Dare you ask yourself how much you've trained these past years?

Welcome to our indian summer newsletter!

We think we have hit our frequency with about 3-4 newsletters per year. It seems a reasonable frequency for more detailed updates and at the same time we don’t feel like we are spamming you. Thank you all for feedback, greetings and input on the first couple of editions. We always enjoy hearing from all of you, regardless of if it is praise, a quick hello or suggestions for improvements. And if for some reason you’ve decided this is not for you, reply “unsubscribe” and we will remove you from the list of receivers immediately.

As we are writing these words we are getting ready for a major assignment: training 200 leaders over an intense period of four weeks. Our new associate partners, Marianne Egelund Siig and Glenn Jacobsen will provide invaluable assistance in making sure we deliver on this amazing task. In a time where many companies seem to be saving on leadership training, this company realizes the importance of investing in leaders as the driver for change. We are in awe with their priorities. More on this exciting project in the next newsletter.

Top tip: How much did you train your leadership - or are you relying on practice and a born with it gift?

The project above made us consider an interesting point. Name any top-performer: Sports, business, academia, anyone? How many hours of training do you think this person did within this particular field?

Yet somehow, we often tend to refer to leadership as a gift, a talent, a skill which you either have or you don’t. As any sports coach will tell you, talent alone only gets you about 10-15% of the way – the rest is training and practice. Think of Tiger Woods or Caroline Wozniaki. Do you think they just learned the basics and worked from there, leaning by mistakes the hard way?

As leaders we need to take our own training in the craft of leadership as seriously as we take the training in professional skills our business is based on. A lawyer has to update her/his knowledge every year, yet has no requirement for mandatory leadership training, even if s(he) is a business owner or partner of a major law firm. A scientist leading a research department has to keep up to date with recent development in his/her field, yet often ignores or dismisses the mere idea of wasting time on leadership training. Yet as leaders we have more influence on the world through our leadership than through our professional skills.

Our top tip for you as a leader is therefore to see your leadership responsibility as a skill that requires training, preferably annually. Of course working with us through one of our tailored programs would be marvelous, however that is not the point. Read a few books, get a coach or a mentor, join an online course, or whichever model suits your life and your work. Just don’t lean back, assuming that the Management 101 course you did 15 years ago still keeps you afloat.

Treat your leadership as a craft that should be cultivated and developed annually. And you will keep getting better at what you do, creating impressive results for your team as well as yourself.

Expanding Fire & Shield

If you missed the update on LinkedIn, we were fortunate enough to attract Marianne Egelund Siig and Glenn Jacobsen as our new associate partners, and Sofie Bæk as our new Junior Consultant.

Both Marianne and Glenn are senior professionals, seasoned practitioners and independent leadership consultants. We are very proud to have them as part of our team, whereas Sofie brings youth, just-do-it and vigor to the team. All of them are of course excellent company, inspiring and insightful people just to be around. You may meet them on some of our next projects with you, and we feel certain, you will agree on this. As extra bonus, Marianne also brings in experience with diversity strategies and training, fighting unconscious biases. This has never been more important than now, in a time where organizations compete for talent in a global world. How do we attract the best, and how do we as leaders ensure that our pre-programming doesn’t prevent us from making people thrive and perform at their best?

Glenn, on the other hand, having been in this game of coaching and developing leaders longer than the rest of us, brings training experience, coaching and a passion for personal branding to the team. His recent book on personal branding is an interesting and inspiring read.

Change Leadership

One of our customers, a large pharmaceutical company, is undergoing a transition in the way IT Systems are governed. About a year ago they decided to move IT System Management into a more centralized context, thus taking the management, governance and compliance approach to handling IT systems to the next level.

​We are very proud that we were part of the process, and the results of their work are already showing. Instead of the traditional project management course, we designed a special 4-module course on change processes & change leadership for all IT Systems Managers. The 2,5 hr modules were planned according to the participants schedule and the program was developed and adjusted to match their needs and the challenges faced in this process. It just highlighted a point we have made earlier – how we don’t make bad leaders good, but good leaders better.

Happy exit at Presidents Institute

Last newsletter we shared how Johnny has been on an interim leadership assignment as Interim CEO of Presidents Institute.

The project was hugely successful and Johnny has now passed the baton on to the owners and the local CEO’s. It is always mixed emotions when a project ends because although it was never meant to be permanent, he always gets deeply involved in the products, the people and the processes. Hopefully we will get a chance to work with some of the many great people we’ve met there again.

​Academy of Management - ​Responsible Leadership Conference

Fire & Shield has never been intended as only a consultancy but has always been about spreading the word of great leadership and the difference it makes. Therefore, we are very proud to have a paper on the Fire & Shield Methodology accepted at Academy of Management’s conference on Responsible Leadership this October. Academy of Management is It will be our first presentation the methodology we developed ourselves 12 years ago at an international conference for academic professionals and executives alike.​

Book news

Those of you who have been on this newsletter from the start know how proud we were about publishing the Danish version of Fire & Shield last fall, and how happy we have been with the great reviews and feedback it has gotten. The book is still available on Saxo.com and other online bookstores, but our publisher, Varius Business’s parent company, Polyteknisk Forlag, has recently decided to re-focus on books for teaching and stop working with books in the field of Business. We saw this coming, and the book is still available on Saxo.com and other online bookstores, but part of our 2020 agenda will be finding a new publisher for Fire & Shield, as well as our future books.

Leadership tip: Get there faster by going slower

‘In a world of buzz and busyness it seems the pace keeps going up. Faster, faster, faster seems to be the spiral, and often we meet leaders who are so paced that they find it hard to do something as “easy” as true relaxation. In all honesty, sometimes we get close to that point ourselves. The trick however is to slow down your pace. Relaxation is our natural state – fight or flight is just designed for occasional use – and if you find it hard to relax, set a clock for 10 or 15 minutes, lie down with your eyes closed and do nothing. Don’t worry if your head spins, just focus on your breath. Put on your favorite music and just lie there. And then go back to whatever you were doing, knowing that your increased focus and efficiency will more than make up for the relaxation time.

Just try to type a text message at full speed and see how many mistakes you make. Then try to write the same message at half your normal pace and see how much faster you finish it, simply because you don’t make so many typing errors. In the immortal words of Alain Prost: “When I look fast, I’m not smooth and I am going slowly. And when I look slow, I am smooth and going fast.”

​Happy late summer and autumn to all of you.


Kind Regards​

Elize & Johnny