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7 Questions with Jussi Tommola

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Jonno White

7 Questions with Jussi Tommola

Name: Jussi Tommola

Current title: CEO

Current organisation: YellowMay

Hi, I'm Jussi. I Have two children a girl (7y) and a boy (10y). Living in Helsinki, Finland. I have been passionate of making things happen and always enjoy the journey. This has brought me experiences that I cannot describe well enough in detail, but having children, of being a director in a large corporation, starting a company, playing professional volleyball and beach volley, graduating with an MBA, seeing a lot of countries, coaching Finnish national beach volley team and many more. I would have not experienced these if would not have my curiosity of learning, challenging myself to go beyond borders and doing them together with wonderful people who have supported and trusted in me.

7 Questions with Jussi Tommola

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1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

As a CEO you have more responsibility, but a more direct influence mandate that has to be used wisely. The higher you are in the decision making hierarchy, the more you have to listen. I have always been thinking big, but also want to do a lot of things on a practical level. First the change has been to find balance between listening, doing and thinking.

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

As a CEO I'm only in the beginning, but can share the story of being a director before coming as a CEO in the existing company. In the previous company I started from picking up the customer calls and as a last position was negotiating which customer calls the company was agreeing to reply to. There the main focus area was delivering assistance services for insurance companies and there you could literally receive minor distress calls seeking guidance to insurance terms to receive calls that the caller's House was on fire. This unpredictability prepared me gradually to see the bigger picture of what could be done better and curious of learning new things as I am, leading from one task to another. Always broadening the horizon, but not getting intimidated by it, instead looking forward to it. That is in brief how I reached stages upwards in the corporation. Being open, curious and not afraid of making decisions.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I like to vary my days and they do look different almost every single day. There are more routines of waking up so that children do reach school. I will then head to the office and the office can be a beach volley court/customers office or my own office. I aim to have three of the mornings so that can do some exercise myself to keep my body and mind in balance. I read a lot of articles, publications e.g. to be updated every day and this i combine with the coffee in the mornings. Then my sales manager arranges part of the days by connecting me to promote our company to potential customers and these meetings do also determine my days schedule as they can be from Asia to North America. There the challenge comes from timezones as I am located in Europe. I love to cook and this I incorporate to my calendar one way or another few times a week. So in a nutshell: wakeup between 6.30-7.30, lunch around 1pm, dinner 6pm and to bed around 11-11.30pm.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

We always have to take each person as an individual to serve them best.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

The autobiography of Steve Jobs. It made me even more clear that how to get people to work together and also that each leader does create their own path it is not being given.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

Trust people and support them if they are doubting their capabilities.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?

I will share a fun story that happened in my previous role. We had a summer party for the leadership group and during the day some of the airline companies went on strike and I was supposed to have an easy following day short flight to our main office to meet up with customers. The strike caused us to find it as I was accompanied by my colleague to find a connection of a propeller plane connection and an hour ride to be on time at the office. This again to match the expectations of customers, you can jump for miles and be happy smiling to see them there.