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Celebrations - turning 50

Posted 1/6/2014

In the Nordic Countries we generally celebrate the 50th birthday with at least friends and family. This occasion came to me this week. It’s also a moment for a person to take stock of his/her own life. Here you can get a synopsis of the speech I held at my own party.


"My life has been fulfilling and I’m satisfied with it while looking forward with confidence at the next phase of my life.


As I’m still young at heart I want to continue to be outspoken and live my life with feeling. I also want to continue to choose my company, and Tarja - thank you for having been there with me for more than ½ of my life at my side.

We’ve had some incredible experiences and you are the best thing that’s happened to me. Many times you remind me about sticking to my principles.


1. Live in the moment and just do it


This first theme reminds me about seeing the hot air balloon festival in Chateau d’Oex the first weekend we had moved to Switzerland. Not remaining home to unpack, but rather get doing and seeing something with our 3 and 1 year old children.

In Hamburg we biked along the Elbe, among the flowering apple trees. Here in Finland we hike through the forest, sail, golf or waterski. We collect memories together, sometimes in a positively crazy way. 

With my family we’ve done several longer trips. In 2008 we all joined Isabella when she had a 2-week spring break from her High School in Colorado, naturally we added a week to see her at school as well. Taking the other two out of school for three weeks naturally demanded some negotiations, but they learnt more during their 3 weeks in the SW US than they would have at school.

Great to have understanding teachers who also feel the most important thing is learning for life.

So ”Carpe Diem” - and stay in the moment - even when it’s challenged today by what’s up, Facebook and other smartphone apps.


2. Bigger projects require planning


Not everything can be done at once. When you do something bigger go in with both brain and heart. Without brain the plan is not likely to work very well, without heart even the greatest thing might feel like nothing when you get there.

It’s easy to over rationalize, over analyze and over do things. That easily means burning the candle from both ends, which often leads to a burnout. On the other hand just doing whatever the heart tells you will not give the sensation of accomplishment.


Edward de Bono has thought me many techniques; PMI is one I use very often. Peter Drucker’s Managing Oneself is another source that helps me keep tabs on myself. Using many sources as sparring partners, not necessarily doing as everyone suggests, but listening to the reasoning and making up my own mind.


3. When all is said and done - Everyone knows best what’s right for himself.


None will have your best interests at heart better than you. None will know better what’s right for you than you. Very often it takes courage, not only to decide, but simply to listen to the alternative reasoning before deciding on your course of action. Some people never take the courage to take action themselves; they abdicate the power to decide to someone else. It can be by not being decisive enough, persistent enough or reactive enough. Taking proactive steps to find the right way and taking the courage to ”know” you are right is not always easy. Personally I draw strength from my roots. If my ancestors managed to do great things in the 19th and 20th century, why should I be any less capable? If I managed to do great things as a scout leader in my youth, why should I not be able to do it as a more experienced executive? If I’ve managed to coach my children to worlds championship levels of performance in their chosen sports, why should I not be able to do that in other fields?


I still hope to have many fantastic times ahead:


As an entrepreneur I want to see my customers successful

As a father I want to see my children, my own as well as their significant others, do their own decisions independently and by satisfied with them

As a husband I want to see my wife happy and

As a human being I want to make the world a little better place to be


It will require: living in the moment, planning with brain and heart and continuing to decide for myself.”


Marudd 26th of May 2014



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Suomen Mentorit - Pro Bono work for Finland

Posted 23/5/2014

In the current economic situation many academically trained people risk to end up unemployed.

It's particularly difficult for people to get their first job. Suomen Mentorit was founded to help some of the unemployed university graduates. From 2012 to 2013 the unemployment rate for newly graduated in Helsinki region almost doubled.


The graduates will be acting as mentees. They will get paired up with an experienced business manager that will act as the mentor for up to one year. The mentee should come up with specific targets for him- or herself and act towards reaching them. 


