Friday, June 17, 2011

Telemark Growing Online Presence

Is it possible to lift an entire region to exceptional online presence and visibility? With ever increasing pace leaders in charge of communities are beginning to realize that the interactive web is a critical tool to both market and raise awareness.

IKT Grenland is heading up a collaborative online project to lift Telemark's online presence. In cooperation with the following key players every business and organization in the entire county will be invited to participate as they deem appropriate:

Vekst i Grenland
Telemark Fylke
Skien Næringsforening
NHO Telemark
Innovasjon Norge
Grenland Fotball

The main driver of the project is (1) to identify and bring together all dedicated web 2.0 expertise in Telemark, and backed by these resources (2) provide running updates, teaching and training, help and support to every participant.

Project startup was held on Friday the 27th of May with 32 key people present. The official kick-off will be at Skagerak Arena on Friday the 26th of Aug. An updated slide set "Telemark best på web" provides details for newcomers.

p.s. And even though there are a lot of people involved, we're still only in the beginning stages of what this will turn into.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Use Your Initiative and Resourcefulness

Early mornings our family reads together. It's one of the most valuable traditions we share. Let me tell a story about what happened this morning - something that put a smile to my face.

When we read together as a family in the morning, each one of us has the same book, but on the front page of each copy is the name of whose book it is. To our kids it has become important to actually own the book they are reading from. They will always make sure that whatever copy they're reading from is in fact their own.

Today Ellinor (age 5) could not find her book. For some reason it was gone. Clearly, this was something that upset her. Quite frankly, we didn't think of it as such a big problem. After all, this has happened many times before: "Can you please just use this book for now? We'll find your book by tomorrow, OK..?" (The "clean" book I gave her had no name in the front.) Before we knew it she was off to the kitchen, got a pencil, sat down at the table and wrote her own name on the front page. Now everything was fine!

Well, what do you make of that?! We want our children to use their "initiative and resourcefulness". I believe it is an important pattern or habit anyone can adopt. There's nothing like being around people that take the initiative coupled with applying personal talents and abilities to enrich the people they are with. Today, Ellinor taught me this lesson again, and for that and many other reasons she's on my list of great people.

I thought I'd share this story with you because I just read an inspiring article on storytelling authored by Mark Satterfield.

See Vidar Top's list of GREAT PEOPLE!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

3,000 Sales Professionals Worldwide

Are you looking to connect with a network of sales professionals with exceptional people skills? Your search may be at an end...

One person at a time, great networks are built. I truly believe in this principle. In that respect I often reflect on Dag Hammarskjold's rather well-known quote:

It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.

Why is this such a profound statement? Well, there are many layers to it, I find. But maybe one precious pearl could be the irony hidden in it; excellence in large groups of people is built precisely one person at a time, not through some hype that attracts the masses "in one go". The strength of a team, a company or a network is found in how it is built on a solid foundation.

The past few years I've been collaborating with a group of quality sales people worldwide to build an international network of Elite Sales Professionals. This network will gradually aspire to lift the sales profession to a new level. We have no ambition of accomplishing such a huge vision within just a short time frame, but rather connect one person at a time and during the process make two important discoveries:
  1. Getting to know each other and grow mutual quality
  2. Mapping out the vision of the "3E Code of Excellence"
I you feel this resonates with your own mission and purpose, then feel free to apply for membership in the group, now counting more than three thousand sales professionals worldwide. There are a number of requirements we look for, however we recognize that the most important quality in a person is a passionate dream to acquire exceptional people skills.

One such friend and associate is Anil van Maretraite. I'm excited about the opportunity I have to prepare for future greatness with him and many others. Follow "Anilyzer" at Twitter.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Entrepreneurs Bjørn Kjos and Hans Ole Bergby

Recently I've had one-on-one conversations with a couple of people I really admire. Let me share some brief insights about them, and then I'm guessing you may feel the same way..?!

