How Can You Increase Your Influence in Society?

The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority (Kenneth Blanchard)

The best leaders of the 21st century are those who are active, constantly evolving, focusing increasingly much upon influence and empowerment rather than upon authority, leading through example, learning from their mistakes (and making mistakes in the first place), accepting mistakes and the learning process followed by the allowance of making mistakes, emotionally intelligent, humane, close to nature, and ready to throw themselves into creativity, seeing endless possibilities through action-oriented learning and development, be it in themselves, or in other individuals.

Never underestimate the influence you have upon others, and thus, on society around you, regardless of your background or current professional title. 

How can you influence people, and change society, then?

Influence begins with your daily activities, the choices you make in your daily life, and about your future. Influential people do not always even recognize their personal influence, but even the slightest spark you as an individual are capable of creating in another individual may lead to significant development, and changes in society. The results are not always immediate, but be aware of the fact that your inner fire will be reflected upon everyone in your society, and thus lead to significant improvements in society, or to decreased satisfaction among people surrounding you. We all have our personal life paths that have influenced the people we have become, and all our current and future actions will definitely lead to, and have an impact upon how society around us will develop now, and in the future.

How then, as an individual, can you make a difference and influence people and society around you???

  • Be prepared and willing to engage in long-term work, personal development and continuous learning.

The first rule of becoming a true developer and change-maker in society is to embrace personal learning, development, and humility. Always be open to engaging in dialogue, listening to people, and learning from real life and through experiences.  True maturity emerges from the ability to stay open-minded, curious, and tolerant together with the willingness to grow as a spiritual being and as an individual.

  • Do not expect quick results.

Humanitarian and influential work requires more than you think. Be prepared to engage in work and make efforts that become visible only in X years from this moment, rather than focusing upon getting short-term results in three months. Of course, short-term work is significant as well, but real influence starts with the ability to create lasting, long-term changes in individuals and in society.

  • Be honest, authentic, and true to you.

True leadership and influence begins with the ability or remaining true to yourself, your authentic individuality, and in how you would like to see society around you. It is not always easy to close your ears and other senses, but authenticity requires for you to be capable of envisioning the current state and a future you would like to envision before being capable of creating it in reality. Always keep your ears open when listening to others, but also remember that your purpose in society is not in accepting everything as it is, the status quo, but rather in reshaping and redefining the future you want for yourself, and for the people around you.

  • Stop dreaming and start acting.

No one will ask you, so you will have to take action yourself. Do not expect anyone to lead you on the way. Instead, get active and start living in a way that reflects who you truly are, and how you would like to see society evolve around you.

  • Drop your professional title.

Professional titles are not an entitlement, nor a guarantee about the quality of the work you do. Very often people have beautiful titles, but look deeper into what is included in their job title. Do they live up to the expectations of their job title, or are they merely “products of their environments”, governed and controlled by their employer?

  • Meditate, sleep well, and relax.

Influence requires a peaceful mind, so be prepared to cut unnecessary activities and people from your direct personal life, and instead focus upon activities that bring you joy, make you feel empowered, and that offer your personal development activities. Leaders have a tendency of overworking themselves, so please remember to learn to say no as well, and to get the rest and recuperation that you truly need, and deserve.

  • Set your goals high, always expect more from yourself than from people around you, but also remember to forgive yourself and not to be too demanding upon the expectations you demand from yourself, or from other people.

We all wish to accomplish certain things in our lives, but remember to remain humane, and never expect other people to accomplish something that you would not be capable of achieving personally. I have always wondered how certain people are capable of expecting things they would never be capable of achieving themselves. True leaders know the way, show the way, and remain humane in the process of setting an example and in leading the way. True influencers and leaders do not only set an example, but are also capable of living up to the expectations.



What is Your Purpose and Responsibility in Society?

We Are All Actors. Being a Citizen is Not Living in a Society. It is changing it. (Augusto Boal)

What kind of country do you live in? Are you living in a developing economy, or in a welfare state? Or, in a transitory state? Or, in a failed state? If in a failed state, you are most probably not even capable of reading this post, since a failed state is a) either in some sort of crisis (e.g. war) or b) not allowing its citizens to surf the Internet, or even participate in social networking, and social networking/professional business sites, such as LinkedIn.

Market fundamentalism is out, as is belief in comprehensive state interventionism. (Gylfason & al. Nordics in Global Crisis. Vulnerability and resilience. 2010. 20.)

