Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a General Manager for one of the fastest growing ICT companies in Latvia? In short, you have to know, love and believe in the things that you are doing. Of course, it is not that simple. Therefore today we decided to share with you an exclusive interview with Tele2 SSC General Manager, Kim Leandersson, on how he started his career.
You have started your career in Tele2 as a trainee. Could you tell us more about it?
I started in 2008. We were a group of people and everyone had a mentor from a leadership team and it was set from the beginning that this program would take one and a half years. In this period, we would be trying four different positions within a company in Sweden and abroad. During this period of time, it was a mix of training and work.
The first ten days started like a boot camp. We were given workshops and presentations from around the company. We also experienced selling subscriptions, we tried out telemarketing, customer service, the call center; we did a lot of different things around the company. After that, we were sent to our mentor and received our first assignments. Basically, we were thrown out into the ocean and we needed to prove that we could swim.
I was working in an IT department and my first assignment was to roll out a new internet. Any estimate of how hard it could be wasn’t enough. We didn’t have any software or content, so it was a battle to get it done.
The result is that you try different types of jobs and you build experience from being on the other side; you build up a network and you get new contacts. And some of these people are still working at Tele2 ten years later. The reason why I’m still here ten years’ later is because I never really got bored. Even though I’m in the same company, I haven’t always had the same role.
Could you share your journey – how did you end up in Latvia?
I moved to Stockholm to work in Tele2. I was also in Moscow for a period and worked there as well. Then, I got an assignment to build a team here in Riga. I didn’t get an option to say –the weather there isn’t great, can I build it in Croatia instead? When the team grew bigger and bigger here in Riga, even though I still had people in Sweden, it just became more convenient to move here. Only after I moved here did I realize – I kind of like it here, and for me, Riga is now more like home than Stockholm.
How did this trainee program shape you in your professional/personal growth?
You get a head start. Everyone knows you because there is a spotlight on you for good and for bad. It forced me out of my comfort zone whether I wanted it or not. You build a good network, make connections, are part of different forums. Afterward, this helped me to reach out to the right people when needed.
How would you describe a perfect day at work?
For me a perfect day could be because of a successful release, or that we managed to achieve a really good result, or even that we held some kind of event.