| 13.10.2021

Hankendagen 2021: Teams and leadership in focus

Hankendagen 2021 - Susan Duinhoven, Mats Ehrnrooth och Camilla Wardi
How can we create an atmosphere that supports teams to be successful? And how to lead an organisation in the middle of change? These were themes that were discussed at Hankendagen this year. The event was broadcasted from Hanken in Helsinki on 8 October with a record audience.

Watch the recorded broadcast here.

A picture gallery from Hankendagen can be found here.

One of the guests was Susan Duinhoven, the President and CEO of Sanoma Group since 2015. Her task has not been easy as she leads a company in an industry that has undergone and is still undergoing huge changes due to digitalisation.

One task has been to find ways to make customers willing to pay for digital media content. Under Duinhoven's management, Sanoma Group has also increasingly invested in the production of teaching materials, and today the company, which was previously predominantly a media company, is one of the leading companies in Europe in this field.

Hankendagen 2021 - Camilla Wardi intervjuar Susan Duinhoven
Camilla Wardi interviewing Susan Duinhoven (on the right).

There are especially two things that Duinhoven emphasizes when she describes her leadership: the customer focus and the central role of the teams. 

“In everything we do, we have asked ourselves what the customer wants and how we can respond to it. In the teams, we all learn from colleagues and no one needs to have all the knowledge themselves.”

According to Duinhoven, the teams form themselves. She also finds teams self-correcting.

“Teams can come up with something that you could never come up with yourself. Sometimes it helps to suggest things, and the teams then come up with the best solutions.

“Respect every single team member”

Hankendagen 2021 - Jukka Jalonen
Jukka Jalonen

Jukka Jalonen, Head Coach of the Finnish male national ice hockey team, has coached the Finnish national team to three gold medals in the World Championships.

When the goal is to lead a team or an organisation to success, he emphasises the importance of starting from the values. The team values are that the team is proud and grateful of representing Finland, that it plays unselfishly together and that the team members support each other and always do their best.

“We can handle different personalities, and also difficult moments. Open communication, trust in ourselves and each other and respect for each team member are also important ingredients for achieving success,” Jalonen states based on his experience.

According to Jalonen, team spirit and atmosphere are in a key position when it comes to creating a successful team.

How important is leadership eventually, and important for what?

What kind of leadership should we then develop? Mats Ehrnrooth, Professor of Management and Organization at Hanken, brings to the fore that there exists no consensus on that matter. Some researchers think that we already have knowledge of what good leadership is, while for example he himself sees that we must ask what kind of leadership we should develop and combine two research areas that have previously been largely developed separately. One has focused specifically on personal leadership behavior, and the other on HRM systems. Combining information on how employees evaluate both can lead to a better understanding of how important the personal leadership behavior is.

Hankendagen 2021 - Mats Ehrnrooth
Mats Ehrnrooth

“Leaders are of course important in an organization, but if we look at issues such as engagement level, job satisfaction, stress levels and willingness to recommend an organization as an employer to others, we can see that the HRM system seems to explain these better compared to personal leadership behavior,” Ehrnrooth shows based on empirical material from national and international research projects in which he is a member. However, personal leadership behavior appears to be more important for some collective and team outcomes.

Hankendagen’s program also included a welcome speech by Rector Karen Spens. In addition, Hanken received a large donation from alumnus Kurt Björklund and named Heidi Schauman as the Alumna of the Year

The next Hankendagen will be held in Vasa on 12 May 2022.

Text: Maria Svanström
Photo: Pia Pettersson