09 December 2009

How useless it is to be worried

One of my team mates asked me today if I was nervous/worried about the board meeting tomorrow. My answer was "no". She didn't ask why, but here is my logic:

I am worried all my work time about how to increase performance, except during board meetings.

Because during board meetings I can't do much about performance. BEFORE and AFTER it, then I am always worried about performance. I can only do it when I am outside of the board room, working in the trenches. During board meetings I only accept what we did or did not accomplish, no reason to be worried about it - it's purely the result of our work and some amount of luck or lack of luck.

08 December 2009

What makes for a great entrepreneur?

It's probably a number of things, and a passion for what you're trying to do is certainly one of them. Oftentimes these folks have experienced a problem firsthand and they're consumed with solving it. And they refuse to quit.

A lot of the great founders and entrepreneurs I've worked with are micromanaging, detail-oriented, paranoid people. They want to know everything, and they care about everything. Interestingly, most of my companies have a key executive who never graduated from college, and probably two of my six CEOs never went to college. And the CTO at another company, the star at that company, did not go to college.

See the rest of the interview with Larry Cheng on What Makes a Great Entrepreneur.

03 December 2009

Why my bachelor thesis was about viral marketing? Because of Seth Godin

Get a review copy of my new book
by Seth Godin

There used to be one hundred people who mattered.

That's true in a lot of industries, but particularly in books.

One hundred people who could make a book a hit. These were key buyers at bookstores, reviewers and editors at newspapers, the person who booked time at Oprah or the Today Show.

So publishers courted these people. If the one hundred loved it, the book launched as a hit. Of course the 100 all get free copies. Lots of free copies.

Today, of course, those one hundred people matter a lot less. And who matters more? You.

You, because you have a network. You blog. You tweet. You talk things up at meetings or recommend things to friends.

And there are a lot more than a hundred of you.

One solution is to give everyone a free copy. Publishers and authors could do this and try to make money doing something else. Another solution is to let the best of this group, the most committed, the most interested... let them stand up and identify themselves.

So, that's what we're experimenting with on Linchpin. For a select group of motivated readers, I want to send you a copy of Linchpin (at my expense) three weeks before anyone else can buy one. My US publisher is not sending free review copies to magazines (the few that are left), newspaper editors, TV shows, any of the usual media suspects. Instead, we're allowing people like you to raise their hands and, if they like the book, asking them to tell the world about it in January.

How to choose? I can't afford to buy a book for everyone, so I needed to come up with a filter. Here it is: The first 3,000 people who make a donation to the Acumen Fund (at least $30) get one at my expense. The money you pay goes directly to Acumen, you get the fun of making a donation and get a tax deduction before the end of the year, and I figure out which of my readers most want a copy of my book.

If you're excited about getting a first look, I hope you'll check out this page for all the details. And thanks for your support, every day. It means a lot to me.

Please hurry, since once they're gone, I probably won't be able to offer any more.

Readers outside of North America should click here please.

[UPDATE: After 9 hours we've sold half of the reserved books and raised more than $70,000 for Acumen. Thanks guys.]

That's why we call him a marketing guru. Well, I would call him in fact a viral marketing shaman, but that's just a personal joke.

02 December 2009

"Never look at the trombones. You will only encourage them!"

On the previous post the maestro has a quote that is the root of my decision: "Never look at the trombones. You will only encourage them!"

What a leadership lesson.

27 November 2009

Are You an In or an Out Leader?

How much time and energy are you spending in (or with) your team and how much time out in the wider organisation? It might seem like a simple question, but executives rarely take the time to think about it. It's important to do though, because this single question could answer many other questions that you — or your boss — have about your style and effectiveness.

Executives usually have a preference for one arena, which can be reinforced by their role, their personality, or even the corporate culture. A quality control manager, for example, would naturally be more inwardly focused while a communications director would roam across the business. Both roles would attract different personalities. Similarly, some organisations are structured as, or have developed into, silos due to the nature of their business or markets. Examples might include law firms, where separate practices evolve to serve clients in specific areas.

My suggestion is that executives need to balance the time they spend in both the In and Out arenas if they are to be effective.
via blogs.harvardbusiness.org

24 November 2009

Applications to the AIESEC Norway national board 2010-2011 are out

When a student or recent graduate leads a whole organization, that is something especial. The opportunity to work in a high level strategic job as I am having now as AIESEC Norway president, and previously as VP Talent Management, is something that I am sure will only be present in my life in +-10 years (if I manage to climb fast). I am extremelly grateful for those opportunities and I believe only someone that is utterly dumb (or untalented) would leave AIESEC without experiencing it.

AIESEC Norway MC 2010-2011 are open. You can download it here (if you are a member of AIESEC).

But this is not a job for everyone, so don't even consider applying if:

- you don't believe AIESEC Norway can make more exchanges;
- you believe AIESEC Norway should stop during exams;
- you think of quitting or doesn't care if you don't achieve your goals, instead of learning and doing your best next time;
- you think you are too good to make the same job as a member would do;
- what you say is not the same of what you do;
- you want to get a lot of money before 2011;
- your first question when you are getting a new job is "how much vacation do I get?";
- you do not thrive in challenging situations and you avoid challenges and conflicts.

Are you not sure if this is for you? Send me a mail or call me or anything, I am open to have a cool chat with you about it.

15 November 2009


I keep postponing to talk about the amazing things I've experienced so far as President of AIESEC Norway because I want to write about them in details - bad, bad habit, because there are so many amazing things that they pile up and this leads to a situation where I never talk about them. So, I will try to put them all together in one post. The AWESOMENESS POST.

1 - Coaching visit to Local Committee University of Stavanger

In our national board job, we have a huge role which is to coach local committes. I am the coach of UiS and what this means in reality is that I have to do a consulting job with them to increase their performance. UiS is a very small local committee, they started just 2 years ago and almost no structure were in place. In fact they barely had members, only 4 or 5.

When I arrived there, I could see there were lots of things not in place, like for example the corporate relations - in 6 months they had only 3 business meetings, a total disaster. They were struggling and the few members they had were feeling they were failling big time, thus making the general mood being very down, because these guys have been working a lot. In fact 2 of the executive board had quitted also and a 3rd one was also thinking of quitting. Terrible state to be in, especially when you just recruited new members. This was looking like the recipe of disaster, if they kept the same pace, they would lose all the new members recruited and frustration would be in the air.

Instead of puting me down, their problems in fact energized me, I was excited to be back at the ground level to help them solve problems. I decided to step up and change the game. I gathered the executive board and had an intense day of work on feedback and suggestions to the LC and building up solutions. I felt energized because even though the problems were deep, I totally believed in their ability. The only thing they needed was passion and direction. And we built up this together.

Today (1-2 months after my visit), I can see the changes in UiS. Their members are passionate and motivated. They are having tons of fun while working very very very hard. And they have super talented people. If in 6 months they booked 3 meetings only, in one week they booked 8, talk about improving fast. I am 100% confident that these people that are in UiS now will change this local committee in an enduring way, shaping their culture for the next generation.

Extra random point about the visit: I never felt so welcome in any coaching visit: I had my own room, we went to 2 parties, 1 norwegian typical dinner and people really wanted to make the changes in UiS.

