Joakim Kedbrant is an experienced transformation leader with a background from listed companies, PE-owned companies, and state-owned companies. But he was close to choosing another career path as a pilot and architect.
The recession in the 90s and the lack of employment led him to Ericsson as a program- and project leader within the industrialization of new products, launching of production, and supply chain. Interested in developing his leadership, he was admitted to Ericsson’s program “Future Leaders” with one year of education and work.
Joakim stayed at Ericsson for 14 years with growing responsibility. For a period, he lived in the USA to lead large client projects, integration after an acquisition, and the relocation of production from the USA to China. His passion for leadership, working on set goals, mobilizing and engaging the organization, grew.
“There is a strong force in creating a culture where every employee contributes to the development in different ways”
After a time as General Manager for New Product Introduction, with responsibility for all industrialization of, for example, base stations and mobile phones with hundreds of employees in Sweden and China, he chose to further educate himself at Stockholm Business School.
One year later he was curious about the world outside of Ericsson and became the CEO for the start-up consultancy company Influence, operating within business consulting and change leadership. “There were clear demands, and the pace was very fast. It was a big difference from the slower environment of a big company”, Joakim says. His assignment was to grow the business and today they are ca 100 consultants within business consulting and collective intelligence.
“The industry was new to me, but I had experience of developing organizations and lead change”Joakim Kedbrant
He then proceeded to another start-up and a new industry. Indoor Energy, a company within indoor climate, was going to grow through acquisition. “We bought three companies quite fast and worked intensively with integration, establishing structures, leadership, and culture. I learned that there is a strong force in creating a culture where every employee can contribute in different ways. This helped us in the transition and to integrate the companies more quickly – everyone accepted the new game. It turned out very well.” After the acquisitions, they needed to slow down the pace and grow organically. Joakim, driven by change leadership, felt that it was the right time to leave Indoor Energy as a CEO, but stayed as a consultant for a period.
A new career as an Interim Manager with a focus on transformation and change leadership
He soon realized that he missed the leadership and decided to try out a career as an Interim Manager. In 2015 Joakim was assigned to, via Nordic Interim, build and lead a Program Management Office at Karolinska Sjukhuset (Karolinska Hospital) to create, develop and integrate divisions within the university hospital. “The industry was new to me, but I knew how to develop businesses and lead change. I had a fantastic Chief Physician at my side, who helped me understand the hospital, their needs, and as a medical expert.” The goal was that the units in Solna and Huddinge would be experienced as one hospital with, for example, common IT and a common business model for thematical and process-related care. The construction and transformation included new buildings, remodeling of old buildings, relocation of areas for better workflows, material supply, and logistics, IT, medical equipment, and new ways of working with activity-based areas.
“I learned that established structures were a key to success regarding the complexity of the assignment and the many stakeholders involved. For example, at a minor remodeling or relocation of an area at a hospital, there need to be many people involved (patients, doctors, nurses, etc) to secure that the care can continue in a professional way with the security of the patients in focus. It was very educative to develop a structure that, from week to week, ensured that everyone was involved (management team, doctors, nurses, unions, politicians, etc), and that we, in the end, could deliver according to plan. Not at least at the whole portfolio of similar projects.”
Joakim’s best advice for a transformation:
- Understand the assignment and where you are heading – the direction
- Be driven and take initiatives – but be humble and “musical” in getting to know the business
- Build relationships
- Establish a “now” picture of the business
- Start working early with understanding what abilities (competences, behaviour etc.) you will need and how to build it. There is often resistance or uncertainty in the organization as the individual does not understand what will be needed tomorrow
- Always show early successes and start follow up on a few, but important, key figures
From Karolinska to Swedavia
After the Karolinska Sjukhus project, Joakim’s next assignment was to lead three projects at Swedavia. He led a program for transformation that included the development of the whole investment process – from need, execution, and start/hand-over, to operation of new infrastructures as for example terminals and baggage systems. He was also the interim manager for establishing a new Group function “Large projects” where all the large investments from Arlanda, Landvetter, Bromma and commercial real estate (hotels and offices) were to be gathered at the same place. The third project was to act as an advisor and leader in a change program focusing on cost reduction, the transition from functional-oriented ways of working, to a process-oriented way (lean), and the reorganization of the company.
Joakim has now completed his assignment at Swedavia and can look back at transformations and changes in both small and large businesses. “Some things are common from assignment to assignment, and that is to understand where you are going -the way forward, why you do this and to understand the competence needed, a transparent and accessible leadership, and finding the best ways to involve the employees and different groups. And of course, communication is always a critical success factor.”
As an experienced Interim Manager, Joakim knows the advantages of engaging an external change leader when standing before tough changes and transformations. An Interim Manager:
- Quickly understands the business and starts delivering fom day one
- Has a “from the outside and in” perspective
- Is independent, unpolitical, and fair
- Is experienced, has integrity, and does not always have to be liked
- Is professional and focused on delivering on the assignment.
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