Have you ever considered giving a tree rather than a flower?

Giving a tree can make all the difference to those living in poverty and suffering the most from the effects of climate change.

Vi Agroforestry and partners enable farmers who live in poverty in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to develop a sustainable life. By growing trees in combination with crop families can increase their farm yields and their access to food and income. The trees are also essential for the climate and the environment.

Planting a tree.
The trees prevent soil from being flushed away at times of torrential rain. They provide shade against the strong sun and fixate nitrogen in the ground. Pictured: Jolie Usanzituze and Helen Sjöholm. Photo: Marcus Lundstedt

Vi Agroforesty and partners use the tree to fight poverty and climate change. The method is called agroforestry which means planting trees together with crops. This method give fruits, animal forage, firewood and building materials. The method also improve the farmers’ crop: the trees prevent soil from being flushed away at times of torrential rain; they provide shade from the intense sun and fixate nitrogen to the soil.

Vi Agroforestry recommends the farmers more than 800 various types of trees. The avocado tree is used for timber and grows a fruit full of nutrients, oils, mineral salts, proteins and vitamins. Photo: Edward Echwalu

Constant reevaluation and development is key for an organization like Vi Agroforestry.

The Vi Agroforestry team in Nairobi. Foto: Hans Akerblom

If you would like to contribute to their work, you can visit their website to find out more: https://viskogen.se/om-oss/vi-agroforestry/

Hans Akerblom
Creator of LOTS®
Founder of Scandinavian Leadership AB

Have you ever considered giving a tree rather than a flower?

The balance of giving and taking

Balanced bird
It’s normal to be imbalanced; it’s a natural thing. But at the same time we need to learn from these imbalances and take conscious steps towards living and working in outer as well as inner balance. Photo: Jonny Lew/Pexels

The late Alice Miller (1923–2010) was an influential and also controversial Swiss psychologist and psychoanalyst and spoke about positive and negative narcissism.

The difference lies in
how much we like ourselves
and what we want to
contribute to our world.

It could be a good thing to stand in the spotlight and to be given attention for what we do if we are in touch with our own self-realization and contribute because we want the best for everyone.

If we end up in a situation where we will do anything to satisfy our own needs we end up in negative narcissism. This will not work in the long run.

An imbalance occurs
when we don’t give
as much to our world
as we take from it.

Neither will it work to put others needs first and give up on our own, i.e. giving more than we get back. Cutting back resources and keeping the expected performance level can lead to long term sick leave and early retirement for many.

The more aware we get, the more we will understand that giving and taking needs to be balanced over time.

It’s normal to be imbalanced,
it’s a natural thing.

At the same time we need to learn from these imbalances and take conscious steps towards living and working in outer as well as inner balance.

We can all contribute in our own unique way by having the courage to stand up for what we believe is good for ourselves and others, long term as well as short term. To make that happen, it will probably help if we are content with ourselves and are in touch with our own self-realization, i.e. positive narcissism.

Hans Akerblom
Creator of LOTS® and founder of Scandinavian Leadership

The balance of giving and taking

”It is our job to fulfill people’s dreams”


Eva-Lena Frick, 57, has as a cross-country skier competed in both Olympic games (Sarajevo 1984) and World championships. In1989 she finished her active career and is since 2015 CEO for the legendary 90 Kilometer cross country race Vasaloppet after 12 years as CEO for the popular cycling race Vätternrundan.

Differentiating the goal from the activity in a race such as Vasaloppet might seem easy on a sports level. On an organizational level it is rather like assembling a 4000 piece puzzle where 2900 parts of the puzzle are just blue sky, according to Eva-Lena Frick.

The traditional Vasaloppet is the worlds largest cross country race and what started as a historic 90 Kilometer race on skinny skis has developed into a winter and summer event that attracts around 100 000 participants every year.

In order to make sure that no pieces of this puzzle suddenly go missing the Vasaloppet is now facing some challenges. With two associations as owners, each with a separate board, 35 full time employees and around 4000 voluntary helpers, Eva-Lena Frick felt that the organization was lacking focus and therefore she contacted Hans Akerblom to acquire a tool to gather everyone, start talking about the same things and get all members of the organization to listen to each other.