2 - Excel 2009 - AIESEC Norway National Conference

This one absolutely blew my mind. It was even more positive then I was dreaming it could be. What I saw was a different AIESEC Norway for ever before. Everything was just absolutely perfect:

- The content - the agenda was very well built and the content delivered with passion, creativity and focus. I believe at the end of the conference it was very clear the country direction and who was responsible to make it happen and how.

- The delegates - very lively, energetic, smart and willing to learn. What a crowd. I am so proud of our members. If they keep that kind of energy level and fun in their AIESEC every day work, I am sure they will do good.

- Facis - it was mainly the national board and some talented local committee vice-presidents. The content was delivered smoothly and in lots of cases in a very creative way.

- The conference organization committee and logistics - they were so amazing people. Always smilling, very focused on client satisfaction, these people put on a real show: amazing food, everything on time, great session rooms, party, everything. From the basics to details, the organization committee rocked the house - and, of course, the conference ended up in a profit.

- "Externals" - in AIESEC conferences all around the world we have this word "externals" to say about the people who are not in AIESEC, but they are there in the conference as representatives of other organizations or the government. In the case of Excel, we had 2 sets of externals that were just mind blowing: DnB Nor and CTI.

DnB Nor put a show that will be hard to match in the future. They delivered a full day of leadership development to our AIESEC members, which was part in fact of their own leadership development program. It was a great added value to our members and, not only that, it was also extremely fun and impressive. They had famous classical musicians, normal plenary sessions, skills workshops and also in the end a huge interactive session where every member had a different percussion instrument. The analogies with leadership were perfect: when playing, you have to combine listening to what is around you and playing your own music; the diversity of instruments (talents) made possible that in fact we had good music (if everyone had the same instrument, it would be very difficult for 80 amateurs to pull this off); leadership is about giving a base that people can use as a guideline, but also giving the possibility for people to solo with their own way, etc etc etc. I loved it. Some pictures of the DnB Nor leadership day with AIESEC Norway:

CTI had a short session on what is coaching. They offer an appetizer to our members, that thanks to our partnership can get professional coaching with very very competitive prices. They also give the whole national board a 3 days coaching course that is so amazing. I cannot describe how lucky I am for having this opportunity. Here are the coaching couple dancing in the moment:

- Sunny Bergen - believe it or not, it was sunny most of the time during the conference!

3 - National Board Team Days

Each quarter the national board gets together, stops for 2-3 days and evaluate where we are, where we are going, what we need to change, etc. It's the most powerful team management tool I use, because it's a mix of interpersonal relationship, direction, celebration of success and adjusting the things that didn't work so well, strategic creative discussions, etc.

It's just too awesome to describe, you have to be there and live it - and to live it, you have to be a member of the national board. I consider myself very lucky, because my team is simply the most awesome I ever saw. Such talents you don't find easily everywhere. They are challenging to lead, as any room full of only talented people, and I learn everyday with them.

I am so grateful for being the President of AIESEC Norway. This kind of opportunity, with this level of job I won't see very soon in my career. Probably it will take at least 10 years in a "normal company" to do the same things I am doing today at the top of my 27 years old.

I wish every human being have the same opportunity as I have, that's why I want AIESEC to keep growing, especially here in Norway.

14 November 2009

What great managers do

Great managers set expectations. Expectations are the milestones we use to measure our progress and, within the workplace, mark the pathways that guide us toward achievement.

Great managers define the right outcomes first, and then let each person find his or her own route toward those outcomes. This approach allows the individual to grow via the discovery of his or her "path of least resistance." It appreciates and values differences between employee styles and lets people capitalise on their strengths to achieve their fullest potential as well as encourage responsibility.

Give the opportunity to do best. The task of the best managers is to clearly define the talents needed for each role, and then choose the right person for that role. A manager's job is not to make people develop talents they do not have, but to identify and utilise their existing talents to their full potential, and give them an "opportunity to do what they do best every day."

Genuinely care. Gallup finds that great managers possess identifiable talents or recurring patterns of thought, feelings and behaviours. These managers find a true sense of satisfaction when their staff develop their skills and succeed, even if the employees' success surpasses that of the manager. They genuinely care about the people they work with.

Encourage opinions. Great places to work are those where employees' opinions count, encourage great ideas to flow and be heard, and then processed and refined.

Not all ideas will be successfully implemented, but the process of refining ideas is still wonderfully productive -- it builds employees' confidence in the firm and shows that their efforts can make the firm better.

Great managers never ask employees for their opinions and then do the opposite without a clear explanation.

Explain the company's mission [[AIESEC WAY]]. Great workplaces give their employees a sense of purpose, help them feel they belong, and enable them to make a difference.

Every individual has a unique sense of purpose, and individuals find different meanings in similar situations.

Great managers continually strive to help individuals understand how the firm's purpose/mission directly relates to individual duties.

Keep employees doing quality work. Often, the definition of quality sets the tone of a workplace culture. If quality is defined as the absence of defects or mistakes, we indirectly encourage employees to cover up mistakes or problems quickly.

Great managers realise that human beings make mistakes, and can learn from correcting them. In healthy workplaces, staff are being challenged to improve their product or service by defining "quality" as the process of recognising and solving problems.
A problem can also bring out a greater sense of teamwork. Employees who are committed to doing quality work know that a problem can improve team cohesiveness. They use the power of the team not only to overcome the crisis, but also to correct the process to avoid future problems.

Encourage learning and growth. Every day, great managers face the challenge of creating a culture that is open to new ideas and lets employees explore possible implications of those ideas without fear of rejection or retribution.

For employees, the creation of a culture receptive to new ideas also involves significant belief and trust in their managers and teams. A company's future is dependent on the learning and growth of the employees who are closest to the action.
Great managers, employees and teams are rarely quite satisfied with current ways of doing things. They always feel a slight tension about finding better, more efficient ways to work. Great managers always encourage their staff to "learn and grow."

From Gallup.

13 November 2009

I booked a meeting today

For the first time in my life I booked a company meeting today. I think I called around 20 companies until I got a "yes". Even though I have an extensive knowledge on AIESEC and what we do, I still struggled a bit until I could call the right company and had the right sales pitch. It's so easy to say "no" on the phone.

For me a company who says "no" to AIESEC is a company that says "no" to brilliant and passionate talent - but that's another discussion, the important part is that I booked a meeting.

I am totally empathic with our sellers in AIESEC that struggle in the begining and sometimes even lose the motivation, but once you pass the "abyss", then the glory of the sales come and then it's only fun.

2 things that helped (both came from my VP Corporate Relations):

1 - the on the spot pitch to explain what is AIESEC - to explain what is AIESEC in 30s, it's easier if you say something: "AIESEC is a leadership development organization to students and recent graduates. The leadership development program is composed of 2 parts, being one of those an international work experience in the field of students of the student or recent graduate".

2 - speak on the same level, been confident and proud about your product - you don't shy away or beg for a meeting, you are offering the most amazing opportunity for the person on the other side of the phone. Simply act like a champ and get a K.O. Book that damn meeting!


Sales is damn fun, eh?

