In November, I treated myself an inspiring day about High Performance Leadership at Copenhagen Business School.
The Scandinvian countries are already frontrunners and role models in terms of Modern Leadership Models (moving away from Power over People plus Money as External Motivation and moving towards Meaningful Work as Inner Motivation), and the CBS Executive branch had worked together with High Performance Institute to create this day to inspire top executives in Denmark, and the participant list was rather impressive.
The day in November at CBS was featuring some of my ‘Leadership Superheroes’ and I was especially looking forward to see Kasper Holten, Claus Meyer and Kim Kristensen on stage. Furthermore, I was going to have a chat with Mikael Trolle, one of the authors of Dreams and Details. Only if Jakob Bøtter, Lars Kolind and Helle Hedegaard Hein been there, had the day been even more perfect. They had selected Paula Larrain to run the show and ask the challenging questions - and she is such a competent, unafraid and strong person, that success was guaranteed.
What I find especially interesting about High Performance Leadership is the integration of the experience from arts, sports, business and science, as shown below.
It is about purpose and passion and to use all of the above to set the framework to allow people to unfold their full potential. It is about that true leadership is not about power - it is instead a deep fascination and curiosity about other people.
Below, you will find the main take-aways from the day at Copenhagen Business School. I hope you get inspired too.
This man is a Colonel and is the main administrator and planning coordinator for the Danish Queen. He has prepared for war and lead soldiers in combat in the most dangerous part of Afghanistan, and he has written a book called Follow Me. Recommended reading.
You would think that his message would be rather ‘military in style’, however, this was mostly about trust, loving and caring for your people. In his opinion, a leader must have the World’s greatest caring instinct, tell the people why they have to do what they do. He basically tells you to love your colleagues and emplyees, and when asked what you do about the people that you don’t really like he responded: “Then you love them even more - and the really difficult ones, you love them more than they can handle”.
He talked about how true leadership is to take the heavy backpack from those challenged on that day, walk ahead and say “Follow me”, rather than standing in the back and let the employees take the beating. The latter will never be followed.
Kim also talked about how important it is to be reactive in crisis and take action, show initiative and do something - otherwise the leaders lose credibility. The main challenge in business, in his view, is that decisions are not being made.
His best advise for those Elements that Impacts the outcome of the battle are the following:
Create the unique Strategy
Train as you fight
Set the Dream Team
Prepare People to Lead: two levels up - two levels down
Focus on Team Spirit, Coherence and Culture
Make decisions - take responsibility
Be yourself, 100%. Be authentic.
The way he prepares his people for the best performance possible is training, training and training. He is training his people to expect chaos, to know the strengths and weaknesses of each other and to be there for each other when it is needed.
His book Follow me is highly recommended, and you can get a taste in this video:.
Kasper was made Director of the Danish Royal Opera when he was only 26 years old, and between 2011 and 2017 he was Director of Opera for the Royal Opera House in London. He is working closely with the artists, attracting the best talent (with little money) and always searching for the best performance. The one that touches the hearts and souls of the audience.
It is much easier for us leaders to have a conformable organisation.
But bloody hell, it would be boring.
As new Director of at the Royal Danish Theatre he doesn’t have budgets that enables him to compete for international top talent. So he has to offer something else: he has to offer meaning and direction that releases creativity. He has to attract top talent by creating a sense of purpose and make the organisation blossom. If he doesn’t, then the A-talents will leave them and then they would be left with the B-talents… and when they are leaving, the organisation is left with the C-talents.
Helle Hedegaard Hein wrote her book “Primadonnaledelse” (Leading Divas) based on her studies in the Royal Danish Theatre, and Kasper Holten had brought one of the talented opera singers that he works with, to do a live performance of Primadonna leadership on stage. It was a fantastic experience! He coached her while talking about his experiences, the why’s and how he plants the seeds (the direction and concept) and the organisation follows up, grows ideas, train, tests and find the right direction towards the goal of The Best Performance.
It is much about how to create the trust and feeling of safety, to let the opera singers be able to let go and achieve top Performance. It’s about when the organisations “ignites” - or when it loses it’s fire.
“Now, your eyes lit up!”
If you are curious to learn more about Kasper Holten and his leadership philosophy, you can watch this interview on the topic Future of Work.
A politician, Søren Pind, was also there, and he talked about how this is now The Era of the Finance People: the era of budgets to keep and the bucket of money to increase. There is too much focus on Process and not Results. But this leadership model is outdated, and the most important thing to focus on is how to set people free.
He might have a point there, and as he said, you cannot plan and control your way out of the challenges that lies ahead. Highly skilled and smart people are needed in the right positions, and they need to be set free.
