Category Archives: Change

How to create positive and effective change at work and in life.

VIP Treatment

On Friday afternoon I had two presentations for two different groups of managers about 200 miles apart.

There was only one way I could possibly make both gigs. This is it:

Yep: A friggin’ helicopter.

I finished my presentation at a convention center in Odense at 4:45, took a taxi to a nearby field where the helicopter was waiting. I got on, and an hour later I was in Elsinore – just in time for my second gig.

Here I am on the chopper, just before takeoff:

In case you want to see more, here we are coming in to land in front of LO-Skolen in Elsinore:

I gotta tell ya – being dropped off at the second venue and the walking right in to start my presentation made me feel like a VIP. I could get used to this :o)

Why “Motivation by Pizza” Doesn’t Work


My store manager implemented an embarrassing (and happily short-lived) safety incentive: Employees caught violating safety procedure were immediately given a two-foot rubber chicken on a string to wear around their necks–in front of customers. To get rid of the chicken, an employee needed to catch another employee behaving “unsafely.”

The practice quickly descended into a game of hot potato, with employees chasing one another around the store in search of the slightest violation to rid themselves of the safety chicken.

Source:’s MyBadBoss contest.

Many people don’t feel motivated at work, and there’s a very simple explanation for this: The motivational techniques used by most managers don’t work.

While few companies use rubber chickens (fortunately), most of the standard motivational tools like promotions, bonuses, employee of the month awards, pep-talks and free-pizza-nights are downright harmful to the drive, energy and commitment of employees. It only leaves them feeling manipulated, cynical and demotivated.

The result: According to one Gallup study 60-80% of workers are not engaged at work. They feel little or no loyalty, passion or motivation on the job. They’re putting in the hours, but they’re not doing a great job and they’re certainly not happy at work!

As the illustration above shows, there are four different kinds of motivation. Only one of them works and unfortunately, many managers focus exclusively on the other three. Kinda silly, huh?

These are the four different kinds of motivation:
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Make change happen

Gabe recently asked:

What advice do you have for those who want to improve things and are consistently met with opposition?

I gave my answer here but then I thought: “Hey, let’s get an expert in on the conversation.”

I passed the question on to Ann Michael who blogs at She wrote an excellent answer in the comments to the post and expanded on it on her own blog. My favorite part is:

I know it’s an overused expression – but look for “low hanging fruit?. What are the relatively easy things (low or isolated implementation impact – e.g., things you or you and a buddy can do yourselves) that could have a noticeable positive impact on the business? That’s where you start (even if it’s not at the top of list for things YOU want to do first!). You need to gain credibility for your approach. Results speak louder than aspirations.

There are more great suggestions in the comments on Ann’s post.


This Saturday (May 20) I’ll be speaking on motivation at a wellness convention arranged by Scandinavia’s largest fitness chain SATS. You may not know this, but in my spare time I teach aerobics at two SATS gyms in Copenhagen. Yes, it’s true, I get paid to exercise :o)

The topic is “motivation to exercise”, but what I’ll say really applies to all aspects of life and not just to getting and staying physically fit.

Attending the wellness convention is free, so if you’re in Aarhus on saturday swing by Turbinehallen (the venue) – my presentation is from 2-3 PM. All the practical details can be found here.

The Wonderful Girlfriend works outAnd speaking of wellness, the wonderful girlfriend and I just started a blog about wellness. She is also a part-time aerobics instructor, and it dawned on us that between us we know a lot about exercise, good eating, yoga, mental wellness, fun and just plain enjoying life. That’s what we’ll be writing about – check it out.

Hey: Wellness at work! That might be an interesting topic!

Conversations / samtalerne – May 31

The Cluetrain Manifesto reminds us that:

  • Markets are conversations.
  • The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
  • Companies that don’t realize their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity.

Since the manifesto was published in 1999, we have seen the rise of weblogs, discussion groups, wiki sites, chat rooms, podcasts and social networking sites, just to mention a few technologies currently enabling conversations.

But how are businesses harnessing conversations?

As part of the Reboot conference, there will be an excellent 1-day event in Copenhagen on May 31st called Samtalerne (the conversations). I will most definitely be there, and so will

  • Doc searls (co-author of the Cluetrain manifesto)
  • Robert Scoble who blogs for Microsoft
  • Euan Semple who introduced net conversations to the BBC
  • Anette Hartvig, CEO of Aarstiderne who renamed their customer service department “Conversations”

as well as many other very interesting people. Should make for some great… conversations :o)