Whichever kind of state you are living in, it is worthwhile noticing that your state, including its governance and legal aspects, have a major influence upon the economic development, and possibilities, for the country´s citizens. Many citizens in countries, feeling non-empowered, believe they have no influence upon their surroundings. This, however non-empowering it may sound, is a false belief. Every citizen has a voice, and the possibility of influencing the economic, and thus societal, developments in their country.

In Welfare States, including Finland (situated in Northern Europe) the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008, often compared to the Great Slump of the 1930s (or even worse), and the economic events of the past years, together with the current economic situation both on micro and macro levels, intertwined with estimates and forecasts for the future have certainly given many, not only economists, but in general citizens of the world food for thought.

Milton Friedman about Welfare State Dynamics

Many countries have been hit hard by the crisis, and have not yet recovered – including several small, open economies, vulnerable to, and severely affected by, global developments. However, some of the shocks were internally created, leaving some of the responsibility of “cleaning up the mess” to domestic institutions, and policies. (Gylfason & al. Nordics in Global Crisis. Vulnerability and resilience. 2010. 21).

Coe, N., Kelly, P., and Yeung H.W.C. Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction. 2007, have discussed the role of different kinds of states and firms in economy, with a purpose to pinpoint how these, together with supra-national institutions, shape economic processes. The discussion about the changing role of the state in an era of globalization, together with the demonstration of why geographical scales matter when re-configuring a state, is also of out most relevance.

A state has several functions:

– A state is the guarantor and institution of economic activities dealing with financial crisis, guaranteeing national economic instruments, securing international economic treaties, property rights and the rule of the law.

– A state is the regulator of economic activities such as market regulation, and the regulation of economic flows.

– A state is the architect of the national economy, including trade policies, strategic industrial policies, attracting FDI (foreign direct investment), and regional development policies.

– A state is an owner of public enterprises.

– A state is the provider of public goods and services, such as infrastructure, healthcare, transport, and education.

– A state has also political-economic influence upon mergers and acquisitions, through regulatory control.

– On a geographical scale, a state plays a role on international, macro-regional, intra-national, and local levels.

The vast amount of different types of states existing today is divided into:

– Neoliberal states (North America, Western Europe, and Australasia).

– Developmental states (Asia and South America).

– Transitional states (Eastern Europe, Russia, China, Southeast Asia).

– Welfare states (Nordic countries and some European countries).

– Weak and Dependent states and

– Failed states

In a reconfiguration of the state, following can be taken into consideration:

– A State is a dynamic set of institutions.

– The nation-state is a dynamic entity capable of self-transformation

– Rise of corporate power and global finance

– A nation-state is powerless in controlling inward and outward investments, or is it?

– The political-economic geographies, together with the mutually dependent relationship between state/firm

– The different power-relationships between states within the global economy

– The interaction between states/firms/markets.

– Nation-states shape profoundly the economic activity within and across their borders.

– The state itself is always implicated or involved in directing processes through conscious decisions.

– Nation-states remain critical institutions through which international, regional, and local economic issues are evaluated and acted upon.

– Economic governance on international and sub-national scales, upscale: international organizations such as UN, IMF, World Bank, and WTO, together with macro-regional groupings such as EU, APEC, NAFTA, ASEAN, NEPAD, SAARC, CARICOM, and MERCOSUR.

– Hollowing out the state = state functions taken over by public-private partnerships and private forms of regulation QUANGO = Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organizations

– Leading business media Beyond the State?

– State control is uneven in its operation and effectiveness

Traditional welfare states, such as Finland and Sweden, have not avoided the global crisis, the reasons for which include the level of openness, and the dependence on exports of investment goods. Both Finland and Sweden experienced an equally severe slump in the early 1990´s with the difference that it was at large homemade. Lessons learned from the 1990´s crisis include that early signs of financial fragility need to be taken seriously, and policy planning needs to base upon worst-case scenarios. The current crisis, still ongoing, includes problematic consequences: public finances have deteriorated, unemployment is high, and significant structural changes in the economy are taking place. (Gylfason & al. 2010. 21; 118).

Restoring public finances can be taken care of in many ways, as suggested by Gylfason & al. (2010. 28):

– Public consumption and transfer payments can be cut

– Composition of expenditure directed in a growth-friendly way

– Smooth flow and functioning of infrastructures, including communication

– Well-functioning education system and funding of research

– Broadening the tax base by raising the employment rate

– Changing the structure of taxation in a way that encourages economic growth, i.e. reduction of taxes on productive economic activity, corporate and labor taxes, and an increase in taxes on consumption, natural resources and real estate.

