What is your role here at PostNord Strålfors?
I started in Strålfors just in the beginning of 2021 and I work as the Integrations Manager, which means I am responsible for the three teams of integrators we have at Strålfors Sweden. I also have Nordic coordination responsibility for Norway, Denmark and Finland, which involves coordinating strategic issues in the area of integration with the other countries.
Prior to that, I held a position in which I was responsible for integration issues relating to everyday business activities and architecture issues, and before that I was CEO at an IT consulting company. I have a background in IT consulting leadership and project management. I have also been a consultant, led other consultants, and been a project manager and a team leader. My educational background is in systems science. I first worked as a programmer, but I left that behind me a long time ago and now work with experts who know a lot more about it than I do.
In organizational terms, there are three different teams of integrators. Two of these work with B2C and one of them works with B2B. Some of them work with scanning; this belongs to one of the teams but is a specific area of expertise within that. The teams are located in Solna, Alingsås and Ljungby. We also work with six consultants based in Poland, who help us when we need extra support.
Could you tell us a bit about how you work with leadership in your daily work?
I believe in and work with a leadership approach in which we think of the organizational chart the other way around. This means that the customer is at the top, then the integrators, then my reporting managers and then me.
My job and that of the reporting managers is to support the integrators and to clear away barriers so that they can do their jobs. Which means that, instead of me defining instructions for them, they say what they need from me to be able to do their work. I strongly believe that my experts, i.e. integrators, are the people who know best. I aim to transfer both responsibility and the mandate to act to our integrators. Which of course does not mean removing my own responsibility and that of my reporting managers. We work a lot with this, including in my management group, where my three fantastic managers and I work in this way.
My values are that it should be transparent, and there should be no secrets. I don’t know everything best; my reporting managers know more than me and the integrators know the most. I would say that my approach focuses on driving things forward and on achieving goals, in very close cooperation with those who are experts. With great humility with regard to what they can do and what I can’t do, I lead my reporting managers, who lead their integrators.
You have run a large project relating to agile working, could you tell us something about that?
The part of the organization to which I belong is known as the delivery organization within Strålfors. We began a major transformation journey in our way of working about two years ago. In the past, the project managers and customer support employees worked in their own specific areas. Each area of expertise worked on its own then, instead of there being a cross-functional approach between the areas. What we do now instead is pick skills from all the different competence areas and create what we call agile competence teams. Each team has all the skills needed to be able to deliver to the customer. This makes it more enjoyable to work together with new skills, but above all means that we shorten the delivery time and can be much more agile in our actions. That kind of thinking comes from how we work with product development and IT.
In fall 2021, we set up two pilot teams that we have tested and evaluated, and in spring 2022 we began to make adjustments and work in that way. It’s not purely a way of working, but it is somehow easiest to describe it like that. There are, of course, also principles, values, and behaviors. What we want to achieve is basically to create self-determining teams. In terms of what the teams need to be able to deliver, we remove obstacles to make that possible. One of the things I really like about my work is that it has a direct impact on the business, as customers are affected by what I do. And, at the same time, lots of people work together, which is very exciting.
What are you most proud of with regards to PostNord Strålfors as an employer?
It is a workplace that gives all its employees opportunities. It is possible to develop within the company. There is a great degree of freedom and you can influence what you do a lot. Then, of course, it is always the people who are most important. I’m enormously grateful to be able to work with a lot of experts and specialists who have in depth knowledge of subjects about which I don’t know much. That’s a real luxury for me and I have great respect for what my colleagues can do.