See the interview with Eva-Lena Frick here.Eva-Lena Frick

”It is our job to fulfill people’s dreams”

From the ski slope to the office chair


A professional skiing career, five world championships and two Olympic games, a sports shop, a retail agency and board member of the legendary Swedish cross country race Vasaloppet. Meet Martin Hansson, 43, a man of many trades.

“I am not a leader”, the former professional alpine skier says. Dalskidan, the sports shop in Sälen, Sweden, is a family business and Martin Hansson sees himself as the person bringing in ideas.

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After 13 years of Alpine World Cup, Martin Hansson decided to dedicate his full attention to his business Dalskidan, situated in his hometown Sälen. It’s a sunny spring day and we are sat at a small coffee table in his shop. The Swedish ski town is just ending the winter season and it is quiet in the bright and open spaced retail area. Although the snow is still covering the mountains, Sälen town is slowly welcoming spring.

Martin Hansson is not slowing down, though. What you cannot see in the shop itself is all the equipment he provides hotels and ski areas with. This part of the business is expanding and taking up a lot of Martin Hansson’s time at the moment.

His passion for sports also inspired him to become a part of the board of the Vasaloppet, most famous for it’s legendary 90 km cross-country run from Sälen to Mora. “I am not a board professional, but I have the drive”, he says with a smile. As a board member he first got to hear about LOTS® and he had a great learning experience working with the board and senior Lotscoach® Hans Akerblom, planning the way forward for the world known race. (Or rather races. What started with a story about a future king in 1521 is today a row of winter and summer events, attracting around 100 000 people every year.)

“LOTS® brought a structure to our work that we really need”, he says. “A board like this brings a lot of people with different ideas together and then it is so important to find a common view and also a common language.”

Martin Hansson will also implement what he has learned for his own business. “I just need to find the time”, he says, almost apologizing. And pinpoints the problem most leaders and non-leaders struggle with these days; the time to reflect and the time to learn and progress. “What I really liked though is that LOTS® is so easy to take in and understand, it’s great to see how everyone can learn this and develop.”

Sara Vogt
Scandinavian Leadership

From the ski slope to the office chair

Everything changes whether we want it or not

change snowman.jpeg

Change is natural and never ending. There is nothing we can do about that.

What we can do is to think about our own Vision and our own Values and take initiative for change. Change is natural. Change is life. Change is challenging.

What are we striving for? How should we handle our constantly changing world? Let’s first look at some typical changes that we are all confronted with.

Getting older
Getting older is probably the most important change in our lives and there is nothing we can do about it. We can just accept it and try to avoid imbalances when we are confronted with the change of ”growing older”.

Changes in our relationships
We are also confronted with changes in our relationships. These changes can be everything from parents or other relatives who die, friends that no longer are friends or friends that divorce and go separate ways. As our children grow up our relationship with them changes. Change is natural and can challenge us.

Constructive ways of coping with changes
Striving for balance in life may not be as important as striving for constructive ways of coping with changes. Change can make us more creative and open up opportunities – on an individual as well as a team, organizational and country/region level.

What about you?
– How do you cope with change in your everyday private and professional life?
– How much energy do you get from or consume in everyday changes?
– What do you learn from changes in life?
– How much easier or more difficult does it become for you to cope with the changes?
– How many initiatives for change do you, yourself, take in your private or professional life?

Take some time to reflect upon the following questions:
1) How and when have I taken initiatives for change in my private and professional life and what are my experiences from that?

2) How have I coped with changes that other people or nature has created and what have I learned from that?

3) What happens within me when I think of changes in my private and professional life that I know will come (even if I do not know exactly what or how)?

Hans Akerblom,
creator of LOTS®

Everything changes whether we want it or not

Simon Gambold on how LOTS® got the ball rolling

Simon Gambold is the VP Marketing at Henry Schein Dental, EMEA Region. Being quite high up in a company that employs more than 21 000 people around the globe, he still manages to stay in touch with his customers and finds this very important too.

