Henrik Tuulos, Business Unit & Sales Director
Henrik Tuulos, Business Unit & Sales Director

In the autumn of 2020, the Finnish healthcare company 9Lives decided to start offering Covid testing for the private healthcare sector and companies. There was a huge potential for expansion, but the company lacked enough personnel resources. There was an urgent need for an experienced management expert for securing the quick growth.

Henrik Tuulos, Business Unit & Sales Director, started at 9Lives as interim Sales Director, says:

“It was quite a ride! My task was to sell our Covid testing services to companies and, in cooperation with the rest of the organization and the end customer, to organize testing points in different locations as quickly as possible. The situation was critical, processes needed to be developed and the need for service personnel was constantly growing. Conditions like this had never been seen before, and the strategy needed to be implemented quickly. That is why they needed someone who knew and dared to jump into the cold water and did not need a lot of time to sort out the situation.”

How did 9Lives succeed with the sales strategy in this new situation?

“In a way, we sold a service that nobody wanted, but everyone needed. Although companies had a constant need to test their staff, selling was not always easy. The companies we targeted, often took advantage of the competing testing services of occupational health care. It was necessary to develop a service that was clearly distinguishable from the competitors.

We profiled ourselves as a service provider for fast and flexible operations with a very customer-oriented approach. We had, and still have, a Covid testing van with equipment and personnel, that can quickly arrive at the location indicated by the customer if needed. We have tested dozens and even hundreds of people at once, both in city centres and in the countryside.”

9Lives has used Interim Managers before, what has been the main reason for this?

“9Livese’s business is characterized by a positive attitude towards change, and we have used Interim Managers for previous projects. Around the same time as I started at 9Lives, another Interim Manager joined the company. It is quite typical that companies want to hire people from another industry for senior management positions to gain new skills and different views. But in the end, however, a ‘secure’ solution from the same industry is often chosen. When you do this, the goals may not be achieved, and the company will lose the opportunity for development.”

You have worked as a business leader in various organizations, but when the pandemic hit, you decided to change direction. How was it to work as an Interim Manager?

“I had made a career within retail for a long time, but Covid offered an opportunity for a new Industry and development, and I decided to seize the chance. Around the same time, I had started studying business coaching, and learned more about Interim Management. I was also interested in new industries and projects, so I contacted Nordic Interim.

Taking on a new role in a new industry has given me an incredible energy boost. Although it was an acute situation, it was very interesting to be involved in the extremely quickly growing market. The development of growth was so fast that managing it was challenging at times, but from the point of view of my own development, I am glad that I was able to be a part of it.”

Why is Interim Management a good idea when facing challenges?

“My interim contract was extended, and both the CEO and I felt it was a good idea to change my interim contract to a permanent employment. As working life, in general, has changed, the use of Interim Managers, especially in the growth phase of companies, has become more interesting for both people and companies. Interim Managers typically focus on managing and implementing development and change. Once the change has been implemented and the company is moving on to maintenance activities, the company sometimes hires the person for a permanent role to carry out the task. After all, an Interim Manager is a painless way for a company operating in the healthcare sector to treat the company’s growing pains!”

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