Playing Bowling with Bumpers

When a student you live in this bobble of cool people, lectures, impressions, and if you are lucky you find some time to reflect on it all. According to the theory that is where the true learning is to be found; reflection.

My friend Oskar Kader shared this analogy of playing bowling with bumpers. At the time I didn’t think about it; however, when giving it some thought I realized that it’s a great analogy for growing up in Denmark. When living abroad you meet a lot of people from different cultural background. As you get to know these people and you hear their stories, it becomes obvious that the simple nature of where you were born has a great impact on the opportunities that is given to you.

When born in Denmark, you have to do pretty bad not to live a decent life, catering for the majority of the needs you might have. Every citizen is offered free education, access to free hospitals, and the government will even provide for you if you can’t do so yourself. These are privileges that people of the 3rd world can only dream of. The good thing is that they are actually dreaming and they are working extremely hard to change the nature of their social and financial status in society.

In other words; growing up in Denmark is like playing bowling with bumpers, whereas the majority of the world’s population is playing bowling without and is aiming for the strike.

The privilege of fresh air

Oh I am so privileged! So privileged to breathe fresh air, so pure and clean that 50 years from now, my doctor will compare my lungs with that of a new born child. However, that isn’t the reality for certain regions of this plant and I have come to discover that with my recent move to Singapore.

When growing up in Scandinavia, no one is questioning the quality of the air. True there is smog and pollution in the air mainly from cars and from a few fossil fuel power plants. All over the air quality is considered very well on the PM10 and PM2.5 indexes.

However, that is not the case everywhere in the world and currently Singapore is one of those places. Not that Singapore choose to be a polluted environment, but because of its geographical location that allow its neighbors to contaminate the air of Singapore. Every year Indonesia is hit by forest/wild fires that are intended to clear the land and make space for plantations, mainly for producing palm oil and paper.

Naturally the firers causes smoke that is send into the air and can travel for hundreds of miles, depending on the size of the particles in the smoke. This is defines as haze, which is currently contaminating the populations of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and other neighbors. The implications over time can be serious health issues and in worst case lung cancer.

When living and experiencing this smoke season, where people are encouraged to wear N95 masks, and avoid outdoor activity. That is when you realize that fresh clean air is not a birthright and something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. A lot of people’s health is jeopardized for somebody else’s profit. A professor of Nanyang Technological University shared this article about how we as political consumers can exercise our powers to avoid haze in the future. Exercise Consumer Power to Fight the Haze

If you want to know more about the effect of haze, the Straits Times shared this explanatory article, which features a live satellite map provided by NASA, showing the fires all over South East Asia. Straits Times Haze Graphics

Fires South East Asia

Key lessons learned from doing this exercise?

In July I started a new chapter of my life. I quit my job in Norway and moved to Singapore to pursue my MBA with the Nanyang Technological University.

The MBA is an intensive 1 year program spread over three trimesters. I’m being taught by world class faculty and I am learning from a class of rich diversity, with 16 different nationalities, from different functions and industry backgrounds. Every week is packed with modules leaving no room for much else but school.

We started the program with a 6 week course about leadership and how to lead people globally. For every lesson we have been debating real life cases on leadership from around the world, and the course have been truly rewarding. As part of my final assessment I was asked to write a report about my own personal development as a leader and to reflect over the lessons learned in class, applying some of the tools and methods we had been experimenting with.

The final question of the assessment was to identify the lessons learned from doing that particular exercise. With this entry, I would like to share my answer with you.

Questions answer as part of the assessment:

  • Identify your personal profile and key developmental experiences thus far in your life.
  • What were the key lessons you drew from the readings that were personally meaningful to you. How do you integrate the lessons from the readings?
  • What are your personal and career goals?
  • Leadership Philosophy: How would you describe your perspective on what leaders should do?
  • What are your key leadership strengths? What do these strengths deliver for you? Are there any downsides with these?
  • What are the key leadership development needs that you have identified for yourself? Why are these the key needs?

What were the key lessons you learned from doing this exercise?

