By Jon Erik Haug, EVP and Head of People Development, Telenor Group
Our culture is the glue that binds us together and the way we do business. Telenor recently conducted a culture survey, with results showing a strong common culture across all Telenor companies. We operate with integrity, we are results-oriented and we put customers first. Our culture is the hardest thing for competitors to copy, and it is the reason people want to work for us and with us.
There are more than 4,000 people leaders in Telenor Group today. They are an important component of Telenor’s culture, a culture in which exploration, engagement, empowerment and execution are highly prized. That’s why we have coined our new leadership attitudes “e4”:
Leadership Attitude #1: Explore
Exploration is the act of searching for something new – often into the unknown. In Telenor, we need curious leaders and employees who seek to understand customers, markets, eco-systems, new partners and new technologies. Leaders should be open for new ways of thinking, selfless in search of the best ideas and first-movers when it comes to sharing information across silos.
Leaders should challenge conventional thinking and experiment with new and better approaches, so we always improve. Exploration doesn’t necessarily follow the organizational hierarchy or structure. More often than not, the best ideas stem from all corners of an organization, and even outside the boundaries of our own industry.
Exploration is also about trial and error, and learning from mistakes. There is a fine balance between not giving up and knowing when to give up. It’s about understanding that sometimes you need to let go of your ego and be open to learning and progressing. I too have been culpable to these pitfalls. I remember one occasion in which I failed to be curious and learn from a colleague and ended up doubling my workload as a result. Since that incident I now understand how important it is to pay attention to what people around me are doing and try to learn from them.
Learning is essential for a leader, and in my experience, leaders should practice a simple learning strategy: ask questions, listen and understand before you set direction and educate others.