Education, Projects

Innovative leadership in the Nordics

November 23, 2016


-Master students set out on trip to explore new ways companies are run in the Nordics

There is no crystal ball in business anymore.

Today’s leaders know that they have to change the way they work and can no longer rely only on traditional strategy. To boost results and growth, leaders look for new ways to find a competitive edge to charge new industries, markets, products and services. Company leaders need to empower their entire organisation to work in new ways in order to succeed.

To find out more about how this is done in practice, our MBA group set out on a trip around the Nordics to explore innovative leadership tactics.

We started off in Vantaa visiting an exciting HR software solution provider Sympa and then jumped on a flight to Copenhagen to visit the global giant 3M Denmark. The next day we got to experience a strong luxury concept in hospitality management at Kurhotel Skodsborg. A company with strong traditions and a heritage that has managed to turn over their business completely. On the last day of the trip, we visited Management Events in Stockholm and ended the trip with a leadership workshop, where we discussed leadership from different angles and reflected on all the learnings from the trip.

During our three-day trip we found out that companies work quite a bit with different leadership approaches.

At Sympa for instance, they believe that success in business is based on knowing how your people are doing and how, but also by trust in one another. In practice this means open communication, discussing and talking things through in order for the business to move forward. For Sympa the key for innovative leadership is; transparency, responsibility, freedom, trust, respect, resources and knowledge.

At Skodsborg, 3M and Management Events they constantly look at finding new potential and high potentials (HIPO’s) among their people, also outside of their specific role. Within their own organisations, they scout for the next team leader or manager to enrol them into training programs in order to support their career advancement.

At Skodsborg, they focus on finding their employees full potential. The CEO Mai Kappenberger, pointed out that ‘a maid is never just a maid’. If a maid has a certain skill, for instance a shared language with guests, the maid will then function as the host to those guests, outside of the housekeeping duties. Finding other potential and using them within the organisation, Skodsborg can add extra value for their clients, but also allow their employees to work with varied tasks.

At 3M, innovation is in everything they do and it’s their competitive edge – innovation is at the heart of 3M. To foster innovation, 3M allow employees to devote 15 percent of their time to work on their own ideas.

Management Events categorises leadership into the styles of visionary, affiliate, participative, coaching, pacesetter and directive. They see leadership as a golf bag, each club representing a different style of leadership. All personnel at Management Events are trained continuously and they run leadership programs to support new leaders and to develop a high performance culture. They focus on fostering different leadership styles and with this strategy they continue to build up their high performance culture and keep expanding their business.

The trip spanning over three days was eye opening and gave the group a lot to think about, everything from different leadership styles to innovative ideas that can be implemented into any organisation. The trip received great feedback and everybody enjoyed the company visits that provided us with a lot of inspiration. The opportunity to network and get to know each other better was also not missed by anybody, the learnings and memories of this trip will no doubt live on with us for a long time.

/Daniela Blomqvist & Marléne Snabb