12 November 2009

Engage 2009 - swedish AIESEC conference

AIESEC is always opening doors for cool opportunities and one of the amazing opportunities I was offered some weeks ago was to chair the AIESEC Sweden's national conference, called Engage.

Being the chair of a national conference is a great honor, because it's the only AIESEC opportunity you don't get o apply to, but you are invited only. The chair holds a lot of influence (sometimes even more than the president), because he is responsible for creating the atmosphere of the conference, connecting messages and make sense of the agenda, lead the logistics and the facilitators team, etc.

I must say that I absolutely had a blast as chair. It was a very challenging experience, but I believe I managed to get the organization committee in my side and also get the respect of facilitators and delegates. I believe I could inspire (and have fun) with all these 3 target audiences. I believe it was a great success.

I cannot describe how happy and honored I felt for having this opportunity. Again, only AIESEC could have given me this.

Some pictures from the conference:

09 October 2009

Pick the right tool - 3 types of coaching

The same way you wouldn't use a spoon to dig a hole (if you are in a prison that example doesn't count), you have to use the right tools to coach someone. Here are 3 types of coaching for 3 different needs:

Skills Coaching: Is the issue about specific skills such as selling, presenting, dealing with customers, handling media inquiries etc.? If so, the solution will have a training element involved. The coach will need content expertise to train in skill-building while coaching to ensure the agreed level of proficiency. This isn't a situation where a series of reflective questions are helpful. After all, the person being coached doesn't know what (s)he doesn't know.

Performance Coaching: This is what we usually see when it's time to help improve someone's performance in a current organizational role. Often, the desired improvement comes as a result of a 360-degree feedback process or a team building session. Performance Coaching is normally equated with acquiring or sharpening specific behaviors or eliminating others that are inhibiting effectiveness. Questioning is an integral part of the process and may be supplemented with suggestions such as, "Here are two or three ways you could approach this."

Developmental Coaching: Reflective learning is the order of the day here. The objective is to enable the client/executive to gain increased self-perspective and awareness, especially when it comes to leadership activities in the organization. Developmental coaching may, quite literally, consist only of questions. It's the responsibility of the one being coached to connect the heart and mind; then, examine themselves in the context of the organizational systems and their relationships to and with them.

Via All Things Workplace.

How Do You Spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T as a Leader?

So what does it mean to show respect as a leader?

R = Relationships. Do you have a transactional relationship with your employees? That is, you pay them X dollars, and they give you Y amount of work? Are they just another “human resource” to you? Or have you taken the time to cultivate a relationship, based on mutual respect and support?

E = Everyone counts, no matter who they are, at any level in the organization. Great leaders don’t selectively dole out respect, in a way that serves their own agendas. Want to judge the true character of a leader? Watch how they treat the cleaning people. I’ll never forget looking out the window and seeing the CEO of my former company in the parking lot, with the building’s cleaning crew gathered around him. While I couldn’t hear the conversation, it was very apparent that he was engaged in a lively discussion, they were laughing, and he looked like he was listening intently.
One of my favorite VPs said he learned this from his experience growing up around his father, who was a handyman for the rich and famous. He saw the way his father was often treated, and vowed if he ever ended up in a position of power, he would always treat everyone with a high degree of respect.

S = Support your employees. This means making sure they are paid fairly, are given the resources needed to do their jobs, barriers are removed, and sponsorship is obtained for their work. When they succeed, let everyone know. When they screw up, cover their backsides.

P = Please and thank-you. As a manager, you don’t have to ask your employees to do anything – you can simply order them. As a leader, if you treat them as if they do have a choice, they’ll end up exceeding your expectations. Saying thanks and showing sincere appreciation is another way to show respect. Most managers think they do a good job at this…. most employees think they don’t. Try doing it until it feels like overkill, and then you can pull back if people start complaining (it’s never happened).

E = Encourage every employee to grow and develop, in order to reach their full potential. Be a coach, a mentor, and a teacher. Set aside time on a regular basis for career and development discussions. Help your employees become more that they thought they could ever become. Better yet, help them become greater than yourself.

C = Care. That’s right, care about your employees (some would say love them, although that sounds a bit extreme for me). Care about their success at work, their families, their health, their goals, and their satisfaction. Here’s a test: do you know the names of your employee’s children? Do you give them a card on their birthday? What’s the first thing you do you do when an employee or family member becomes seriously ill? Ask how soon they can get back to work, because there are important project deadlines that can’t be missed? Or organize a food basket drive?

T = Treat people how they want to be treated (the platinum rule), not how you want to be treated (the golden rule).

From Great Leadership.

23 September 2009

PhD in leadership, short course

"Make a careful list of all things done to you that you abhorred. Don't do them to others, ever. Make another list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always."

- Dee Hock, via Leading Blog.

14 September 2009

Epiphany: I am not a full-time leader

This epiphany came only tonight at a house meeting with the other 300 people I live with, but in fact reflect lots of actions since I was appointed as the new president of AIESEC Norway:

I am not a full-time leader.

That's my conclusion. I am only a leader when it's expected me to be - it's something, but it's not enough. I want to change this.

Being a leader in my work and not in my personal life doesn't make any sense. The same about having different set of values. Or you are or you are not. There's no grey zone around it.

I will be a full-time leader.



13 September 2009

Proved in 1947: "High (financial) rewards lead to worse performance"

And that's why 35.000 volunteers in AIESEC, in an organization that changes it's leadership completly each year, grew 40% even with the financial crisis.

And here's a promotion video from AIESEC (if you are interested in AIESEC Norway, just go to www.aiesec.no):

12 September 2009

Reviving AIESEC

Business leader, John Neil, talks about this great organization called AIESEC - which I have the pleasure to work in since 2005.

"By having a meaningful and relevant purpose, AIESEC changes lives." – John Neill, Unipart's CEO: Reviving AIESEC (video)

10 September 2009

Our team blog

The amazing Big Bang team began to write a blog that should be updated once a week at least with a variety of perspectives from our day to day work. Check it out: One Year in AIESEC Norway.

09 September 2009

Twelve keys to greater self-awareness:

From Leading Blog:

1 - Stop blaming others for your choices. It’s you.
2 - Take a personality assessment to help you gain some perspective.
3 - Get feedback from as many significant people in your life as you can. This can be uncomfortable for both you and them, but it is the fastest method for gaining a better picture of yourself. (Make them feel safe. It's a big, unknown risk for them!)
4 - Get a coach or mentor. They don't have to know more than you. They just have to see you in action and help you to be a better you. You're not as hard to figure out (complicated) as you would like to think.
5 - Understand that your biggest irritations look a lot like you.
6 - Look beneath your behavior to reveal your assumptions and filters. They dictate how you see yourself and others and impact how you relate to them.
7 - Look at your roadblocks. Learn to separate facts from your interpretations of them.
8 - A lot of negative interactions signal a selfish approach to life.
9 - Reflect daily on your behavior. Ask questions like: How do I handle difficulties? What do I think or do when I don’t get my own way? How adaptive am I? Can I control my emotions? Do I tend to say what I’m thinking when I’m thinking it? Do I judge other people and create conflict? How do others relate to me?
10 - Organize your thoughts in a journal. It is one of the best ways to capture what is going on around you and inside you. Make a note of the causal remarks people make about you.
11 - Read books and go to seminars that help you rethink your assumptions and address your problem areas and blind spots.
12 - Words mean a lot. Your language reflects your thinking and attitudes.

