Nature, in its boundless beauty and challenge, has always been a source of inspiration, learning, and growth. But what happens when we combine the rigorous physical activity of hiking with focused, holistic coaching? The results, as both anecdotal evidence and scientific studies suggest, can be profoundly transformative.

1. Physical Health and Cognitive Function

A study published in Nature demonstrates that walking in nature, as opposed to urban settings, leads to decreased rumination - repetitive thoughts focused on negative aspects of oneself (1). This is pivotal in coaching, especially when we're trying to break barriers, build resilience, and focus on growth. Hiking, with its inherent physical benefits, can serve as a gateway to enhanced cognitive function. As per a Harvard Health article, regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning (2).

2. Emotional Intelligence and Nature

Emotional intelligence (EI) has been a buzzword in personal development for years. An article from Harvard Business Review pinpoints the components of EI, including self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy (3). Nature immersion during hiking can act as an amplifier for these components. The serenity and challenges of nature, combined with guided introspection, can catalyze the development of EI.

3. Spiritual Growth amidst Nature’s Sanctuary

Spirituality, often considered a deeply personal journey, finds a perfect partner in hiking. A paper from Frontiers in Psychology shows that nature experiences lead to a sense of connectedness, not just with the environment but with oneself (4). This connection can be pivotal in spiritual growth, especially when facilitated with targeted coaching.

4. Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills

A study found that backpackers scored 50% better on a creativity problem-solving task after spending four days in nature disconnected from electronic devices (5). This is a testament to how nature can declutter our minds. When combined with coaching that challenges intellectual intelligence, hiking can be a breeding ground for innovative problem-solving.

5. Building Resilience and Endurance

The physical challenges of hiking, combined with the mental challenges addressed in coaching, foster resilience. Overcoming the hurdles of a tough trail or altitude can parallel the journey of overcoming personal or professional obstacles. The persistence and endurance developed during hiking can be transferred to other areas of life.

In Conclusion

Nature is not just a backdrop but an active participant in the transformative journey of hiking and coaching. As we move away from the hustle and bustle, delve deeper into our consciousness amidst the embrace of nature, and challenge our bodies with every uphill step, we pave the way for comprehensive growth across the four intelligences: emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual.

If you're on the brink of a personal or professional transformation, consider immersing yourself in the symbiotic experience of hiking and coaching. Let nature be your classroom, and your journey, your lesson.


  1. Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation
  2. Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills
  3. What Makes a Leader?
  4. Nature experiences and adults' self-reported pro-environmental behaviors
  5. Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings

After asking ChatGPT to explain it's potential to increase effectiveness in a typical business setting I am inclined to say final judgement below.

I am including the whole dialog below. If you haven't tried it yet please do.


Help me write a professional business article for my blog. It should cover the topic of how to effectively use ChatGPT for business. It should follow the below structure:

1) It should introduce the article and the chapters that it will include

2) A 100 word introduction to the concept and history of chatgpt

3) Learning and data gathering: Describe the top 5 chatgpt promts for learning a new topic. End the section with 3 video recommentations for further learning. Include the links for these videos. 

4) Power Point presentations: Describe how to use ChatGpt for creating presentations. End the section with 3 video recommentations for further learning. Include the links for these videos.

5) Excel. Describe how to use ChatGpt for effective work with excel. End the section with 3 video recommentations for further learning. Include the links for these videos

6) Meeting minutes, notes and articles: Describe how to use ChatGpt effectively for writing in the work place, be it meeting minutes, articles etc. End the section with 3 video recommentations for further learning. Include the links for these videos

7) Web design: Describe how to use ChatGpt for effective work with web design. End the section with 3 video recommentations for further learning. Include the links for these videos

8) Summarize the article by highlighting in 50 words what it has covered

9) Add a 50 word outro on the future of how AI can support our day to day office tasks


1. Introduction:

In today's digital age, technology has revolutionized the way we work. One of the most innovative developments in recent years is the creation of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence-powered tool that can assist businesses in a variety of ways. This article aims to provide an overview of how to effectively use ChatGPT in various aspects of your business.

2. ChatGPT: A Brief History

ChatGPT, a natural language processing algorithm, was developed by OpenAI in 2020. It is a sophisticated system that is capable of generating human-like responses to written prompts. By learning from vast amounts of data, ChatGPT can understand the nuances of language and generate coherent responses. Since its launch, ChatGPT has become an invaluable tool for businesses, enabling them to automate certain tasks and increase efficiency.

