Last week I gave one talk in Oslo for Boots, then on to Tallinn, Estonia where I gave two talks for leaders. The talk in Oslo was with musicians (Tore Brunborg, Jan Gunnar Hoff and Audun Erlien), whereas the first talk in Tallinn was for a group of 200 contacts of the Norwegian Estonian Chamber of Commerce. There I spoke alone and the theme was how to influence when you are out of control. I used personal stories from my life to highlight our amazing ability to adapt and to transfer learning from one situation to another.
In the second performance, at a leadership conference for clients of Danske Bank, I spoke about how jazz musicians create presence. My message here is that the scarce resource in any team is not necessarily time, but rather attention. It is very hard to squeeze efficiencies out of a group of experts interacting with complexity real time, yet it is possible to reduce the waste of attention. A lot of attention dissapears from a conversation if a) we are asked to do things for which we are ill equipped, b) are given too litte/much time to do a task, c) if we don´t trust others or ourselves, d) if we try to evaluate, e) if we try to do routine work on the side (like checking emails, answering texts etc), or if we are unmotivated or too motivated. I had with me Bendik Hofseth (sax), Mart Soo (a brilliant local guitarist from Talinn with whom we had never played before we met at the sound-check) and Audun Erlien (bass).
Yesterday, back in Oslo, I played at a local jazz club with Bendik Hofseth, Georg “Jojje” Wadenius, Audun Erlien and Sidiki Camara. Tomorrow I am running a training session for a group of ten experts from different companies.
Today I also went to Samtidsmuseet in Oslo (Norwegian Museum of Modern Art) to check up on the progress with my mother´s exhibition (my mother, a self taught artist, Sidsel Paaske, died in 1980 at age 43 and left behind a large body of art which is not being exhibited at NMOMA). Lately I have been thinking about how everything that happens in real time becomes part of the context in which we try to create some kind of value. This is the essence in both art and in business. This means that in order to create value we need to pay attention. This is where the whole concept of listening comes into play.
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom.
I really like the grouping attention, awareness, discipline.