The great thing about meeting someone from a different background is that you get to look at old issues through new eyes.

Take leadership and politics.

Torben Soelvsteen, the 85th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, has interesting views on both these issues. 

Torben moved from Denmark to Australia in 2017, and he’s an expert in leadership, management and organisational psychology, so I was keen to hear his thoughts.

As Torben explained, Australian workplaces tend to me more hierarchical and siloed than their Scandinavian equivalents. At the same time, Australian employees tend to be more tightly controlled while Scandinavians are allowed to show more initiative.

During Australia’s recent bushfire crisis, Torben was the Australian media liaison for the Danish Red Cross and national press. Danish journalists kept asking him: why is the Australian government unconcerned about climate change even though the bushfires appear to have been caused by climate change? Torben’s reply was that Australia is divided on the issue.

Torben is great company – he’s a deep thinker with an open mind and fascinating insights into human behaviour.