Ready to choose?

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leader’s Blog

The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.

J. K. Rowling

I want….What do you really want?

A new job? A better relationship? A dog? A new car? To be happy? To be successful? To sleep better at night? To lose weight? To read a book a week?

Whatever it is, now try saying “I choose….” and whatever it is that you said you want.

It feels different, right?

Many people experience that the word “choose” is so much more powerful. It’s a real indication of commitment to say that you choose something. Maybe, when you said, “I choose….” you realised that you didn’t want it so much that you would actively choose it. Or maybe you felt very strongly about it and could feel your determination grow and deepen by the choice you expressed.

We sometimes walk through life wishing we had many things, but would we really choose them all? Probably not. The key to powerful self-leadership is our ability at any given time to make conscious choices.

Make choices to empower yourself

Dean Ornish

So, think about it – what choices are you making? And if you REALLY want something, will you make the powerful CHOICE of actually going for it?

It’s your choice. Remember, you’re more powerful than you think.

A European record in female collaboration!

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leader’s Blog

Last weekend, one of the world’s largest hackathons for women took place in Stockholm, Sweden.

The organisers were aiming to beat the world record but didn’t quite get there (it was very close!) It was however Europe’s largest ever hackathon for women. And I, Elisabet, had the pleasure of being there, watching close up what happens when great people come together to do great things.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”

Ryunosuke Satoro

The Challenges

11 challenges were put forward by 10 organisations, including well-known names such as Microsoft, Gap Gemini, E&Y, McKinsey, AstraZeneca and Adyen. Women and girls (existing or budding developers and product designers) were asked to step forward and take part in the challenge of their choice.

The list of challenges included subjects like

  • Inspiring girls to code
  • Using AI to analyse images
  • Integrity on your own terms
  • Empowering women to take control of their personal finance
  • Better Health App
  • Accelerate adoption of circular economy
  • Menopause

It all kicked off at Stockholm City Hall, an amazing building, probably most famous outside Sweden as the place where the glitzy Nobel Prize Gala Party takes place each year!

Once everyone had joined a challenge team, the work started. Brainstorming, free thinking, ideas creating new ideas – it was so inspiring to watch! They had just under 24 hours before the winner of each challenge needed to be back presenting their ideas in competition with the other challenge winners.

On jury service

I had been asked to be on the jury for Adyen’s challenge to inspire girls to code, so had the chance to see them in action. We spent all of Sunday in the recently opened WeWork office in Stockholm (the very first to open in Scandinavia). They talked, listened, crafted ideas, drew pictures, coded and finally put together their 3-minute pitches to present to the jury.

We listened with interest, asked questions and started rating their pitches in various categories. One of the other jury members was a 14-year old girl who as the target group of the challenge was invaluable in really looking at the challenge from that perspective (my teenage years are far behind me and as much as I would like to think I can put myself in their shoes her observations clearly highlighted something all the adult jury members had overlooked). Not only did she do a good job at that but she also had the ability to clearly and thoughtfully share her thinking and influence the thinking of others (all adults – such a cool and inspiring girl.

The winner of the Adyen challenge (and the jury was unanimous) was Filter () – an app that will allow the user to create their own filters by learning simple coding, hence laying the foundation for an interest in coding by making it fun, engaging and relevant. A brilliant team, brilliant teamwork – we were delighted to see them go forward to the final.

Stockholm Tech Fest City Hall

Every single person will have walked away from there richer through the insights they’d had, the people they’d met, the accomplishment they’d experienced.

And we all win because everyone who was part of it will continue to impact people around them and beyond.

The winners

Everyone is clearly a winner when this kind of collaborative effort takes place. Every single person will have walked away from there richer through the insights they’d had, the people they’d met, the accomplishment they’d experienced. And we all win because everyone who was part of it will impact people around them and beyond. The ripple effect in action.

There was of course also an overall hackathon winner, which is described like this by Soraya H Contreras, one of the idea creators: “Lucy is an innovative self-help app that takes you through life’s various stages. The goal is to give women knowledge about their bodies and their sexual health while breaking down shame and stigma around pleasure”

Great, fearless innovation – well done to this engaged and innovative team!

