Viking age and how we could learn from these great navigators of ancient times

As we developed Leidar, we took some joy and inspiration in understanding the Viking age and how we could learn from these great navigators of ancient times.

How to behave

The Vikings had their heyday between 800 – 1050 A.D. While today the Vikings are mostly recognized for being fearless warriors and supreme navigators, they were also explorers, settlers and tradesmen with a rich culture. You can find much of this culture reflected in “Haavamaal,” a book that contains “Sayings of Hár,” (Sayings of the high one).

“Haavamaal” can be translated as “how to behave” and it sets out guidelines for wise living and survival. The Haavamaal is both practical and metaphysical in content. Some of the writings from Haavamaal capture our beliefs as outlined below.

Reputation really matters

tomb-stone-reputationReputation and afterlife were very important to the Vikings.  Today the idea of “afterlife” has been recreated with the Internet. You have a reputation long before you are gone; your reputation precedes you and could be out there for eternity.

Cattle die
kinsmen die
all men are mortal.
Words of praise
will never perish
nor a noble name.

Appearance will make a difference

swordYour brand is the first impression your consumers and customers have of you.  Everything you do will impact your brand, your reputation, and ultimately your business success.  A brand is built on holistic thinking and it must be uniform, from the naked truth of who you truly are to the colour of your logo.

Two wooden stakes
stood in the field,
there I hung my hat and cloak.
They had character
in fine clothes.
Naked I was nothing.

Wisdom comes from experience, not reading

When you have done something once, twice or maybe tens of times, it becomes easier to do it right.  The pleasure of getting it right must be in the improvement, not in the discovery of how to do things.  The lessons from doing beat the learning from reading.

Better weight
than wisdom
a traveller cannot carry.
The poor man’s strength
in a strange place,
worth more than wealth.

Diversity is an asset that is difficult to activate

Diverse backgrounds, languages, gender, age, cultures and religions enrich any company, organization or process.  But complexity increases with diversity and it is an art form to activate the assets that come with diversity.

The traveller must
train his wits.
All is easy at home.
He who knows little
is a laughing-stock
amongst men of the world.

Listening is more important than talking

Most of the time, less is more.  However, you also need to know how to connect with people and bring structure to the way you speak.  Good stories and clear objectives for what you want to say reduce the risk of nonsense.

Much nonsense
a man utters
who talks without tiring.
A ready tongue
brings bad reward.


Better to be humble than proud

Someone in the room is probably smarter than you. Try to bring out the best in others before you seek to impress.

The cautious guest
who comes to the table
speaks sparingly.
Listens with ears
learns with eyes.
Such is the seeker of knowledge.

Engagement is the essence of our society

In the midst of all the challenges our world is facing right now there is hope in dialogue.

Always rise
to an early meal,
but eat your fill before a feast.
If you’re hungry
you have no time
to talk at the table.

 Viking bed

Work hard and advertise

Our mantra is: early to bed, early rise, work hard and advertise.  We have found that often people forget to advertise.  Success breeds success.

Wake early
if you want
another man’s life or land.
No lamb
for the lazy wolf.
No battle’s won in bed.

Frequent travellers get more than air miles

We are proud to have travelled a lot, and we still enjoy it.

Well travelled
He is truly wise
who’s travelled far
and knows the ways of the world.
He who has travelled
can tell what spirit
governs the men he meets.