Change starts with good leadership

Change starts with good leadership – Leading with humanity is all about enabling others

Sustainability has become a profession – to be interesting and appealing, companies must have fully visible sustainability agenda

Change starts with good leadership

The pressure comes from the public

Nowadays you need to investigate behavioral science, says Hery-Christian Henry, Group Head of Brand and Sustainability from Wipak. The key is to figure out, what is the general demand and how to communicate sustainable actions for public, where the pressure comes from. And more importantly, how to present the selection so, that it is easy for the consumer to choose the most sustainable option. It is all about listening the people and adjusting the brand to answer the questions on how to make the sustainable choices and what impact each decision makes for our planet.

Today’s new sustainability strategies are not appealing only to the stakeholders, but also in the employee market.

Since the new Green Choice sustainable strategy launch, Wipak has raised its interest in the job seekers eyes significantly. It seems, the company working in plastic packaging was not the most appealing place to apply before launching the new campaign. Sustainability agenda is important when people are deciding the future working environment. There’s a real competition to get the best experts to work for you as the demand and the need for expertise in sustainability has grown exponentially. Sustainability is now on everyone’s agenda, whether you’re working in the IT department or in marketing and sales.

CIO’s have lot to give in the future digitalisation

As the demand to measure sustainable actions grows, more company KPIs (key performance indicators) are set aligned with the sustainability strategy. We are not there yet, when it comes to full visibility and IT departments have more work than ever to innovate new ways to measure the sustainability.

It is not only the process of measuring the current situation, but we need to look into the future, where predictability is the next step. Current, very challenging geopolitical situation, the pandemic, and the climate change urges us to move rapidly forward.

At KONE, one of the most innovative companies in the world, CIO Antti Koskelin feels strongly, that a well-built IT architecture is the enabler for better future. Digitalisation together with aligned business models and processes leads the way and makes decision-making more agile. Digitalisation is not a revolution, but a long journey with small concrete steps to see, whether the direction is right. And there’s always the one thing, you cannot forget – the people. As a leader you need to figure out, how to bring diversity into the business and take care that everyone feels appreciated. One example from KONE is the fact, that for some time now, in the recruitment process the company looks people from outside their industry branch to secure versatile opinions and ideas.

The four core values of KONE each emphasizes the humane side of things, like care – we genuinely care about each other. These soft values are rising more often into the core of companies values and it tells a lot of who we are dealing with – the people.

How to bring inclusiveness into the business?

Firstly, it’s about understanding that we all are different. Secondly, it’s about communicating the fact openly. The more we speak about the inclusion, more natural it becomes and more applications we get from versatile people. The question inside the company is, how to create a culture and an environment, where diversity is not only accepted but normal and required.

The solution is to lead people as people. No labeling, instead treat everyone with open mind. In leadership management, you must always remember, that people come from different situations of life, and you should be able to support everyone. This is the way to create a motivated, enthusiastic, and supporting work community.

At Huhtamäki, diversity is daily life as the company is expanded on every continent (except for the Antarctica), says CIO Antti Valtokari. The value of collaboration is strong, and everyone’s opinion is respected. During the pandemic, the work and the role of the IT department was highlighted as remote work became the new normal way of doing business. With the help of the digital tools, the co-operation worldwide was made possible.

With the increasing remote work, empathy has grown to be one of the main building blocks in leadership. Nowadays, when you don’t meet your colleagues and team, it is important to pay close attention to the situation the opponent comes from. It is increasingly important to ask more questions from the employees before assessing whether to increase pressure or lighten the workload. The communication is now more personalized one-to-one conversations, which enables the people to get better acquainted.

Collective brainwork to ensure continuous innovation and development

Virtual meeting starts, and no one has camera turned on. This is always a challenging situation, as you have no idea, what is happening in the other end. People’s reactions are not that clear, so one has to be even more careful in interpreting the answers. This requires a broader set of skills in leadership. How to ensure the growth of the skills, is a difficult question – as the leaders are left reflecting on their own in their remote offices too.

Everyone must take responsibility of their own market value and knowledge but also every company has the responsibility to educate their employees. In the digital world you must take care, that everyone has time to adopt new releases, to educate themselves and to understand the impact of their actions. In this fast-changing world people are required to take in new areas of expertise, as the demand in business changes rapidly, especially in the digitalization, says Antti Koskelin.

Large enterprises, like Huhtamäki, WIPAK and KONE, have the advantage of having thousands of people tackling the future demands of digitalization and sustainability together. The more people you get involved into the process, better and faster results you get in your idea and innovation portfolio.


The blog is a summary of Keto’s webinar held on 10th March 2022.

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