Scandinavian people choose to run a business that reflects their roots and principles – the team's success is more important than personal achievements.foto: Rolands Varsbergs
What Can We Learn From The Scandinavian Business Model?
Scandinavian people choose to run a business that reflects their roots and principles – the team's success is more important than personal achievements.
The business goals in the Scandinavian countries are as ambitious as anywhere in the world. However, Scandinavian people choose to run a business that reflects their roots and principles – the team's success is more important than personal achievements. It all revolves around "teamwork", and without team spirit, there is no company culture. When the culture is strong, it can be trusted that everyone is doing the right thing. Members can also act independently, quickly, with an entrepreneurial spirit. This view is reflected in the Scandinavian "flat" governance model. Unlike the management style in the pyramid structure, the flat management model focuses on horizontal management and cooperation in work.
Small teams produce the best results because they give employees a sense of autonomy, automatically demanding accountability from everyone involved. In addition, such teams trust their team members and quickly recognize when someone needs support. The Scandinavian model of team collaboration also cuts down on endless meetings and "indiscriminate emailing".
In this team structure, everyone is equal and is seen as a valuable member for forming and developing the core vision. In addition, the flat governance structure enables all employees at any level to contribute and dedicate themselves to the company's mission, while pyramidal structures often "systematically" deprive power of the subordinate staff.
Large projects are often overrated but can be misinterpreted by those involved and challenging to manage. Large projects also often consume a lot of time and resources. Therefore, it is advisable to focus energy on feasible tasks and directed towards a specific goal. This approach is sure to provide feedback or complementary ideas, and most importantly, allows employees to contribute without fear of stepping on the boundaries.
Winning a new client or renewing a contract is cause for celebration. In a flat-managed organization, good news spreads quickly and is the fruit of many people's labour. Members feel more connected when their efforts, big or small, are recognized.
For example, a startup necessarily rewards courageous individuals who have joined the company from the early days, have supported and brought a positive spirit to the team for many years. An organization, a business of any size, cannot ignore or underestimate the dedication of its employees.
Every organization has big goals. What is different in Sweden is that responsibility is shared among all members, and the organizations are very transparent about the status and progress of their goals.
Transparency creates a trusting environment that fosters a true spirit of cooperation towards the company's highest goals. "In the Scandinavian countries, we do not keep the knowledge to ourselves – knowledge is power. In many other countries, it is used as a remedy. If you discover something, you keep it to yourself. We jumped on the table and told everyone because we trusted each other – trust is the basis for sharing with others," said Jette Schramm-Nielsen, author of Management in Scandinavian.
Flat management encourages employees to be themselves at work, and it is an environment where employees are willing to experiment, fail and learn from their mistakes. In addition to giving employees more authority to make decisions and lead projects, companies that adopt a flat governance model are also interested in supporting their employees' professional and personal goals. For instance, they set aside budgets for employees to attend all types of conferences, events, and endeavour to support employee requests whenever possible.
At some companies, it is taboo for employees to mention personal travel plans, and the thought of disappearing from the company for a week straight is insane. Nevertheless, every employee is encouraged to take a full five weeks off a year with a well-run flat governance model. Businesses care about where and what employees go on vacation. Therefore, all employees are encouraged to relax, unwind, and seek out new experiences.