We have visited LOTS® founder Hans Akerblom to talk to him about LOTS® 19.0 and the new book that is currently in the making. It is one week after midsummer in Sweden, the days are long and the evenings add a golden glow to the view of the waters near the house. With many of his family to visit it has been a hectic and eventful week, but Hans Akerblom is looking quite relaxed.
With his new version of LOTS® and the book he is looking forward to helping leaders in todays’ world full of stress and hectic to learn the process of LOTS® faster than before and to find the time to apply LOTS® in their everyday work.
– We are making the process even more efficient with fewer steps and simplified questions, he explains. Less steps and simplified questions will shorten the time needed to to reflect through an issue.
LOTS® has, since it was first developed in 1973, regularly been updated and this version will be 19.0. The book about LOTS® will be part of the material for every Lotscoach®, together with the manual and reflections tools. Also the manual and the reflection tools are being renewed and edited. You will soon be able to read more about this here at the blog.
With what am I then rewarded when I read this book? I ask Hans Akerblom. He thinks for a moment and concludes:
– There are two reasons to read this book. One is that you will learn about a way of seeing things that consists of two parts. One is to think Outside-in and Inside-out in balance over time. The other part is the Five Aspects where we can learn more about ourselves and others to facilitate the releasing of our potential and to help the organization reach better results in a more fun and efficient way. The other reason to read this book is that it will give you a practical tool for your own reflections or reflections with others.
Newton might have been inspired by a falling apple as he came up with the theory about gravitation. I am more likely to find inspiration for new ideas whilst watching a falling pine cone during one of my daily walks in the forest. Archimedes, the Ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer is said to have come up with the principles of density and buoyancy whilst having a bath. According to the legend he jumped out of the bath and ran down the road yelling Eureka (“I have found it”).
However, Netwon, Archimedes and I are not the only one’s to have our “Eureka moments” of sudden inspiration outside of the office. There are many legends and true stories about brilliant ideas that were created when least expected.
The author of the successful children’s books about Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, got her idea while on a crowded train. A poster in an antique shop inspired John Lennon to write “Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite!” and the director/writer Woody Allen has said that he takes showers for inspiration. “In the shower, with the hot water coming down, you’ve left the real world behind, and very frequently things open up for you”, he once said in an interview with Esquire. It’s the change of venue, the unblocking the attempt to force the ideas that’s crippling you when you’re trying to write.”
The Swedes Christian Wiklund and Niklas Lindström founded Skout in 2007. The social network for the mobile web was no instant success, but the two did not give up and after a slight change of direction the company now has millions of users daily. This change was an Eureka moment for Christian and his team as he explains: “We were building a mobile social network for you and your friends. After we analyzed how people actually used Skout it became clear to us that our community had no interest in connecting with their friends, but had a deep desire to meet new people on the network. That changed the entire company to what it is today”. 500 millions new connections were formed on Skout in 2014. “New ideas usually come when I am surrounded by my brilliant colleagues and that can be in the office, at a team building event, lunch, dinner, etc. Many ideas and epiphanies also come when we are looking at data, or talking to customers”, Christian says.
In addition to daily brainstorming sessions the team at Skout sometimes setup one or two days of deep dive into particular topics. Ideas are discussed and next steps for the best ideas are planned.
The daily walks and brainstorming might be explained with the neuropsychological effects that exercise has on the brain, endorphins and all that. It could also be that we need to get out of context for our brains to be able to process all the information it carries in peace and quiet. The complexity of things can finally be structured and take form when our focus is elsewhere.
The American author Steven Johnson has studied this matter further and comes up with some very good points on where good ideas come from in this video. It turns out a closer look at the scientist Charles Darwin’s diary can reveal some clues on the matter.
Now, although we need that great idea to start or excel our business, great ideas alone do not create success. Any successful business also needs relentless dedication, personal passion and simply lots of hard work.
Christian Wiklund says timing (luck) in combination with persistence and determination are to thank for his success. “And, I have been fortunate to find true passion in my work. I love every day of work”, he adds.
“LOTS® has provided me with a deeper understanding of all parts of building and operating a business — and all its complexities — through multiple aspects”, Christian Wiklund concludes. LOTS® helps him stay focused and aware of how to interpret different events and signals.
We would like to hear where you came up with your best ideas. Do you have a special place to find inspiration?
It is so difficult to find the balance between what is good for everyone and what is good for myself
We may agree that we are all part of the whole. It is a matter of how we see our own life. We may, on the one hand, see that we are all interdependent and that we are all part of the whole. We may also see ourselves as individuals trying to maximize our own individual outcome. This will, of course, change from day to day. We are always being challenged by changing circumstances. How we respond to the change will lead to either Ego traps or to being here and now and experiencing the strengths of belonging. Intellectually we all understand this.
We react according to our environment and the people around us. What happens within when we have supporting people surrounding us and what happens when we are surrounded by critical people? Supporting people make us feel connected and give us a sense of belonging. Critical people can make us react defensively and excluding.
