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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Peter Svane

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Peter Svane

Name: Peter Svane

Current title: Senior Manager

Current organisation: Salling Group

Building on my knowledge from my years in our stores, I run my IT setup to alway provide the highest services and support of business needs.

7 Questions with Peter Svane


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

The most challenging part is to comply with the growing need for availability and accessibility, increasing the requirements for the solutions, and challenges us on maintenance.
On top of that we are presented to a huge number of taylor made solutions, introduced in many layers of the business as SaaS solutions. Solutions fitting into a specific need, but is hardly scalable nor growable into Enterprise scale. I do appreciate these challenges, nad they help keeping us on our toes, in order to maintain our relevance

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

I started in our Bilka Hypermarkets as an interim position, but the culture of retail really got under my skin. After 10 years in the store area, with different manager positions, I transferred to IT Operations.
IT operations run in my veins, and after a few years I took up the challenge of a management position for a smaller area.
Today this area has grown a lot, being responsible for the ITIL process across the entire IT department, and heading all technical end user support in the entire organization is now within my responsibilities. Besides the process and support, I take the cross organizational responsibility, building the bridge between our Core SAP System and our core infrastructure, supporting ease of use and availability for our end users

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

The structure of my days are very straight forward. I get up in the morning checking the mail for the status of the night, and if there is anything that needs urgent attention. We start the day at the office with a status meeting at 8:05, ensuring that all are updated on the operational situation in the last 24 hours, as a preparation for all to meet our business. The fora is also used as a follow up on previous activities and escalations if needed.
After this morning stand up, it is time for the morning stand up in the scrum teams in which I participate when needed. Providing me with the highlights and challenges in each area, ensuring I have the needed knowledge to navigate during the day. Every day I have planned 1:1 with one of my employees to follow up on performance, development, and off cause getting closer to the human behind the employee.
As many others I’m deeply dependent on my Calendar, to navigate through the very high amounts of meetings. The preparation for the day's meeting is done in the morning, or the evening before the meeting, ensuring I respect the time of meeting participants. End of the day, I catch up on loose ends, leaves the office and prioritizes time with my family. Last thing I do before going to sleep, is to check if something has raised I should be prepared to handle.

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

Setting the scene or the context of why initiatives are important, has definitely shown to me that full buy-in from the team is achievable, when I invest the time in setting the context in the different levels of the organization. This also enables the full involvement during the process, and thereby giving stronger and longer lasting solutions, that the teams can identify to themselves, and with this lifting the ownership and the responsibility feeling to a higher level.
To me that is the biggest learning I have had over the previous years. Releasing some of the management disciplines and stepping into actual leadership roles, empowering the team and the individuals to step up to a higher level.

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?

In the last 2 years I have attended school again, for having some theoretic to support my experiences from a practical view. In this program and training I have been introduced to a lot of reading, more or less all with the purpose of describing 2 sides or approaches to a challenge. This goes if it is within the strategic layer of the organization, myself, or some of the employees I have in direct reference. So pointing out one book would not be right to me, but the learning of always looking for another approach and then making your own solution based on the readings, is an approach I can highly recommend.

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

The key for me in building and maintaining the leadership capacity in the organization, is to be aware of the talents surrounding you. Give them the chance to shine, and sometimes also the risk of failure, guides them into the leadership pipeline. For me there are at least 2 types of capacities, those that are very extroverted in their statement of being director in 5 years, and the more humble types who have a very high level of social capital, and are performing on a high level. These 2 types build the leadership capacity, and one is not better than the other, but the latter is more difficult to identify, and often also requires more than a push to enter the company’s leadership program. It is our duties as leaders to always have a succession in place, and if not possible a mitigation has to be found.

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

Working with people and thereby creating results is what gives meaning to me in leadership. From time to time we have tough and hard decisions, but when it all adds up, and it is the right decisions being taken, we always come out stronger…That is value adding and meaningful to me.

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