November 5

Return on Ambition with Nicolai Chen Nielsen


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Nicolai Chen Nielsen is the Director of Transformation Services at Peakon, Workday, where he helps organizations use talent analytics and employee engagement tools to empower employees to drive the change they wish to see. 

He has co-authored two bestselling books, Return on Ambition and Leadership At Scale. His most recent book, Return on Ambition, has just been shortlisted as one of the top 10 out of 10,000 non-fiction books by getting Abstract for 2021. If you enjoyed the interview, please consider voting for the book here.

Key takeaways:

  1. Ambition has always been this incredible strong drive. And there’s been a dark side in the early, early twenties. For example, I did experience a form of burnout. I did, essentially just take on too many things. (2:59)
  2. Instead of you managing your ambition, your ambition is managing you….We looked at the types of situations where these occur and, and we found that there was something we called frenemies in the book. Uh, there are friends of ambition, but they’re also, um, potential enemies. Uh, ambition has a dark side, if you will. And it’s important that there is a balance because it’s not that you want to get rid of them. (11:31)
  3. The big question is setting a philosophy of ambition. I mean, really thinking through what is your ambition and, and more important than the destination is actually the direction because so many things will change in your life.… along those three dimensions of achievement, growth and wellbeing, what are the principles you want to live by you? What’s the future state you want to get through. So you can make an assessment that you are on the right path and you’re living in alignment with your true ambition. (16:51)

Don’t forget to vote for the book here.

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