Visit from Maersk CEO Søren Skou
An industry giant, Søren Skou, group CEO of Maersk, opened the first MBA alumni event of the 2017 academic year. The timing could not have been more apt, especially with the current transformations that are taking place within the Maersk group. One would be hard-pressed to find a more open and engaging leader. "I only have a nine-slide presentation. So please feel free to ask any questions you wish, and I promise not to get offended". With that opening salvo, we were off to a good start, and he did not disappoint.
He took us through the developments that had created the burning platform for the changes within the group, his secrets to success and leadership principles all in just nine slides. For those who were not present but have aspirations of one day leading one of the biggest Danish companies, here are some of his tips on preparing for the role:
Be curious - "Make sure to keep your toolbox updated."
Raise your hand - "Step forward and take responsibility for outcomes."
Work hard - " Work-life balance is a myth. No one gets to the top by working eight-hour day."
Perhaps the most impressive of his personal traits was his candour when asked about his biggest career/leadership failures. With great humility, he explained that his most significant mistake had been people related. While he wishes he had not made some of the bad investments, the failures he most wishes to take back were those where he had passively watched as key members of his team failed to deliver on what was required.
Overall, it was a great evening and quite a few of the attendants were inspired by his leadership experiences. Two full-time MBA students had this to say about their take-aways from the session.
“It was a wonderful experience listening to Søren Skou. He was very candid in his responses, and we got to learn a lot about the direction in which Maersk is moving,"
"I learnt that the courage to accept mistakes from previous roles and thinking of them as stepping stones is key to the learnings of a leader"
Be sure to sign up for the next event. You do not want to miss insights from some of the most inspiring leaders in the market.