Viking Leadership

Now if you have read my book, Voyage of a Viking, then you already know that there was more to these Norse warriors than the looting and pillaging helmeted guys we so often see in the movies. In fact, while there definitely were plenty of coastal raids, there were a lot more things that the Vikings did well – things modern leaders can learn from.

The more I looked over these “Viking Laws” the more I liked them, and I started thinking of some of the principles that great leaders employ as they seek to grow their businesses and endeavors.

Let’s take a few minutes to learn something from our Viking brothers

The Viking Laws

1. Be Brave and Aggressive: Be direct, Grab all opportunities – In other words, don’t be afraid to take chances. You do have to do the work to gain success, it doesn’t come to those who just sit around. What are you waiting for? The perfect time never comes.  So don’t be a whiner – instead take the Viking way, get out there and do something! It might get hard along the way (in fact, it probably will) but as the great leader Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through Hell, keep moving!”

2. Be Prepared: Keep your weapons in good condition, Keep in shape, Choose good battle comrades – Of course, if you are going to get out there and do something you ought to be prepared. Have your weapons (products, information, tools, business cards) ready. Keep in shape mentally through reading great books and taking time to focus on personal growth.  Find people like that to be your “battle comrades” as you continue along your success journey.

3. Be a Good Merchant: Find out what the market needs, Don’t make promises you can’t keep – A great leader is out to meet needs and shows integrity and character in what he or she does. John Wooden, an amazing leader on and off the basketball court, taught his players a lot more than the game. He underscored three basic life rules – never lie, never cheat, and never steal. Living by these three simple things will assure that you are a leader people can trust.

4. Keep the Camp Tidy – This is where I have to break from my Viking comrades and say, “Nope, make a mess!”  Sometimes leadership is messy business, and to get things done you have to wade in and get your hands dirty (see Law 1). If you try to put together the perfect, tidy conditions before you get going, you will never go anywhere. Don’t fear the mess and don’t wimp out.

Now, I’m not saying just charge in a without any care, shattering anything and anyone in your way. Instead, be honest and work on yourself rather than looking around and trying to figure out what is wrong with the world, and encourage your battle comrades to do the same. That’s the only way you will grow (and the camp will stay relatively tidy).

For all that might be said about the Vikings, they certainly knew how to get things done. So grab up your own ax and helmet and start to put these laws into practice in your business. You might be surprised what successes await when you begin leading the Viking way.

Have you applied any of the Viking Laws to your business or other endeavors?

God Bless, Tim Marks

16 thoughts on “Viking Leadership”

  1. It’s facinating how we have one idea about the Vikings, that they were murderous tyrants, and we think that is all there is to it. But you have done a great thing by pointing out the possitive side of these brave people. I printed the card so I can refer to it often. Thanks Tim!

  2. Thanks for the great post Tim! I’m trying to apply rules #1 and #2 in my life most right now. This week i finished reading the book Courage: The Backbone of Leadership by Gus Lee. I’m applying to all areas of my life but focusing the most on fitness now with my best friend Adam who keeps me accountable to weekly goals (“good battle comrade”).
    Thanks again and God Bless!

  3. Thanks Tim, for another great post! I am studying The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. What a great book to prepare one for Viking laws for success.

  4. I too will be printing out the picture. Thank you Tim for sharing the postcard and tying it in so nicely too today.

  5. Thanks Tim for the great post it helps us get motivated and get out there and tackle things head on. We are still working on step 1 and 2.

  6. Tim,
    Another example that success principles are timeless! I love #4 especially! I’m looking forward to making a big mess! Jk I will clean it up!

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