The CLS is happy to introduce Susanne Hägglund, new Managing Director at Volvo Car Portugal. We are very excited to share her letter with the CLS community where she gives us an insight on how she finds herself in Portugal, her personal view on leadership, her five core values of sustainable leadership as well as her motivation for a sustainable future together with Volvo Cars.
What I found in Portugal was truly amazing. I'm passionate about new cultures and new languages and I confess that I have already surrendered to the charms of Portugal - it’s fantastic culture, beautiful nature, and nice people.
I have lived abroad a couple of times before and I truly enjoy taking part of new cultures, learn new languages, meet new people, explore new sceneries.
At a first glans many things comparing Swedes and Portuguese may look very different, but I actually see quite some similarities between our people. We are both people that protects and care about what is important for us, and we stay close to our closest friends.
Naturally I bring a lot of experience from what I have done previously in my career, but I think and hope what will have highest impact is how I am as a leader and the values that guide me every day. I believe in transparency – because it is the only way to assure that we understand each other, why we prioritize something, and we make things happen. I believe in trust because the great majority of us want to do a good job and we need to show faith in that. Empowerment because all of us sit with more capabilities than what we dare to believe, and because micromanage is a complete waste of everyone’s life as it sucks out the spark of employees, fosters anxiety and creates stress. Respect because we are all human beings with different attributes, capabilities, personalities owning our history, and it creates workplaces where we as people feel valued for their achievements, abilities, and qualities. And finally, Joy because fun is more fun, and it is clearly proven that happy employees are less stress, they collaborate better, and become more innovative to find solutions to challenges and problems.
What I found both at Volvo Car Portugal and in our retailer, network was a team doing an excellent job positioning Volvo as a strong brand in the market. A team made up of people that are truly committed to Volvo's purpose. We committee to “Personal” because for us, everything starts and everything ends with people; “Sustainable” because if we are part of the problem, we will have to be part of the solution; and “Safe” because this is our genesis and we already saved 1 million lives - we want to continue.
All though all three dimensions are important to me, especially “sustainable” speaks to my heart. I have, just like I image most of us have, unfortunately seen the climate changes very clearly. When I was a child, I always got to the experience white winters with a lot of fun in the snow. My eight years old sons have only experienced three snowy winters back home in Sweden. This is an awful development, and we all need to take a responsibility and action on this critical matter. That's why we at Volvo are taking a lot of climate actions and bet on a total electrification of the industry (which we hope to reach by 2030). The journey that we are on is amazing. We have big ambitions to grow, we are all in for electrified vehicles and we are going online and direct to be able to give our customers the best possible experience
I truly hope and expect that I can be part of transforming our industry and continue to bring forward a brand in Portugal that is different from our traditional competitors. My ambitions are to build on our strong legacy and continue the path that brought us here and lead a transformation that is necessary in these challenging times of change in the industry, society, and the consumer.
The challenges are great and the motivation to face them is enormous. Count me in