Nurturing a Culture of Engagement and Intrapreneurship

At the core of a public company turn around, case Pöyry Plc

· Good News
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AUTHOR: Dr. Henrik Totterman is the President of LEADX3M, an international entrepreneurial leader and global business school executive, with 20 years of experience developing his own ventures and advising others. Henrik's background enables him to combine academic concepts with the real world of business, exemplified by the work he is doing to assist in renewing and building new business for organizations internationally. Henrik is a doctor in entrepreneurship and management from Hanken School of Economics, a Professor of Practice at Hult International Business School, and a teaching faculty member at Harvard University Division of Continued Education.

At the core, intrapreneurship is about unleashing your people to renew and create new business in benefit for the organization. As a leader, how do you nurture corporate leadership?

I had recently the great privilege to interview Martin à Porta, President CEO, Pöyry Plc. and Soile Kilpi, Director, Pöyry Management Consulting, North America, as part of preparing a case study on intrapreneurship at the core of an amazing public company turn around. A brief lunch interview transformed into an almost two hour long intensive and passionate dialogue related to intrapreneurship in general, and how it was introduced at Pöyry in particular. I can still feel the energy in the meeting just by glancing through my rapidly plotted notes.

As a next step, I am currently scoping the actual business case. In terms of the underlying analysis, it builds on our CreActive Mindset concept, which brings together the four distinct yet intertwined pillars of strategy, talent, communication, and implementation. I am currently defining the desired outcomes, the decisions to be made by the readers of this case, and also what level of management the case should target (any suggestions welcome). I envision that the case will be used in executive education, corporate training, and in the business graduate classroom.

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Based on my notes from the first senior executive level interview, it feels right to start from the new CEO stating to the Executive Board that the company will create a corporate culture of "intrapreneurship". This will follow with some discussion related to Board level debate and decisions. From there I plan to adapt the case and broaden the focus to include also the execution of the board level decision, with the employees, the organization, and defined key performance metrics in mind.

I think this approach sheds rightfully light on the current positive strategic outcomes, but also on some of the immediate challenges in transforming competences and resources, while trying to reestablish trust through communication in times of uncertainty. I also want to bring in ethics and sustainability, as this is a case of implementing significant cultural change that involves all 5.500 employees located across the world. I may steer the case also towards the future, by addressing performance and the impact on corporate culture and norms also on the long term.

Open questions (feel free to comment below, or lets discuss when we meet next time):

  • Who would you place at the center of this case (e.g. an executive, middle manager, or someone else)? 
  • Where would you go next in terms of interviews based on the above? 
  • Preferred timing of the case (focus on the past, present, or future scenarios)?
  • In addition to the document, what other (digital) material would support case preparation?
  • In terms of research, what venues do you see in this case that are unexplored by academics?