Behind the mask

Behind the mask of leadership - who am I - why should You stay ?

Before digging into all kinds of subjects, let me start with moving aside the mask of a leadership consultant for a moment. Hopefully some of you will want to stay afterwards.   

Why these news posts ?

The main motivation for this is to give you something you may find useful, to reach more people, to build new relations,  and to expand my social network with people having some kind of affinity. Some of you may become collaboration partners, suppliers, potential customers, or again connect with each other through me. Business wouldn’t survive without people reaching out, mine neither.

This concerns us all:

The world is undergoing substantial changes:  climate changes, a flood of refugees and migrants, painfully brutal work markets, markets and organisations of all kinds coping to restructure and to survive.  This again causes increasing health issues for many.  Some causes may be found in unsustainable consumption patterns, country regimes, suboptimal collaboration, and organisations lost as to which way to choose now.

None of your business?  I think it is.  I think it is the business of global organisations like the UN and WEF, governments and other public offices, NGOs as well as private companies of all sizes. It is everyones business.  Somewhere along the road a wrong path or wrong decisions were chosen, now we should know better and need to collaborate to find a better path forward, which doesn’t jeopardise our livelihood.    

I have sensed something coming since before 2000, and endured negative repercutions in my former work over many years, companies and client industries.  We all have mental defense mechanisms and coping strategies guiding our beliefs and actions, we could remain comfortably numb.  

Or we can act responsibly – world organisations and world leaders have already called us to action:  All hands on deck !  To gain momentum we need to rally forces and ensure we have the best leaders at all levels and areas !

I certainly do not have all  the answers, but rather see my part in this to be one of many helping leaders evolve themselves to be more conscious and effective so as to ensure a more long-term sustainable future for their organisations, be it public, NGOs or private businesses of all sizes.

Why now?

There are many poems and songs about ‘who am I’.  I chose a quote from the Norwegian priest, speaker and entertainer who died some months ago.  He doesn’t talk about who You are but rather tells You how to handle others reactions when You do actually show them.   Role models can be found in the strangest places, a business acquaintance recently boldly showed us who she was and urged us to clarify our WHY.  I totally agree and find it important to honour her call to action:  I’m following up on Your call to action Becky !

So- who am I, behind the mask?

Born in Oslo a Norwegian Lutheran, I grew up in Belgium, in a mixture of international expatriate upper middle class, Flemish rural and French-speaking catholic convent schools communities, besides our family accompanying my father on is yearly business travels to Turkey.   13 years of all-girls humaniora schools were then followed by nearly-all-boys engineering studies in the remote Trondheim with its Norwegian institute of Technology.  Followed some good years of political activism, bridge playing, music- and speech-technology in a carefree student life.  My career took me to Turkey, Germany, USA and Belgium before we ended back in Norway.  For 21 years I worked in large IT companies providing global customers with all kind of business supporting IT systems, mainly international ones.  My various consultant and leader roles encompassed the whole system cycle with the red thread being development of systems, people and organisations to support the systems and our customers.

Interesting – a lot of fun - many good results - Life was quite good.       

Turning point

The turning point came upon me as an earthquake, with its presages and aftershocks.  Around me, people’s seemingly successful facades started to crumble and fall apart.  The market was slowly but drastically changing.  Power games, intrigues and rather unhealthy defense mechanisms made their impact on organisations, on other people and on me.

My cry out was basically about ‘frustration, not being heard, lack of space, feeling confined by other’s fears, suffocating monotony and meaninglessness’.  At ground zero my world fell completely apart, not a dream remained and hope was extremely hard to find, everything turned black.  Life was black and bloody hell.

So, what do You when the light is turned off?  Continue like before or do some changes?  Take responsibility or leave it to others?  How do You build up a life from ruins?  Where do You turn?

My experience is that it takes trust, time, patience, perseverance, at least one good supporter, and relevant knowledge.  Life is slow. 

Moving forwards

The path I decided to follow is one of a meaningful happy life, using my broad experience and competencies to contribute to lift others and to leave a legacy.  I see my role as that of a serving leader, sparring partner or supporter.  I believe in the future, that we together are more than the sum of each individual, and that we together can accomplish something good.  Life has a direction. 

And then ?

I spent several years:

-      Clarifying my values and purpose, taking a more grateful and humble stance towards our planet and its cohabitants

-      Digging into the psychology of our common human realms, starting with myself and aiming in as far as possible to understand others: What drives our actions and attitudes? How can we gain some control over the submerged parts of the iceberg of our beings? How can we reach our goals in a more agreeable way for all?  

-      Digging into renown scientific research and other experiences to build up the most powerful leadership tool case

-      Looking for ways to help leaders becoming more conscious and more effective in their actions and collaboration

-      Started building new relations with reflected, kind and energizing people

In collaboration with great people, I am now running a leadership development program, developing its online counterpart, participating in and leading boards, mentoring entrepreneurs and students, participating in the development of knowledge centers.  I have also returned to political activities and responsibilities. And played around with some IT systems ! This work is sustainable and profitable for my own life and business as well. I’m basically using my own medicine for myself, my company and to support those people willing to think bigger for themselves and for their organisations. Life is good and full of hope. 

What about You, where do You want to go? What do You need in Your life? What could we achieve together?

You are welcome to join my free members only inspiration forum to share thoughts and ideas !

Friendly Yours,

Lise Strand Bjarkli

Managing director - alive


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