You can read more about the winning LUCY app here.

The magic of collaboration

We love seeing people collaborate in the way represented by this event! What we can achieve when we truly open up to others, fearlessly exchange our thoughts, keenly listen to the ideas of others is INCREDIBLE. We feel truly inspired.

“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”

Napoleon Hill

Impact in three parts

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leader’s Blog

Are you a leader or want to be one? Then check this out!

This week, we want to share a short video that we made about “The Leader’s Guide to Impact”.

The book is the next in the popular series from the Financial Times called “The Leaders Guide to …..” and in this video we talk about the three important parts of the book and how they are relevant to your impact.

Part 1 

In this section we really make you think about the impact that you have on the world around you and those people who are influenced by you. We ask about your awareness muscle and how developed that awareness muscle is. Leadership is about being aware of the effect you have on others and that starts with your own self-awareness. How are you impacting those around you minute by minute. We all have an effect, whether it be good or not so good. So, let’s make sure we are intentional about it

Part 2 

In this part of the book we get into great detail on the impact you have on the audiences around you, we look at your impact on:

  • Your employees
  • People who are more senior than you
  • Your peers or people at the same level as you
  • The board
  • Your external stakeholders; including media/press and social media

Part 3 

In this section we move into the impact you have on specifics outcomes you want to create, we focus in on 4 key areas:

  • Change driving impact
  • Creating a more collaborative impact
  • How to drive an innovative impact
  • And finally, a sustainable impact, driving a more long-term sustainable business

The book covers all of these using examples, giving you tips and techniques to maximise your impact. We also spend time in each chapter explaining the impact that all of this has on the culture, your effect on the organizational culture.

Check out the video here!

Beware the ‘suitcase words’!

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leader’s Blog

Words matter. A lot.

It’s so important to communicate in such a way that we can reach and connect with other people, right? We all want to be understood the way we intended.

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”  John Keating

And yet, we can so easily misunderstand each other, as we all interpret words, sentences and even situations differently. We all have different lenses through which we observe and make sense of the world.  And those lenses are made up by our unique experience; the challenges and opportunities we’ve faced, the insights we’ve had, the people we’ve met.

So, our ability to communicate with others is definitely one to focus on and keep developing, to ensure we are truly understood the way we intended to.

The challenge with ‘suitcase words’

‘Suitcase words’ can be a great communicative tool, as they can include so much, but that’s also the reason why they should be used with care. So, what are ‘suitcase words’? They are BIG words that could contain/mean all sorts of things – they don’t just have one clear meaning.

Here are a few examples:

  • Leadership
  • Intelligence
  • Digital
  • Value
  • Right
  • Wrong

If you look at those words, can you straight away say what they mean through a crisp, clear definition? Probably not. And even if you think you could, would those definitions match everyone else’s? Definitely not.

And yet we often use these words expecting them to make sense to others. So, next time you use a ‘suitcase word’, think through what it means to you and what it is you want to convey to others. Your idea of “right” and “wrong” could be completely different to the other person’s, for example.

“Words are containers for power, you choose what kind of power they carry.” Joyce Meyer

The power of ‘suitcase’ words

There are also times when ‘suitcase words’ can be very powerful and useful.

When you don’t want to give someone all the answers, but want them to explore a subject further, using their own creativity and interpretation, then these words are great on their own, without further definition. They can ignite excellent dialogues and new insights.

One such example which we recently observed was when a team wanted to think about ways they could bring real value to the company, so they decided to brainstorm what value could mean beyond what they were already doing. Here are just a few of the ways they identified they could bring more value:

  • Ask their stakeholders what their needs are – and what value means to them
  • Be proactive in sharing knowledge and ideas
  • Be active participants in conference calls and meetings
  • Review work practices to identify overlaps and unnecessary rework

And by going through that process of ‘suitcase word’ exploration, they were able to go beyond assumptions of what value was and benefit from the collective intelligence of the whole team to add more value than before.

What are your thoughts on ‘suitcase words’? How much do you use them? When is it helpful and when not? And do you have a favourite ‘suitcase word’ – and if so, what does it mean to you?

