why not more COOs in Sweden?

We have a dilemma in Sweden, I have realised over years of practical work on corporate cultures, organisational change and how to leverage the benefits from global access to skill and competence.

We are very proud over our people culture, decentralised decision making, non escalation corporate philosophy etc.

Facing cost reduction challenges, inability to be competitive in a global service sector and with increasing local demands, we all know we need to …” do something”.

“I don’t operate globally so I can source my skills locally” is a common argument despite the fact that those skills are globally available, better, cheaper and faster.
In order to benefit from this, the decentralised decision maker needs to seek common ground in an endless consensus process using competence data HR does not measure; agreeing on core competence focus areas no one owns the mandate to prioritise; using a governance body for sourcing that does not exist; seeking  formal approval from a non existing role – a COO – that lacks the cultural support and tools to build the integrated service company. (This practical task is not a job for the CEO, or HR, or CFO, or …)

Let’s face it. The majority of every products’ value today is typically programming. Of that programming max 50% (?) is core or unique for each BU.The rest should as a minimum (!) be possible to share across the company and if it does not exist, be sourced globally.

Apply that last sentence to a Swedish hospital, a bank or a divisionalized classical Swedish divisionalized industrial.

To stay competitive I personally think we need to apppoint more COOs across all the service sectors to leverage and focus our decentralized decisionmaking on innovation, better and more delivery at less cost.

I am not only talking about IT specifically. This applies to all service sectors across – public , education systems, manufacturing …..

My recommendations along this:

1. Understand your business logic (both how you create value as well as how well you do)
2. Assess those areas across the company (what is your current and future capacity in those areas
3. Make a conclusion on what is core and how to leverage scarce common skills across

To be blunt, my view is that no-one owns these questions across the company or organisation in Sweden. Its the job for a COO-role.

I thinn the COO capability will be much needed else organisations may win some talent battles but loose the talent war, to paraphase Clausewitz.

Bottom line:
Many Swedish companies and organisations have COO roles but far from all. Assign more COO roles in Swedish service sector, less strategy – more enabling executive action – and Wow! how mandated our decentralised and empowered workforce could become.

About klingerii

Twitter: @klingerii
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