| 03.10.2019

Hankendagen: Presence, Reflection and recuperating keys to relevant leadership

Ann Hellenius Hankendagen
What constitutes relevant leadership in our data-driven, fast-moving world? Seeing the individual is crucial to being relevant as a leader and relevant leadership is crucial to the success of the company, claimed Ann Hellenius at the seminar.

As society evolves at breakneck speed through new techniques, the biggest challenge for a leader today is dealing with the rapidly changing surrounding world. Customers’ needs change at an increasing speed, and managing the rapid swings have become challenges most companies need to tackle. This is difficult, especially so when coupled with the fact that many organisations work with old methods and need to find a way to shift into new gear, says Ann Hellenius in her introductory address at the Hankendagen seminar on 20 September 2019.  


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“Today’s customers, and tomorrow’s, develop new behaviours as new techniques are introduced. Companies that understand how to rise to the challenge are the ones that succeed. Primarily the ones that have a data-driven approach to new patterns of behaviour.”

Ann Hellenius has worked as a leadership consultant, managed a company of her own, and now she works as a CIO at Scandic. She lectures on leadership, her main passion. On Homecoming Day she spoke about the challenges leaders face in a rapidly changing data-driven world, and about what today’s leaders need in order to succeed as relevant leaders. Tomorrow’s leaders need greater technical know-how to have the necessary data-driven approach, but they also need to know about safety and integrity”, says Hellenius.

“I’ve seen many a business being hit hard because issues of safety and integrity have been far too low on the priority scale. These issues have traditionally been handled by the IT department and perhaps not even by a CIO but a CISO, or a security expert in the company. Instead, these issues should be a priority for the Board and for the company leadership.

Increased Stress among Co-Workers

Among co-workers this rapid technological development leads to increased stress levels, a challenge leaders need tools to manage. Hellenius recommends authentic leadership – by this she means working from your own values, trusting and backing up your co-workers and being present.

“Seeing the individual and realizing the potential in every human is all-important if you want to have a creative and innovative company culture”, says Hellenius.

Today we exist in a constant flow of information, and Hellenius underlines the importance of setting aside time for reflection – thinking about what this piece of informations means to me. Both leaders and co-workers respectively need time to recuperate.

“We have to find ways of not focusing on achievement alone, we need to combine achievement and recuperation. In this constant daily tsunami of information we need time to stop and think about what we have learnt”, Hellenius concludes.


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Ann Hellenius

Career: CIO (Chief Information Officer) at Scandic. Previously CIO for Bankgirot and before that for the city of Stockholm, entrepreneur and CEO of her own consulting company, worked as management consultant at Ernst & Young Management Consulting and Cambridge Strategic Management Group.

Education: Economist (University of Linköping and University of Bath)  

Other positions: member of the board at HiQ, Synsam, MSAB and Volvo Finance. Independent advisor for the digitalisation council for the Swedish Cabinet. Active in women’s networks such as Women for Leaders and (Swedish) Ruter Dam.

Publications: Anna Hellenius’ book on leadership will be published at the beginning of 2020.

Family:  three children aged 13, 11 and 8.



Photos: Niklas Gerkman