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Five Ulfberht Sword Leadership Tips for Business Growth


The Viking Ulfberht sword dominated the battlefields of many nations during 732–1066 AD. What made the Ulfberht special was its superior steel, even carbon distribution, and very little slag. The Ulfberht was very strong and yet flexible with the ability to penetrate armor.

“Ulfberht swords are made from crucible steel. Crucible steel is a manufacturing process that gets the steel hot enough to effectively separate slag (impurities) from the molten iron. The iron and carbon combined to produce steel was smelted inside of a crucible (sealed tight container) in an almost 3000 degrees oven.”

The technology used to produce this sword was ahead of its time, which puzzles scientists to this day. How were the Vikings able to create such heat to separate the impurities from the iron? This technology was only practical a thousand years later! The how does not matter much at this point, but the process of crafting the Ulfberht is directly related symbolically to the building of modern leaders. Some important lessons can be drawn from the making and the usability of the Ulfberht!

1- Use Only Superior Steel

The Vikings did not settle with the average European steel of the time; they knew that in order to win the battle, they needed superior steel. As a leader you cannot afford to work with average or inferior resources, whether they be people, processes, or technologies. Good leaders understand that “brittle” steel will break upon contact with the enemy. Good leaders take their time to build and work with superior steel. Take your time to prepare, There are NO shortcuts; work with a superior team.

2- Separate the Slag through Intense Heat.

The only way to separate the slag (impurities) from the molten iron is through super intense heat. As you lead people, you will eventually have to put your team through learning situations where they will be “purified” by heat, and the “impurities” or imperfections will be minimized to acceptable quality levels. Like people say, you will learn through fire! We all fail in life, but what makes us grow is the ability to get up, dust off, and keep on going and “growing” through the intense heat of adversity. A sane leader will have the ability to choose the right time to allow his team to fail and then be there to help them along the way with the proper support.

3- Be Rigid, Yet Flexible

Your team is an extension of you. Just like the Ulfberht sword, your team must be able to hit the target and penetrate what it was previously perceived as impenetrable (newer markets, great leads, more business, etc…). The Ulfberht sword was rigid enough to pierce through armor and flexible enough not to break when striking the shields of the enemies. Balance is key! In the business world, you will never walk away with the ideal deal. There is only room for negotiation, and one can only negotiate if flexible enough to compromise. Once a balanced strategy has been reached, then be rigid. Do not deviate from the target, and strike with all your might, mind, and heart!

4- Create a Crucible-like Work Environment

The quality steel needed to create the Ulfberht sword can only be produced in a sealed tight container called the crucible. Your work environment must be sealed tight. Your team must understand the meaning of “everything gets in, and nothing gets out” before the appropriate time. As an efficient leader, you must instill the virtues of loyalty, honor, and confidentiality within your team. It takes one small opening in the crucible for the entire process to fail. It only takes one team member who’s not committed to loyalty for the entire team to fall apart. “Loose lips sink ships.”

5- Honor and Value Thy Sword

In some occasions, the Vikings used bones of their ancestors along with carbon when making their swords in order to create a special more spiritual Ulfberht sword. A good leader will give of his or her own self (literally sweat and tears) to perfect the team. A real leader will honor and value his sword when in combat much like a family member would be valued and loved at home. Your team is what makes you a winner; without them you cannot and will not be truly successful.

Paul de Souza, CSFI President



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Career Thoughts

I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to manage and run one of the biggest and most active forums on the Internet dealing with cyber warfare and cyber security – CSFI (The Cyber Security Forum Initiative). With over 16 years of cyber security experience, I continue to actively raise Cyber Warfare/Cyber Security awareness worldwide. I have worked as a Chief Security Engineer for AT&T, where I designed and approved secure networks for MSS. I have also consulted for several governments, military and private institutions on best network security practices throughout my career.

CSFI and its divisions CSFI-CWD (Cyber Warfare Division), CSFI-LPD (Law and Policy Division) and CSFI-WD (Wireless Division) continue to grow and expand with more than 60,000 information security members.

One of my personal goals is to serve our security community to the best of my abilities, in the protection and defense of our American national security interests, the American people, and that of our international partners. I am always ready to serve and to give of my time and skills to help our society with the growing problems we experience in cyberspace. I thank God and my family for the opportunities I have had in life and the most precious of all opportunities, which is the chance to serve others. I love what I do, and I appreciate all the support I have received from friends, family and our CSFI members.


Paul de Souza, CSFI Founder Director

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