Berggren, a company specializing in intellectual property rights, wanted to enable its employees to work together more closely. The changes the company wanted to make were initiated by developing a new management model together with Talent Vectia.
Business impact and results:
- Streamlined its management model in order to promote joint-leadership while at the same time making an employer promise to its personnel
- Brought about cultural change that is more transparent than before
- Increased the amount of communication and information flow
“We provide our clients with comprehensive assistance in managing their intellectual property matters. Not only do we handle patents, for example, but we also create added value for our clients by looking at the bigger picture for them”, says Kati Sasse, Vice President of People and Culture at Berggren, a company offering full-service intellectual property management.
Clients typically come to Berggren with a specific matter, such as an individual patent. However, a broader assessment of the client’s intellectual property portfolio often reveals that the company also needs to take urgent action on protecting its brands and capitalizing on the major opportunities offered by patent licensing.
A holistic service requires collaboration between the client and a wide range of Berggren specialists, as professionals in intellectual property rights (IPR) tend to specialize in rather narrow areas of the field.
“Because IPR issues are becoming more complex all the time, getting good results requires extensive cooperation”, Sasse explains.
This cooperation does not necessarily emerge on its own, since many specialists are highly accustomed to working alone. To increase cooperation and a shared direction between personnel, Berggren wanted to make its management models and practices clearer and more streamlined. For this purpose, Berggren chose Talent Vectia.
A collaboration-centered management model
Updating Berggren’s management model entailed a wide range of actions, such as making decisions about what matters the company should take the lead on to succeed in its strategy, what forums this leadership should take place in, and what roles each person would have. In addition, an annual leadership timetable was adopted during the process.
The management model was developed under the title of Lintuopas (“bird guide”), inspired by the company’s elegant logo. Although this is a leadership handbook, it differs from many other handbooks in that it does not contain any organizational descriptions or declarations as to how managers should lead.
“The model tells us how we lead ourselves and each other, and how we can work together to best achieve our goals. There is a major philosophical difference between this and conventional handbooks”, says Sasse.
The keyword of the company’s new strategy is co-directedness. Co-directedness means, for example, that the success of the company’s clients is the primary shared goal, and that successes are shared and enjoyed together.
In particular, it is important for specialist organizations to ensure that their personnel contribute to the development of the organization as well as the development of their own work. Individual participation is only possible if it is supported by the organization’s culture and practices.
Openness, active encouragement and fostering collaboration are the core elements of a co-directed organization. In addition to this, co-directedness at Berggren is supported by various means, such as encouraging staff to carve out other roles in the company in addition to their own specialist role, for example by participating in various working groups.
“The goal is for everyone to seek out the roles that most closely correspond to their own interests and activities”, Sasse says.
Many employees found roles such as sales lead to be well suited to their skills and interests. This was spurred by the fact that as a result of the development work, a new account management role emerged within the organization. This expansive role brings together account management and sales across the company’s different service areas.
Accelerating cultural change
Involving personnel in the development work was not a new thing at Berggren as the employees had also been involved in the company’s strategy development earlier. However, overhauling the management model brought to light many things that had previously remained at the level of tacit knowledge.
“Now, things are articulated in such a way that the company has made an employer promise to its current and future employees”, according to Sasse.
Cultural change at the company has taken a more open path by the decision to set out the management forums and their contents. Openness has been fostered further by distributing responsibility for communication within the organization. Now everyone is responsible for sharing information with their colleagues about their own skills and the needs of client projects.
As the amount of communication has increased, more and more employees are aware of what their colleagues are working on and how they could possibly contribute to each others’ projects.
In short, the change process has gotten off to a good start. However, bringing about cultural change throughout an organization is always a step-by-step process. This is why the entire road map was divided into stages, creating multiple milestones for the company to reach throughout the current year.
“We now have a very good road map to work with. We are making our new management model a reality one page at a time”, Sasse says.
According to Sasse, Talent Vectia brought a number of strengths to Berggren’s overall development process, such as a solid knowledge of substance and the ability to shape Berggren’s general management models to better reflect the company’s character and thereby ensure that the personnel could assimilate the organization’s messages as their own.
“If we had embarked on this process on our own, we could not have created a goal-driven schedule, because a lean expert organization does not have the resources to free up for this kind of work. Talent Vectia also brought much-needed insight that helped us to escape from our own bubble”.