Last month I had a great chat with John Inge Hervik, AWA Norge’s Head of Coaching. We spoke about Systems Thinking and Systems Coaching (which we will share in some upcoming posts), plus how he and his partner Siri, CEO of AWA Norge, work together and what he would be doing in an alternate universe.
So who is John Inge Hervik? John Inge is an Enterprise Agile Coach and Trainer. He lives in Oslo with his partner Siri and his children. Originally from Stavanger in Norway, John Inge helps organisations to find a balance in how they work and what they would like to achieve.
You and Siri run AWA Norge together. What is it like working with your partner?
We started working together now this year, actually, so it’s quite new. We had a really good test before we started, since the pandemic forced everyone to work from home. So obviously, working in the household together, we’ve tried that out, but also seeing each other 24/7, changing workspaces, and even discussing work back and forth. So we had some practice in that already.
I think we are really working well together. And what we see now that we are actually working in the same company together as well, is that we are more flexible on when or where we are working. Some might think that this is difficult with a work life balance, but it also gives a lot of opportunities. So for instance, travelling together, we can have a work meeting at the airport. But we can also now and then take a day off more easily because we can work at other times where it would be difficult to work together with a colleague.
Another part of the benefit we have together, since we also are a couple, is that we’re working on coaching and being deliberately developmental. It’s sometimes challenging because we are also emotional, human beings. So sometimes we step on each other’s toes. And having that in real life and not being able to go home from work without actually having to deal with it, also brings that challenge to another level. For me it escalates my development to deal with such things. How am I showing up? And how am I creating the resistance that I’m seeing?
It’s definitely a blessing, but it’s also obviously a challenge. Things like this always will be.
Would you say that you and Siri are quite similar? Or are you more complementary?
I would say yes, in some aspects we are definitely similar. We have some of the same drives. Both of us really like being efficient, being able to get a lot done in a short time, for instance. But we are also different. I hate being almost on time or being late. Siri is more comfortable with being “on time” [laughs]. So, yeah, we definitely have some differences and are very much alike.
The other thing is that, well, some might say that I over-prepare. I really like to be well prepared. And she challenges me to go a bit more with the flow. So this is a good, complementary thing to have.
If you weren’t an Enterprise Agile Coach, what would you be doing?
If you had asked me, say five years ago, I would probably have a really good answer of me being an architect or doing some technical stuff, and maybe even being a leader for some organisation. Probably consultancy or something, because that was the direction I was heading in. But what I’m noticing more and more is that I’m really going into what I think is my purpose, whatever that means. So now I would say, I would be doing some other kind of coaching. I would help people realise who they are and figure out how they can work better together.
If not that, then I probably would be developing games. A friend and I actually looked at creating games. I think it was 10 years ago now. We started with a kind of strategy game where you move your units and you have small battles with other players online.
You mentioned your purpose… What would you say is your personal purpose?
It’s hard to describe exactly, but what I see that I am driven towards is to support people to relate better and better to each other and to themselves. One way I put it is to say that I am working to share the Agile values, the Agile mindset and the coaching approach into our society. On the practical level I believe this is important for us in the wider society, if we want to continue to thrive, and continue to develop better ways of living together on this earth. It is the same with society as with teams and organisations, what do we want to achieve together, how are our behaviours currently supporting this direction, and what do we need to be different. On the more psychological and individual level, it is all about how we show up and treat ourselves and others. Are we taking responsibility to create the relationships we want? Are we committed to change our behaviours towards what is truly important for us? These two aspects go hand in hand, and are both very visible in organisations and working life. So you could say that this is why I focus on systems coaching and working with organisations.