Leadership experiences: Kristin Skogen Lund

Heading towards the ”L” building for our meeting with Kristin Skogen Lund, Head of Telenor Nordic Operations, we walk through the colourful pillars by French artist Daniel Buren and looking up on the opposite house facade, we can read the neon-lit statements by the American artist Jenny Holzer.

It gives an interesting framework for our meeting.

Mobile operations company Telenor’s head office in Fornebu outside Oslo was built in 2002 and hosts around 6000 employees. An integral part of the work environment is the presence of art and culture, the website states, and Telenor has a collection of around 700 art pieces from contemporary artists.

Kristin Skogen Lund has been selected Norway’s most powerful woman by Kapital magazine. She has been head of the newspaper Aftenposten and, she is on several boards among them Det Norske Kammarorkester.

We are curious of her leadership experiences and what she would say would be most important content in a leadership development programme for culture. Nätverkstan is developing a leadership programme specifically for culture; well-known artistic director Sune Nordgren is Chair of the interim board for the project. Our ambition is to learn from different leadership areas, also the perspective from the different Nordic countries.

”The one who has the overview rarely has the deep insight. And the one with deep insight has rarely an overview.”

The dilemma is of course crucial if you are the Head of a large company such as Telenor, but is also a question for smaller organizations. How do you balance having an overview of the organization with deep and specific knowledge of the field you are in? At what size of organization do you loose the specific insight as a leader?

”Telenor is a large company that has a strict hierarchic structure, is goal oriented and work with goal hierarchies. This doesn’t work in culture. Instead it’s often vision oriented. The questions need also be asked: Who are we work for? Who is the public to be reached by our vision?”

A competence for a leader of a cultural institution we discuss is the ”translation competence”; the skill of being able to explain and talk of the artistic work with people outside of the institution. Any cultural institution needs to build relationships and cooperation with people from different areas from politics to business to other art fields. The skill of engaging and explaining the work for people with no knowledge, perhaps not even interest, is important.

A leadership programme should encompass the possibility of self-reflection and getting out of your comfort zone. Having courage, being able to analyze complex situations and build concrete actions, engage in your ideas, and knowing your own limits and possibilities are skills Kristin Skogen Lund stresses as important.

Read more on cultural leadership here.



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