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7 Questions on Leadership with Jette Larsen

Name: Jette Larsen

Title: CEO

Organisation: Minplan

Jette Larsen, CEO, and founder of Minplan (Cand. Scient. Soc). Currently pursuing a Ph.D. Jette is affiliated with the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention and has authored various scientific articles in the field of Health-Tech within Psychiatry.

She build Minplan - a research-based tech company pursuing the knowledge for suicide prevention.

Prior to her role at Minplan, Jette accumulated extensive experience in program leadership and project management within the public healthcare system in Denmark. Her tenure in this domain was marked by achievements in driving cultural change and streamlining processes, particularly in the integration of technology and educational components within the healthcare sector.

With a career spanning over 25 years, Jette has garnered invaluable insights across the operational, managerial, and even political spheres of public healthcare. In addition to her professional endeavors, she also actively serves as a dedicated member of the city council in her hometown.

Notably, Minplan has been recognized with several prestigious awards in 2023, and Jette herself is among the finalists for the "Entrepreneur of the Year" award in 2023.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Jette's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

As Minplan pioneers cutting-edge technology to customize human addictive mechanisms, I am filled with a sense of humble curiosity and excitement. Our company's objectives are intricately linked to a series of interrelated challenges, which only serve to enhance the complexitet.

That is why we are contantly endeavor to cultivate a culture of innovation and maintain a competitive edge. It necessitates my continuous vigilance in keeping pace with the ever-evolving landscape of emerging technologies.

Adapting our workforce to these changes while sustaining their engagement poses its own set of obstacles. Fortunately, our open-minded employees and our adept Chief Technology Officer play pivotal roles in handling these tasks.

Recruiting, retaining, and nurturing talent is of paramount importance for us, and we have achieved success in identifying promising individuals through our internship programs.

Undoubtedly, one of the most difficult tasks is achieving financial stability and profitability. And another task that needs our constant attention is compliance with regulations. Here Minplan is fortunate to have an adept team, proficient in data security and well-versed in the relevant regulations, assuring our steadfast adherence to best practices.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My journey to becoming a leader of Minplan is a testament to my entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering determination. It all began when I identified a gap in the market and conceived the idea for Minplan.

Remarkably, within just 14 days, I successfully pitched the idea to the Norwegian Health Care system, securing the vital funding and resources needed to turn the vision into reality. Shortly thereafter, I embarked on assembling a team of professionals. Some reached out to me directly, while others were discovered through my network, each possessing the essential skills and expertise required to bring Minplan's innovative technology to life.

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

I typically spend my evenings reflecting on the most critical tasks for the upcoming day and week. This routine allows me to wake up with a clear sense of purpose, knowing exactly what I need to pursue. Achieving these daily tasks is important to me as it provides a sense of daily progression.

During my occasional 2-3 days of travel per month, I make the most of my free time in hotel rooms by working when I'm not in meetings. This helps me stay productive even while on the move.

While at home, my work hours are from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and the remainder of my time is dedicated to my family. However, I remain accessible for calls and emails should my team or anyone else require my input. I feel a sense of responsibility to ensure that I'm not a bottleneck in the progress of ongoing projects, which is why I'm always available to respond to emails and calls when needed.

Overall, my approach is designed to balance work and personal life, while maintaining a high level of productivity and responsiveness to keep things moving smoothly.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

A recent leadership lesson you've learned is the importance of managing expectations regarding the time it takes to complete tasks and projects. You've discovered that, while in some settings, you can accurately estimate the required time by multiplying the estimated time by a certain factor (x), there are other situations where the actual time needed may be much longer than expected. This underscores the need for me to plan with flexibility and a more cautious approach to time management.

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?

"Our Iceberg Is Melting" is an easy readable symbolic book authored by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber, which employs the tale of a penguin colony grappling with a melting iceberg to elucidate principles of change management.

In many ways, the modern healthcare system is facing considerable challenges, encompassing issues like soaring costs, bureaucratic complexities, and insufficient focus on preventive care. These challenges necessitate a call for change. When I read the book, I appreciated its symbolic relevance to the state of the contemporary healthcare system.

Simultaneously, the book furnishes a valuable framework for handling change, which is paramount when implementing state-of-the-art mental health tech solutions. It imparts insights into diverse leadership styles, the significance of teamwork, and effective problem-solving.

Innovation holds a pivotal role in the realm of mental health technology, where the constant need for novel, advanced solutions prevails. The book encourages creative thinking and adaptability—traits indispensable in crafting cutting-edge mental health programs.

Furthermore, the book adeptly addresses the pervasive issue of resistance to change, a common hurdle in healthcare and mental health settings. It imparts valuable insights on how to effectively manage and navigate through these challenges, enabling transformative progress in healthcare and mental health services.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

My advice to a young leader would be: Lead by example. And break your leadership free from stigma, discrimination, and narrow constraints.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

Transitioning from the public healthcare system to the world of commercial business exposed me to various gender bias elements that I hadn't fully recognized before.

While gender bias issues exist within the public healthcare system, they take on a different dimension when venturing into the realm of starting a company. In the entrepreneurial sphere, gaining access to crucial resources like funding, networks, and partnerships is of paramount importance.

In my experience, I've observed a concerning trend where women receive noticeably fewer opportunities compared to their male counterparts, even when their business ideas are of similar quality. Furthermore, securing funding, building networks, and establishing partnerships tend to be more time-consuming for women. This dynamic is exacerbated by the fact that men often bring their male friends to networking events, which are pivotal for forging collaborations, gaining insights, and securing business opportunities. It appears to be a cultural phenomenon deeply rooted in networking practices.

To address these issues, I've chosen to lead by example and serve as a role model. Embracing diversity and fostering inclusivity in leadership and investment has become a cornerstone of my approach, as I actively work to counteract these gender biases in the entrepreneurial landscape.

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