While preparing for the breakfast seminar we are hosting at Ernst & Young on Thursday the 16th of June in Porsgrunn, I met with among others Bjørn Kjos and Hans Ole Bergby. You may know who they are. Bjørn Kjos is the CEO and front figure of Norwegian, the second largest airline of Scandinavia. Hans Ole Bergby is head of Bergbys Familierestaurant and the man behind, or rather inventor of, the well-known Bergbys sennep ("sennep" means mustard in Norwegian).

Bjørn Kjos
I find that Bjørn Kjos is a person that stands out in the crowd, and not because he's become somewhat of a celebrity. When I met him, there was a big smile on his face, and that's how he's known in the market place, too.

Of course, there are many good reasons why his airline is so successful as a company, as we will uncover in greater detail at the seminar next week. But for one, the CEO is a people's person. Anyone can relate to him. He cares. He's down to earth. I believe his type of "leadership charisma" is greatly needed - possibly more than ever - in today's business environment.

I made three quick video recordings of our conversation and will be sharing them at the breakfast seminar. You will get a first-hand feel for what Bjørn Kjos is like, as well as experience some of his insights when it comes to strategy and execution.

Hans Ole Bergby
Hans Ole Bergby stands out in the crowd, and not because he's boastful and outgoing per se. On the contrary, among his colleagues and associates Hans Ole is known as a hard worker, but also as a careful and almost shy individual.

The last time I met him, as we were asking him pointed questions about strategy and tough business issues, he spent several minutes in silence thinking them through. Hans Ole Bergby may not strike you as a charismatic leader at first sight, but once you get to know him, his business acumen gradually surfaces. You'll find there's ample reason why his mustard is in great demand all over Norway.

Hans Ole will be in attendance at the seminar this upcoming Thursday, so if you'd like to meet him in person just sign up by calling our switchboard (tel +47 35564200).

Great People
In closing, let me say this: I know some of their colleagues. It is said that great leaders surround themselves with great people. As such, Bjørn Kjos and Hans Ole Bergby are no exception. That's why they're both on my "official list of great people".

See Vidar Top's list of GREAT PEOPLE!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

100 Weetos

Funny misunderstanding this morning..!

This morning I was listening to Mitt Romney's announcing his run for the presidency. (Great speech, BTW!) While he spoke about --the 800 vetos-- it took to not raise taxes as Governor of Massachusetts, my son immediately responded: "Heh! a hundred Weetos..!" coupled with a big smile on his face.

You should know, on a Saturday morning we often treat ourselves as a family with Weetos for breakfast. Philip is eight and has just recently begun learning English in school. How interesting that his attentive mind was able to extract that little bit of information "in his way" ;-)

Another example of how our subconscious mind works, opening our eyes to whatever it is we're passionate about. The energy of passion is the most wonderful thing I know, which is why I spent nine years doing research in this area of human influence.

And in case your wondering; yes, I'm a big time supporter of the GOP!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Norwegian Business School

Handelshøyskolen BI has updated its official English name to Norwegian Business School. What will its main competitor do to counteract? And not only the name, but what about former students? What role does a fast growing Alumni group have in the future of academic institutions?

A couple of months ago the academic institution from which I received my degrees changed its name to Norwegian Business School. The name change is an interesting one, as there are two academic schools competing for the lead in Norwegian economic education.

Of course, the name itself may indicate to future students which one they may want to prefer. For this reason, I'm now telling peers that I suspect a similar name change from what today is known as "The Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration". Too lenghty? Sure, the name is too long. I bet their marketing department has been screaming for a shorter version for quite some time now. We'll see what happens.

Tomorrow is a three year anniversary for me. In June 2008 I organized the Alumni group of the Norwegian Business School at LinkedIn which now has more than 5,000 alumni members. It is the biggest of its kind in Norway, and we will continue to grow it.

I believe a large group of alumnus will be increasingly important to the long term success of any academic institution. In more than one way, taking good care of each former student represents an investment in the growth of future students, just like a little child putting money into a piggy bank.