– Welcome to our conversation Jonas. You are employed by Anchor Management Consulting. What does your background look like?
– My basis is a master’s degree in engineering where I learned, among other things, to formulate problems and break them down into smaller parts. That knowledge and way of working has been very useful during my career, which has largely been about leadership in change, including project manager, program manager and for several years as a line manager.
– It feels like a rather complicated job with many components that are not always so easy to predict?
– Well, that’s it, it has its challenges, that’s why it’s fun! No matter how much a transformation on the surface seems to be about business, strategies and processes, it is in behaviors, skills and attitudes that the changes need to take place.
– So you have developed an ability to explain why things have to be done and in that way get your employees on the train?
– Yes, I think that description is correct. Most of us want to understand why we go to work in the morning. We want to feel that our job means something and then it also becomes important to understand why we need to change how we work.
– But why are you a consultant and not a permanent employee at a company with opportunities to develop there? Are you an anxious type who often needs changes to thrive?
– No, I do not have a particularly worried disposition and I do not think it is better to be a consultant but more that it is different. As a manager in a company, in addition to leadership, you also have many other responsibilities in addition to leading change. An advantage of the consulting role is that there is less noise around your work with the change and you can focus on fewer things.
– But if it does not turn out the way everyone wants, is it not easy for you, the damn consultant, to get the blame?
– Yes, but it is part of the role, you have to be prepared for that.
– What is it then that makes you, despite this, continue to be a consultant and devote yourself with life and desire to doing as good a consulting job as you can?
– I like to achieve noticeable results and a successful transformation gives a clear impression in the business and it can be seen that something has been done. And as I said, it can be easier in the consulting role than in the role of manager in the organization.
– So you want to solve your task as a consultant but also be noticed for what you have done?
– It is always fun to also get a recognition for an achieved result, but that is not the most important thing. I see myself more as a conductor in an orchestra – my work should lead to the orchestra playing as well as possible. When I finish the assignment, as many people as possible should have developed in their work. If they are instead dependent on me, then I have failed as a consultant.
– You must therefore know the whole piece of music and always know what effort each musician must make and when it should be made for the whole of the concert to be the best. What do you do if someone makes a mistake or starts jazzing it outside of the project?
– One of my main tools has always been to ask questions because the people I work with are the specialists in their work. What will be the result if we do this in this part of the project, if you get less funding, what will be the consequences? And sometimes a little jazz outside the box can add a new perspective.
– Can you sometimes have to give up and tell the client that this is not possible?
– No, not that the goal itself can not be achieved, but more often that the conditions are not in place. It may be a lack of money or that there is a lack of support for this change in some parts of the company and then it can not be a result of my efforts as a consultant.
– Have you been disappointed in your work as a consultant?
– Yes, a few times but it is more on the human level, people who do not do what we have agreed on or hides facts that disrupt the project work and do not behave as you expect them to do in a workplace.
– What do you think makes you a good consultant?
– To quickly understand new situations, to see what is going on, where I have landed, what it is that is important. As a consultant, it is a great asset not to have to have such a long starting distance but to be able to quickly see what we should start digging somewhere to get results.
– How do you see the difference between short and long consulting assignments?
– In long consulting assignments, you get to be part of a larger part of the change journey, it’s fun.
– Do you follow the projects you have done or just leave them.
– It happens that I follow up something, especially if it has been a major project. Thinking of one, where what we built still existed and was used in the way we thought it would do at least 7 years later. It is a clear confirmation to me that we did something good for the company.
– We are on the way to the end of our conversation and I think I dare to be a little personal now. Do you read a lot of other things than what you have to do at work?
-I have a one-year-old and a four-year-old at home so the answer is no, it will be mostly children’s books right now. But a book I have had time with is Klas Hallberg’s “In the customer’s shoes – Creating value from the recipient’s perspective”, which in an easily digestible but clear way reminds of the customer perspective.
– And so the last question: If it started to burn in your home, what would you absolutely try to save when you got your children out to safety?
– There I am completely unsentimental. I’m not addicted to my stuff, you can buy new ones. It is the family that is important. But maybe I should still try to bring my well used Skeppshults stewpan, because I do not want to replace it.