08 September 2009

AIESEC: MBA of life

My dear Brazilian friend, Maurício Schneider, is finishing his career in AIESEC and wrote one of the most touching (and truthful) posts I've seen about this organization where 35.000 young people develop their leadership potential. Bellow is the full post from his blog:

MBA of life called AIESEC!
Today I am finishing my 4 years MBA in the University of Life called AIESEC, and there is only one word that comes to my mind to summarize this experience… GRATITUDE!

Have you ever stopped to think why people do an MBA? What are the benefits of doing an MBA?
Usually the reasons are: Advancing in their career, changing their career, starting their own business, build a new and powerful network, learning how to solve complex problems in a practical way, and so on and so forth.

The University of Life called AIESEC and its MBA program aims to create change agents through the development of 11 competencies: Self-Awareness, Personal Effectiveness, Analytical Thinking, Awareness of Others, Inclusiveness, Effective Communication, Development of Others, Stakeholder Focus, Inner Strength, Innovation and Commitment to Results. (Check my competency assessment below, the green bars represent how it was in the beginning of my AIESEC MBA)

The methodology? Practical experience through international internships, a learning environment comprised by team experiences, conferences, seminars, virtual spaces and platforms, mentorship and coaching programs and much more, combined with a leadership program where individuals have the chance to lead a high performance team. The program is completely flexible and the student chooses its own path.

I started the AIESEC MBA going for exchange to India, Chennai, for a marketing internship in an organization called Campus abroad. This experience taught me the importance of being able to adapt, to react faster to different environment, to stretch our cultural understanding. I also have built a fair international network, while in touch with more than 40 other AIESEC trainees.

My second year was about getting some functional knowledge, so I was assigned to manage the finances of the AIESEC branch in Brazil (Sao Paulo), I have learned a lot about budgeting, scenario planning, return of investments and others.

The main projects I managed and main results I got: Development of a new financial model, Redesign of conference management (long term venue contract, increasing logistical capacity), Design of new financial management software and contract negotiation with vendor, Growth of 200% in operational revenue , Increase of 30% of reserves.

After managing finances, I decided to step up and go for a strong leadership experience, being responsible for leading directly a team of 6 people from 3 different countries, plus being responsible for the operations of 30 local AIESEC branches in Brazil, with more than 2,000 people.

During this experience, I have the chance to work in a Long Term Plan implementation (Adjustment of planning framework, design of road map, set up of long term organizational goals), Balanced Scorecard implementation (Development of new planning framework and tracking tools, revision of measurement tools and development of rewards & recognition based on the Balanced Scorecard, Delivery of the International Congress 2008 (a congress for 1000 people form 100 different countries with a budget of more than 1 million Euros).

Some of the results I got: Growth of 60% in exchange realization and general growth in all key performance indicators (200-325), Strategic Management ING Award winner – The best AIESEC office amongst 107 countries AIESEC is present in, Growth of 300% in operational revenue and increase of 75% of reserves.

My last year of the AIESEC’s MBA, took place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. I was responsible for Strategy & Operations in the global headquarter of AIESEC, working directly with 22 amazing and smart individuals from 16 different countries, taking care of the strategic direction and operations of more than 600 offices, over a 100 countries, with more than 38,000 people.

Projects? What did I do? Leading global planning process with 107 Countries and more than 800 local offices, Balanced Scorecard education and Strategy Map revision, Redefining quality standards and measurement systems, Leading country development team (6 regional Directors), Leading the strategic development task force (Vice President of Talent Management, Exchange, External Relations, Information Systems, Finance and President) , Leading global competitive analysis process.

Results? 45% year-on-year growth in exchange results – Biggest growth in the last 15 years, and first time that we achieved the 2010 vision’s goals. In a year that the majority of the organizations failed to succeed!

I have tried to summarize how my 4 years AIESEC MBA contributed to my development and next steps, check this out:

I think now you understand why GRATITUDE is the word that express my feelings towards my AIESEC MBA! I wish more and more people can have the chance to join the university of life called AIESEC, and that more and more people can learn as much as I learned, can meet people as many as I’ve met, can travel as much as I traveled, can share ideas as much as I’ve shared and most importantly, can be happy as much as I am!

That's the truly spirit of leadership development, you do what you love, you deliver your promises in a sustainable way, you get people to do things you believe it is the right ones, you don't feel the time going away... you just enjoy the journey!

Thanks AIESEC and AIESECers, partners, alumni, sponsors, supervisory boards and groups, all stakeholders that make and made AIESEC possible and real!

Yours truly,
Mauricio Schneider
A proud AIESEC alumnus!

I had the privilege to see a little of the complete transformation in Maurício as he was living his AIESEC experience to it's fullest. He grew in an insane way and, with him, lots of others have grown to admire his work and be inspired by it. Congratulations and good luck on your next steps, nego veio.

I can see change in AIESEC Norway

One of our VP Exchange (Carolina, from University of Oslo) called super excited that she matched her first EP (Exchange Participant) to go outside of Norway and have a great internship experience!

I am not only happy to see the result coming in, but I am also extremely happy to hear that our members are excited about our main product: great exchange experiences!

I am very proud. :D And also very good to see the changes in AIESEC Norway.

25 August 2009

Global Youth to Business Forum (2)

Amazing experience! I participated in the Entrepreneurship track (the Alcatel Lucent part was already mentioned) and afterwards we had great keynote speakers, an open space and a forum. I have to say what impressed me the most today was this young guy called Vishen, an AIESEC alumni, which own a company called Mind Valley.

Absolutely mind blowing.

Besides being a great speaker, he had such amazing hints on how to build a great work place to work. He was so inspiring, so vision driven, I felt extremely touched by his way of thinking and working. Certainly I will implement some of these things in my current team and in AIESEC Norway. The guy is so generous, he is a true alumni example, he gave to us one of his company products to support us to achieve our goals. And, as his wife was in the norwegian AIESEC national board, I invited him to chair a conference in Norway and now we just need to set the date, because we has extremely up to it!

I am impressed with my own experience in International Congress. I didn't skip one single session and I am alive and kicking. My energy level is very high, I am not tired at all. And now I have a discussion with all the Presidents for 2.5 hours, which leads the end of it at 23:59.

My own AIESEC 2010

There was this session on International Congress to understand to ourselves what the global AIESEC 2010 vision means to each one of us. It was a very inspiring session with the virtual presence of the previous 5 AIESEC International Presidents: Brodie, Dey, Gabiza, Juan and, of course, Aman.

It was especially cool to see what Brodie had to say, since he is such a legendary icon for us AIESECers. In the last years, there was no one (and no team) in AIESEC so celebrated as he as President of AIESEC International and his team, the ones who were responsible for the process of the vision 2010 creation in the International Congress 2005, in India.

