In this series, we meet the leaders of Ingka Group to share their insights on what makes good leadership and the vision, values and learnings that have shaped them and their leadership approach. Last round we spoke to Deputy Retail Operations Manager, Belen Frau (https://www.ingka.com/news/when-you-like-what-you-do-youre-the-best-version-of-yourself/), this time we speak to Ingka Group Deputy CEO and CFO and Juvencio Maeztu. With a 21-year IKEA career spanning different countries, cultures and living realities, Juvencio speaks to the importance of a people-centred, values-based organisation, the power of a clear purpose and the leading role business can play in driving a better life at home.
You have had leading roles in different countries, and now you have the double role of Deputy CEO and CFO. What do you consider good leadership and has this changed over the years?
The biggest difference I would say is expectations. Right now, we as businesses have never had so many opportunities in how we can do business but we also face critical challenges to our societies and to our planet. Which means people expect more from us as businesses. People expect us to put people at the centre of our business strategies, they expect us to be driven by climate and societal concerns in the choices we make. They expect us to side with the many on the issues that matter most.
As Deputy CEO, it’s my responsibility to integrate Business, Finance and Sustainability at Ingka Group. Good leadership, I believe benefits from a “Both/And” approach. Both loving the past and creating the future. Both willpower to act and humbleness to listen. Both business and people. Both purpose to guide our actions and profit to create resources to invest in the future. We need to be able to tackle dilemma’s and myths in a complex world.
“At the end of the day, leadership is about contributing to a better world, better lives, better planet”
What lessons have we learnt in the pandemic that can help us become stronger leaders in this new normal – and help us tackle the big issues as retail leaders?
The pandemic continues to challenge us in many ways, but is also helping us to accelerate business decisions and redefine what performance is about. Unprecedented disruption of our supply chains and long-term store closures gave us the opportunity to accelerate our omnichannel transformation so that physical and digital channels complement each other and allow every customer to choose where and when to engage with us. At the same time, we are taking climate action, caring for people, creating a better life at home and ensuring the resilience of our company.
After 21 years in the company, the pandemic has helped me personally to find greater depth in the IKEA vision of siding with the many in order to create a better everyday life for people and the planet. We believe that it’s good business to be a good business and a sustainable business must be the new low-cost business model.
There is a lot of sadness from the pandemic but the way our co-workers rolled up their sleeves and faced these challenges will symbolise a milestone in the way we made IKEA better. Togetherness is the most powerful change driver.
What would be your best advice to young, aspiring leaders today?
My question to them would be, ‘What do you want your legacy to be?” Your life is your message. And your message is your legacy. Live your life to contribute to a better world. Be humble to listen and emotionally understand. Be determined to act. And be kind.
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