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Our former SVP Sales Jukka Veteläsuo once told me a simple management aid for important decisions: Take company core values, stare at them for a while and think how the the decision resonates with each one. After some 5 minutes, the matter seems a lot clearer. I’ve used it now for almost 10 years and it remains effective to this day.

BaseN core values – No Nonsense, Reliability, Loyalty and Passion – have also endured the dent of time in our changing environment, evolving from a network management company into a Global IoT Operator.

Another aid that I’ve partly learned from other CEOs and partly formulated myself, is about titles and responsibilities. Having appointed two new BaseN SVPs last month this is quite topical.

A Manager literally be translated as a survivor – you’re given predefined tasks and you allocate them to people reporting to you. It’s about timekeeping and troubleshooting, and many times practical involvement in subordinates’ tasks.

A Director, in turn, gently nudges managers into the right direction. Literally again, it is about giving directions.

A President (or vice-such) is a more complicated concept. A president presides over directors and should almost never overturn decisions. President’s vision and values should be evident to directors, so that they operate within the President’s responsibility framework, needing little or no constant supervision. In the US government, this is called as ‘serving at the pleasure of the President’ when it comes to ambassadors. It practically means that an ambassador exercises the President`s authority, which naturally requires high level of trust.

In my view, the President is an important tool for Directors and should be utilized (by the Directors) frequently as a guarantor and a unifying concept. However, this inevitably means that the President must always be available for the Directors as a guide and sounding board. However, this makes time planning difficult, and actually means that at any given moment, the President should have 1-2 hours available for any direct report. He just has no right to complain about interruptions, unlike people under him.

Personally I’ve adopted a rule that if a direct report call/meeting has to be scheduled further than 2 days, I must reconsider my priorities. There is always time. It is alluring to appear busy and efficient with customer meetings, keynote speeches or meeting other CEOs, but most time must be spent in – presiding.


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