Henry Schein is the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners.

Simon Gambold Henry Schein– As a practitioner, you could basically just have an empty facility and we can take care of the rest. We provide everything from the products you need, the equipment, software to the marketing and the commercial side, Simon Gambold explains.

Simon Gambold felt that he was not moving forward fast enough with his team and they were not getting to where he wanted to. A friend then recommended him the tool and process of LOTS®.

–  We synced very well with LOTS® from the start, he says. Henry Schein has a close interaction with its’ customers and the importance of the customer in the process of LOTS® makes sense to us.

Another key element in the process of LOTS® is the purpose, to clarify why we exist and how we can make the world a little bit better, which is something Simon Gambold and Henry Schein can relate very well to. By helping their customers improve healthcare, they want to make the world a little bit better.

What makes LOTS® different to other planning processes that you have used?

– LOTS® gives us a common language, which is vital, especially for such a large corporation, where not only many nationalities meet, but also several different business fields.

Lotscoach® Stephan Stahl met with a group of people from various locations within the company and guided them through the process of creating a business plan. At times discussions were hard and it was a tough process. With the guidance of their Lotscoach® they managed to find the turnaround, though, and Simon Gambold sounds exited when he explains:

–  It was such a great feeling to see how the team started working together. They have now realized that we are all pulling together.

–  Now it is more a matter of holding the reins rather than getting the ball rolling, he says and laughs.

This enthusiasm is something that Simon Gambold wants to build upon and now he wants to become a Lotscoach® himself in order to keep the process alive within the company and build on the improvements that have already taken place.

– People from different units and countries communicate so much better with each other already, he says.

He has not used LOTS® in his personal life yet, but as a business professional he sees how LOTS® has already improved his leadership.

– It has added another perspective, he says. If someone else is thinking of using LOTS®, they should just give it a go, because it really works.

Simon Gambold on how LOTS® got the ball rolling

Feel better and make the world a better place for all of us


We can all relate to many wonderful moments at work, with family and friends, and in nature. Watching a good movie, reading an inspiring book or listening to a soulful live concert also touches our Five Aspects. These are good moments and fond memories.

What makes out a great experience is individual and personal and we should think before judging others’ experiences. We should share our own inspiration and listen with care and love to what other people share with us. Often we do the opposite. This is a matter of habit or solidified behavioral patterns.

It all starts with our personal vision or dream and to what extent we manage to live it. We can never fulfill a dream or a vision …

… without having one. Your dream or vision will lead you to many positive experiences and also bring meaning to life. What is your dream or vision? How aware are you of it?

When we and our organization define our Vision or dream we need to be aware of to what extent we are thinking and acting Outside-in. To get to an Outside-in, Five Aspects Vision we need to include others and the world around us. Reflections will help us get to our Vision.

After many years in contact with people in different types of organizations, Scandinavian Leadership and the people working with LOTS® have seen many examples of good Visions. We still face many self-centered Visions, though.

What is the Vision/dream of your organization where you work today? What Vision or dream would you like to contribute to? How much are you thinking and acting Outside-in? How many of your Five Aspects are alive and alert?

The more trouble we face in the world, the more we should promote that it all begins with an Outside-in, Five Aspects Vision or dream.

Here are a few examples of Outside-in, Five Aspects visions:

– People with diabetes live their lives as unrestricted as possible

– More and more people get access to clean air and water

– People are looking forward to growing old in our community

– A society where everyone is willing to pay their fair share

– A world where people eat, speak and laugh with confidence

– Every neonatal infant gets the best possible start in life

– Surrounded by green everyday for life, joy and inspiration

– A positive business climate for entrepreneurs

– Equipment users are safe, effective and efficient

– Together we create security

Share your Outside-in, Five Aspects Visions with us on Facebook and help us inspire others to join our path. Together we can make the world a bit better. Use the hashtag #wemakeourworldbetter

Feel better and make the world a better place for all of us