Last week the top corporate decision makers of the Öresund region gathered for the annual Alumni Spring Summit to enjoy a networking lunch and panel discussion moderated by the Founding Partner and CEO of Alumni, Magnus Tegborg.
Guest speakers included Allison Kirkby (CEO of TDC and Board Member of British Telecom), Lars-Johan Jarnheimer (Chairman of INGKA Holding and Egmont) and Inka Mero (Tech entrepreneur and Board Member of YIT and Fiskars).
Passion for the customer interface
Having worked closely with the renowned magnate, Lars-Johan shared an anecdote about the late Ingvar Kamprad who would spend hours asking IKEA-shoppers for their views on matters ranging from the number of meatballs they find satiating to the couch colour they believe signalises the highest level of quality, only to enter the boardroom and find an agenda containing none of the issues mentioned by the customers he had just spoken to.
When the matters that affect your customers do not make it to the top of the boardroom agenda, one way to get a feel for how your company is doing is simply to play the role of the customer. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from the great entrepreneurs who have shaped large parts of Swedish Enterprise for decades by untiringly asking: Are we doing what the customer wants us to do and are we doing it at the right speed?
Speed, people and passion
Remaining close to the customer throughout growth and downsizing is the key to survival. An item all of our panel members agreed on as a close second on the list of priorities, is the pursuit of the right leader for the challenge facing your corporation.
How can an organisation be energised around a new direction, if this strategy involves the possibility of parts of the organisation not having a job left to do in a three years period? How can boards and senior executive teams motivate their organisations while ensuring honesty is maintained? Companies with weaker cultures allow for poor leaders to enter and exit seamlessly, doing what is good for the individual but not the organisation as a whole.
A mega trend that has led to several business opportunities in the Nordics is our trust ecosystem. We have a society of trust, which paired with low levels of hierarchy, has made the region an excellent breeding ground for unicorns. A mega trend we witness in businesses today is the younger segment pushing for change, not only in the start-ups but in the larger, established corporations which are opening up to incorporating scale-up culture which promotes agile and diverse teams empowered to kill off bad ideas fast and encourage innovation.
Talent is critical. How will any company be able to face the threats they encounter without knowing their state of talent? The younger generation is not looking to stay with an employer for twenty years, they want to make an impact today. Most would agree that the restrictions on bringing in talent from overseas is a massive obstacle, but just as often, the one hurdle standing between talent and your company is fear. Fear that discourages you to look beyond age. Fear that forces you to focus on a cookie-cutter list of experiences instead of looking for ambition and for passion. The right leader for your organisation will not always cover the list of qualifications you are expecting, but could still add value and positive change to your organisation.
Are you curious to find out the state of your talent? Do you need help identifying internal candidates ready to take on a new challenge? Do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Alumni for a free consultation.