I am totally part of the 2010 generation. When I joined AIESEC, back in April 2005, my first regional conference (organized by my Committee, AIESEC Porto Alegre, Brazil) had a huge focus on the AIESEC 2010 vision. I feel really connected to it since them: when I was vice-president in my local committee, our team used the 2010 to create our own vision, when I was in the national board of Norway the same thing and, obviously, now that I am leading AIESEC Norway, the national vision is 100% based on the Global AIESEC 2010 vision.

To connect even more, on the session we were asked to create our own version of AIESEC 2010, a personal state, something that you will believe it's 2010 for you. And here is mine (rough words maybe, but the feeling is there):

I want to lead AIESEC Norway to accomplish 3 things:
- Achieve 99 exchanges realized
- Have star members living a 5 stars experience
- Be a financially sustainable organization

Personally, I want to be the CEO that AIESEC Norway needs to achieve the above and be admired for leading by example and supporting my team (my vice-presidents and my local committee presidents) to achieve together our goals and vision.

Youth to Business Forum

Besides interacting with AIESEC members and alumni, there is another key interaction that brings a hell lot of value to my AIESEC Experience constantly: interacting with "externals" - people not from AIESEC, but from other organizations, companies, government, etc. Here in International Congress 2009 in Malaysia we have one full day called Youth to Business Forum, where we can interact with these "externals".

I just left one workshop with Alcatel Lucent about entrepreneurship and it was amazinly good. Basically we discussed very briefly our ideas around what is entrepreneurship and went straight to practice, working in groups to come up with business ideas, pitching these ideas to the other groups and receiving investments.

Our idea was very successful and it was brilliant to discuss it with everyone, because it's something that I do intend to do in the future: an experiential learning program that attaches itself to normal education, giving to high school students the chance to develop competencies and skills such as project management, communication, leadership, etc. Of course, it was also great to receive the feedback that there was some holes in our idea, for example how we are going to fund it which needs to be a little further developed.

I truly believe that not only we AIESECers gain with it, but also the companies by hearing the youth voice in this matter. I may sound a little full of myself saying that AIESEC is the youth voice, but, hey, we have some thing going on there, see this example:

Recently there was an youth program that took 50 young people to Antartica to study the problem with the gobal warming. From thiese 50 people, 6 were AIESECers. Consider we have only 35,000 students and university students are millions, I guess this is a pretty advanced representation when talking about youth that actually DO SOMETHING to change the planet into a better place.

Now I am going back to the forum.

24 August 2009


((Self-reflection time at AIESEC International Congress 2009 in Malaysia))

I consider myself quite creative, but been in AIESEC Norway for some reason has been retracting a little my creativity, I am not being so crazy anymore. I believe this is because I started to believe I know everything already and I have all the keys and nothing else can be different. Clearly I was not in the organization when the minds of brillient people came with a whole new concept called "the AIESEC experience". I cannot accept the "peak" as my peak, because this means death. I need to reinvent myself, go to the next level. Stretch, again, my bondaries.

I think I need to connect myself again with the realm of possibilities, be less grounded on the reality.

Being a fully responsible executive with a quite restricted experience at young age sometimes restrict you. Or, maybe, only me?

How can someone be responsible for a 1.5 million budget and the whole strategic development of AIESEC Norway be less grounded on reality and more connected to the unseen possibilities? How to balance responsibility and creative strategical thinking?

Any hints?

23 August 2009

Cultural sensitivity?

((some of the dates will be messed up, because I wrote lots of posts offline and programed them all at once, because internet is quite restricted here))

I can't imagine a place where people are more culturaly senstive then in AIESEC, but even here, I sometimes have my doubts of the extent of this sensitivity.

We are here in International Congress 2009 with more than 600 people from 100++ countries. Naturaly, there are some of them that are muslims and are fasting during Ramada (and of course they don't drink), which is happening at the same time as the Congress.

We from the western part of world, on the other hand, love to have a party with loads of alcohol. Now I pose my question: are we, AIESECers from the west, culturaly sensitive by drinking in Malaysia (a Muslim country)?

Don't get me wrong, I am not telling we are not, quite the opposite, my question is really sincere: is culturaly sensitive to not drink in the Muslim country or by accepting the drinking and the Muslim delegates completly leting it go as "things from the western culture"?

I am going to grab a beer tonight and thing more about it.

I am lucky to be in AIESEC International Congress 2009 in Malaysia

((Self-reflection time))

I consider myself lucky.

27 years old, Brazilian and I am the leader of the national office of AIESEC in Norway. AIESEC is just the biggest youth-run organization in the world, with more than 40.000 members spread around more than 100 countries.

I consider myself very lucky.

I am now in Malaysia (a place where I, sincerely, never dreamed of going) in IC (International Congress) that AIESEC runs every year, with around 600 delegates from all around the world (literaly).

The Congress is just starting. I feel energized as hell being around all those close friends from who knows how many nationalities. IC is an experience that I consider myself extremely lucky to be living for the 2nd time. Who, with 27 years old, can say that spend around 14 days with 600 people from 100 different countries, exchanging ideas, having fun, working together and giving his/her best to make the organization grow - not because of the money, but because we believe in it's ideal and relevance to society.

I consider myself extremely lucky, because I am one of the two delegates of AIESEC Norway in this Congress. And looking to the other national boards that brought their whole teams to IC, I feel a little envy. I really would like my team to be here. We couldn't bring all the 6 people in our team because we didn't consider as a wise investment to AIESEC Norway (both in human and financial resources) to bring all. But it would be damn cool if my team, the MC Big Bang, would be here. I am sure we would have a blast together. And we would brand AIESEC Norway very well, because we are a hell of a talented team. I would also enjoy to see our local committee presidents here, so they could experience the huge scope of this amazing organization.

IC is great, not because of the sessions, not because of the more than 60 "externals" (how we call people that are not from AIESEC, usually from companies, governement or other NGOs), not because of the cool 6 stars hotel or because it's in amazing Malaysia. No, IC is great because of these 100+ nationalities working together for one common goal, peace.

I miss my team. I would like they would be as lucky as me to represent AIESEC Norway in this Congress.

I am sure they understand, though, that they couldn't come because it was not a good investment for the organization. Those are true AIESECers: even knowing they would love to come, they use maturity to agree not to come, because it's not the best for the organization.

What a team I have!

I am so lucky to have them.

18 August 2009

Education at the crossroads

My all time favorite subject, education, in some insightful post from the status quo breaker, Seth Godin:

Education at the crossroads

Actually, there isn't one, there are three choices that anyone offering higher education is going to have to make.

Should this be scarce or abundant?

MIT and Stanford are starting to make classes available for free online. The marginal cost of this is pretty close to zero, so it's easy for them to share. Abundant education is easy to access and offers motivated individuals a chance to learn.

Scarcity comes from things like accreditation, admissions policies or small classrooms.

Should this be free or expensive?

Wikipedia offers the world's fact base to everyone, for free. So it spreads.

On the other hand, some bar review courses are so expensive the websites don't even have the guts to list the price.

The newly easy access to the education marketplace (you used to need a big campus and a spot in the guidance office) means that both the free and expensive options are going to be experimented with, because the number of people in the education business is going to explode (then implode).

If you think the fallout in the newspaper business was dramatic, wait until you see what happens to education.

Should this be about school or about learning?