3. Learning and Data Gathering

ChatGPT can be used to learn about new topics quickly and effectively. Some top prompts for learning include "What are the basics of [topic]?", "What are the most important concepts in [topic]?", "What are the most significant [topic] trends?", "What are some common [topic] mistakes to avoid?", and "What are some useful resources for learning more about [topic]?" Three video recommendations for further learning include:

4. Power Point Presentations

ChatGPT can also be utilized for creating effective PowerPoint presentations. Some prompts for creating presentations include "What are the key points I need to make about [topic]?", "What are some interesting facts about [topic] that I can include?", "What are some visual aids that would help me convey my message?", "What are some examples of [topic] in action?", and "How can I best summarize my presentation?" Three video recommendations for further learning include:

5. Excel

ChatGPT can also assist with effectively working with Excel. Some prompts for using ChatGPT with Excel include "What are some useful Excel shortcuts?", "How can I automate repetitive tasks in Excel?", "What are some effective data visualization techniques?", "What are some advanced Excel functions?", and "How can I troubleshoot common Excel errors?" Three video recommendations for further learning include:

6. Meeting Minutes, Notes and Articles

ChatGPT can be used for writing in the workplace




in a variety of ways, such as meeting minutes, notes, and articles. Some prompts for using ChatGPT in writing include "What are the key points I need to cover in this article/note/meeting?", "What are some interesting insights that I can add?", "What are some examples or case studies that I can use to support my points?", "How can I best summarize my points?", and "How can I make my writing more engaging?" Three video recommendations for further learning include:

7. Web Design

ChatGPT can also assist with effective web design. Some prompts for using ChatGPT in web design include "What are some effective design principles?", "What are some common design mistakes to avoid?", "What are some useful design resources?", "What are some best practices for website navigation?", and "How can I make my website more user-friendly?" Three video recommendations for further learning include:

8. Conclusion

In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful tool that can be utilized in various aspects of business, from learning and data gathering to web design. By providing coherent responses to prompts, ChatGPT can save time and increase efficiency, allowing businesses to focus on other important tasks. By learning how to effectively use ChatGPT, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive.

9. Outro

As AI continues to evolve and improve, we can expect to see even more advancements in the way we work. ChatGPT is just one example of how AI can support our day-to-day office tasks. With continued development and innovation, we can expect to see even more ways in which AI can assist businesses in the future.


What other areas do you see that chatgpt can be used for in order to achieve effectiveness in the office?


ChatGPT can be used in a wide variety of areas in the office to increase effectiveness. Here are a few examples:

  1. Customer service: ChatGPT can be used to provide quick and accurate responses to customer inquiries, improving customer satisfaction and reducing the workload on customer service representatives.
  1. HR and recruitment: ChatGPT can assist with tasks such as screening resumes, scheduling interviews, and answering candidate questions, allowing HR professionals to focus on more strategic aspects of their jobs.
  1. Marketing and advertising: ChatGPT can be used to generate ideas for marketing campaigns, write copy for ads and promotional materials, and analyze customer feedback to inform marketing strategies.
  1. Data analysis and reporting: ChatGPT can assist with tasks such as data cleaning, analysis, and visualization, as well as generating reports and summaries of findings.
  1. Project management: ChatGPT can assist with tasks such as scheduling, task assignment, and progress tracking, allowing project managers to focus on higher-level planning and decision-making.

Overall, ChatGPT has the potential to be a valuable tool in many different areas of the office, helping businesses to increase efficiency and effectiveness in a variety of tasks.


Thank you.


You're welcome! If you have any other questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask.


While the conversation showcases ChatGPT's usefulness in a business setting, its knowledge is limited by a cut-off date of September 2021. This became apparent when attempting to access suggested video links that were no longer available. ChatGPT acknowledged the issue, apologized, and offered suggestions for obtaining current information. At least it wasn't a major waste of time. The overall dialogue took less than 2 minutes.

Mark L. Sirower and Jefferey M. Weirens have written an delightful book on the end-to-end M&A journey that in less than 320 pages conveys the key concepts for doing the right deal and doing it right. The two senior advisors, representing Deloitte’s M&A and Financial Advisory practices, have more than 50 years of deal experience in between them.

A brief summary of the "acquisition game" and the history of acquisitions establish the WHY this book is needed.  Simply put, the reason this book and so many others on M&A exist is that companies keep doing disappointing M&A journeys. Data presented in the book show that ~56% of deals in the period 2012-2018 failed to achieve positive returns (an improvement of the 1990s where data indicates 65% of deals failed and far off the common myth that 70-90% fail). After fairly arguing for the need of yet another M&A bible the book structures its message with the overall M&A experience in mind. 

The journey starts with a chapter on M&A strategy. You have to know what you want and WHY. "Prepared acquirers" don't get cornered into deals by bankers or get caught into a CEO “ego trip". They have a portfolio of targets and if one deal doesn't fit the bill they move on.  Simon Sinek, the author, is right to push the message – “Start with Why”. If you are depending on others to act on any of your decisions make sure you have a solid WHY and make sure you effectively communicate it. In M&A others will act upon a deal decision. Investors act fast with their decisions to buy or sell once a deal is announced, employees act with their decisions to stay or leave and all other stakeholders act in their perceived best interests.  

