“There is always great competence in the companies so you should listen to your employees and be responsive to their experiences and knowledge.”
Viktor Sylvan began his career as a financial reporter but soon switched to management consulting. Today specializes in marketing and sales within FMCG with a focus on launching new brands and products in the Scandinavian market. He has worked for large and well-known companies such as Reckitt Benckiser, Innocent drinks, and Coca-Cola.
Today, he is the Interim Marketing Manager for a smaller FMCG company where he has a broad role and is involved in many aspects of the business.
How do you prepare for an interim assignment?
“The most important thing before, and during, a mission is to do a proper analysis of the current situation and what works and what can be done better. I am reading about the industry and the category in question. There is always great competence in the companies so you should listen to your employees and be responsive to their experiences and knowledge. Coming in with fresh eyes is an advantage as you quickly see what works well and what works less well.”
What 3 points are most important in your change leadership?
“As Interim Manager, you are always new to the company, it is important to be responsive and listen. Since I have a long background in the industry, I can quickly find improvement measures and how to streamline working methods and processes. It is important to anchor it both upwards and downwards in the organization to get everyone involved. For the most part, I think people are happy to get a person who looks at the business in a new way, I have rarely faced real resistance. There can be difficulties when we must put down a project that someone has been working on for a long time and that is their “baby”, you cannot go on too hard. Clarity, communication, and responsiveness are key to driving successful change.”
How do you ensure that you have a good work/life balance?
“I try to take advantage of the benefits and flexibility that the new digital ways of working bring, but it is both a blessing and a curse as it can make it harder to distinguish between working hours and free time. I try to allow myself to be flexible in terms of time and to choose when I work, it reduces the stress of everyday life without having to reduce the number of hours worked. Then I think it is important to exercise regularly, it makes you feel better and give you more energy.”
What is the advantage of driving change as an interim?
“I have a broad experience from many different situations in my area of expertise, which provides good conditions for solving problems. I have seen what works and what does not. When you come in from the outside, you see things in new ways and can quickly implement new ways of working or other efficiency improvements as you are not as tied to a certain way of thinking. Since I have a broad experience from several different companies, I also have a large toolbox. As an Interim Manager, you become good at recognizing patterns that are similar in different companies.”