09Mar

A Programme for innovators

Text: Evelyn Pesikan – article by
Gunnar Huss; to call him a man with many irons in the fire would be an understatement. Gunnar is Director of Operations for the Nordic Region at 3i, which owns a portfolio of 2800 companies. For 3i, a tailored in-company IFL programme is where owners and managements meet to build team spirit and mutual understanding.
One of the company’s mottos is, ‘None of us is as smart as all of us’,” affirms this easy-going 52-year-old, who was deputy managing director and deputy CEO at Atle. He is quick to emphasize that teamwork, not individual “Supermen,” is usually the key to success.
A newcomer in Swedish business, a portfolio of 100 companies, Atle (bought by 3i) was clearly a success story, with a 50-percent return on investment. “Not bad as a bank book. You’ll have a hard time finding figures like that anywhere else,” notes Gunnar Huss.

When 3i took over Atle last May, he became Operations Director for the Nordic Region, where the firm now owns some 150 companies in a broad spectrum of industries.
“I have a fair share of common sense, I’m good at delegating, and I can sift the wheat from the chaff, but what really counts is teamwork. You focus your attention and your involvement on the whole picture.” To hold such a highly diversified enterprise together and to create a more distinct owner profile, it was suggested that Atle start an in-company management-development programme.

“We saw a need to position ourselves more clearly, to teach others how we think as active owners, while at the same time giving something back to the companies,” says Gunnar Huss, who asked IFL to help 3i in establishing a programme entirely its own.
After six months of intensive collaboration, the in-company programme, “Value-Creating Management,” now in its third session, was ready for launching. For a total of 15 days each year, 25 people come together. About two thirds of them are from the management groups of the portfolio companies, and one third from 3i. They meet to get to know each other and to join in searching for the common theme that unites them. The IFL programme has become the meeting ground for the ownership and leadership points of view.

The overall picture, and being able to view your company from the outside and create useful networks, are important aspects of the programme,” he explains, adding that 3i has shown an interest in continuing this programme started by Atle.

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