It's not about luck

13 March 2015

Success can be achieved in many ways, but luck itself is never enough. What factors are critical to success? This was the question that Årskonferanse 2015 aimed to answer.

Luck or good political craftmanship?

Hilde Bjørnland was the first speaker and talked about how the Norwegian prosperity could be attributed to luck or good political craftmanship. Bjrønland questioned the extent to which fiscal policy has helped to stablise the Norwegian economy, and could this economy avoid any crisis in the future? 

Tore Ulstein, CEO of Ulstein Group and NHO president, was concerned that one must facilitate Norwegian ownership. He talked about how to create successful innovation. As a district business, the business should not only develop itself but the community as a whole. Ulstein stressed that the interaction between university, secondary schools and business is essential to create innovation.

What is the relationship between job satisfaction and firm value?

Professor Alex Edmans of London Business School has adopted methods from finance to answer this question. His research reveals that firms in the period of  1984-2011, and which are on America's 100 Best Companies to Work For, generate 2.3% - 3.8% higher annual return than competitors which are not on the list. "My paper is one of the first  to prove that firms which treat their workers well actually do perform better," stated Edmans in his lecture. He also showed how socially responsible investments can boost economic benefits. Investors can therefore both do good and perform well.

If you care, disagree with your boss

Kristian Monsen Røkke concluded the first day by talking about leadership and challenges. "Care enough to tell your boss when you disagree with him," ureged Røkke. Organizations must learn to handle unexpected situations in a better way than many manage to today. Røkke stressed that he is "genuinely humble" with regards to his own success. He noted that a good dose of luck does come in handy - wherever it is coming from. Read more about Røkke's talk on DN (Norwegian).

On the second day of the event, speakers included the incoming chief of the National Theatre, Tom Remlov, who suggested that it bodes well to have luck and take chances if you're going to be a prima donna. He summed up his management style with three eloquent and simple points. As a leader, you must observe and understand your people, you must attend to them as the signature bearer, and you most hold back so that your employees get the necessary leeway to explore their talent. In addition, you should assume the positive reason behind reluctance.

Ole Robert Reitan believes that the key to success is to love what you're doing in combination to being determined and unafraid of hard work. Reitan believes enthusiasm and passion from the boss rubs off on staff, but that it's also the prerequisite of a leader who will deliver results. Enthusiasm must be combined with vigour. Reitan was adamant that REMA's success is due to their focus on, and staying true to, the original concept. Learn more tips on how to be the best leader from REMA's CEO on DN (Norwegian).

Årskonferanse was concluded by Jeffrey Pfeffer from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He came with practical suggestions on how to increase both personal and professional success. Pfeffer talked about 'leadership bullshit' and that anyone can call themselves an expert on leadership. Many leaders are regularly lying with few or no consequences. Inspiration is something Pfeffer believes is a bad thing to initiate change with. It is a paradox that leaders should be humble, but that there aren't many humble people who become leaders. The only real way to see your progress is through measurements.

Other speakers at Årskonferanse

  • Olaug Svarva, CEO of Folketrygdfondet
  • Marie Hallander Larsson, HR Director, Forsakringskassan
  • Øystein Bonvik, communications consultant
  • Øyvind Kvalnes, Associate Professor at BI
  • Ingrid M. Gjerde, Colonel and Chief, Krigsskolen
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