The mentor commits to 6-8 sessions and some e-mail or calls in between them. The purpose is to help the mentee to find the courage, strength and determination to strive towards his goal. In Finnish we call the mentee ”mentoroitava” or ”aktori”. The first word clearly comes from same basis as mentee, however second word is in my view preferable. It puts the burden of action squarely on the mentee. As the old saying goes: ”You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make him drink”. Unless the ”aktori” takes action not much useful will come out of the relationship.


On May 7th the mentors met to discuss this mentoring for the next group of menthes. On the 8th the mentee’s met.

This week I had my first meeting with my mentee, a material sciences engineer interested in research, development and design. She has many processes ongoing, however we will look at how to make sure the engagement stays strong.


So, what makes experienced, busy executives sign up as mentors? Generally it’s out of a concern that Finland wastes resources unless we get all fully trained people actively engaged in the working environment. We are also concerned that unless we mobilize all forces the future of doing business in Finland gets bleak and our grandchildren might need to emigrate, like many of our ancestors. 


If this got you interested to sign up as mentor or ”aktori” go to to get started. 

If you are not Finnish and you would like to copy this approach to your own country. Get in touch, if we have time we will help on a best effort basis as helping you will help us clarify our own messages.

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Sales Competency Development - Recommended Reading and Trainings

Posted 8/4/2014

One aspect of all development is finding the right trainings and reading to filling gaps you've identified in your own competences.

Attached you find a suggestion that I have been working on for a while, please feel free to use it. Equally, if you have something you find particularly useful, please comment on this and give your suggestions. The competencies used here come from the framework CEB SHL Talent Analytics uses in their standard Sales Report.

I'm also looking for trainings that would be particularly good on these topics, preferably in an inexpensive online way as so many organisations are so cost conscious today.

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January: A Month of firsts

Posted 2/2/2014
In this blog I will also sometimes provide some reflection on the start-up.
In January 2014 we’ve signed the first customer contract, signed up contracts with 5 subcontractors, kicked off the first project, ran first coach alignment calls, had first company travel and send out our first invoice.
People starting their own company talk about having to create everything from scratch. It’s been exciting to do so. Today there are however so many models you can copy from, so much information available on-line, so many helpful contacts that will sort you out that it’s fairly quick. It does however require the urgency and drive to find out, to copy with pride and be prepared to translate where needed. It certainly provides a sense of achievement.
Meeting the customer and talking to them about the product is great fun to me. The discussions spur so much further development that it has to be done regularly also face to face.
Meeting the feedback coaches on regular video meetings has also been energizing. To think that we start up with people on 3 continents already on the first project. We can manage doing our work in 8 languages! 
We are out to help our new customers achieve great things.
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Why do sports, scouting or youth organizations matter in recruitment?

Posted 11/1/2014

In most recruitment some effort is put to understand if people have taken on lead roles also outside their professional work. Here I think about activities like scouting, sports teams, musical orchestras, politics, student organizations and similar.

Until I attended the LINK event this year I often asked myself: Intuitively and from past cases it makes sense, but why? Where is the proof point? Is there any link to current leadership or people management thinking? 

Then, during the presentation ’’Driving Breakthrough Performance in the New Environment” by Adriana Duque Hughes I realized CEB has stumbled across a great insight that at least de facto proves the value in extracurricular activities.

Let’s start by thinking through what extra curricular activities involve:

  • Typically you deal with different set of people from the usual ones and you can rarely choose them yourself
  • Typically you need to influence people without authority over their paycheck or other status indicators
  • Typically the result of your efforts will only be seen if other people approve of them

In short, for you to succeed in extra curricular activities you will have to get results by inspiring and motivating people often without a formally appointed leadership role, at the same time you have to get things done for the inspiration to last.


Now let’s look at the CEB 2012 High Performance Survey of 23,339 employees from member companies:



30% of the people say they deal with at least
20 other people for their Day-to-Day operations






50% of the people say number of people involved                                              in decision making has increased since 2009




So the environment is more Networked than before in many ways.


When were asked to evaluate the performance of people in an Individual Task dimension and a Network Task dimension the following results emerged:



57% of the employees get rated as Effective or Very Effective on the Individual Task Performance, yet only 20% of the employees get rated as Effective or Very Effective in Networking with others.

