Steering the ship

Steering the ship

Feb 21, 2018

During my professional career in Norway, I spent several years working for "Thon Gruppen" owned and run by one of the most successful business people in Norway: Olav Thon. I was in charge of one of his newest and fastest growing shopping malls, Oasen Storsenter, in the city of Haugesund.

We were in many meetings with Olav Thon, and I learned many good techniques from his organization that I have later applied to my own ventures. One of them was his take on how to manage change within the organization.

Thon taught us that leading a big business was like steering a ship, and that it would have to be managed accordingly. If we ever made the mistake to handle it like a small boat, and change course as the wind changed without prior notice, consideration and care the affect to the business would be harmful at best. In a business with many departments, divisions and teams every change will have to be applied slowly and with the necessary care because the ship would only change direction if the whole crew worked according to the same agreement.

In the fast pace world we live in today, however, any business has to have the infrastructure to be able to adapt and adjust to changes, needs and ideas on a short notice. What before was managed around yearly plans and quarterly reports have today been changed for weekly meetings and daily communication with from top to bottom within the organization. It further has to nurture a culture where the teams and management are open and willing to quickly learn, apply and adjust to such changes. 

In our orange group of business we have therefore tried to integrate the traditional way of "steering the ship" with today's need for flexibility and rapid adjustments. In our group every business knows the terminology "step-by-step". It means that in anything we do, we try to hustle slowly.

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