The journey continues with a target being evaluated in due diligence (DD) where the authors give a brief overview of three critical assessments:

  • Financial DD – Backwards look into the baseline of the business removing accounting distortions. e.g.:
    • Are the numbers correct? 
    • What is the normalized Profit &Loss?
    • What do these adjusted numbers tell us?
  • Commercial DD – Forward look into the stability of the business and likelihood of revenue growth, e.g.:
    • Market analysis of size, growth, trends 
    • Customer preferences and competitive position of target
    • Revenue synergy opportunities
  • Operational DD – Forward look into improvement potential of cost structure, e.g.:
    • Cost and headcount baselining
    • Critical assessment of target's ongoing cost-improvement initiatives
    • Bottom-up synergy analysis

Although explicitly excluded due to "complex nature of their assessments" the book would benefit from including at least a summary of the two other critical operational assessments ITDD and HRDD. I have seen these been performed separately as standalone assessments more often than included as part of an Operational DD. They deserve attention if an acquirer wants to do their diligence homework. 

A good portion of the book is dedicated to valuation and how to ensure the premium an acquirer is willing to pay can be motivated (and then some) by identified synergies. The authors emphasize the use of Economic Value Added (EVA) calculations as complementary tool and sanity check for the traditionally used Discounted Cashflow Analysis (DCF) of valuation. The chapter highlights in a illustrative way, with real cases, how market value calculations based on EVA (current operations value + present value of future EVA improvements) can provide a good overview over what the acquirer is promising its investors.

"Once an acquirer closes a deal, they have fixed the price of the target and the only price that will fluctuate is the acquirer's starting right at the announcement based on the offer price."

Throughout the book the authors keep reminding the reader that the promise of synergies, for which the acquirer pays a premium, must be thought of as improvements that result from the deal. Only from the deal. That is, synergies should be operating gains beyond any stand-alone expectations (e.g. already planned cost reductions of 5% over the coming 2 years at target should not find their way into the synergies).

It is worth repeating. The suggested market value model show just how much those future EVA improvements need to grow from the stand-alone case when you pay a premium. 

With a solid strategy, professional due diligence and proper valuation the successful acquirer should have reason to celebrate at announcement day. More often than not this is not the case. The book argues that investors can see through the strategy and valuation in seconds. They will be looking for if the premium paid is complemented with credible plans for synergy realization. Investors thereafter react rapidly - by selling or buying shares. A Deloitte study of more than 1200 deals spanning +20 years show that an initial negative reaction on announcement day is likely to be superseded by months and years of low stock performance. 

Three chapters are dedicated to the art of integration. This critical part of the M&A journey can wreck a perfectly good deal if not performed correctly. Most often integrations stumble because the previous steps in the journey were suboptimal. Retakes on integrations 2-3 years after close are not unfortunately not uncommon. 

Why call this part critical? This is where WHY becomes WHAT, HOW, WHO and WHEN. There are often up to "10 000 non-routine decisions" to be taken during an integration over its three overarching phases: Pre-Close, Day 1 and Post Day 1. Decisions require governance, which can easily be established, but decision making in the long run is primarily facilitated by a clear deal strategy and integration blueprint. In addition, taking key decisions early pre-close and clearly communicate them will save time further down the road. Examples of such decisions include:

We have all read numerous quotes on the importance of plans ("they are useless but planning is indispensable" or "everyone has a one until they get M&A punched in the face"). The task of merging two companies is no small feat and will require planning, execution, control and change management at a level neither company is used to facing. The Synergy Solution puts forward three core objectives with integration planning: 

The book strongly argues for making the integration effort the absolute key internal project of both companies. WHO integrates thus becomes important not only from an operational perspective but also as a communication of intent. Put a strong established senior leader at the helm of the integration management office (IMO) and data and decisions will flow much better than if you go for the easier options (e.g. taking someone internally with time or an outside advisor). I have experienced both situations as an advisor - the role of integration lead and the role as an advisor to the integration lead. In my view, neither M&A experience, nor intellect nor project management wizardry can compensate for a) in depth knowledge of the company’s operating model and b) the respect a senior leader commands in her/his organization. If the program is large or the acquirer inexperienced the support of advisors will add great value in execution and control. 

The journey ends with a set of tools to prepare a board of directors for a successful M&A experience. Interesting perspectives on shareholder value at risk and eye-opening data on the significant underperformance of all-stock-deals in comparison to all-cash-deals. 

Nonetheless, some of the tools recommended, e.g. meet the premium line, capabilities/market access risk and synergy mix, fit better in the valuation chapter. Strategy, due diligence and valuation/synergies ensures “the right deal” is done. The board will rely on all of these for their vote. They will also want to see a solid plan for “doing it right”. The authors present a list of questions for the board to consider that are worth repeating (see image below).

The book closes out with a chapter summarizing the M&A experience and previous chapters. Always helpful. I enjoyed reading this book and can strongly recommend it to executives, board members and professional or vocational students of M&A.

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