The story of the three books

Watch the video and read on.

Images from the We are Future Leaders Conference 2019

We started out wanting to write a book together about leadership.

And a few years later, we now have three. In this short clip we share the story of how the three books came about; how we got to publish our third book and the journey through the first two books.

Stories are a brilliant way of engaging people, and we have always loved using story telling techniques to help our books come alive. If you don’t do it already, you can also use this as an engaging technique to share examples and help others follow and connect with the messages you want to get across. They usually have much more impact than you realise. Which means you have more impact too.

So, in this clip we talk about the three books:

The Team Formula

The Team Formula (2013)

“The Team Formula” was our first book and is written entirely in a story format; it is about a merger and acquisition where a leader and their team go through the merger. We tell the story of what happens and how he feels as he goes through the journey. We engage you with the interesting characters in this book – you may recognize similar characters in your team too! This book won two awards mainly for its creative way of telling a business story and informing the reader with lots of learning along the way.

Leading Team: 10 Challenges 10 Solutions

Leading Teams 10 Challenges 10 Solutions (2015)

This book published by the Financial Times is where we were asked to write using our story telling technique in a more traditional business book style, so this time we used a technique to help unpick the stories and challenges and give solutions to each of the challenges. Covering the ten most common team challenges, we give proven solutions to ensure that teams deliver and create consistent, lasting results.

The Leaders Guide to Impact

The Leader’s Guide to Impact (2019)

Following the success of the first two books, we were very kindly asked to write the next in the popular Financial Times “The Leaders Guide to X” series. Our subject of Impact is a subject that concerns everyone.  Leadership is the act and art of influencing others, and if you have to influence others (which we all do) then you are a leader. We always have an impact whether we realise it or not, we have an impact every day minute by minute. This book helps you to be more intentional about it.

Disruptive TV talk about The Leaders Guide to Impact

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leaders blog

We were recently inspired by a appearing on Disruptive TV we enjoyed filming a short session about “The Leaders Guide to Impact” published by the Financial Times.

We had such fun drawing on the glass board screen and explaining in more depth about the details in the book.

We all have an impact, every minute every day. Leadership is the act and the art of influencing others so it you have to influence others then you are a leader. This book has something for everyone.

In this clip you can see and hear us talk about the book and the three parts to the book.

Part One – What is Impact? The why and how of achieving Impact

Here we talk about the ripple affect that you can have and how you are a creator of the culture, we all have a responsibility for it.

Part Two – Your impact on your various audiences/stakeholders

In this section we get very specific about the impact you have on your:

  • Employees, people who work for you
  • Impact on people more senior that you- your bosses
  • People at the same level/ your Peers
  • Your Impact on the board or senior executive/leadership teams
  • Your external impact on your stakeholders

We explain more about the Executive Presence Sweet spot and creating your stakeholder map.

Part Three – Impact for different desired outcomes

We all have to impact outcomes so in this section we describe how you can create greater outcomes . If you want to create the following outcomes you can follow the roadmap:

  • Collaborative impact
  • Change-driving impact
  • Innovative impact
  • Business sustainability impact

Great leadership and great teamwork rarely happen by chance. Even the best leaders and the best teams can, with strategic intention and focused effort, become even better – more impactful.

“The Leaders Guide to Impact” is not just a book, it’s a whole impact toolbox.

Take a look at this Disruptive TV shoot for some inspiration:

About the authors

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, multi-award-winning authors of “Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions” and ”The Team Formula”.

Their latest book “The Leader’s Guide to Impact” published April 2019 by Financial Times International is an in-depth practical guide to creating the impact you want. 

You can download a free chapter of the book at

Praise for “The Leader’s Guide to Impact” – “If there is one book you read on leadership, this is it. It’s jam-packed with practical tips, stories and frameworks to help you to be the best leader you can possibly be by taking control of your impact on those around you. Elisabet and Mandy hit the leadership nail on the head every time! I wish this book was around 20 years ago!”  Vanessa Vallely, OBE, Managing Director, WeAreTheCity, author, “Heels of Steel”