Nokia was the leader in the mobile phone industry and then almost went bankrupt, while the reasons are numerous there are lessons to be learned. In the book Transforming Nokia by Risto Siilasmaa published by McGraw Hill, NY, 2019, the author offers some views. Mr. Siilasmaa was Board Chair for a number of years.
In every downturn there are options one is to walk away and let someone else do the heavy lifting, if you stay you need principles to operate on. Mr. Siilasmaa’s is based on Entrepreneurial Leadership:
1. Hold Yourself Accountable. You need to care deeply about everything that happens or have ownership. If it is broken have it fixed, if it needs cleaning clean.
2. Face Facts. Facts are a welcome opportunity, never a negative. Embracing bad news is the only way to make sure people will tell you and the rest of your team what is really happening. Never get angry at facts or the people who bring them forward, show gratitude.
3. Be Persistent. You do not have to like the facts, but you must believe there is a solution.
4. Manage Risks. Risk management means choosing which risks to take, with open eyes, and in a deliberate analytical manner.
5. Be a Learning Addict. Every challenge, every problem, every piece of bad news is an opportunity to learn and improve. To stop learning is to stop living.
6. Maintain an Unwavering Focus. One way or another everything comes down to your products and your customers.
7. Look to the Horizon. Always look to the horizon, even when putting out the fires at your feet. As a leader of you do not, no one will. In a healthy organizatio, the top management spends a large portion of it’s time worrying about the distant future.
8. Build a Team of People you Like and Respect. Happy people do better work for a long time and loyalty breeds loyalty.
9. Ask Why. We tend to ask what questions rather than why. The why questions forced people to think, why do you think this is a good strategy?
10. Never Stop Dreaming. Some people see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not? ( Robert Kennedy using a quote from George Bernard Shaw).
Linking to dividend paying stocks, we are drawn to a stock because of its profitability and its ability to pay dividends, but stay for the management style. A profitable company should be one that you would want to work for. In this example Mr. Siilasmaa’s principles of leadership should be easily found in many other companies. Are they in your investments?
There are more questions than answers, till the next time- to raising questions.