Rasmus Ankersen on stage

Interview with Rasmus Ankersen, Author of ‘Hunger in Paradise’ and ‘The Gold Mine Effect’

Rasmus Ankersen is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, speaker on performance development and a trusted advisor to businesses and athletes around the world.

keynote speaker rasmus ankersenRasmus Ankersen is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, speaker on performance development and a trusted advisor to businesses and athletes around the world.
Chairman of Midtjylland FC in Denmark and co-director of football at Brentford FC in the U.K, he has been involved in these clubs becoming recognised for their use of big data to drive decision-making.
In 2016 Rasmus published ‘Hunger in Paradise’: answering one of the toughest questions that business leaders face today – how successful organisations can remain successful by eliminating complacency.
Over the past few years, Rasmus has been hired to share his research on high performance by many renowned global brands.

What would you say has been the most important thing you have learnt from 2020?

One of my main lessons is the importance of thinking through worst case scenarios. The human instinct is to be optimistic when something like a pandemic hits you and assume it will pass quickly. In some of the businesses I am involved with we took quite a sceptical view, and I think it helped us a lot. Forcing yourself through the most painful worst case scenarios gives you strength and robustness to deal with a crisis like this one.

How would you summarise “The Gold Mine Effect” and “Hunger in Paradise” in layman’s terms?

The Gold Mine Effect sets out to describe what characterises some of the most successful talent hotbeds in the world of elite sports and explain how some of those lessons can be applied in a business. Hunger in Paradise deals with probably the biggest challenge of successful organisations; How to keep complacency out of the building?

You have applied innovation to football very successfully – what do you think other sports & professional organisations could learn from your methods?

I have been heavily involved in running two football clubs that operate on a small budget than many of our competitors. Our challenge has been how to outthink them as we cannot outspend them. One of my key lessons having done this is that you have to think long and hard about how you differentiate yourself. You have to find one or two things that you are able to execute significantly better than that competitors to make up for the difference in investment levels.

How much opposition (if any) were you met with when trying to implement change?

It is always difficult for the human nature to embrace change, but I think it is even harder to drive change in a successful organisation than it is in a failing one. When you are successful people’s automatic reaction is; Why fix it when it’s not broke? But that’s often exactly the right time to drive change because if you wait until things are not going well it is probably going to be too late.

What is your next project? Is there another book in the pipeline? If so, will the title/content reflect the challenges of 2020?

At the moment I am very busy with running two football clubs. At Brentford FC we have a big ambition trying to progress to the Premier League this season, and at Midtjylland FC we are aiming to win another Championship, so that’s pretty much taking up all my time.

On your Twitter you state: ‘The secure way is the insecure way’ – could you elaborate on that?

What I mean by that is that if you follow your passion you cannot lose. Often it feels insecure to people to follow their passion. If they don’t get the outcome they want they consider it a failure, however the intrinsic rewards for doing something your love are in many ways worth a lot more than the outcome itself. In that way, the insecure way is the secure way.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given?

Make sure the best argument always wins. I try to live that as a leader of several organisations, to try and create a culture where people put their ideas first, have the courage to disagree with each other and eventually accept that the best argument needs to win, even if it comes from the most junior person within the organisation.

How has the change to digital affected you this year and how have you overcome any challenges you have faced?

No doubt we have been forced to find new ways of working. In some ways it has made me more effective because all the time I normally used on travelling and going from meeting to meeting I have been able to use on more productive things.

What do you think the future holds for digital change by 2030?

Digitalisation is an unstoppable force, and it will change pretty much every industry. For that reason, I think it should be on the agenda at every company to work out how digital can improve their business and customer experience.

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