School was the big thing for a long time. School is tests and credits and notetaking and meeting standards. Learning, on the other hand, is 'getting it'. It's the conceptual breakthrough that permits the student to understand it then move on to something else. Learning doesn't care about workbooks or long checklists.

For a while, smart people thought that school was organized to encourage learning. For a long time, though, people in the know have realized that they are fundamentally different activities.

The combinations...

Imagine a school that's built around free, abundant learning. And compare it to one that's focused on scarce, expensive schooling. Or dream up your own combination. My recent MBA program, for example, was scarce (only 9 people got to do it) and it was free and focused on learning.

Just because something is free doesn't meant there isn't money to be made. Someone could charge, for example, for custom curricula, or focused tutoring, or for a certified (scarce) degree. When a million people are taking your course, you only need 1% to pay you to be happy indeed.

Eight combinations of the three choices are available and my guess is that all eight will be tried. If I were going to wager, I'd say that the free, abundant learning combination is the one that's going to change the world.

16 August 2009

Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Leadership

From Harvard Business Review Blog (obviously the hints wouldn't be mine, I didn't even completed 30 years old).

Recently, I had dinner with Dick Harrington, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and now my partner at Cue Ball, a Boston-based venture firm. We talked about his three most significant lessons learned over his very successful 25+ year career as a Fortune 250 executive.

Tony Tjan (TT): Dick- attempt the impossible and give us the top three business lessons learned over three decades!

Dick Harrington (DH): First, you have to have an "approximately correct" strategy -- you have to know where you are going, but directionally correct is the key. Two, you have to be highly focused and intensely execute that strategy by motivating and aligning the troops you have. And three, it always comes back to the customers and the fact that you have to manically know your customers and drive everything from that.

TT: Nicely done. So let's start with the first point. People often worry about architecting a perfect business plan or strategy and then get lost in the minutia. How do you know when you are "approximately correct," as you say?

DH: You want to be approximately correct instead of precisely incorrect. There is a point at which additional information or research will not change the basics of your strategy. When you get your strategy there, you have to "Nike it" - you just do it. If you continue to refine and refine, you'll never get into action, and the incremental value of research just won't be worth the time and money. Schedule time frames and be religious about them to launch, get feedback, and see if the strategy is acceptable to the customer or if you need to adjust.

TT: Your second point is about execution focus. What's the best way to rally people and spread that intensity?

DH: First, you have to communicate what you are trying to accomplish. And you need to know the team members who are going to make it happen and those who are going to keep it from happening. It's important to have time with them so they have an opportunity to discuss and debate what's critical.

At the same time, you have to draw the line at some point and say "Okay, we have everyone's input. These are the five most important things we need to accomplish and they are the only things we are going to work on." You want everyone - probably 4-5 key people, maybe 10-15 at larger organizations -- in the same boat so you can accomplish those things on a timely basis.

TT: Can you use operating metrics or dashboards to help imbue people with a sense of ownership?

DH: Absolutely. When you think about executing a strategy, you need operating metrics to see how you are doing. But keep them simple, so folks can easily see if they are being successful and adjust along the way as needed. This is the key, the dashboards or metrics a company uses should be simple and frequent enough so that all key members on the team can use them to keep score and see how their actions translate into performance (or not). Most companies don't internally communicate their metrics frequent enough, or if they do they are often measuring too many things or, even worse, the wrong things.

TT: The third big lesson from you is your "golden rule," which is that ultimately it just comes back to the customer. But how can people possibly forget this?

DH: It's an ego thing. The biggest reason people don't do this, and we've seen it a lot, is that they think working in an industry a long time means they know everything about the customers' needs.

What I've been able to do over the years is make sure we have appropriate customer intimacy and research - not a billion dollars worth, but enough -- to prove to others that they don't know their customers as well as they think they do or as well as they ought to.

TT: What is a simple first step someone can take for big impact customer research, particularly for the budget constrained firms that may be reading this?

DH: Find your smartest 10 customers and talk to them; those are the ones who can actually give you valuable information. It's about spending time with them and going over 10-15 questions to learn about how they use the product and what you can do to make their lives easier. From those questions you'll probably get another 15-20. That's a great start and you can use that information to consider other more structured methodologies for more specific feedback.

When I was tasked early in my career with running an auto repair manual business that had the leading market share, I first wanted to go talk to customers. I found out right away that customers didn't even like our product--they just hated our competitors' more! After some rounds of feedback, we were able to start producing what people wanted, not just what would suffice, and things took off from there.

I should also add that these days a lot of your customer feedback and research might already be out there - there are at least three of our portfolio businesses where we can just go to Twitter or Yelp to see what customers think. The web is an amazing customer research forum and more people should use it not just to search all the good things people are saying but more important to identify early possible areas of customer frustration and product improvement opportunities.

11 August 2009

AIESEC Norway 2009-2010 vision (as presented in ScaLDS)

This is AIESEC Norway: (if you can't see the video, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnNod7EWGRA)

I know I've been an extremely bad blogger. I am not prioritizing the blog at all - but I can say why: because I LOVE my job and I dedicate a lot of time to it.

07 July 2009

Education design fail

From Gabi's blog:

Research says the top quartile teacher will increase the performance of their class by over 10% in one single year. Awesome! What are, then, the characteristics of this top quartile?
Very senior teachers? No. Once somebody has taught for 3 years, their teaching quality does not change thereafter.

Maybe teachers with masters degrees? No. According to research, masters degrees have no effect at all in teaching quality.

You might be thinking: the way the pay system works in most countries rewards these two things: seniority and master degrees. What really matters, though, is not any of those. What makes the difference is past performance. Doesn't that make sense? If someone continuously proves s/he is competent at engaging students to learn, s/he will probably have a good performance engaging more students in the future.

Well, classic example of a unintelligent design, which does not see the whole system, does not reinforce desired behaviours and does not naturally create conditions for improvement, i.e. increasing whole classes' performance by 10% every year.

More on Education? Check the provocative TED talk which inspired this post.

I know I am not writing very much here. I am just not prioritizing it so much, because it's so much better to be with my team working with them. But after planning I will start evaluating how to post things more often, since being president of AIESEC is probably the most intense and challenging experience I had.

15 June 2009

Starting point

So, today it really starts.

Between today and tomorrow, all my new team will arrive and we will be in the office together, for 13 months.

I love this "fear" feeling when I take huge responsibilities that demand me to learn new things I would never dare to think I would ever know. Such is the magic of AIESEC: we start one position as prepared as we can, but not as good as necessary, then we change, we develop and, by the end of this fast paced year, we are competent enough to say we can do it.

But then, it's time to leave for the new generation to learn.

I really love this organization :)

14 June 2009

Withing paradigm versus between paradigms (or, management versus leadership once again)

"You manage within a paradigm.
You lead between paradigms."

- Joel Barker, Paradigms

Very wise words.

It's easier to act within paradigms. People like the safe-side of a well stablished paradigm and dislike the shaky ground of a new mindset. But sometimes you have to take the unpopular call and lead the organization to the next paradigm. Evolution, even with resistence. Puting out your neck on the axe's range is not easy. Sometimes people will hate you because you are "changing how things are done to this crazy new way". But, if it's a good call, the reward of the new and better new paradigm pays off.