At a young age, this man decided to disrupt and improve the Danish kitchen (or what you would name it in the 1980’ies). And he did. Together with talented people he has positively impacted the life of every Dane - just through setting a direction and inspiring others to follow him. He was the man behind NOMA and now has an empire of engaged employees and happy customers.
Some of us hopes that he decides to enter Norway too, to accelerate the Food Revolution here.
“You never know what happens when you take the step and make your way into a project of great beauty"!”
Claus Meyer has the kind of energy that flows from the stage and goes straight into your heart, and he explained about how he, in his youth, was taught by his French Pére de Cuisine that he should find out what he loved to do - and then go for it!
“Le bonheur c’est savoir ce que l’on veut et le volouir passionnement. Mon fils, quoi que tu fasses, il faut que tu aimes!”.
Happiness is to know what you want to do, and then doing it passionately. My son, what you should end up doing in the future, it has to be what you love doing"!”
He was explaining about the joy about working together with awesome people, how companies are statements, and how to attract idealists and send them off on an adventurous journey.
He told about unfolding the potential of people, about dreams, about purpose, sense of meaningfulness and more love. Claus also explained about building a strong culture with the longing after something to be proud of - and how to unfold the potential of people and have fun at the same time.
So… what do you love, and where do you want to have an impact and make a change?
Claus explained how they didn’t really have a plan, but they wanted to have an impact and change something. And they did.
MIKAEL TROLLE & JIM HAGEMANN SNABE
Those two gentlemen were not exactly on stage on the CBS Executive day in November, but they make an important part of the story. They are and have both been part of the High Performance Leadership education at CBS, and they have written a book about a Leadership Model that provides the important tools that has the potential to change organisations and make them ready for the future.
It is the positions and experience of Mikael Trolle and Jim Hagemann Snabe, that they have proven that this Leadership Model delivers results, that convinces me that this book is only the beginning of a Paradigm Shift in leadership models used across many industries.
Mikael Trolle is using his background within coaching sports teams and years of experience as a senior executive to develop a unique expert knowledge on what it takes in High Performance Leadership. His results, leadership experience and his ability to communicate around leadership has made him one of the most recognized leaders in the world of sports.
Jim Hagemann Snabe has his background within the IT industry. In 2010 Jim Hagemann Snabe was appointed co-CEO alongside Bill McDermott. Together they successfully reinvented the software giant SAP from 2010 to 2014. Through his involvement with the World Economic Forum Jim is actively engaged in efforts related to the Digital Transformation of business and society. Jim is now chairman of A.P. Møller, which is one of the most respected and renowned companies in Denmark. Appointing him as Chairman of the Board sets an ambition for where the old organisation is going.
Here is an extract from the book - we’ll be writing our own, later.
Review Extract from Dreams and Details Website by Nik Gowing
Leaders at all levels are struggling to grip the new scale of global disruption.
Strategic assumptions are being turned on their head, sometimes daily or even hourly. The conformity which qualified leaders for the top in too many ways disqualifies them from embracing the scale of what now has to be understood, embraced then acted upon.
For many, the scale of change needed is beyond the kind of professional challenge they relish or even understand. It is not just uncomfortable: instead the evidence is that it is driving at least anxiety and in reality often deep fear.
Dreams and Details is an important book that help defines new thresholds of anxiety for leaders. It sets out to encourage those leaders by urging them to assess frankly their strengths and frailties, then re-define their capacities. In this way, there is a far better chance they will be able to re-invent themselves and survive, instead of being offloaded in summary fashion by a disillusioned board or governing council under pressures from shareholders or stakeholders.
For every leader the new challenge is how to disrupt all their assumptions about what leadership requires these days. It is about re-framing every way in which they assume they have to work. Snabe and Trolle argue that at the moment, too many just ‘paint over the rust’ and hope dark issues will just vaporise. ‘ Apparent success hides a crisis’. Ultimately – as with Kodak, Motorola or Nokia – ‘even the biggest become disrupted and irrelevant’.
In summary it is about ‘Goodbye Business Plan’, say Snabe and Trolle. Plans ‘rarely create the needed change’. So leaders ‘have to undo all they believed was right’. Yes! Business Plans are a conformist distraction.
‘Goodbye Business Plan’ captures their blunt and radical message of a new need for non-orthodoxy. It will be a struggle for most leaders, probably a painful one. Why so? ‘Change is hard – radical change is even harder’, they write. ‘The more detailed plans we make, the more defensive we become.’
If you are already now curious and inspired, you can learn more via the links below:
Main take-aways from the High Performance Day at CBS in November in this video.
Review of books that have inspired us at ExploCrowd is coming up in other Blog Posts. We would love if you would comment and share.