Also, putting down on paper what I've been thinking helps me to resolve and recommit. Thus, my journal has become an invaluable resource or tool.

Visiting Ensign Peak
For me, one particularly powerful way to increase the value of private time is to visit special / historic far away places. I have a list of unique venues I plan to "celebrate" - on my own. Recently I had an inspiring experience I'd like to share here:

For many years I've had Ensign Peak on my wish list, and thus finally made an appointment to actually go there. The weekend before attending the FranklinCovey Sales and Delivery Conference in Salt Lake City I determined to climb this hill. As I walked, I pictured in my mind Brigham Young and other distinguished personalities. I pondered special events that at the time may have seemed insignificant but have made a huge difference in the lives of many people. I thought about written words relating to this historic site and the meaning it conveys. I thought about my family.

Coming downhill a little more than an hour later I had made several important decisions and felt a desire to be a better person. Ensign Peak will forever remain a special place to me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tribute to Svend Andreas Horgen

Since I'm in the habit of bringing attention to quality people, here's one that I find especially qualifies...

Almost on a daily basis I meet with people in a training setting. It allows me to stretch them (and myself) by presenting them with thought provoking questions about "deeper matters". One of the priceless fruits of such activity is my constant discovery of the quality that lies within each one of us. A little reflection quickly brings conversation to a rewarding level.

And then, sometimes I have the privilege of interacting closely with individuals that reveal not only high moral and ethical standards, but also traits of interdependent people skills, such as for instance:
One such person is Svend Andreas Horgen. This blog is a tribute to my partner in training. Svend really knows his stuff as a lecturer at Høgskolen i Sør-Trøndelag. His demeanor is impeccable - which is to say - students instantly take a liking to him. He's not only funny, but we just never tire of listening to what he has to share!

Together, Svend and I occasionally provide training in web tools and effective use of social media.