Background

What do winning the next season in Formula 1, creating the success- ful Netflix TV-series “The Killing”, coaching the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series and leading a business through digital disruption have in common?

A lot according to Dreams and Details. They all require leadership to solve the most challenging dilemma in business: How do you reinvent an organization from a position of strength.

Dreams and Details explores the shifting business logic of the 4th industrial revolution and looks at how exponential developments require a new type of leadership.

The book unfolds a new leadership model based on dreams and details: the power of dreams to inspire people to be part of something meaningful and exciting, and the attention to details that develop new capabilities and accelerate the transformation of the organization.

With automation and artificial intelligence threatening to make people redundant, it is more necessary than ever to unfold human potential and create new opportunities for creativity and growth. To do this, business leaders have to step outside their comfort zone and learn from the worlds of sports, arts and science, according to the authors,

…..

On rare occasions, you meet someone who seems to be from a fundamentally different universe, but from the meeting springs a familiarity, energy and mutual inspiration that is almost magical. This book is a result of such a meeting. A seemingly random encounter between the book’s authors – Mikael Trolle and Jim Hagemann Snabe – who have each spent a great deal of time reflecting on how to lead and how to help people grow and perform at a higher level.

Jim comes from the world of business. During Jim’s long career at SAP, he saw the German software giant reinvent itself several times, creating new value and new opportunities every time. With his colleague, Bill McDermott, they carried out an extensive and successful reinvention of the company. But what were the crucial ingredients? What made the difference?

“For years, I had reflected on leadership. I thought about my mistakes as a leader – and my successes. I had noticed that some companies managed to reinvent themselves while others struggled. I searched for answers to one of the biggest leadership challenges of all: How do you reinvent a company from a position of strength? Along with the inspira- tion I drew from working with Bill McDermott, I searched for answers from other great leaders in business, sports and art. The British conductor Benjamin Zander, among others, encouraged me to trust human ability and potential.”

Mikael comes from the world of sports. With a background as top volleyball coach for the men’s national team in Denmark, as well as CEO in Volleyball Denmark, Mikael had studied leadership in elite sports for years. As a leadership advisor in the areas of art, research and business, he had the opportunity to compare leadership styles across multiple domains.

“My leadership roles and experience from the world of performance psychology led me to ponder the same question as Jim: ‘What exactly made my leadership work?’ What could I pass on? Just like Jim, I had sought out and studied other successful leaders, especially in sports. Inspired by legendary coaches such as Bill Walsh and basketball icon John Wooden, just to mention a few, I was driven to seek out the foundation of optimal human performance.”

The seemingly random meeting between us was made possible by a mutual friend, Allan Levann. Years earlier, Allan had founded the High Performance Institute, with the goal of helping people and companies to perform better, drawing on techniques and knowledge from art, sports, science and the business world. Allan’s ability to bring people together to obtain new insight is unparalleled. So even if our first meeting seemed random, the meeting was probably a natural consequence of living in a time in history with a growing need to rein- vent the concept of leadership to unleash human potential.

When we met, a lot of things fell into place, and two worlds united. Although we came from different worlds, we realized that we had arrived at similar answers to key leadership questions: What does it take to stay relevant when conditions change? How do you lead people and organizations to a new level of performance? And most importantly, how do you unleash human potential to enable radical change in a successful organization? Our dialogue evolved as we exchanged experiences and attempted to develop a new leadership model based on human potential.

Since our first meeting, we have researched case studies of transformation and talked to many leaders from the worlds of business, sports, art, research and the military to understand how they led reinvention from a position of strength. Each situation and story is different. However, in all cases, the fundamentals were always the same. All successful reinventions had the same basic starting point for success: human potential, human performance and human desire for achievement and recognition.

Many inspiring meetings laid the groundwork for this book. The process of writing the book was a process of continuous reinvention in itself. Many things were clear from the beginning, but at the same time, there were moments when we had to challenge our own assumptions to come up with the right answers. We are convinced that companies can and must learn to reinvent themselves, not just once, but continuously. We believe that this requires a new leadership approach. A leadership approach relevant for times of radical change and disruption and designed to reinvent organizations from a position of strength.

It is our hope that the readers of this book not only find inspiration to lead through inspiring dreams and attention to the right details, but also are inspired by the need to do so.

Mikael & Jim 

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