Business Tip Image by Pete Linforth from PixabayThis is the 45th in a series of business tips from industry leaders that Enterprise Times has interviewed. Enterprise Times recently spoke to Darren Roos, CEO of IFS. He spoke about where the growth, that he has overseen, comes from. Roos revealed that the once Nordics-centric firm is now global, with more than half of its revenues coming from the US. He also spoke about the decision and the success of the Ultimo acquisition, providing an EAM solution to the mod market. There was also a hint about future acquisitions.

How to cope with a Black Swan event

Roos led IFS through the pandemic, and while these events are uncommon, I asked him to share a tip for another CEO that faces a different black swan-type event.

Roos replied, “The thing about the pandemic was that so much of what we face as business leaders or people in business doesn’t affect everybody. When we see macroeconomic headwinds, there’ll be a bunch of employees that are not impacted. With the pandemic, every single person was impacted. At the time, we had about 4,000 employees, and I could confidently say that every one of those 4,000 people was afraid and directly impacted. The key lesson I learned was that when things are really tough, you have to over-communicate. And we did a couple of things.

“One is that I went on to a cadence of doing a monthly Livestream. We run Facebook Workplace internally as a collaboration tool. I would get on Facebook workplace for an hour and give my thoughts, that were top of mind. Then I would just take questions. We published it in advance that we were doing it. Obviously, timezones were a challenge, but I had at least half the company joining. I would answer questions generally for 40 minutes out of the 60. You really got to the core of what people were afraid of. I was able, I think, to give some comfort to a lot of people about their own insecurity and the concerns that they had about what was going to happen. So over-communicate.”

The Breakfast Club

“The second thing was we began something called our Breakfast Club calls. Where all of the executive team does one call a day with a first-line person, somebody who’s customer-facing or an individual contributor. We do a half an hour call every single day with one of those employees, just to talk about the problems they’re facing, what we can do to help them do their job better, or just what’s going on in their lives.

“It’s changed a little bit now, because we still do them. But during COVID, they tended to be very personal about what they were afraid of, the challenges they were facing, and how we could help. Over time, as that existential threat has changed, it tends to be a bit more about the business and what we can do to make IFS more effective.

“I would say that communication is so important. I saw a lot of leaders galvanised by fear. The team and I challenged each other to get out of our comfort zone and over-communicate, which was super important. The feedback was excellent. And in fact, there’s an interesting data point here: we have, since I joined, an internal employee engagement survey, and we’ve continued to do that. We were pretty flat in the run into COVID. Ever since COVID, we have consistently improved both our employee engagement and our employee Net Promoter Score. We just closed the first one of 2023 today, and yet again, have the highest employee Net Promoter Score we’ve ever had and the highest employee engagement we’ve had in the last five years.”

Don’t forget to celebrate success in your startup






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