Some of us are very emotional and we live our lives as a yo-yo. These people go from happiness to sorrow in seconds. Others are more mental and do not allow the surroundings to influence our emotional reactions. As we grow into adulthood we may need to take on a leadership role, perhaps as a parent or as a manager at work. How do we then cope with our emotions?
Projections and/or taking responsibility
When we feel okay and enjoy life we are generous to those around us. When we feel out of balance we get stressed and try different ways to blame our problems on others. Sometimes this is true and sometimes not. How aware are we about our projections onto others and how relevant are they? What role do I myself play in this “game”? The easiest way might be to blame my own shortcomings on others? The most difficult thing is to reflect on my own behavior and its’ consequences for my surroundings. How did I get into this situation and how much of this is my responsibility?
What can we do?
The first thing we can do is to reflect upon how we are contributing to the whole as a member of our team. Our team may be our family, friends and those in our work place. In what way did you contribute to our team today?
Let us reflect upon the constructive or destructive contribution you gave your team lately:
– What did you say or what did you do?
– How constructive was it?
– How much were a team member and how much did you act out of your own Ego trap to better your own situation at a cost of the team?
“The real reason for investing in our space programs was to make it possible to see ourselves from the outside leading to a cognitive shift allowing us to enjoy who we are and make good decisions for the future.”
Founder of LOTS®
CEO of Scandinavian Leadership
Today, the 1st of May, is in many countries celebrated as the International Workers’ Day. In 1889 the date was selected by the French organization Second International as the date for International Workers’ Day as a celebration of the laborers and working classes.
We would like to observe this day by recommending these 11 tips for being happier at work from Startup Collective.
Share with us what you do to make your workplace a happier place to be!
The future is always subjective
We need to remind ourselves of how we create our private and professional life through our positive and negative self-fulfilling prophecies including projecting our own disowned selves onto others. (Our disowned selves are that part of ourselves that we do not wish to recognize.)
We can change our private and professional life if we want to. The future is always subjective and that is why it can be changed. We can create new and more rewarding private and professional self-fulfilling prophecies. It is possible, however, it is not necessarily easy. We are being influenced by our past, our present and our beliefs about the future. Our self-fulfilling prophecies are deeply rooted within us, so where do we start if we want to change?
Where have my self-fulfilling prophecies taken me up to now?
If the future is always subjective it goes without saying that each one of us have to answer this question and reflect upon whether we want to change or not. If we want to change we can start an individual private and/or professional change process that can take us to the next step in life and at work.
We have to take into account, though, that my country, culture, religion, parents, school teachers, colleagues and more have led to my positive and negative self-fulfilling prophecies of today. It will most likely help us to understand why we are where we are before we take actions for change.
If we want to change we need to bring to the surface a provocation to the way things are in our world. This antithesis will challenge our thesis (the way we think our world is) or our self-fulfilling prophesy. What is then my antithesis if I really want to change and develop? Once we have found our antithesis to challenge our thesis, we will work toward a synthesis of these competing ideas. We need to repeat it 100 times every day as the thesis or self-fulfilling prophecies are so deeply rooted within ourselves.
Take a few minutes for reflection.
– Which positive and negative self- fulfilling prophecies do you have/have you had?
– Where have they taken you?
– What would you like to change?
– What new antithesis and thereby synthesis would you like to see in your life?
– What are your new self-fulfilling prophecies?
I know it will be easy for us to integrate our new self-fulfilling prophecies in our private and professional life. (If we said something else it would become a negative self-fulfilling prophesy.)
Finally a question to you who have just read this reflection letter: ”What positive or negative self-fulfilling prophesy steered your reading and reflections?”
Creator of LOTS®, founder of Scandinavian Leadership, Hans Akerblom has held CEO and board member positions in several companies bringing innovations to the market internationally. Hans Akerblom’s interest in leadership was established early in his career. After his studies at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, he was appointed to develop and lead Pharmacia Ophthalmics, a company whose products and approach helped revolutionize eye surgery in the world. People with cataracts got their vision back in surgery made safer and easier with Healon® and with the help of an intraocular lens. The success of the business was also due to the use of the business development process and tool called LOTS®, which was used to plan, implement and follow-up the business.
With many years of experience and the insights which he gained as a facilitator with various management teams and organizations, he realized that the quality of the decisions taken by management teams to a great extent depended on the consciousness level of every member of the team. The balance between thinking and acting Outside-in and Inside-out is a constant challenge for us not only as human beings but also as leaders and co-workers in an organization. By being conscious about how we, ourselves, function it becomes easier to make the right decisions. LOTS® is today a successful tool for leader, team and business or organization development in many types of companies and organizations.
Hans Akerblom created LOTS® in the early seventies and has, over the years, continued to develop the process and tool. With its holistic view and structure, LOTS® guides reflections towards increased focus and success. Today Scandinavian Leadership is working on the 19th edition of LOTS®. Hans Akerblom continues to lecture at universities and other forums, facilitate with management teams and work with leaders in their development.