Shaping company cultures during unprecedented times

Shaping company cultures during unprecedented times

At the Boardman’s event “Shaping company cultures during unprecedented times: remote culture change” Clarissa Hack from SPIE Deutschland & Zentraleuropa and Samuli Savo from Stora Enso shared their experiences about what they have learned from driving cultural transformation forward during COVID-19 to ensure renewal and growth. Eeva Raita, Head of Strategy & Culture for Futurice moderated the event.

Key features of the company culture in the future

During the event the participants were able to hear a lot of inspirational ideas how to lead the change during these unprecedented times. Savo told that Stora Enso has established a separate strategy for building the desired company’s culture. Savo presented what kind of culture his division in Stora Enso is aiming for in order to grow in the future. They have identified three key features for the culture that are easy to remember, and those ABCs are: to be Agile, Brave and Curious.

“Agility means that we need to be able to bring new offerings into the market in a totally different world than where we were before. In our case it means that we need to jump from physical manufacturing into services as well. It needs quite a lot of agility to make it happen on needed tempo and also to be able to actually test and try what works.

Braveness means that we need to be able to challenge our customers as well, and basically look for customers, who want to have this kind of discussion, and who have more complex problems and expect higher value solutions as well.

Curiosity is all about engaging outside in and understanding what is out there, what kind of solutions start-ups can provide, how we can use digital as a part of our business and be open for those new ideas.”

Concreate changes applied in leadership habits and in the company

Leadership has faced during covid times a lot of new challenges. In the panel discussion Raita raised a question, what have been the major concrete changes that Hack and Savo have applied in their own leadership habits.

According to Hack there has been many changes during past year in her own habits, but in the whole company as well. “The digital transformation mindset has gotten more into the whole organisation. I am really proud how digital transformation has really started and how it has been applied.”

Savo told that the empowerment, trust, and mutual understanding have played much bigger roles than before. “I have told to my people that you actually have higher rights. You can in a meeting agree things and I will back you up when needed. So basically, I have given them empowerment. We may have an argument later whether the decision was right, but I will back them up. That’s maybe one concrete thing that has increased our speed.”

Savo highlighted that in order empowerment to work you need to have a good trust in personnel and there should be a mutual understanding what is okey and what is not.

Savo also reminded that in this new situation anyone from anywhere from the world can be part of decision-making and they don’t need to travel for that all the time.

Three key elements shaping the culture and accelerating the change

Many leaders spend a lot of time talking about company culture: What does it take to create the right kind of culture? How can you maintain that culture?

Hack highlighted, that it is important to involve everybody in the change and the transformation process and to have clear milestones. “The communication is needed in different channels. It is always good to show that targets have been met or where in the process we are. If you have made even small steps towards the goal, then you should show these steps and progress. This gets objectives closer to people and motivates into reaching them. “

Savo highlighted the repetition, communication and giving a lot of examples to the personnel as key areas. “With repetition in communication we try to link attention back to ABC’s and try give lot of examples how to apply those. At the same time, it needs to be clear that the senior management is also showing an example in their behaviour and decisions. “

The use of digital tools has been increasing heavily. “On our daily basis we have increased the amount of our daily communication. We communicate much often than we used to do but use less time for individual interactions. So, we try to have very short meetings often and repeat it in the whole management structure. “

Clarissa Hack from SPIE Deutschland & Zentraleuropa and Samuli Savo from Stora Enso shared their experiences about what they have learned from driving cultural transformation forward during COVID-19 to ensure renewal and growth. Eeva Raita, Head of Strategy & Culture for Futurice moderated the event.

The event was organized by the development forum “Work and Leadership Changes” (Työn ja johtamisen muutos).