Due to globalization, the mutual interdependence between countries is stronger than ever, suggesting that there is a need for stronger international, and global, cooperation in areas including trade policy, financial regulation and supervision, macroeconomic policy and actions to prevent climate change. (Gylfason & al. 2010. 31).

However complex policies are, the maintenance of a welfare state, and economics, includes the following:

– A democratic system with equal rights and possibilities for all citizens

– A solid infrastructure in terms of access to services such as education, and healthcare

– A balanced economy, with little deficits

– A lucrative, innovative environment attracting FDI and sustainable economic growth

– A taxation policy attracting firms, which in turn create jobs and employ citizens

– A taxation policy that is attractive for all kinds of firms, including small enterprises 

These are measures that, in a welfare economy, are expected to be taken care of by the state, and therefore, through public policies. Firms, on the other hand, choose to operate and invest in markets capable of offering them attractive conditions, and an optimization of factors included in a PESTLE analysis.

However important the role of the state, or a nation, a state is always being constructed by its citizens. Citizens who have the possibility of influencing their direct and indirect surroundings, including their personal lives, their neighborhoods, the politics of their country and so forth. In fact, every single action, and every single effort made by an individual in a country, has direct and indirect impacts upon the developments in the nation in question.

Thus, your personal efforts, however small they may seem, always do have an impact upon the society you are living in. Never underestimate your capability of influencing, changing, and developing society and people around you, because often, small actions and improvements lead to giant leaps and changes in (economic) development.



Societal Development Methods

We have learned how to develop five-minute and even one-minute managers. But we would do better to ask ourselves what it takes to be an executive who helps build a better future. ( Continuous Improvement). 

Societies can be developed, changed, and improved in a number of ways. It is worth noticing that societies are always made up of people, who are the driving force behind all societal development, and who are in the center of creating a culture allowing for sustainable, economic growth to take place. Geography, and natural living conditions including climate/micro climate are factors that cannot be influenced by individuals, although recent development including the fact that geoengineering in fact does have an impact upon e.g. weather conditions and global warming, demonstrates that even geographical aspects can be influenced by man, often in a rather negative manner.

This article reflects upon Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing (now combined and known as Lean Six Sigma) and Kaizen, and upon how these methodologies of improvement can be implemented not only in businesses and organizations, but also in all kinds of societal contexts in order to bring order to “chaos”, the usage of these methodologies as tools in transformation processes with the purpose of changing, improving and developing environments and societies.

Lean Six Sigma and Kaizen, methodologies of continuous improvement designed for, and relying upon, collaborative team efforts, have the common goal of improving performance through removing waste. According to iSixSigma, the roots of Six Sigma go back to the 18th century, although Six Sigma as a trademark was registered, and the techniques developed, by Motorola in the late 20th century. Since then, Six Sigma has been successfully used in industries and sectors in order to improve quality, and in removing defects. Lean Manufacturing as a management philosophy centers on reducing everything that is not of value. In previous years, Lean Six Sigma has become a combined methodology using both lean manufacturing and Six Sigma. Kaizen (KAI = Change, ZEN = Good), is a Japanese practice of continuous improvement, involving everyone in the process where many small changes, when practiced by everyone regularly, eventually result in bigger, positive changes and improvements.

Illustration of core ideologies in Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing and Kaizen:


Diaz Otero ( Effectiveness of Aid to Developing Countries: How to Improve it with Diminishing Resources?) concern about efficiency and effectiveness has increased, foremost in developed countries. With major financial cuts in international aid assistance, IGO´s and NGO´s need to improve their systems and increase effectivity. Furthermore, according to Diaz Otero, Lean Six Sigma can lead to better results even in transformation projects, and in improving people´s lives in developing countries.

As an example, in Zambia, economic and social progress has been made possible through implementing Kaizen. The Government of Zambia, in cooperation with the Japanese Government, successfully imported and facilitated the Kaizen management model both in the private and public sectors in Zambia, leading to benefits in both production levels and in the quality of products. Through implementation of Kaizen, Zambia managed to rise from being a country of low-income status into the lower margins of middle-income. ( Zambia innovating its way out of poverty with the Kaizen management model).

World Vision, a global non-governmental organization established by American evangelist Bob Pierce to help children orphaned in the Korean War in 1950, has expanded and today includes community development, disaster preparation/ response, and advocacy for the poor. Transformation development programs are today implemented in almost 100 countries worldwide. World Vision, today run by business professionals, strives to integrate the best business methods in line with the organization´s values. The organization has successfully applied Kaizen, Lean and Six Sigma methodologies in East Africa. (Parris, A. 2013. Improving processes for good in East Africa).

