Category Archives: IT & Agile

With Strikersoft at Vitalis exhibition – presenting “new digitalized support for self care focusing on stress and trauma.”

Pre-prototype EFT

This week I could already present a pre-prototype of the application that we are going to make in the Vinnova financed project: “NYTT DIGITALISERAT STÖD FÖR EGENVÅRD MED FOKUS PÅ TRAUMA OCH STRESS”, which means “new digitalized support for self care focussing on stress and trauma.”

Strikersoft has a good produkt ORDO that can be used as a technologybase, and it proved possible to configure a pre-prototype already now. The published self-help variant is planned for August.

Many of the participants I talked to assured that self help for stress and trauma would fill a real and growing need in the Swedish society. On my Facebook question: Is it reasonable to offer a digital self-help app on a smartphone for stress and trauma?” I have received many different opinions like for example:

  • Yes. // Erica Atwood-Hanson, nurse (RN at University of Minnesota Medical Center)
  • For sure! 
  • Yes I would use it! Everyone have their phones with them and use them all the time. It would be fantastic to use it as a useful tool for this
  • a very quick thought only. We can all of course suddenly experience very stressful situations, the need for support managing them must be very important. If knowing about the app, yes there should be a need. Depends maybe how you intend to reach out to the market and the content of the app?
  • Yes, probably a good idea!
  • No, I do not want to depend on a phone for this. I want to talk to someone. 
  • Stress and trauma are mileswide apart. Can one self help solution support both conditions?  
  • For some it may be a good approach. Kry.se seems to work. 
  • Yes, I think so 

Pre-prototype TTT

In the stand we also promoted Strikersofts Swipecare product that Praktikertjänst N.Ä.R.A. is using under the name STELPA. Wonderful people that have helped make the life 25% more effective when it comes to making patient journals together with the patient. Their representatives also said that a self help app for stress could fill a void in their operations, both for patients, relatives and staff.

This project “NYTT DIGITALISERAT STÖD FÖR EGENVÅRD MED FOKUS PÅ TRAUMA OCH STRESS” is going to be a really exciting project and journey together with EFT association, Strikersoft, Kaimuk and Peaceful Heart Network, to start with.

We are inviting a broader audience for dialogue meetings, whereafter we form a reference group. Out of that, some organizations willing to validate and integrate will form a consortium for validation and integration for a self-help solution in the next project phase (during 2018 and forwards).

Read more about our project on the Swedish project page: www.DigitalEgenvard.se and at: https://strikersoft.com/en/strikerfeed/vinnova-funds-strikersoft-and-sara-bern-in-innovation-for-future-health/

I wish you all a nice long weekend! (at least Sweden has bank holiday 1st of May)

Best regards, Sara Bern

 

 

I did not commit Karoshi in Asia…

Reading this article on Karoshi in Japan, I come to think of one episode when working on a project in Asia. Even though I did not commit Karoshi, I surely did fit the bill of work hours. (A suicide qualifies as karoshi if the person worked more than 160 hours of overtime the last month of life.)

I was in Asia in a contract negotiation around 2004, working as a consultant at the time. It was the first time we negotiated a contract with this operator together with a new national telecom vendor. I got there in the third negotiation week, just to “finish off some add on services”, that had been thrown in more or less as a give away to sweeten the deal.

While in Germany, preparing for the negotiation, I realized a new technical condition that prevented us from using the 7 off the shelf products. We would have to build completely new software, and get nothing extra for it. I was told to hang on there in the negotiation, not give anything extra away and just clarify the customer needs.

We hade excruciatingly long negotiation days during those three weeks. Days during which the highest Asian managers appeared sleeping with their heads in hands! Remarkably enough, they noticed as soon as something needed correction, they where immediately attentive, rattling away in Japanese to the subordinates.

In the evening, I got back to our local office, and worked until far into the night with our Swedish technicians to design and calculate costs.

Getting home to the hotel in the middle of the night (or rather very early morning), I felt completely safe. The only Japanese persons out on the streets where friendly or as me, sleepily/sleeping on the way home or to work. The subway had more sleeping persons than awake ones.

Business people shaking hands, finishing up a meeting

After three weeks, we where all exhausted when the negotiations where over. We had calculated our design, test and production costs to between 15 and 20 000 man hours. The main projekt owner made my hair blow backwards as he screamed at me on the phone:

  • Are you completely insane? It is definitely impossible! 

I calmly asked him:

  • Have you calculated how much you need on the enabling exchange side? How much do you need for your customer adaptions? which rendered him speechless.

To make a long story short, they later figured out they needed way beyond 100 000 man hours to complete the specification agreed.

It was an awkward celebration dinner with the customer that night after the top managers had shaken hands on the deal agreed upon. The customer sat on a long row on one side of the table. The CEO in the middle. Us on the other side, knowing that the development costs where too high and still climbing. Our local manager in the middle and I as the only woman next to him. Toward the end of the dinner, the lights where dimmed. Three waiters entered with the delicious special extraordinary course: Three big steaming balls… It took me some time to realize it was tuna fish eyes, still more or less boiling and staring towards the ceiling! At that time, I had not yet learnt the phrase:

  • – Excuse me, my religion prohibits me from eating this. (It works wonders in every country, I promise!)

And I was sitting across from the expecting CEO, and could not make him loose face in front of a foreign woman. So I had to take something, with the eating sticks and put it into my mouth. I took some from the outside of the steaming ball, while others dove right into it. Yuccie… Wonderful culture clash. Next time I might invite them up north in Sweden and serve sour herring (surströmming)…

I have seldom worked so many hours a day for so many negotiation weeks. Still I felt that the Japanese where working even harder. And they continued to do so, day in and day out, even though they did not have a major contract negotiation.

Well, we did complete the project eventually, many manhours later, with a satisfied customer.

And no burnouts or Karoshi in the meantime.

Ending well, all is well.

My reflection on this episode in conjunction with Karoshi is the following:
When you are overworked to that degree, your logical function degrades. Your capability to estimate times, workload, risk etc. diminishes more rapidly than you are aware of.

That is why I suggest all people to learn some personal strategies to reduce stress so that you can keep your logic and creativity at best possible. And you may also see earlier need for escalation, or be able to choose other assignments or employers unless conditions change.

And for you next to the person who is working themselves clearly towards burnout or Karoshi, I repeat Martin Luther Kings words:

  • You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.
    Martin Luther King Jr. – 1929-1968, Minister and Civil Rights Leader

Perhaps the person is not ready to listen to your advice. That is perfectly understandable. But you can use I-messages to tell them what you see as consequence and how it affects yourself. For example:

  • When I notice you don´t take time to help the less experienced in the team asking for it, I am afraid the we will not be able to meet the quality goal of our total team delivery.

And you can tell them that you know of an efficient method to reduce stress (EFT) that can be used by anyone almost anywhere, even for the most hectic schedules, to take down the personal stress levels.

Have a nice weekend!

// Sara Bern

Hope you enjoyed a good book lately

I just read the article that overextensive social media usage actually destroys your brain function:

  • “Prolonged consumption of the internet can lead to degradation in parts of the cerebellum, prefrontal cortex, supplementary motor cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex, with consequences for both the psyche and work performance.”

The world is full of good books, among a number of poor or useless ones of course. Did you see that Newton´s Principia Mathematica about gravity etc was recently sold for 3 700 000 USD?

Books are like an open window to the world

In our home, we read a couple of chapters aloud with our three children every evening, and have been doing so the last 16 years. Our eldest is now 16, the middle son is 14 and our youngest is 12 years. We say to them that reading books is like a free travel to our places and other peoples minds. Stand on other people´s shoulders and reach for new knowledge and adventures. Reading is the most cost efficient way of personal development.

I remember as I as a very young girl was standing at the library´s desk while the librarian called my mum and asked her to come and get me with the car.This time, I wouldn´t be able to take the three bags full of books home on my own. The librarian asked my mum if I was really able and going to read all those books over the period. Of course, I stated boldly! And I stood by my promise.

Books for language training

Books can also be used for language training. At Ericsson, I had to travel the world as Business Manager for example and we have always traveled to meet friends all over the world. In order to keep my languages fit: I read a book in Swedish, then English, followed by one in Spanish and the next in German. Then I started all over again. At language courses, they always try to make you read so called “good literature”, by Nobel prize winners and the like. That can constitute a major language challenge. So to keep going, I selected Spanish and German books with a lot of dialogue and action instead. Like Stephen King thrillers or similar easy light weight literature.

Audio books are also good

When I started to educate myself to be a LifeSuccess Coach, there was too little hours of the day to read all I wanted. As I had to commute in Stockholms overly crowded traffic, from Huddinge to OMX at Gärdet, I started to listen to books downloaded on my iPhone. With a good headset like Jabra Supreme, I get excellent comfort and sound quality even while driving. And I can take calls and listen to driving instructions that interrupt the audio bok whenever needed. Another side benefit was that I was not at all disturbed over traffic jams any more. I happily alotted extra driving time, and if I arrived earlier than needed, I was in good company. And you understand what company. As the saying goes: –With a good book, you are never really alone.

Books also help you change your habits

Since you need to keep your thoughts and actions on a new habit for quite some time before a new action becomes a habit, books help a lot. The books keep you in the preferred thought mode for extensive periods of time. The covers remind you of the content every time you you see the book lying on the table or bedside floor.

Should you also engage in some kind of forum where the content is discussed, even better! Or you may decide to take a course on the subject matter or similar.

My story as an author: From recipes over EFT to agile

I always wanted to write my own book. The recipe book I wrote 2014 with my daughter Maria was my first released book: Green Smoothies: Weight Loss Recipes. It was because my husband had seen me save all the green smoothie recipes on sticky notes in a book, with the testimonials of the one´s who had tried it. Maria helped me insert every recipe in book format, gave them names, searched for images and co-edited the rest of the text. This book made Maria the youngest non-fiction author of the time in Sweden, at 13 years. And we got on the radio for a live interview. That book was really meant as a training book for my “real book”, about personal development. It was an expensive training, as recipe book really need good graphics which do not easily let themselves be professionally made by the author.

That first book was followed by the corresponding E-book: Green Smoothies: Wellness and Weight Loss Recipes. 2015.

This year, I finally released my “real book”: LUGN I STORMEN – EFT: Första hjälpen för den sjuka jobbstressen. The EFT method really changed my and my family’s’ life. It also affected my work, as I included the method into my toolbox as a coach already 2009. EFT is a game changer for many of my clients, removing blocks for change and helping them with stress and other ailments as well. No wonder it became the main topic of my first real book.

My next book will be about Agile. I have received so many ill formulated requests for support as Agile coach and Agile Change Manager. Call for tenders that prevents organisations from getting the support they so well need in time. And many organisations fail in their well intended tries to become more agile. More help in easy to understand Swedish, or Swenglish,  is needed. Stay tuned!

// Sara

 

My new courses now bookable on Informators course page

As you know, I signed an agreement with the renowned education firm Informator to offer 3 of my courses this spring.
Now they are included in their catalog, and it is possible to book your spot here: 

They are in Swedish, in Stockholm to begin with. Other locations on request.

“Highly relevant courses and just in time!”, as Tobias Strandh, their chief of education, remarked.


 


I have also regularly used Orangino Work with the Agile Teams at Cybercom in Kista, as well as Agile Emotional Regulation. Here´s what Kit Gullbrandson, one of my references in the Agile Emotional Regulation said:
  • “For years I have engaged Sara for services in both Agile Coaching as well as Agile Emotional Control (EFT) for my personal working with Agile IT Development. This both Scrum Masters, agile team members as the line manager level.” // Kit Gullbrandson, Business Unit Director, Cybercom  

 

Now officially educator for Informator

I am soo happy. Just signed an agreement with the renowned education firm Informator to offer 3 of my courses this spring:


 

 

 

 

 

“Highly relevant courses and just in time!”, as Tobias Strandh, their chief of education, remarked.

All courses are to be held in Swedish, delivered in Stockholm to begin with. Other locations on request.
You will find them in their spring catalog under Leadership specialized as well as Agile Leadership.

One of my references in the Agile Emotional Regulation: 
  • “For years I have engaged Sara for services in both Agile Coaching as well as Agile Emotional Control (EFT) for my personal working with Agile IT Development. This both Scrum Masters, agile team members as the line manager level.” // Kit Gullbrandson, Business Unit Director, Cybercom  

EGN Facilitator now

Happily attended my first Chair Forum today, meeting the facilitator colleagues at EGN, Executives Global Network. This new part-time work is going to be so fun!

Executives’ Global Network (EGN) offers professional networking in carefully matched groups.

As facilitator I ensure the best conditions for powerful and generous knowledge sharing and reflection.

In Sweden, EGN is the leading competence network with nearly 2 000 members from 25 executive functions in 110 groups. EGN is represented in 14 countries, has over 14 000 members from 6 200 companies in approx 750 confidential network groups. EGN is the second biggest Executive Network worldwide.

 

How to improve communication climate? Collaboration?

WELCOME TO OUR SWEDISH MEETUP – Feb 16th

Are you a leader wrestling with issues like:

  • How to improve communication climate?
  • How to improve collaboration?
  • How to secure progress towards high-performance teams?

Come join our Meetup February the 16th, organized by my partner Orangino and Agile People and learn about the dialogoue method Orangino Work! The venue is hosted by Cybercom centrally placed in Stockholm on Sveavägen.

agilepeoplesweden WebLogo3Cybercomorangino logo

 

 

Orangino Work can help you with these challenges! It is a dialogue method in a game format comprising various exercises and a very flexible toolbox to improve teamwork and increase engagement. The dialogues make the team more dynamic and develop the success behaviours and thereby contributes to even better results.

We use to say that Orangino Work speeds up the groups way towards a high performing team. As one of our participants said after playing Orangino Work:

  • “Prepared package! Light weight preparation for the leader/facilitator, with a tremendous value on the resulting output!”

orangino work boxA recent study at the University of Lund, demonstrates its effects. The Orangino tool has revitalized many organizations, increased job satisfaction and improved performance.

You will at this meetup get an opportunity to try the Orangino Work tool and team dialogue method, and learn about the benefits for other organizations from the horse´s mouth.

  • Ulla Osterman founder of Orangino AB, willl guide you to understand how you can benefit from Orangino Work in your own organization.
  • Sara Bern, Agile coach at Cybercom, will tell about how it is presently used at Cybercom to support the development of Agile Development to High Performance autonomous teams.

You may of course bring some colleagues!

Sign up: Agile People manages the applications via Meetup, click here.
Price: FREE of charge, thanks to the generous hosting by Cybercom.
When: Tuesday, Februari 16:th,  2016
Where: Cybercom, Sveavägen 20, Stockholm (Subway: T-Centralen)
Agenda:

  • 17.30 – 18:00 Something light to eat. (Think wraps, or similar)
  • 18.00 – 18.30  Introduction Cybercom and Orangino Work
  • 18.30 – 19.30  We will try the tool together in a fun and insppiring way.
  • 19.30 – 20.00  How is Orangino Work used today in agile environments and how can it benefit your work with team development?

Welcome!

Orangino, Agile People and Cybercom in collaboration
Ulla Osterman, Pia-Maria Thorén, Kit Gullbrandson och Sara Bern

Need to improve the feedback climate? Try Orangino Work!

We find Orangino Work being a very good group development method and tool.

Are you as a leader wrestling with such questions as:
How do we improve the interaction and acheive a more open communication climate in the team?
How we get teams to become more self-organizing and performing?

Orangino Work can help you with this! It is a dialogue method in a game format comprising various exercises and a very flexible toolbox to improve teamwork and increase engagement. The dialogues make the team more dynamic and develop the success behaviours and thereby contributes to even better results.

We use to say that Orangino Work speeds up the groups way towards a high performing team. As one of our participants said after playing Orangino Work:

  • “Prepared package! Light weight preparation for leader/facilitator, with a tremendous value on the resulting output!”

orangino work boxA recent study at the University of Lund, demonstrates its effects. The Orangino tool has revitalized many organizations, increased job satisfaction and improved performance.

We offer:

  • Facilitated team dialogue workshops 
  • Certification programs (via Cybercom or Orangino AB)

12 Top Tips to Power Up Your Networking Skills

Business networking is a socio-economic activity where groups of like-minded business people recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities. A business network has focus on business activity. Usually it is a presentation of an interesting topic and free mingling before and/or after that. There is often some food there as well.

I’d like to give you 12 tips that help you network effectively.

1. BEGIN CASUAL

Begin the conversation with casual conversation about the weather, sports, movies, pets or common interests. It is often considered rude to ask immediately about a person’s career. Begin your conversation with casual talk.

2. IF AWKWARD, ADMIT IT

If you are having a difficult time getting a conversation started or if you are uncomfortable with networking, you should admit that sometimes these functions are awkward for you and ask the person for tips on how he/she goes about getting to know someone. If you are uncomfortable with networking, admitting that to the person you are talking to is almost always a great icebreaker. People will go out of their way to help to you. They will carry the conversation and frequently introduce you to others to make you feel welcome.

3. ASK INTERESTING QUESTIONS

The best conversationalists are people who can ask other people interesting questions. Prepare some interesting questions in advance. Good questions are i.e.: What would help you, something that I can keep in mind, if I could be of service sometime?

4. BE PREPARED TO PRESENT YOURSELF AND YOUR PROJECT VERY BRIEFLY

When asked, be prepared to present your name, what you do and also your project/occupation in about 30 seconds. Absolutely not longer than 1 minute. People are more interested in talking about themselves, than listening to you. Plus, you should be able to catch their interest in that brief time. This is what’s called the elevator pitch. If and when they have an interest or need to know more, then you can elaborate.

5. BE A GOOD LISTENER

The best way to show respect for what someone else is saying is to be a good listener. Provide responsive gestures and ask good follow-up questions.

6. BE A GOOD CONVERSATIONALIST

If you want to carry on good conversations, then you must stay contemporary on a variety of subjects, including current events, business trends, social and technical issues, sports, the arts, state-of-the-art management and leadership concepts.

When preparing for a networking function, you should keep up to date on current events, world affairs, emerging business trends. If it is a more subject specific event, make sure you are up to date on information in that field. Read, read, read. Read on a wide variety of topics.

I heard, (and believe) that if you read three books on any subject, you will know more than 95 percent of the rest of the world on that subject. By reading about many topics, you will always be able to engage people in great conversations.

7. EXPRESS JOY

People love to be around happy people. It does not mean you have to joke all the time. Put on an honest smile and look for the bright side. It is a lot easier to approach people smiling at you, right?

8. EXPRESS GRATITUDE

If during conversation, you get a good idea or advice, be sure that you thank the other person properly. Make sure they understand what they did to make you grateful. People love to be of service, specifically when it takes no extra effort from their side.

9. FOLLOW UP AFTERWARDS

After you have established a common interest and believe you would like to spend more time talking to this individual, you should ask for his/her business card/contact information and permission to call in a few days perhaps to find a time when you could meet. Don’t be too aggressive in trying to make that contact. A networking function is more of a social event than pure business. Meet lots of people by spending a few minutes with each. Collect lots of business cards, and then a few days after the event make contacts with people where it would be mutually beneficial to build a business relationship.

10. KEEP PROMISES

If you promise someone at a network something, see to that you deliver. Preferably over-deliver. If you don’t, word will get out and it spreads fast.

11. GET RID OF LEECHES – POLITELY

If you are at a networking event and someone latches on to you and follows you everywhere, you should excuse yourself from him/her, indicating that you have to meet with someone or perhaps visit the restroom. It is easy to get stuck with someone who follows you around everywhere you go. At some point, find a reason to excuse yourself or perhaps introduce him/her to someone and then excuse yourself from their conversation. Don’t let anyone dominate your time at a networking function.

12. DRESS APPROPRIATELY

How are others dressed that go to these functions? Ask if there is a dress code. If possible, make sure you stand out a little, but not too much. You should just distinguish yourself, not be ridiculous.

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