I think, as a CEO of an organization that needs a big deal of evolution to keep relevant and competitive in these mutant times, I will experienced a lot of that. In fact, I started experiencing it already, by changing the financial incentives and responsibilities of our local AIESEC Norway chapters.

So, what are the things that us leaders can do to move to move our organizations and teams to the next paradigm without so much bumps on the way? What do you think?

And what if we are wrong, the new paradigm is not the right one? How to be sure? (In fact I guess there's no answer to this one).

World starts to open its eyes to AIESEC

AIESEC Represented at the World Business Summit on Climate Change!

Aman Jain, the President Elect of AIESEC International 2009/2010 (picture on the left), spoke at the press conference launch alongside Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon confirming the role of young people in the climate cause. "Some call us the leaders of tomorrow, but I think of us as the leaders of today", said Aman during the press conference.

To read more on the Summit, follow the link: http://en.cop15.dk/blogs/view+blog?blogid=1361


AIESEC Meets the Next EU Presidency

Sweden’s Migration Minister met with the incoming and outgoing presidents of AIESEC International to discuss the challenges and opportunities to the mobility of young talent in the European Union.

As the host of the next EU Presidency, Sweden plays an important role within the policy agenda for the European Union in 2009. As the AIESEC international internships program operates across 100 countries and in 2008 sent over 5,000 young people abroad to undertake international internships, AIESEC’s interest and contribution to the topic of mobility is considerable.

On the picture: Juan Cajiao, President of AIESEC International 2008/2009)


AIESEC International receives an award for Most Democratic Workplace

AIESEC International maintains its place among the 40 organizations who are the annual winners of the WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces™ award for a third consecutive year. The award is sponsored by WorldBlu, an US-based non-profit specializing in organizational democracy.

More information on the WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces™ is available at the Worldblu website here: http://www.worldblu.com/worldblu-list/worldblu-list

08 June 2009

We are young and want to change the world... watching movies (?!)

The Swedish Pirate Party won a sit at EU parliament.

While this is cool at a copyright and entertainment industry reform point of view, it makes me think: is this one of the outstanding issues Europe is facing?

It's natural, the PP had a very good media coverage David versus Goliah style. Everyone get simpathetic with the poor citzen opressed by the big corporations full of money. I am not exempt of it also. I am very pro a reform in this area. The current model doesn't work anymore, especially in the develop countries where high speed internet is a common place. I don't want to talk much about any ideas on this, but it's easy to see the success of the Apple Store and Steam as examples of how we could move further in the entertainment distribution models.

But, I repeat, Pirate Party got an EU sit, is this really what Europe needs?

Well, let there be file sharing.

Just as a final though, it's interesting that again the theory (is it a theory?) "if you fight you lose" is proven. Authorities fought the Pirate Party. What happened? They became stronger and got theirselves into the power position. Probably would never happened if no one messed with them. They would be just sharing their files with the world - as it is happening now anyway, the only difference is that now the EU parliament has to get used with parrots and wooden legs.

06 June 2009

AIESEC Norway CEO's success 1 out of ?? - New Financial Model: approved

For context on this, read the previous post: AIESEC Norway CEO's failure 1 out of ?? - New Financial Model: rejected.

Just after the rejection (one full day) I was completly in shut down mode: blaming everyone, bad mooded and just plain disapointed with me, with others and with the organization as a whole. Then, at the end of this terrible day which I thought a lot, I just decided this is not a true leader reaction and I had to change it. I "fired" my old self for being so incompetent and "hired" the new me, which would turn the tide.

And we did turn it.

Looking back, I can see most mistakes were mine (because I was leading the project):

- No dialogue seeking - I didn't proactively approach the local presidents to discuss their views on the model and gather feedback. I thought that silence meant they didn't have any problem with it. So silly of me, sometimes I can't understand how I miss so much the obvious: silence doesn't mean agreement, means only that people think something you have no idea about.

- Argue against feedback - instead of acting upon the few received feedback, I argued and fought against them. (see the post "Communication technique: never fight people if you want them to do something to you" to see why I failed by doing that).

- No allies help - I steped into the room me against the world. No wonder it failed, I didn't have any one to advocate pro the new financial model. I didn't even spoke to my board collegues what kind of help I needed from them.

- Lack of hope dealing - "Leaders are dealers in hope": everyone was scared they would go bankrupt and I didn't address their fear and gave them hope.

The result of all this you know from previous post, I failed.

But them I acted upon them, I learned and that's what I did:

- Seek dialogue and feedback - I proacvelly schedule chats with the presidents and the board members interested. I also had an open door policy: whoever and whenever someone needed to talk to me about the model, I stoped everything to talk to them and trully listen their voices, ideas, feedback and negotiated agreed solutions.

- Incorporate feedback - by negotiating and reaching agreement of what should be changed on the new financial model, we addressed most of the problems and fears of everyone. Whoever gave feedback, I always made sure I would end up the conversation telling what I would do with the feedback and got the agreement of the other person. (And, of course, I fulfilled my word).

- Deal in hope - I made sure everyone understood how the new financial model would make AIESEC Norway grow and why. I also made it quite clear that in case things went wrong, we would push the stop button and rethink an approach together.

- Have a strong process to take the decision - thanks to the dialogue I created inside my own team this time, we worked together to create a very good process to facilitate the discussion during the legislation. So it would go in an orderly manner, addressing all the remaining doubts one by one and that everyone could speak their minds in an organized way.

- Have allies - I identified the key people that would be more keen on the model and took time to ally with them, to discuss their ideas. When I entered the room, this time I didn't need to sell the model for everyone, they already bought it, it was just about delivery.

The result is that the model was approved, almost all of it by full consensus. And, to be really sincere, the proposal in the model was not that different: the pillars of the model were still there. The only difference is that I dealed with the human aspect much differently than before.

Of course I couldn't have done anything if I didn't have the support of the local presidents, which were able to take a bold step towards own accountability. I am very proud of them, they are showing a level of maturity and engagement only dreamt in past terms. I have no doubt these people will strive for their goals and we will take, together, AIESEC Norway to a new level - where we, one of the countries that founded AIESEC 61 years ago, should always be.

Thanks a lot for the valuable leadership lesson, AIESEC Norway.

01 June 2009

Canon Japan: cruel talent management technics

Canon in Japan came up with this amazing idea:

- What if we remove all the chairs from the offices?

And they didn't stop there. They had also a new brilliant idea:

- What if we put sensors in the corridors that horn sirens and red lights if some employee is walking slower than 5m each 3.6 seconds? (talk about fast-paced business environment).

Well, Canon Japan went beyond the "if" and did it:

Check the details here.

That's the kind of thing that leads to people thinking Japan is an extreme place to work. I am sure it's more an exception than a rule, but it's a little scary that it can actually happen there and people do keep working without torching the place.

Work union, anyone?

Next time you see one jap in any touristical place with a Canon camera, offer your respect, that's a though guy.

30 May 2009

Google Wave: what e-mail would be if it was created today

Google never stops to amaze me with their out-of-the-box thinking. They just pulled off a new product that has the bold intention to change how we communicate and collaborate using the web.

