Saturday, June 19, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Determinedly outside the EU, still whaling, oil producing, buying foreign companies, and richer than the rest of the world. Put together.
Interesting article in The New York Times last week detailing the eye-opening, eyebrow-raising (for Americans at least) Swedish policy when it comes to paternity leave - 390 paid days in total for both parents, but 2 months exclusively for fathers.
In the dog-eat-dog world of Anglo-Saxon business it is those with the loudest voice and the least social manners that generally get heard in the boardroom. In stark contrast the Nordic countries have a very different protocol for approaching business meetings:
Meetings are formally initiated and allocated a timekeeper/moderator based on democratic agreement. The speaker is then afforded the luxury of an uninterrupted presentation.
Reminiscent of being back at school, all comments from the floor must be preceded by the raising of one’s hand. The moderator will note the name in their little book and allow the speaker to continue. Further hands may be raised and more notes scribbled. Only when the speaker is finished can the others make their point. All in correct order.
The problem here is that by the time everyone with their hand up has had their turn, the discussion has gone off on all sorts of tangents and no one can quite remember what the original point was. Still, no one seems to be that concerned and the meeting progresses neatly and ambiguously onwards.
What's the insight? For a successful meeting its not necessarily what is decided that is most important, it is more that everyone needs to have been able to contribute with their point of view in an orderly fashion.
It used to drive me mad, but now reminds me of a cute quote from a Swedish colleague “You have 2 ears and only 1 mouth. Use them proportionally”. If only every visiting foreigner understood the same. Audience silence does not equate to agreement, it just means they had no one to put their hand up to.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Of particular interest is the insight into how exposed the Nordic countries are to events outside their control: