Flemming Blaabjerg is Global IT Director at BioMar A / S. The company has a turnover of 1.2 billion euros and about 1,200 employees, and is one of the world's leading producers of fish feed. Flemming became a Stifinder in 2017. In this interview, he tells us how the Stifinder Programme has made him a better leader by giving him greater insight about himself as a human being and as a leader.
Why did you choose the Stifinder Programme?
I have a very good friend who participated in the Stifinder Programme a few years ago. His enthusiasm for the course left a great impression on me. He received skills that he used as a leader in his working life, but it was also clear how much he had gained from the process personally. When he spoke about the Stifinder Programme, his body language and contagious energy convinced me that one day, I too would experience the Stifinder Programme.
What I sought was the ability to become wiser about myself and thereby become a better leader. I had previously participated in several management courses, and while they had often been very good, there was always a greater focus on theory and models than on personal development, and that was what I lacked. At the same time, I also longed for a different perspective on leadership development, and I felt that I could get through the Stifinder Programme. And my expectations were fulfilled: the Stifinder Programme was an experience for life, and it left its mark on me as a leader and as an individual.
How was your experience of the Stifinder Programme?
I started the Stifinder Programme in September 2016. The group was a large one, composed of 32 participants from as many different companies. From the beginning I was fascinated by the way the course was channeled through the coaches unique approach. On the first module, we worked with proactive thinking, high performance and team building, and we learned about different psychological mechanisms that come into force when people experience change. We each set goals for our personal development, which resulted in a proactive action plan that we continued with during Modules 2 and 3.
The first module was really good, but Modules 2 and 3 impressed me even more. It was hugely intense to be a participant in Module 2. We worked in teams in a "business simulator”, and as such, we survived all the conditions and situations that may occur in a long-term project process: resistance, disagreement, conflicts and confusion, but also solutions, enthusiasm, high performance and success.
I received a lot of energy from Module 2. It was rewarding to work in a team composed of different profiles. We learned from each other and created high performance by exploiting each other's resources to the fullest. For me, it was fascinating to discover how we could each contribute to team exercises, and how we created a strong team by exploiting our differences. One of the things that I took away from Module 2 was the ability to pause for thought and create an overview of pressured situations. In those four days I pushed myself to such a degree that I now know that I can succeed with big challenges if I have my entire team with me. High performance team building is about understanding each other, creating trust and cultivating strength through the differences within the team.
Module 2 has made me reflect on the way we communicate with each other. "Think before you speak" is an old saying, but for me it means avoiding too many unnecessary concerns and misunderstandings. In situations like those we encountered on Module 2 - where we were in a pressurised environment - communication set the framework for the way we collaborated. It is therefore important that we are careful with the words that we choose. To put in another way: "Be impeccable with your words.”
Module 3 was an inner journey, which I will also never forget. It was about me and my options for the future. It was a hugely powerful module to participate in, as it was an intense experience on mental, emotional and spiritual levels. It was also a great experience to meet Mark Drouin, also called Hawk, who is the coach on the last module. He delved into topics that led us to reflect deeply, and I have taken many of the module's values away with me. Among other things, I have become much better at breathing - both in pressured situations and in general. I have also become much better at listening to my gut instincts and I have become more aware of how other people experience me - both good and bad.
Would you recommend the Stifinder Programme to other leaders?
Definitely - it's a must! I recommend it to everyone I meet. I think everyone will get hooked by it in some way. You are helping to shape your own destiny, and it is so intense and strong that you cannot avoid being affected by it. The Stifinder Programme is something special, and I think everyone will benefit from it.