People have predefined ideas about what it is that I do. I have found that such ideas vary from me being in charge of everything that happens in our company to being in a ceremonial role. People outside the company typically believe I am involved in much more than I am. As an example someone I know might contact me and ask for a job. I would answer that I have only three employees myself and have not hired for 3 years, nor plan to. A lot of people are being hired by our Group, perhaps close to 1 per week now, but this is not something that is on my table. And that is not because I am too good for this, but precisely because I believe I am not very good at hiring and supporting people reporting directly to me. I typically give them tasks and leave it to them. The “outsiders” also find it strange that I have not been involved in the Icelandic operation at all for many years, even if I am working from the same office.
People inside the company, however, often think that I am less involved than I am and are surprised when they learn that I know about them and what they are doing. This is, I believe, in line with what I have said about my role being like that of a pilot; the plane is flown by a computer to a location I have put in (in line with the strategy of the company). I only interfere if something is looking wrong. And for this I need to read all the meters and thus know what is going on.
Sometimes I have questions or opinions related to things that are not within my area of responsibility. In such cases it is very important to follow the chain of command. I believe others in management follow this as well. On the other hand, I don’t mind colleagues from various areas of the organization to ask me for opinions or support. I encourage all Creditinfo people to communicate with their colleagues and ask for advice and support, including me. And don’t be surprised if I ask for your opinion.
What prompted me to write those lines is that a colleague was asking me for advice in relation to a person who might be our partner in a new market. I offered to speak to that person, my colleague accepted and was very pleased for the support. It would get boring for me only to watch others working. I believe that I am best used for business development, by supporting other colleagues within the group. It is just my pleasure to talk to someone if that makes your job easier or to send an email. (Well, sometimes it is not a pleasure, but I do it anyway as it is my job). I know that at least my three employees, Almar, Hákon and Kiddi, think the same. And I think the same is true of their direct reports, and so on. That is the main message here; do not be afraid to ask for support or advice from anyone in the company. Chances are that you and the company will benefit.
Supporting you, that is my job.