Advantage

President on Leadership

“The Norwegian model with a flat structure, a high degree of trust and involvement has meant a great deal to the way we view leadership today.”

The main topic for this edition of Advantage is leadership. What motivates you in your position?
- When I see the people around me succeed- and when we get the necessary interaction to put the organization on the right track. I also find it very meaningful to work with issues concerning where we are heading, what we should prioritize, and how we can work strategically to reach our goals.

Nye bilder Inge Jan Henjesand 18

You lead an organization with nearly 900 employees. What does that take of you as a leader?
- To be the president at BI is the most exciting leadership position one could have. The most important part for me is to set a course and make sure that all the parts of the organization are functioning coherently. In a knowledge-based organization like BI, there are many different opinions concerning what the right course is, what we should be prioritizing, and how to get there. I need to take all these opinions seriously. Additionally, it would be my responsibility to make decisions based on the organization’s input, guidelines from the board, and my reviews in consultations with BI’s leader group.

How has the leadership course changed since you were a student?
- As far as I know, “Trust-based leadership” was not a term we used back then. It is quite interesting to see that scientists at BI and other Norwegian institutions have shaped the leadership course nationally and internationally. The Norwegian model with a flat structure, a high degree of trust and involvement has meant a great deal to the way we view leadership today.

What do you think will happen to the leader role in the future?
- Nobody can claim to know it exactly, but it will evolve around leading colleagues who increasingly will have to interact with digital technologies. Additionally, sustainability will have to be integrated, both in strategies and daily operations. However, I think the most critical part will be to lead and utilize diversity, considering nationalities, ethnicities, and other dimensions. Borders will no longer define value creations. In the end, I am confident that BI still will be here in 50 years to give new generations of leaders updated and relevant knowledge, just the way we do today.