Karolina Cederhage came in as the new communications director when Skanska had just got a new CEO and was to restructure the organization at the head office. The new management wanted to see increased profitability in certain parts and create a clearer division of responsibilities and governance. The ambition was that the various functions at the head office would work more strategically and less operationally. Her assignment is to lead a group staff with responsibility for communication and marketing. It consists of a management team with four managers and a total of 16 employees. In addition, Skanska’s business areas have independent communication departments that are responsible for the work in regions and markets. For a communications department, all major changes mean two parallel challenges. On the one hand, the employees are affected by the change just like everyone else, and on the other hand, the department needs to be involved in leading the change work, for example supporting the Group’s managers.
– It was a demanding period and some concerns in the organization, says Karolina. In addition to working on the consequences of the change project, I also needed to build my own team. She realized that some kind of structure was needed for both employees and managers who could help them through the first intensive phase of change.
Several employees in the department had already gone through FranklinCovey’s process The 7 Good Habits. Now Karolina also picked up The 4 Essential Roles of Leadership to support the managers in the department in becoming better leaders and coaches for their employees in the change. Karolina had been introduced to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by her boss and joined the program herself. In addition, Skanska had had Stephen MR Covey as a lecturer at a management conference on trust. – It was easy to choose The 7 good habits, says Karolina. Not only because we already worked with the process in the group but also because it is so reliable and well-founded. Being true to the priorities you need to make is one of the keys to change. The process helped us get to the bottom of what makes a real difference and we thus created efficiency. In addition, it appeals to me that the habits apply to us both privately and at work, an important holistic perspective. FranklinCovey’s mission was to work with Karolina’s management team to support them to work in a new way – to go from being focused on different communication channels, to broadening the collaboration and working more strategically with communication. Together, a vision and strategy for the communication work were formulated and concrete goals for the implementation were set.
The department previously worked within the various communication disciplines and they were not always in sync with each other. It was almost like silos. In collaboration with FranklinCovey, the business received the tools they needed to formulate what the communications department as a whole would achieve together and how all functions could begin to work towards the same goal.
– We needed to leave our role as a service organization to work more strategically and that requires courage. Courage to opt out and courage to say no to delivering things that have been done before, says Karolina. Now we became more confident with our new assignment and it became possible to say no to certain things. We also received support in maintaining our focus on the long-term and working more proactively.
Today, the communications department’s strategy and vision are in place. The team has also been given a clear mission and clear roles. The vision is to be the department that brings Skanska’s purpose – the company’s ultimate purpose – to life.
– I experience a clear difference in the team’s commitment to take responsibility for the change together. Everyone has a more forward-leaning attitude and takes their own initiatives.
– What I myself learned in this process is not to be afraid to pick up an investment in leadership in a sharp situation. It was precisely because we were in the middle of a tangible change that the experience was that this is for real for the team of taking in FranklinCovey’s processes. We really needed all the parts to take on a very large and demanding task
– Another important lesson is that participation creates a stronger foundation that makes everyone stand firm in the change. Today, The 7 Good Habits is our team’s approach. The habits fit directly into all the questions that arise in the event of change.
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