As a partner of HJK - the biggest football club and sports brand in Finland - Mercuri Urval got a chance to participate in "Your Business Tomorrow" seminar, organised and hosted by HJK in Finlandia Hall on August 21st. The speaker list included some of the top speakers from Finland – Mr. Jari Sarasvuo, Ms. Henrietta Kekäläinen and Mr. Alexander Stubb , but also two highly recognised business influencers from abroad – Mr. Robert Thomson and Mr. Mark Cuban.
So, what do we need to do in order for our business to be successful also tomorrow?
Five speakers – five completely different approaches
Well, all speakers addressed the topic of the day – Your Business Tomorrow – from very different angles and with different presentation methods.
- Mr. Sarasvuo talked about today's leaders spending too much time in the future, when they should pay more attention to daily business and developing their employees.
- Ms. Kekäläinen provided a view on how millennials see today's business and leadership, and how many of them worry about the sustainability of the future – and not only environmental sustainability, but also the social aspect of it.
- Mr. Thomson's intelligent speech about Google, Facebook and Amazon's power over data and thus people was very eye-opening.
- We also heard Mr. Stubb's nicely structured "International Politics 101" crash course to why the world today seems as unstable as it does.
- And finally, when Mr. Cuban walked on to the stage later in the afternoon and threw himself to the mercy of the audience and their questions, the Q&A could have probably lasted for the entire evening.
Was there a common thread through these presentations? Perhaps not. But one thing is clear: leading a business will require as much – if not even more – leadership than it does today.
Sharks do not rely on luck
As professionals in attracting, selecting and developing today's and tomorrow's leaders, we paid close attention to listening to Mr. Cuban's thoughts about human behavior in business and leadership. While the questions about Shark Tank incidents, basketball and Mr. Cuban's parenting skills also gave us some good laughs, the most interesting questions and answers were related to Mr. Cuban's way of looking at leadership. His own story is fascinating – the "American Dream" come true, which is all thanks to his determination and endless effort. When asked about Shark Tank and what he looks for in a good entrepreneur, he says that ultimately he needs to believe that they are ready to do what it takes and fight their way to success. Even though he's been told by many that he has had some good luck in his life, he does not believe in luck in entrepreneurship – it's all about hard work and dedication: "The only thing you can control, is your effort" he says.
Sharks also have a heart
Mr. Cuban has grown and led multiple companies to success himself and invested in even more. He has been a leader in small and large companies in business and in sports. No wonder he calls it the "sport of business". We wanted to know how he defines good leadership, and if we were to summarise his down-to-earth approach to leading people, these quotes are the best way to do it:
- "Never ask your employee to do something you would not do yourself."
- "A leader's greatness is in their ability to reduce stress around them."
Why these two sentences? In our opinion, they contain almost all the aspects Mr. Cuban covered when answering the question about leadership – leading by example, having and showing empathy, respecting people, giving them a feeling of being heard etc. And when we presented a follow-up question about his own development areas as a leader, he did not hesitate to admit that he often reacts too fast and leaves details unattended. In addition to having learned how to control his behavior, he also has a good tip for all leaders: "Hire people who complement your own skills and behavior."
What did we learn?
Mr. Cuban has written a book called "How to Win in the Sport of Business". Interestingly enough, he did not need to promote the book himself, but someone in the audience had brought the book to the seminar and praised it when it was his turn to ask a question. This is an excellent example of satisfied customer promoting the products and/or services they appreciate. As Mr. Sarasvuo said: "However much the world changes, one thing will not change – companies live only if they can acquire and manage good clients."
Our team wants to thank HJK for this great seminar and the inspiration it gave us. We wish HJK not good luck, but good effort for their final games this season, and hope to see them win in the business of sport!
To close up, we would like to ask you to take a few minutes to reflect on Mr. Cuban's questions and quotes that we found inspiring:
- How do you lead your employees? Through telling or showing example?
Never ask your employee to do something you would not do yourself.
- Be observant of your surroundings – do you notice when your team is under too much pressure?
A leader's greatness is in their ability to reduce stress around them.
- We all know that diversity is a vital aspect in business success, but how often do you honestly think about it when recruiting?
Hire people who complement your own skills and behavior.
- If you want to win in the sport of business, always make sure you have good clients who are satisfied.
- Remember that the only thing you can control, is your own effort.
Do you want share your reflection, give us a call!
With effortful wishes,
On behalf of Mercuri Urval's Helsinki team