“Sometimes when a person becomes a leader for the first time, they focus on how they should act, and then they might become someone else. For me, all successful leadership is based on yourself. Leadership starts with you, and it is important to realize who you are and how you want to lead.”
Pär Fors, CEO of NNIT, started his leadership journey early and by coincidence. In 1994 Pär entered the IT industry and became a leader from day one. He was leading a rather small team consisting of him and one other person. “Starting out as a leader of two people, I didn’t think of myself as a leader, but a part of the team. Therefore, I was just being myself and being transparent.”
As CEO of NNIT, Pär categorizes his work in three overall dimensions, and they are all equally important.
The first dimension is his work with the people in NNIT, especially communicating with the organization via his CEO video updates, as well as meetings with leaders on all levels. Pär also focuses on how NNIT, directly and indirectly, improve the way we create opportunities for people to grow their career here and explore their full potential.
The second dimension of Pär’s work is the customers. He interacts with customers in different ways; from winning new contracts, to identifying new opportunities, to talking with existing customers. He always prioritizes his customers. “The most important part of the IT industry is people, and of course that also goes for our customers. Interacting and networking with people across the industry is therefore an important part of my job,” he says.
The third dimension of Pär’s job is what he calls the shareholder dimension. Here his job is to meet with investors, attract new investors, and meet up with analysts who are analyzing NNIT and following our share. Furthermore, Pär needs to make sure that value is delivered to our shareholders and that we are making profit and growing accordingly. In general, he ensures that NNIT has a healthy bottom line. To make sure that NNIT is generating growth, internal business reviews of our three different business units, Hybrid Cloud Solutions, Life Sciences Solutions, and Cloud & Digital Solutions, are conducted. Here, Pär gets a 360-view of the different units’ performance.
Hire better people and watch them grow
Being a leader came naturally to Pär. He always liked the thought of being a leader and being able to influence things. Pär thrives as a leader when he sees other people shine and grow. He has never had a personal drive to be in the center; “if you’re a leader who only wants to put yourself in the center, you will fail. Leadership is about ‘we’, not ‘I’,” he says and adds, referring to his top management colleagues, “NNIT management wouldn’t be where we are today if we weren’t interested in other people and their success. We can’t succeed alone.”
To Pär, being a good leader is about the people you have around you. “I always try to recruit people better than me. I am far from perfect, and one of the best learnings is that good leaders recruit better people. When you are a leader, it is important to never fear recruiting people that are better than yourself; around a good leader there are good people. If you have good people around you, you are going to deliver superior results.”
Get your priorities straight
When Pär first became a leader, he realized that his leadership style worked. He focused on the task at hand, and this led to him being able to succeed and deliver value which led to more responsibility. “The best way to continue getting more responsibility is to do a good job today. Don’t spend too much time on thinking of the next step. Look at your output, the tangible results of your work. This is what really counts.”
“It is important to get your priorities straight. This is also the most difficult task, since leaders are often bombarded with many tasks at once. Therefore, it is important to maintain a helicopter view and see your performance from an outside perspective,” Pär says.
To be a successful leader, it is important to work with your people, customers, and shareholders and maintaining a good balance between the three. Lastly, it is important to look at your output, the tangible results of your work. This is what really counts.
Everyone is a leader
Leadership is many things and can be defined in many ways. “Leading people is only one type of leadership. There are different kinds of leaders in NNIT, and they are all leading different things, such as our different solutions, our customers, or our consulting. So, in a way, everyone leads something in one way or another.”
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