Barnekow on his leadership: “Are two important qualities”


Navigating change: Keys to successful leadership – read more At the Nordea Open in Båstad, Nordea takes the pulse of business profiles in several topics. Before the panel discussion on leadership, which can also be viewed online, Hélène Barnekow talks about her three years as CEO of the Nordics’ largest telecom company and four years as CEO in Sweden for a world-leading American software company. – In a way, they were two very different companies to lead. Telia is rich with more than 150 years of history, with Swedish values ​​and culture, while Microsoft has its American structure where the leadership roles become more hierarchical in the structure. At the same time, both were undergoing major changes. Telia needed to undergo a digital transformation, but also culturally and grow with new services, while Microsoft changed from a software supplier to a cloud partner, she says and continues: – Leadership is about setting the direction and understanding what you need to do to get there. The needs may look different in companies, but in a period of change or uncertainty you need to be present as a leader, be close to your organization and communicate. In his leadership, Barnekow likes to take his cue from the sports movement: – I grew up on the football field. Team spirit, quick feedback and always putting the team first are crucial there. Then I think courage and humility are two important qualities. Courage to be able to make difficult decisions, but stand firm in it, and humility to be able to listen to all people within the company. Ten days into the new job as CEO of Skistar, the pandemic shut down Sweden. A tougher start at a workplace is harder to imagine. Stefan Sjöstrand recalls: – I didn’t know the board, not the management team, not a single employee. After 14 years abroad, I had no network and no relationship with interest organizations in Sweden. Among the first things I needed to do was to turn the profits, for me it was completely unreal, he says. In addition to putting together a staff group in management with clearer roles, Sjöstrand quickly adopted a method he introduced during his years as CEO of the furniture giant Ikea in Canada: To vlog directly to the employees every week: – I went directly to the employees and told them what was relevant, so they didn’t have to rely on the media or hesitate about how we should handle the situation. Some days things changed from hour to hour out in society and it was important for us to be extremely quick to adapt to the situation, he says. Even though Sjöstrand hardly wants to experience a pandemic again, the situation still had some positive effects for Skistar, he believes :– It brought us extremely much closer in the company. I got to know the group management very quickly, which I would never have otherwise done in the same way. We managed to carry out digitization at a speed that would not have happened otherwise. Before the pandemic, all Skipasses were purchased manually, today 75 percent of purchases are made digitally. The check-ins at the facilities were manual, today 95 percent are digital. In an era of digitization, demands for sustainability and uncertain global economy, the role of leader becomes even more complex. Peter Dalmalm, head of corporate affairs at Nordea, states that it is a challenge to be able to navigate that landscape: – Leadership today must be extremely adaptable with a broad mindset, both to be able to understand the changes that are underway but also to make the decisions that drive the company forward. Then you must be able to communicate the journey to the employees, understanding and commitment on their part is absolutely necessary. It is very challenging, but at the same time very fun, he says and adds: – For me, leadership is very much about mandate, you must be visible and clear in wet and dry. You must also be able to create security in an organization where you dare to give mandates to your employees to act. In a forward-leaning organization, employees must dare to make decisions themselves. How can Nordea support its customers in developing their leadership? – What we mainly work on is networking between the companies and creating platforms for more meetings, so that, for example, a startup can meet a large companies so both are given the opportunity to build on their skills. I believe very strongly in creating networks where you can learn new things from each other, not only in leadership, but also in other parts of the business. Hélène Barnekow, Stefan Sjöstrand and Peter Dalmalm talk at Nordea Open in Båstad – read moreFACTS: PANEL CONVERSATION AT NORDEA OPENNavigating change: Keys to successful leadership – read more Wednesday 19 July, 10.10-10.50 at Hotell Skansen in Båstad or online. Discover the leadership of the future in a conversation with Hélène Barnekow, partner Ascension, Stefan Sjöstrand, CEO Skistar, and Peter Dalmalm, head of corporate affairs at Nordea. Share experiences and gain important insights on how to navigate as a leader in an era of digitization, increased sustainability requirements and troubled macro environment. Get inspired and see how you can adapt your leadership to meet the challenges of the future. Welcome to Båstad or sign up for the webinar free of charge here article is produced by Brand Studio in collaboration with Nordea and not an article by Dagens industri

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