Ørjan: Empowerment Lessons from My Dad

Respond here >

It’s late in the evening far up in the mountains and rain is pouring down. I’m ten years old and my hand is holding on to my dad’s big, strong hand. Together with my sister we are mountain hiking in Holmedal, Norway, where my grandparents have their summerhouse. It is not the first time we are hiking in bad weather, we are famous for it. I am tired and hungry and my boots are filled with water, yet I feel safe and have a good attitude. I want to sit down and rest, and I’m thinking of being home safe, in my mother’s lap. But to give up is not an option.

I learned from my dad that giving up is not a solution.

The mountain hikes he took me on had great rewards: I felt proud and fulfilled to complete them; I felt safe, because dad always looked after me; when we finally made it home, food tasted like never before.

But the most exciting reward I would be thinking about was my dad’s proud eyes, the warm hugs from my mom, and all the praise I would receive for completing these challenging ventures. I longed for this form of reward so I could feel like a young man instead of a child.

My dad made me feel like a leader. The most important part of leading leaders is to make them feel like leaders. We all strive for the reward of recognition and a job well done. Actors are looking for an Oscar. CEOs are looking for peer reviews of their financials. Politicians are looking for recognition in the polls.

In order to build leaders, create an environment where people can develop, feel safe and be rewarded. This brings out the best in all of us. Here are three keys for leading leaders:

  1. Develop a personal growth plan. Build your leaders’ mindset so they can stay on top and get back up when the beating comes. When you see your leaders fail, step in and help them back up like my father’s big hand helped me. And guess what: He never took the credit; he only promoted my achievement.
  1. Develop a friendship. When things get tough, friendship will carry you through. Spend time with your leaders and it will be easier for them to duplicate you. Not all things learned can be taught; some have to be shown. Watching you—in business as in personal life—counts for more than hundreds of hours of training. Truly living what you teach at all times creates belief and trust.
  1. Bring leaders to your level. Expect from them what you expect from yourself, and help them achieve it. Provide what they need so they can bloom. The trademark of a true master is that he makes his student better than himself.

A good father helps, guides and recognizes his son (even if the son only did parts and the father did most of the work). Do the same and you will create great and growing leadership around you.


Hilde: Powerful Questions

Respond here >

What questions do you ask yourself when “the going gets tough”?

Last June I was on a mountain hike together with my husband and son. It was beautiful. Bright colors, warming sun and the birds cheering. We all enjoyed the wonderful “time-out” as a family breathing in the fresh mountain air.

Then, – suddenly, out of nowhere, dark clouds appeared, and rain started pouring down! After a while, getting soaking wet and worried about how our son was doing and if we had chosen the right track, I got stressed, unfocused and “naggy”;) The trip ended up in the hospital after I tripped on a slippery root and fractured my wrist…

Looking back at this experience, it sometimes reminds me about the journey we go through when building a business.

When you are just getting started, everything is fun and exiting. You are establishing valuable relations for your trade. Your friends and family is supportive. You are enthusiastically following your idols or mentors. You love the opportunities that emerge through your efforts.

But THEN, as time goes by, maybe your business don´t grow as fast as you want.  And you start to question yourself and the path you are on. Are you on the right track? Suddenly – this wobbling enthusiasm may cause doubt, both in you and the opportunity presented through your business venture.

In these moments, be aware of the questions you ask yourself.

Because ask you ask – you will receive.

So instead of asking:

  • Why don´t I have success?
  • Why is my business not growing faster?
  • Is there something wrong with me?

Turn around the questions and ask:

  • How can I progress faster?
  • How can I improve?
  • What do I need to learn?
  • I have what it takes! With more time I will succeed!

The first questions are causing a “negative” focus where you might end up with all the reasons you won´t succeed. The last questions give you the opportunity to search for solutions you can implement to achieve your goals. Suddenly by asking the right questions you might have the answers you need that will propel you forward.

So, next time when you are out walking – in life or business – remember to ask yourself the right questions. They will for sure help you reach your target a lot faster – without a fractured wrist;)