Shanghai at night – visual candy

I just had the pleasure of visiting Shanghai for the first time. Many great impressions from this big city of 24 million people and in strong development.

Here are two of my favorite pictures. Like visual candy, don’t you think?

The first picture is of Pudong, the fairly new finance and business district of Shanghai.

The picture is taken from the Bund. And the second picture is of the Bund – a more established area with older buildings, many influenced by British architecture.

Huangpu River that you see in both pictures is separating Pudong and the Bund.

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WHAT IS INNOVATION?

In my discussions with Business Leaders, I often ask how they work with innovation and new developments to come closer to their customers. Many of the companies that are struggling in particular do not have much time for such activities. In my point of view they should TAKE the time, because they need it the most. Original, innovative thinking is exactly what could bring the company to the nice, positive numbers.

I found this great video on what Innovation is. Take a look and reflect on how you can improve your own thinking and actions.

GUEST SERIES ON BUSINESS LEADERSHIP AND LIFE. MY GUEST IS ROLF GULLESTAD

Experienced Business Leaders reflections and learning points are in particular interesting. Rolf Gullestad is one of my good relationships for reflections on Business, Innovations and Developments. I am so happy to have him as my next guest.

I met Rolf for the first time in 2001 when he started as a CEO at Gresvig, a major Sport- and Fashion Retailer in Norway. At that time I was a Management Consultant at PwC Consulting. We had the pleasure to help Rolf and his leadership team with the turnaround “From Minus to Plus”. I remember my first impression of Rolf. In a newspaper article he exposed himself with high ambitions for Gresvig. That was brave I think. And he succeeded. Impressive – and of course it was exciting to work for him as a consultant. Since then I have been in contact with Rolf. He has been a great discussion partner and advisor for me too, and today he is more a friend than a business relation.

Rolf and I at Maschmanns Matmarked in Oslo in August

Rolf and I at Maschmanns Matmarked in Oslo in August

– Rolf, looking back – what do you see as highlights in your Business Life?

Inger, let me first thank you for the opportunity to let me express some of my thoughts, and share some of my experiences from my career on your blog. And secondly I have much appreciated our many meetings and lunches discussing career development, personal development and life in general.

Looking back I like to start with my time at the Norwegian Business School (BI), which was important in the start of my career. Finishing there I got the opportunity to study at the University of Wisconsin and finish my Master of Business Administration degree.

In 1986 I took the job as CEO at Thorn in Norway, an English owned rental company. I had a very interesting time there. Thorn was a company in trouble at that time and was a turnaround case. We succeeded restructuring the company focusing on marketing of our rental products, TV and video, and added new products like white goods and PCs. Norway became an important contributor to the profit of Thorn EMI’s rental business across the world. As a consequence I was promoted to CEO Nordic for the rental operation.

In the last 12 years I have been CEO at Gresvig, a Sport- and Fashion Retailer. Starting there in 2001 also this company was in bad shape. We did a study of the situation helped by PwC Consulting and organized 5 projects which we decided would be important in order to become profitable. This was very successful and already by the end of 2001 we were profitable on a monthly basis. In 2002 Gresvig’s share price on Oslo Stock Exchange grew by 250%, the highest growing share in 2002.

– If you could do it again, would you do anything different?

Yes, I should have invested a ton of money in Gresvig’s shares in 2001 when I joined the company. That would have been a very profitable investment. However, I made a good return on the investment I did, and the share options I acquired between 2001 and 2006. So I should not complain.

– What is your most important life learning points?

Listen to people, talk to people, but follow your instinct and gut feeling. Don’t be afraid of risk but be conscious of it.

Take care of family, friends and your health. They are the most important things in life. They are actually your life, they are what makes life worth living. Growing old you probably will not say; “I should have spent more time in the office”.

In business the way to success is to hire the best people you can get. You will not succeed alone.

– What is your top advice to younger people?

Number one; get an education. It is always an asset. Second; all managers want to succeed in business and therefore it is important to select the right challenges and projects where it is possible to succeed. Find the projects where you are with the right people and where resources are available to carry the project through successfully.

– Do you have a favorite quote to share?

A little learning about life: “Treat people well on your way up, you may meet them on your way down”.

PROUD TO BE A PARTNER IN THE CONSULTING COMPANY OF THE YEAR – CONSIDIUM CONSULTING GROUP!

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So excited to join the winning team in Considium Consulting Group!
Photo: Lillian Andersen

I am happy to join the Consulting Company of the year 2013 – Considium Consulting Group – as a Partner in September.

The successful company established in 1985 has 18 Management Business Consultants with comprehensive leadership experience from the industry. Considium’s uniqueness comes with the simple, straightforward methods to accelerate execution of strategy through new knowledge, positive energy and common goal focus. The work is done in close collaboration with the client’s CEO and the Leadership teams. Considium’s assistance to the big transformation in a leading Norwegian company led to the Consulting Company of the year 2013 title. The CEO of Considium, Siri Fürst, is among The most powerful women in Norwegian Business.

I am really looking forward to working with this winning team to expand Considium’s market footprint even more.

NO, NO, NO!

.. said the man when meeting the cashier to pay his groceries.

“NO – I do not want a printed receipt!”

“NO – I do not want a shoppingbag!”

“NO – I do not want your loyalty card offer!”

This was my sons funny observation when he was doing his grocery shopping the other day.

Outperforming companies do not ask the same questions to their customers over and over again – just to irritate. In this case the cashier did not even have to ask the questions – the customer knew the questions that were coming long before he entered the store.

Outperforming companies gather customer preferences and wishes, equip their service personnel with insight and tailor the dialogues with the individual customer through their preferred channels. They delight and surprise!

The consumers are “connected” as ever before, and if you are not already discussing the strategic implications and opportunities in detail it is time to get started. Take a minute and reflect on your own shopping experiences and how your company/ brand is doing. Where are the major areas for improvements?

Business Executives in Retail and Consumer Goods industries discussing Innovation and the Future

I am facilitating networks and roundtables for Business Executives in non-competing consumer companies. Our Innovation network members meet about 4 times a year to share and discuss complex problem solving and business developments to get closer to the customers.

This is a picture from our kick-off in 2008.

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