Arne Tollefors – Founder of Tollefors Consulting

Arne’s passion is to develop individuals, leaders, businesses and organizations. He has been doing that since 1981-1990, when he was studying with the renowned American professor Peter Koestenbaum. Arne’s company, Tollefors Consulting, is based in Las Palmas, Canary Islands (Spain) where he also lives with his family.

During the years in Sweden – which is Arne’s country of origin, he obtained solid business experience whilst occupying different senior positions in leading companies of diverse business – from retail to shipping. It was, inter alia, something that Peter Koestenbaum encouraged him to do. Another thing was to test and personally apply his theories to the utmost.

Making sure to always be in development and simultaneously encourage people around him to do the same, is Arne’s daily ambition and goal.

Tollefors Consulting’s motto is to provide individuals, companies and organizations with the best tools to considerably and sustainably increase operational abilities, success and well-being.

What are you working on right now?

First and foremost, I am working with and for my clients – they are always my top priority. I am also developing a model that includes new practical tools to assist my clients in learning how to take decisions. These decisions are based on accumulated criteria of everything that is essential to them. Of course, this work starts from the inside – it’s inside out as most things. It is a process to establish exactly who or what is most important and which role you play in the main context and what long-term objectives you have.

In addition, I am working on the ultimate solution to develop management teams by simultaneously developing the group as a whole and each participant individually. Subsequently, group work is interspersed with individual work. It consists of intense teamwork exercises alternated with individual assignments.

Soon, I shall be launching a Web Academy, where I’ll provide online support to entrepreneurs and leaders. It will be easy to access, efficient and allow for reduced consultancy fees.

What does your typical day look like?

There is no typical day for me, but generally, I can say that there are days with clients from early morning to late evening. Other days I do follow-up with clients via Skype or e-mails. Then there are days devoted to my own training and development and my work at Tollefors Consulting. The one thing all my days have in common, is that I always start up at around 6:30 (including holidays) and that each day ends with a brief evaluation thereof – which is part of my follow-up program.

Trends that excite you?

One interesting trend is that more people begin to think about how to improve navigation in the infinite cyberspace to get the maximum out of what they are interested in without drowning at the same time. We should learn how to use the new tools that now are being available which make it possible to follow and listen to what our customers, clients or fans express on the Internet. I am convinced that this will be easier as the tools are becoming increasingly more accessible.

Generally, most of us would need to learn how to use new electronic tools at the same speed as they appear. This is partly in order to derive maximum benefit from them and partly not to become enslaved to them or loose time with them.

We must also learn to use these tools in a responsible manner, e.g.:

Eric Blair, better known as George Orwell, missed one thing in “1984”. He warned us about the problem of “big brother is watching you”. But now, all public persons are to live surrounded by millions of brothers, especially the little brothers “who see” and also shoot with their mobile phones and upload whatever they want on the Internet. They can tell whatever they want without a responsible publisher being accountable for what is reported. The established media feels, therefore, fully required to report on what is said on the Internet to keep their position. They must be “first”, readable and interesting, and therefore they are also included in this development. They now publish at an early stage, already on assumptions and rumors. All public people for instance, can from now on likely be subjected to rumors, attacks, etc. in a way that has not previously been the case. This may be a significant factor when choosing a job or a position or role in which there is a great interest among the public. Is it worth it or not? Hopefully it does not make people back off from their present or future positions. So to get the best possible influence, to get the best possible success in all the contexts where you want to be successful, you have to learn to deal with this new tendency, not least because you want to lead a happy life as well.

If we just quickly look at Sweden, we can choose two examples of how the media operate without “locks” that before were customary: First, the hunt of a previously very popular TV-personality named Ola Lindholm, who was “convicted” and discharged of all his assignments because he had to do a drug test on his way home from a football match. Second, the hunt of the King of Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustav who has been suspected to have enjoyed himself perhaps in a little less thoughtful manner. These are two examples of media baiting, of which both would have been unthinkable in Sweden only a year ago. And the questioning of the King in the way that TT (the Swedish news agency) did would have been unimaginable.

This is a natural consequence of news reporting in real time – if not, it isn’t considered interesting.

I think of Google Wave for example, which currently is “phased out” but surely will come back soon in some form or another. And when it does, I think it will be less controlled and the effect will be significant. It will show that “news reporting” amongst others will emerge like giant waves of comments, pictures, movies etc.

