Business Leaders in Scale.Up Denmark

Leading for growth means opening up to the world outside!

In a market influenced by digital transformation, international competition and disruption across industries, leadership becomes more important than ever! Companies need to be agile, flexible and open to change and management needs to change as well. What has made us successful up til now, may not work in the future!

This challenge is real and composes a threat to both large corporations and small enterprises. However, where large corporations struggle to become agile and fast, smaller companies are better equipped to adjust. They often don’t have the same legacy to protect and are able to change the course from day to day. So, in fact small enterprises have the upper hand when it comes to adjusting to turbulence and seizing new market opportunities.

Unfortunately, smaller enterprises are often challenged by their leadership structure and dynamics. When a small company is growing at a fast pace, management will often struggle to develop and adjust its role in the organization. A fast growing company requires a different leadership style: a move from operational and tactical focus to more strategic thinking. The “founder/owner” of a smaller enterprise often finds it difficult to let go of the daily operations – and he or she might also need the right tools or advice? The Founder/owner of a small enterprise is typically consumed by daily business matters and struggles to find the time and focus to prioritize long term strategy. Some founders/owners withdraw let others take over the strategic leadership. But often a very viable alternative is to bring in advice from the outside and find structural ways to free up time from the daily operations!

In our work with Scale-up Denmark companies we see the impact having leaders of small enterprises “test” their ambition for growth with other experienced leaders and industry experts. External validation and advice sharpens their thinking and strengthens their determination. And a strong ambition is key to mobilizing employees and implementing new ways of working. And gives leaders to courage to dare! And courage challenge “status Quo” is key to any transformation. For a leaders as well as an employee!

When you systematically test, learn and adjust you steps along the way, both management and employees are able to “act your way into a new way of thinking”. This way your strategy is transformed into action and everybody moves forward while also learning, thus driving a “learning organization”. And any strategy needs validation and adjustment to become executed. All leaders will get stronger by being able to test and try their ideas with leading industry experts, also when it comes to export strategies, digitalization, capability development and growth leadership. All it takes is to open up to the world (and the capabilities) outside!

Lisbeth Valther is CEO of Scale.Up Denmark and Next Step challenge

 

Read the blog in Danish:

Hvis vi skal have gang i væksten, skal ledelsen turde åbne sig mod omverdenen!

I en turbulent verden hvor digital transformation, international konkurrence og nye disruptive forretningsmodeller påvirker alle brancher, er ledelsen vigtigere end nogensinde. Virksomheder skal være mere agile og omstillingsparate og det stiller store krav til ledelsen. Det, der hidtil har givet succes, er ikke nødvendigvis det, der gør det i fremtiden!

Denne udfordring er reel – både for store og små virksomheder. Men hvor det ofte kan være en udfordring for de store giganter at agere agilt og hurtigt, er denne del af rejsen måske lettere for de mindre virksomheder. De mindre virksomheder har ofte hurtigt fra beslutning til handling – og har lettere ved at skifte retning og tilpasse sig hurtigt skiftende markedsforhold. Og det giver i virkeligheden de mindre virksomheder nogle fordele når markedssituationen er så uforudsigelig som i dag.

Hos de mindre virksomheder er udfordringen dog fortsat at ledelsen skal forstå at udvikle og tilpasse sin rolle i en voksende organisation. Når en virksomhed vokser, kræves der et nyt mindset hos ledelsen – man skal tænke mere strategisk i stedet for praktisk og fagligt. Det er en udfordring for mange ejerledere som ikke altid er villige til ”give slip på driften” – og som måske mangler værktøjer og sparring? Udfordringen er jo at mange ejerledere er involveret i rigtigt mange daglige opgaver i virksomheden og det gør det svært at få ro og fordybelse til at tænke langsigtet. Nogle ejerledere opgiver og overlader i stedet strategiske ledelse til andre. Men i mange tilfælde er er nok at frigøre tid fra driften og få ekstern sparring udefra!

I vores arbejde med Scale-up Denmark virksomheder kan vi se vigtigheden af at ledelsen får ”testet” deres ambition om vækst af med eksterne eksperter. En stærk ambition om vækst er helt afgørende for at den enkelte leder er i stand til at mobilisere sine medarbejdere og turde tage springet til en ny virkelighed! Og det handler i den grad om at ”turde” udfordre status quo! Både som leder og som medarbejder.

Hvis man systematisk afprøver, lærer og justerer hvert skridt på vejen, giver man både sig selv i ledelsen og medarbejderne mulighed for at ”handle sig ind i en ny måde at tænke på”. På den måde bliver strategien omsat til handling og man skaber både læring og fremdrift i sin organisation, hvilket er med til at skabe en sund fejlkultur. Dermed bliver strategien eksekveret og valideret – og justeret, når der er brug for det. Og ledelsen bliver stærkere af at kunne afprøve og teste sine ideer med ledende eksperter undervejs – både når det gælder eksport, digitalisering, kompetenceudvikling og selve organiseringen af arbejdet i virksomheden. Det gælder bare om at ledelsen tør åbne sig for omverdenen….!

Lisbeth Valther is CEO of Scale.Up Denmark and Next Step challenge

 

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