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“To say yes to new things is part of a lifelong learning and development”

To say yes to new things coming my way, for example, interim assignments, is part of a lifelong learning and development”

Annelie Nässén has worked in several organizations in a variety of leading roles through the years. The fundamental part has always been digital transformation, innovation, and growth in challenging industries meeting tough competition and difficult situations.

”I am an intrapreneur leading change and creating results.” She is driven by growth, creativity, leadership, to enable execution power and see the business grow through her team. During her 14 years at SAS, she held different positions within the commercial unit, among others as EVP Global Sales & Marketing holding a place in the Group Management Team. With 300 employees all over the world in her organization, and with responsibility for sales, marketing, brand, pricing, distribution, partners, business development and customer services, she is used to handling complex situations.

She has just finished her role as Interim Head of Sales & Marketing, business unit TUR, which is the largest unit within Svenska Spel.

What are your experiences of working as an Interim Manager?

”It is exciting to jump into an operational assignment with ‘fresh eyes’ and perform from day one. You enter at a lower level than you are used to, which enables a flying start. This is a new industry for me, but leadership is about leading through others, not to be the expert. I can use my tools regardless of what product or service I am working with. The important thing is to quickly understand the driving factors of the business, find the important pain points and understand how the organization functions. Even in shorter assignments as an interim, it is vital to build the team. The important thing is to not build it around your own person, but to the culture and values of the company. The team must be able to continue the development even after I leave my assignment.”

What is your experience of leading a new team on distance during Covid-19?

”Leading a whole new team on distance from day one has been very challenging! It is much harder to get to know the culture in the same way without the unofficial meetings at the coffee machine or at lunch breaks. I have met all my direct reports, but not the whole team. To succeed in this situation, I believe you must have another type of agenda structure. From my previous roles with global responsibility, I am used to digital meetings, but it is a challenge to build relationships in this way. You just have to take it for what it is. I believe in structured meetings, having many one-to-one check-ins and to make sure that everyone gets to talk. Walk-and-talks and digital coffee breaks are also good ways to build relationships in my opinion. Building relationships digitally is and will be a big challenge for leaders during Covid-19, and ongoing as it gets more common to work from home.”

What was most fun about your assignment at Svenska Spel?

”The learnings and development. It is comforting knowing that I bring my competence regardless of which company I enter. Another very rewarding thing is that you can see the results of your work very quickly. I have made acquaintance with a new culture and wonderful colleagues. Working as an Interim Manager is a good way of testing new industries. You don’t have to be an expert on the product, the organization knows the details. The importance lies in knowing your profession, set a strategy and drive change.”