And I must say that it's very impressive. This video is their first presentation of Google Wave. I believe the only person interested in it now will be the early birds in technology usage, but I do believe that in the long run (which is not so long when we speak about the fast paced tech world) this can be one ground breaking way of communicating and collaborating in the workplace, with clients, family and so on. It's a true communication tool, just like e-mail is today.


This is not a wave, but, hey, what do you think of it? Is it so promissing or am I (and them) overestimating?

28 May 2009

Good quote of the day

"You can't microwave leaders and expect a 5-Star Experience"

- Steve Roesler, from All Things Workplace

18 May 2009

What type of CEO makes money for investors

A very interesting article in Great Leadership blog says that, according to a research with CEOs, they identified 2 types of CEOs:

- Lambs (terrible label, I know) - these are the emotional inteligence experts. They are easy to work with, they are open to feedback, know how to deal with people, etc. These guys are loved from the ground floor to the board room. And they have a very nice success rate: 57%.

- Cheetahs - they are fast, agressive, work hard and demonstrate persistance. Their success rate? 100%.

100%? (this is not an statistical rounding error)

Don't jump to the wrong conclusions, been good with people still matters. Acording to the article:

Emotional intelligence is important, but only when matched with the propensity to get things done. Too many executives have fallen into the trap of accentuating their lamb skills at the expense of their Cheetah qualities. They work hard to stay in tune with their employees. They’re well liked on the shop floor and in the boardroom. There’s only one problem: they don’t produce value at anywhere near the rate Cheetahs do.

This isn’t to say that Cheetahs lack soft skills. To the contrary, they are talented people whose soft skills played a critical role in their ascent to the top job. The difference, though, is that Cheetahs know when it is time to stop asking for feedback and to attack a target to achieve key outcomes that move a company forward.

I am for sure trying to get more lamb skills, but is it messing up with my cheetah skills?

What do you think about all this mess?

Read the original blog post: What type of CEO makes money for investors

06 May 2009

How is international exchange different than travelling?

A point of view about it here.

Living abroad is completly different to visiting other places, I can tell that.

05 May 2009

Communication technique: never fight people if you want them to do something to you

I am reading this famous book How to Win Friends & Influence People (which is a somewhat terrible title, let's face it). I am still on the first 3-4 chapters, but what I can say is that it really makes a lot of sense, it's a very light reading and is very useful. Each chapter talks about one principle to be great in the art of influencing people and so on. The book refers itself as the bible of good human relationship and I think I kind of agree.

One of the chapters talks about the principle of never criticizing (or something like that). Which is to never fight anyone about anything, because it won't change the person opinion about it. When you fight, people fight back and justify themselves, even if you get them to understand if they are wrong, you won't get anything from them. We are all surrounded by lots of proofs:

- no dictator ever changed his mind when people were fighting his regime, instead, he fought back harder
- People never gave any single coin to a thief, but lots of people donate much more money to charity or give away money to beggers
- I couldn't change the mind of the local committee presidents on the financial situation by fighting their lack of responsibility

Fighting just doesn't work. But how not fighting will help them?

This week I came across a very interesting example of when people do not fight, how they win the fight anyway:

We all know how piracy is a problem for the entertainment industry and they keep fighting (with no success) with their lawyers, copy protections and so on. So there's this little game company that produced an independent game that was just released called Zeno Clash. Of course in a couple of days it was already available for illegal download at any torrent site. What the producers did? They did not fight, instead, they posted this kind of comment on the illegal file:

"I am one of the developers of Zeno Clash. I would appreciate you read this if you are about to download this file.

Zeno Clash is an independently funded game by a very small and sacrificed group of people. The only way in which we can continue making games like this (or a sequel) is to have good sales.

I am aware that at this moment there is still no demo of the game, but we are working on one which will be available soon.

We cannot do anything to stop piracy of the game (and honestly don't intend to do so) but if you are downloading because you wish to try before you buy, I would ask that you purchase the game (and support the independent game development scene) if you enjoy it. We plan on updating Zeno Clash with DLC and continuing support for the game long after it's release.

Thanks for taking the time to read this... hopefully it will make a difference.

Carlos Bordeu ACE Team"

The answer from the people downloading the game? You can see some here:

"Wow, okay Carlos, I'll buy it off of steam. Thanks for being straight up."

"Hi Carlos Your forthrightness is appreciated, and I can 100% guarantee you I have no intention of playing through this game without PAYING for it. I can only hope everyone else on the torrent will do the same!"

"Will buy If I like. If I dont like it I won't play through it! Most likely buying before I even download it XD"

"Wow this game is amazing, and very cheap, I've bought it and dont regret it. Guys buy this if you like it after trying it because even though the easier way might be downloading, think about the people that invested time and effort in making this great release for us and buy their game, so that they may keep on doing so... otherwise we'll never get anotehr great game like this one from these developers again. Once again, brilliant game well worth the money. (I mean come on, if you have the money to buy a computer that can run this, an internet connection that can download this, and can pay the electricity bill even after u left your PC on long enough to download this: I doubt $20 will be much to ask for will it???)"

"Hi, I bought this game after playing it for an hour(I always need a demo of some sort before I purchase), and I don't regret it at all, I look forward to your future games.

The graphics are simply magnificent."

"good to see you actually appealing to the people instead of putting drm on it. i dont play pc games any more but i do play console games and always d/l the game first if it doesnt have a demo. if i like it i'll buy it. most games that i d/l are crap so they dont get used for more than an hour."

"I was looking for a demo and couldn't find one, but after looking on steam the game is only $20 USD, which is a steal I spent more on beer last night, even if I only get a few hours of game play out of it, it's still worth the money."

"I too was looking for a demo before buying but I realized it's only 20$ on steam or direct2drive so I just bought it. It's cheap and have good reviews, so why not? Can't wait to try it."

Not fighting wins!

Balanced Scorecard planning and achieving goals

One thing that I am very satisfied with is how some local committees (like University of Oslo and NHH) are driving forward the initiative to implement Balanced Scorecard as a planning and management tool in their AIESEC committees.

A couple of weeks ago I was in the AIESEC University of Oslo planning weekend and I could see how much preparation the local executive board put into it. I am very proud with what they are doing, going step by step, from vision to implementation plan. It's quite a step to use BSC in AIESEC Norway, since our planning process was not very good, especially at local committees.

It was also very satisfying to see them being ambitious and realistic at the same time, making me really confident if there's one local commitee who can achieve its' goals, for sure its University of Oslo. If they achieve their goals, they envision to be the biggest local committee in AIESEC Norway sending norwegian students to professional exchanges abroad.

It's extremelly rewarding for me to see the change in University of Oslo mindset and I trully believe a lot of it comes from a better recruitment and selection (so the new executive board is better than the previous and the current should be worst than the next one and so on), which I have some part on it. Another reason is because people understand more the AIESEC way and understand the importance of realizing more exchanges to achieve our vision and mission.

Unfortunatelly, a good planning don't need to get University of Oslo to the results they aim necessarilly. Even if they have the best plan, they still need one crucial thing: execution.

If they manage to track the plan, review it when necessary and put their strategies into action, then I am 100% confident they will achieve.

But that's the hardest part.

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work. - Peter Drucker