Name: Mika Vuori
Organisation: S2B Energia Oy
Born 1972 in Vantaa, Finland. Masters degree in Marketing. Over 25 years of experience in the world of marketing, sales and IT. 17 years as CEO in 4 different companies. Especially strong in analytics with an AI company founded already in 2006, sold 2011. Now CEO in a company developing high-end solutions for energy companies on Salesforce platform. Married, 21-year old son and a 2-year old yorkshere terrier. Hobbies: Alpine skiing, Italy, renovating an old farm, Singapore and Opera.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Mika's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
I want to see my employees developing themselves and getting the best out of their potential - of course especially the younger ones. It is sometimes difficult to find the ways to motivate different kinds of people to find their interest areas where they want to focus on self-improvement of skills and ways of working and achieve the feelings of development and increased self-esteem.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was very lucky to have excellent bosses in my first job in an international management consultancy company. I soon became partner and CEO of one part of the Company group. We usually hired quite fresh but promising young professionals and gave them a lot of responsibility, too. It was a very good place to learn from senior level professionals having careers in big companies ways to successfully grow the team with junior consultants. I also read a lot self-improvement books then myself and I remember especially 7 habits from Stephen Covey gave a lot of good principles and ways of thinking for the following leader tasks. I actually read the book again some months ago and realized how important those learnings have been.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I usually start my day with a little morning walk with our dog. It freshens you up and gives you a good mood - dog is always happy. Then there are usually multiple meetings with the team, with clients and other interest groups - mostly online nowadays but we are trying to meet in person more and more. I howewer try to manage my calendar so that I prioritize the most important matters and give them enough time. I try to do something away from work during evenings and of course the day ends with a walk with a dog.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
My philosophy has always been that every person is unique. One of the main objectives of leadership is knowing the different persons so well that you can create win-win environment with win-win results. This is continuous challenge and reminds me every day.
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?
I already mentioned 7 habits from Steven Covey. But I also have to mention systems theory with Russell Ackoff's excellent lectures and books - I think system is the right way to think a company, a department, family or whatever you are leading. You need to get that system with its inputs and processes to produce the outputs needed as effective as possible. But leading the persons in the system demands a lot of soft skills, and here you need to mention the acknowledged Finnish philosopher Esa Saarinen, who is famous for his lectures in Aalto University on Philosophy and Systems Thinking and his many published books in which he emphazises the thinking and thinking of your thinking to make you a better leader with better understanding of soft and human aspects that influence people.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Read some good books on becoming a better leader. Older people have a lot of wisdom you can learn from, especially in leadership issues. I have mentioned some good ones earlier. Otherwise you have to learn too much in the hard way.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
It is so nice to see people grow in their tasks and become top professionals in their areas. It is always very nice to realize that you have made a positive impact in someone's life. And of course it is nice to hear that from them in person. Those moments are the top moments of the leader.