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Ericsson: Building purpose driven leaders at the Annual HR Directors Business Summit 2016

Marrying HR and Marketing – Aligning People and Brand at the Annual HR Directors Business Summit 2016

The PERFORMANCE Management team was present at the HR Directors Business Summit in Birmingham, United Kingdom, between 2 – 4 February, 2016. Consequently, the insights gathered from experts present at the event had been gathered and exposed here, in a series of interviews and articles.

Selina Millstam is Vice President and Head of Talent Management at Ericsson. Her presentation was a lecture about purpose-driven leaders, illustrating the Ericsson approach on developing rounded leaders.

The following are a few short introductory remarks on defining the dimensions of purpose:

  • Purpose is a choice: we are in control;
  • Purpose is a practice: we need to work on it;
  • Purpose is an aim outside yourself: we contribute to something bigger;
  • Purpose begins with believing you have one in first place: let that drive your focus in life.


The “complete leaders” within Ericsson prove the following aspects:

  • HEAD: Provide clear purpose, direction and strategy;
  • GUTS: Do the right thing, based on clear values;
  • HEART: Understand, work with, and develop others.

Selina finds it exhausting, but at the same time admits that it is this feeling of weariness, combined with knowing you are doing the right thing, which continuously energizes the process. The program is made out of 2 modules:

Module 1: Tanzania

Leaders spend a period of 10 days in Tanzania, combining working with NGOs, visiting various locations and home stays. It is an intense experience that gives them the chance to deal with complex situations, having only a limited supply of resources. This time gives them the opportunity to coach NGOs leaders, but in the end, most of the Ericsson leaders realize that they are the ones getting the coaching. The whole experience reinforces the feeling of having a purpose in life.

Module 2: Boston

Coming back to the organization, Ericsson leaders bounce back the learning experience, creating a domino effect among the chiefs they coordinate. They are encouraged to talk about the vulnerability of the experience that they’ve been through. Basically, they share the same thing that they’ve received: purpose, which in turn creates bonding and strengthens a company from the inside.

Image sources:

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