In AWiB Fireside chat on April 11th, we had the privilege to hear the story on Sari Baldauf, who has made an impressive career in Nokia (1983-2004), heading Nokia Networks and being part of the company’s Executive board. After Nokia, she has served as Board member in several corporations, i.a. Fortum (as Chairman), Sanoma, F-Secure and Daimler). Aside many other nominations, Wall Street Journal named her as the Europe's most successful female executive in 2002.
In light of these exceptional achievements, it was thrilling to meet Baldauf – or as she said herself - “just Sari” in person and hear an engaging life and career story from a very down to earth person. Sari described her own personality as a builder, developer and – by nature - a “ski bum”, who thinks that one should not define only work define oneself. In the following, we summarize some of the key learnings shared by Sari during the evening:
Trust as key enabler of successful teams. Referring also to her times in the Nokia, Sari emphasized the importance of mutual trust within executive teams. In trustful environments, teams can openly challenge each other’s ideas.
Leaders’ responsibility to keep themselves energized. If the team lead’s energy level is low, it is hard to expect team members to be highly energized either. Sari told that in difficult periods customers and own team members – or sometimes a long weekend - were the primary source of energy.
Celebrating even small wins. Especially in difficult times, leaders need to make sure that even small wins and accomplishments are celebrated. At Nokia, her team had a special “deal drum” that was played when a deal was closed.
Passion to work. Sari defines passion as something that is meaningful for an individual, and to which one has a possibility to influence. Her choices and successes have been driven by this kind of passion.