Consequently, this has become a part of Tollefors Consulting’s work: helping clients dealing with this new high risk factor of exposure.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It is often my role to give ideas a fair chance. For example: You have an idea that results in a product or service that you want to market. The idea and those who got the idea need guidance, including connecting with others and exposure of the idea. Most important is that the exposure lasts long enough to give the product or service the opportunity to be successful. After many years of studying people with a good position to make success (the majority entrepreneurs), I realized that few of them succeeded – the reason being that 95% of the cases lacked endurance. And they often gave up just before they probably would have had their break-through. The lack of endurance can be due to economical reasons, but unfortunately far too often it is a mental limitation, which of course with help can be mastered.

There is, as I see it, a misconception about the expression that someone is “in the right place at the right time”. They are usually in the right place for such a long time, that the right opportunity arises. It is a cornerstone of the work with our clients that they will obtain effective endurance skills – both mentally and economically.

What inspires you?

It may be to gather knowledge from interesting places. Everything from old-essential works and recognized important literature to new research and studies. Also intelligent networks such as TED and IdeaMensch inspire me. But also my own children as well as other children’s free, healthy minds give me new inspiration. Equally inspiring are my clients with their wisdom, great ideas and amazing spectrum of competences. And to turn everything upside down and inside out and look at it from different angles is also inspiring, as is testing perceived “truths”.

Furthermore, to be in nature and in pleasant surroundings gives me inspiration, power and serenity. I have Atlantic Ocean views from my office and excellent hiking facilities in the mountains behind me, so I take advantage of this stimulating environment on a daily basis.

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

Without a doubt, it was when I was younger and did not realize how much I still had to learn.

That taught me to always engage in an on-going positive development process: intellectually, spiritually and mentally.

Then I commit a constant error of hardly ever exposing myself, but I think it’s so much more stimulating to work with my clients and helping them getting recognition for their achievements.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to share with our readers?

Brainstorming is always exciting, not least for the almost infinite number of possibilities that arise when crossing one idea with another (both for products and services). The mobile phone with all its functions is natural to us now, but I do wonder why we so rarely use renewable energy. For example, on the island where I live we have an average of 362 sunny days a year and its size is only 1560 km2, so there are no long distances to drive. I wish for a family car that is powered entirely by solar energy and I would be happy to see these all around me, contributing to safeguard the environment. I would also like to have my home and office totally solar powered. In all; I very much support renewable energy and would like to see this more exploited.

What do you read every day, and why?

I read the news from different countries, for example Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, British and Spanish online newspapers. There are also financial Web sites that I often visit, and there are other sites I frequently refer to depending on the nature of my present assignment.

I also look at all my goals in my different roles and in all contexts. This is something I do naturally when I quickly summarize what I have accomplished during the day.

Additionally, I am always reading stimulating books.

What is the one book that you recommend our community, and why?

Peter Koestenbaum: Leadership, The Inner Side of Greatness, a Philosophy for Leaders. Note: The 2010 edition. My esteemed mentor Peter Koestenbaum, the preeminent business philosopher, has been a trusted mentor to business leaders worldwide. In this thoroughly revised edition of his classic book he shares his wisdom about the fundamental nature of leadership and shows what it takes to become an exceptional and passionate leader in today’s complex world.

And a fiction book, Carlos Ruiz Zafón: The Shadow of the Wind (La Sombra del Viento) is a beautifully written book and includes an atmospheric Barcelona description.

What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?


Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

Scott Ginsberg, “The nametag guy”, ( brilliant in the implementation of his in fact simple idea, a great motivator and a very good speaker.

Fredrik Hären (, a very sharp author and lecturer living in Singapore who is a master at inspiring people to acquire and implement ideas.

Johan Ronnestam (, digital media professional, creative director, speaker, innovator and entrepreneur (a former snowboard professional). He is skillful in detecting trends and expert in social networking.

If you can remember that you have failed to implement or complete something significant, did you fail in your belief that it was important or did you fail in the discipline of execution?

If you answer that you lacked discipline in the implementation, I would say that you probably lacked in your conviction. The discipline comes from the conviction. We all become disciples of our own convictions. If we answer that we fail in discipline it is rather more probable that it in fact we fail in our conviction.

What personal characteristics do you value most about your loved ones? How good are you at these yourself? If you could improve one of them that would be most effective for you and surprise your loved ones, which one would that be? And who would you first show this change?

Most of all I appreciate honesty, integrity, pro-activity and wakefulness. And I would like to be even better at being honest with my friends and family and try to help them without offending them. I want to show my four children that I am sharp and critical in such a way that it encourages them to be awake and nurture critical thinking.


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Arne Tollefors on LinkedIn