At first when approaching an exercise like this, it is a little hard to figure out where to start. It would be logical to start with the first question and work your way through the paper, however, you quickly realize that meaningful thoughts and moments of clarity, doesn’t necessarily fit into the chronological order of the assessment. Personally I jumped straight to the goals section, believing that it would be easy and get me started. However, it became very clear to me that I wasn’t confident in stating a set of goals that I would pursue for the next years to come. Realizing that really sat my mind sparkling, because it forced me to reflect over my own personal experiences from my childhood till today.

In the classroom we have worked with a number of tools to identify ones personality type. The classroom experience has been great, however, when asked to put the lessons in writing, you are forced to reflect on your own results. As John Dewey said it “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” And that was exactly the feeling I had after completing this assessment. I forced myself to reflect over the topics and tools covered in class and I had this feeling of actually learning. I wasn’t learning quantum mechanics. I was simply getting to know myself better.

Reaching the final parts of the paper, I started to see this pattern of the lessons learned lining up on this invisible dotted line. Suddenly it appeared obvious that I could relate the leadership lessons learned at LEGO, to my own personal development growth. I could connect Argyris; Teaching Smart People How to learn, with the theory of Liz Wiseman on Rookie Smarts. And this would support my results from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. With other words. What previously appeared to be individual lessons, now seemed to come together as one.

I would like to thank Professor Patrick Gibbons, visiting faculty of the Nanyang Business School, for an inspiring 6 weeks on strategic management and leadership. It has been an enriching experience that has allowed for self-reflection and self-development.


Relaunching my blog!

WOW – It has been over two years since I last wrote anything on my blog!

The other day I rediscovered my blog. I friend of mine from the Nanyang MBA send me a link to her blog and reading some of the articles inspired me to take a look at my own. I read over a few of my previous posts and actually felt a bit proud.

“There is a lot of good content on this website. It would be a shame not to continue building on this. “

Reading through some of my previous posts, I had this great experience down memory lane, and I realized that writing a blog is as much for myself, as it is for you: the reader.

I have therefore, decided to relaunch and pick up blogging again.

The content of my future posts is not quite clear yet. However, I intend to share some of the expertise and knowledge I have acquired from building TALENT-TEAM Young Talents Recruitment in Norway in the past two years. I also recently moved to Singapore to attend the Nanyang MBA, so without doubt that experience will affect the content I’ll share with you.

I’m looking very much forward to get started, and you can expect the first real article to be shared very soon.

Network is Power

I have wanted to use that title for a long, long time. However, I haven’t felt that I had a story precious enough to be told under that heading!

Now I got the story for you. It is not extraordinary fancy and unbelievable. However, it is down to earth everyday value of a precious network.

So here is the story: It all started with a message on Facebook from a girl from the JA-YE Alumni network in Norway! (oh yeah I moved to Oslo) – She asked if I wanted to come out Saturday and show around a newcomer in Oslo. As always I’m pretty keen on getting out and meeting new people, so of course I said YES, right away.

But hold on! – How did my dear friend from JA-YE Alumni know of this new guy in town?
She had been contacted by a mutual friend of ours from the JA-YE Network, who had been studying with the new guy. She had been so kind to contact her network in Oslo, on behalf of the new guy and had managed to set up an afternoon tour.

So how did I get into the picture? – Well my dear friend was so kind to invite me along; I believe just random kindness´.

So we met up in the afternoon and went for a stroll around town. Went for a late afternoon lunch and ended up staying out all night sharing stories, business ideas, and contacts. What was so Awesome, was that we all just got along, basically from the get go! – And so you see the POWER of NETWORK!

As said in the beginning. There is nothing special or extraordinary of this story. However, had it not been for effort of network and the goodwill of others to put in a little care and kindness; I would never have met mr. new guy and I would for sure have missed out for a great evening. You make new friends every day, you just got to remember to be open minded and welcoming to strangers around.

I don’t know what this new connection will lead to. But, I’m sure something cool, or at least a good party in town. Let’s see. Network is Power and with care and effort, it will lead to great things.