During my time at Aarhus University Institute of Business and Technology I founded and hosted a range of popular guest lectures under the name of the Thought Leader Series.
The concept of the guest lecture series was to invite CEO’s from the business community around the University to speak for the students about their way up the career latter, as well as giving a realistic image of how the theory taught at the university is practiced in the real market.
The guest lecture series was arranged next to my daily studies in my spare time, and I consider the Thought Leader Series as being my entrepreneurial hobby project. The project did not serve to earn money and was a total non-profit arrangement sponsored by Aarhus University.
I just watched a show on the popular TV channel Nation Geographic, which inspired me to do this article. The show was about a real life story of four American guys, making the worst decision of their lives, when they get involved in drug trafficking. The four guys are stopped in the airport in Brazil and are sent to prison. The sentence was originally 25 years, but due to a bribe of the judge the four guys’ only end up serving 4½ year in prison. One quote said by one of the boys serving was: “freedom is priceless”.
With that sentence: “freedom is priceless” there is no doubt that he is absolutely right, however the most of us actually don’t care or at least never give it a thought, probably because we take our freedom for granted. It is really hard to explain the feeling I was left with when watching the show, but it made me wonder if we as human beings of the free world, are appreciating the freedom our ant sisters have been fighting for. There is an old saying sounding something like: “You only know what you got, till it is gone” and I guess that was what those four guys realized in the second they were put behind bars.
I would like to turn this true real life story in another direction, to a topic that has had my attention for a while: “Time”! In the article about Georg Soerensen I was as well putting emphasis on the subject time, because time is a limited resource and we do only have a certain amount of hours on this planet. The question is if we get the best out of it?
Looking at this problem through the eyes of an entrepreneur, the greatest wish would be to have an extra hour in a day and since this probably is too great a challenge for even the best entrepreneur, the solution might be found elsewhere. An interesting approach would be to look at reducing the time spend on sleeping. I am quite sure that if anybody could come up with an innovation that could reduce the need for sleep, he or she could make a fortune just on the patent alone. However there might be another approach to the problem.
Because what is it worth to get an extra hour awake every day, if it is not an affective hour? I know from myself that I spend too much time everyday doing stuff that does not in any direct way create any kind of value for me. I don’t learn anything from it, I do not extend my network, I do not make money, and in general I spend too many hours wasting my precious time. It takes self-acknowledgement to reach this conclusion, but only by being aware of it, I can work on it and become better.
Here I would like to draw the connection to the four guys from the TV show. They learned it the hard way, how precious life is and especially how much freedom and the opportunity to do whatever you want to should be appreciated. You never know what tomorrow will bring and you never know which day is your last.
The conclusion must be that time shall and must be lived RIGHT NOW, because you never know if tomorrow will be your last. So do not waste your time doing things that does not create value in your life and remember to enjoy every single minute of your freedom. Do never take anything for granted.
Before I am beginning this article, I must admit that retelling the message and giving the energy of Georg Soerensen’s guest lecture at Aarhus University Institute of Business and Technology is close to mission impossible. However as Tom Cruise is making it in the movies, I will do my best to make it today.
Yesterday the 23 of March 2011, Georg Soerensen the CEO of MCH in Herning visited me in the Thought-Leader Series at Aarhus University Institute of Business and Technology. I had been really excited up to this event, and especially excited about the outcome. Would the students show interest? Would I be able to fulfil my promises? And in total would the event be a success?
I have until today managed quite a few guest lectures, and in general quite successful once. However there was something about this event that made me a little more nervous than usual.
Georg Soerensen is perceived as one of the greatest business icons in the area around the university, and is a highly respected CEO, Board member, and public speaker. Therefor were the expectations for the lecture also high and everyone wanted the lecture to go well.
Georg opened his lecture by drawing a large clock on the blackboard, symbolizing “time”. Time is one of the greatest factors of need, in the modern society, and more or less everyone is hungering for more time. At least this was the perception and the opening of the lecture, leading to the conclusion that life must be lived in the moment.
Next drawing on the blackboard was a great heart capsuling one of the main messages on the lecture. The letters MMS, was listed on the blackboard, translated to English CGC, standing for Courage, Goal, and Cooperation. These tree words are essential for the rest of the articles, as well as they was essential for the guest lecture.
The heart is symbolizing the actual heart of you as human being. Only by following your heart, can you be truly honest, truly yourself and really good at what you are doing. Georg Soerensen said: “you will only become good at the things you like to do.” An acknowledged philosopher stated; “if you have made a mistake once, you have already made the next, until you have learned the lesson form the first.” This is not stating that it is wrong to make mistakes, but that making the same mistake twice is stupid. From hear we get the first C, Courage. Because you need courage to end up in the situation where you have made a mistake that you will have to learn a lesson from, and then move on. All this is only possible if you have the courage to take the first step, and jump into it.
Georg Soerensen is setting demands for his 230 full time + 1000 part time employees, but he is also aware that he must set demands for himself, and often take the lead to make people follow. As he said: “Make your own agenda, then you will not become a part of others. “
Georg was really good a visualizing his message and he showed how the referee in a football match is always deciding who gets to start. When the referee flips the coin, he either show the coin as he catches it, or he will smack it on to his other arm, to turn the coin in favour of the other team. This can also be related to doing business and it is important always to turn negative situations, into positive.
Even though Georg in the public sphere seems like a tough businessman, he convinced the audience that he actually was a really sensitive person. The audience was asked if it was strength to show weakness? Usually we don’t perceive weakness as strength, but Georg argued that weakness shows truly honesty and that there exist a real person underneath the surface of toughness.
Already at the beginning of the lecture Georg Soerensen stated that his teaching all was based on real life experience. It was not based on theory developed by some writer, but it was real life experience.
Georg Soerensen is known as the man behind the Vision 2025, which is the vision for MCH in Herning presented the 1 of November 2000. The Vision is a 6 step plan stating the wanted future development of MCH as a business. The first 4 steps have already been completed, and only two more are yet to be broad to life. Georg sees vision as the dream you see when you close your eyes. However on thing is dreaming it, another is living it. Here comes the G, of the CGC model. Goals are important to realize that vision, and without, there will be no clear defined way, which will result in confusion and frustration.
The reason why MCH has experienced success is because of its ability to connect four important elements. We all know that a four-leaved clover is seen as the symbol of luck. Georg Soerensen drew one on the blackboard, and filled each leave with a letter. Four letters symbolizing four important factors that had made MCH successful: P for politicians, C for citizens, B for business, and I for important people. These four elements are the key aspect that is combined under the last C in the CGC model, Cooperation. If you can make the four-leaved clover cooperate in the pursuit on the same vision, you have the foundation for a successful corporation.
The lecture started with the drawing of a heart capsuling the four letters CGC, and this was also where the lecture ended, with the heart of people and with the heart of you. Because what it takes are the passion and the will power to actually do it. It takes Courage, Goals, and Cooperation to become successful. What is important to understand is that the line between success and failure is paper thin. It can be great symbolized by a fire burning through a paper. It might burn through, but it is so very close to burn out.