2018 was just ten days old when my mother-in-law lost her fight with cancer at only 70 years old. Her passing was deeply mourned as she had played a significant role in our family. Unlike the mothers-in-law from hell you often see portraited in comedies, she always supported me and believed I could do what I set out to do. At her funeral service, the priest reminded us of her motto; “If you are capable, you are obligated.” This was a phrase we would say many times over during the next twelve months, during which everything would be a first. The first children birthday party without her, her birthday, the first Christmas and New Year’s Eve without her, and many other big and small things.

On a more positive note, I started 2018 working with a new client. e-nettet (they insist on spelling it with a small e) is a Danish company working to digitize Denmark. They primarily serve the financial sector with cross-sector backend solutions but has also recently expanded into the consumer space with the NemID key app for secure authentication when communicating with the public and financial sector. During my time at e-nettet they underwent significant changes, including introducing new and more Agile partnership models with clients and suppliers, growing the number of employees by 30+ %, making changes to the leadership team, renovating their software platforms and infrastructure, and much more. At times the many concurrent changes competed for attention and bandwidth with the Agile transformation, but we managed to keep the ball rolling, and by the end of the year, they hired an internal Agile coach and are now set to continue the journey on their own.

2018 was also the year my Agile Leadership courses took flight. After having experimented and perfecting my messages for several years, I partnered with Finansforbundet (Danish union for people working in the financial sector) in 2018 to facilitate a one-day Agile Leadership course to their members in leadership positions. Late 2018 I was also approached by other organizations to discuss similar partnerships. Alongside the members-only course for Finansforbundet, I also facilitated many open Agile Leadership courses at Agile Akademiet and several workshops for leadership teams interested in exploring if and how Agile can contribute to their organization’s future. Expanding my services to Agile minded leaders in Denmark will be a main focal point in 2019. For a list of all my current courses and workshops, please visit my services page.

Back in 2014, we started Ugilic as a network organization, but as the years went by, bureaucracy sneaked in under cover of being more efficient. In late 2018 we decided to go back to our roots and be less hierarchical again. Being a co-founder, I know how hard it is to let go of your baby, but just like in real life, you must give it space to grow up and find its way. It would also be hypocritical not to practice what I preach about sharing leadership and so fare I Iove what it is doing to everyone involved. Most people actually behave responsibly, when you trust them with more responsibility. I will expand on my perspective on how we are now running Ugilic in a future post, but I also know that some of my co-leaders are working on sharing our story.

During 2018 we also said hello to three new consultants, Christian Gram, Finn Leander, and Rasmus Kaae. Rasmus is our first team member based in Jutland, and I’m very excited to start experimenting with being cross-location and regions organization. We also parted ways with Søren Hjelholt during 2018. Søren will be remembered for his unselfish contributions to Ugilic during his 2.5 years as part of our network, and I wish him all the best in the future.

Another big up during 2018 was completing two years as a part-time Master of Management Development (MMD) student at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). On the 12. December I defended my master thesis on “How introduction Agile into an organization impact leadership and employee behavior.”. My findings from studying leadership during the last two years will hopefully make for many exciting blog posts in the months to come. Stay tuned.

Just before celebrating Christmas, my colleague Tore Nielsen and I launched the first Danish podcast on Agile. It has been a dream of mine for a long time to provide a podcast focusing on discussing Agile in a Danish context. There are lots of great podcasts on Agile in English and a few Danish ones occasionally flirting with Agile, but none dedicated to solely to Agile in a Danish. We released the first episode on the 20th December, and we have already gotten some pretty good feedback indicating we are on the right track. We are therefore very excited to produce more episodes in 2019 and are planning to record the second episode on the 10th January 2019. For more information, please visit Den Agile Podcast.

Finally, on a personal level, I used my passion for running as a nice break from work and studying. During the summer and early fall, I completed three marathons in three different countries; Stockholm (Sweden), Tromsø (Norway) and Waschau (Austria). I love running, and mentally the training served as a nice break. Unfortunately, I ended 2018 with a small injury, but running will also play an important part in 2019. If you have the same passion and want to hook-up, you can connect with me on Strava, or maybe I will see you at the Paris, Edinburgh, Chicago or Dublin marathons?

The main image at the top of this post is of my family and me at my graduation on the 15th December 2018. To me, it’s by far the picture of the year and a fitting way to round of this look back at 2018. Seeing their smiles and thinking back on how proud they were of me, makes me incredibly grateful for their continuous support. My wife’s ability to simultaneously deal with the loss of her mother and support me in all my endeavors as a father, consultant, entrepreneur, student and runner, speaks volumes about her character and strength, and I love her for it.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2019!

Martin

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