Examples, experiences and results indicate that Kaizen, Lean and Six Sigma (or a combination of these), are methodologies leading to improvements when correctly applied and integrated into an organization or society. Applied and used by different industries, and sectors, the methodologies can be useful in many ways.

But: Are these methodologies applicable in any kind of cultural setting, and if, how can they best be integrated into societies and organizations worldwide in an effort to, and when striving for, less bureaucracy, better results, less waste, and when improving lives: in other words, when reducing factors that lead to e.g. poverty?

Certain is that people are always the driving force behind short-term, and long-term development in a society. In every state, PESTLE (Political, Economical, Sociological, Technological, Legal, and Environmental) factors have direct influence upon how the most important asset of a nation, its people, can develop, change, and improve the society it is living in (and surrounded by).

Below a video which discusses the Problems of Societal Development from the perspective of managing complexity in modern societal-systems. In essence, according to Center of Systematic Peace, the density of communication and exchange among the members of a group add resilience and persistence to the form of a social group. Furthermore, positive group dynamics include socialization and conflict management functions.

Thank you for reading, reflecting, commenting, and considering the actions your business/organization can take to improve society.


How Can You Expand & and Express Your Creativity?

You cannot use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. (Maya Angelou)

Creativity is one of the most sought after commodity not only in business today, but also in employees. Yet, a major part of organizations fail to draw out, or inspire their employees to their fullest potential within the context of creativity. The reasons behind this vary, starting from the fact that tantalizing creativity requires actions that stretch far beyond from simply fulfilling basic human needs through employment, such as generating a secure income in order to pay for essential living costs. Many creative individuals also do value independence, freedom of expression and creativity, a possibility to live out their passions higher than just receiving a steady paycheck month in, and month out. Unfortunately, many organizational roles today leave only little, if any, space for creative expression and development.

There are many forms of creativity, not limited to traditional creative professions such as acting, music, poetry, creative art, and teaching among many other creative professions. The technological advancement has made it easier for individuals, and organizations, to express their creativity in a number of ways. Various online media and social networks are a good example of how creativity can be, and has been, made possible, accessible, and more easily expressed to majority of individuals.

How can you tap into, live out, and express, your personal creativity? As it comes to creation, and creativity, there are no simple rules or guidelines to live by, but creativity does require:

– The capability of working alone. However social human beings are, the majority of truly creative stars in history and contemporary are well-known for their capability of tireless work, often in solitude. Perhaps the most well-known example of tireless self-belief and exhaustive work in solitude is Albert Einstein who spent years working upon his relativity theory before making it public. It may be worthwhile to learn more about Albert Einstein Method.

– The need of overcoming fears, restrictions, and being willing to go the extra mile in order to reach your full potential as an evolving individual. Human beings are constantly learning, and developing, at least as long as we allow ourselves to expand and grow spiritually (in addition to developing physically). It takes courage to believe in oneself, no matter what other people may think or whatever kind of feedback one receives for creative work. Be willing to listen to, and take feedback, but also keep in mind that you are the master of your creativity, and in creative expression there are no limits, or rights or wrongs, as long as your work is morally correct, and ethical.

– Do not limit yourself. Creativity may sometimes require extravagant action/behavior. Study and learn more about creative geniuses in history and in contemporary, individuals such as Pablo Picasso and Lady Gaga, who have taken risks and lived out their extravagant characteristics. Do not other people limit you either, as long as you keep within legal frameworks, and perhaps cultural acceptance?

– Detox your life, meditate, work upon activating your pineal gland, listen to, and follow your intuition.

Listen, and watch the following video where David Kelley speaks about how to build your creative confidence:

Spend time with people, and surround yourself with people who accept and tolerate your creativity. If possible, get rid of circumstances and people who restrict you expressing, and living, your creative potential.

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. (Joseph Chichon Pearce)

Being creative is not a hobby – it is a way of life. 

Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination (creativity) will take you anywhere. 

The creative adult is the child who survived. 

Creativity is contagious. Pass it on. 

Creativity changes the world. Use your creativity for the benefit of humanity, and the Universe. 

Every person is creative. Discovering that becomes the challenge. Nurture your creativity today! 

Life is a great big canvas, throw all the paint you can on it (Danny Kaye)

Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play (Henri Matisse)

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation (Herman Melville) 

Listen to and watch another excellent video about creativity: 

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius: 

Thank you for reading, commenting, and learning.