Lets simplify this picture by focusing first on only a part of it: those that perform High in Network Performance. Of those that get an Effective or Very Effective rating on Network Performance 17 out of 20 will perform their Individual Tasks to Effective or Very Effective Performance. This means if you isolate the observation to only these people you will get only 3 of the 20 that score Average or Poor on Individual Task Performance.

In other words, if used in recruitment: if you select a high Network Performer you are 6 times as likely to get a person that performs his/her Individual Tasks well than not. 

When you look at the people that are not ranked high on Network Performance the odds of finding a High Performer on Individual Tasks drops to 40 of 80 or 1 out of 2. If the person Scores average or poor on Network Performance the odds of recruiting a High Individual Performer is a good as tossing a coin (1 out of 2).


Now, to combine the two lines of thought:

To be successful in business you have to be able to deal with people you didn’t choose.

A person that succeeds in extra curricular work has shows him/herself able to create performance in a Network. Because you learn these skills in extracurricular work it matters in recruiting.



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Sales Profiling Presentation at LINK events

Reflections from LINK UK

Posted 27/12/2013

In Mid-November I participated in CEB SHL Talent Analytics LINK UK event. You can find information about it on twitter #LINKUK. The rebranding of SHL has been done at these events. This was the 8th LINK event run by CEB SHL this year and the 3rd year these kind of events are held in UK.

The setting close Barbican in the City of London was impeccable! The speakers where of high class: knowledgeable and good communicators. A lot of effort by CEB SHL Talent Analytics and partners had gone into preparations. There were 2-300 participants, including about 50 staff members.

The outlook on the economy was well done, the speakers captive and witty delivery made it a great scene setter. Next a CEB board member discussed people management done by famous bosses he has worked with. We got an inside glimpse at what it had been like to work close to Steve Jobs at Next and Ross Perot of EDS.

Then CEO Tom Monahan pointed out the typical lack of people measurement in our dashboards, including CEBs own... Making sure you measure how siloed or de-siloed the organization is, looking into development measures and talent management.

After lunch there were 4 streams. For those of us interested in Sales there were two particularly interesting ones. Barclays has streamlined there recruitment process dramatically, reducing applications to about one fifth, by allowing people to get a better view on what's going to meet them when on the job. They had also implemented NPS measurement for all applicants. The score was an impressive +58 for recommendation to participate in the process.

Swarovski has essentially reversed the application process. They always take applications for their boutiques, there is screening based on a situational multimedia test and top scores will get approached when a position opens up. If you are interested go to Swarovski boutique on Facebook to see for yourself.

Having attended also the Nordics event some comparison is natural. The Nordics event stressed the business angle much more than the UK event.

In Nordics the message essentially was: being good at the HR aspects is a basic requirement, but to succeed you have to provide business and strategical relevance. Competency and value management are important, but in the end only as means to achieve business goals.

Maybe it's simply that SHL has such a strong foundation in UK combined with the fact that UK corporations are larger and hence HR roles are more specialized.


Thank you to all that helped me get the opportunity and in particular thanks for many lively and insightful discussions. Looking forward to good co-operation in the year to come.

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A Sales Process does not have to be Complicated

Posted 26/10/2013
A Sales Process can simply be an acute awareness of what things need to be covered before the customer has more to loose by not signing the deal than by signing. A beautifully simple one I came across recently in a discussion about coaching is as follows:
A highly qualified potential client is someone that meets the following criteria:
(a) They have one or more pressing problems 
(b) They are aware they have these pressing problems 
(c) We have discussed these problems together in some detail and are both aware of the impacts of the problems continuing to be unresolved 
(d) They know what they stand to gain from the problems being solved 
(e) They are not just 'window shopping for the lowest price
(f) They've got the means to invest in themselves - or if it's a corporate sponsor of coaching for one of their managers or staff, they've got the budget.
"So, is there anything else that we need to discuss that would prevent you saying "yes, let's get started now"?"
This could well be used in other types of business deals as well as it helps the seller focus on adding value.
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First week reflections

Posted 14/10/2013

The launch is now done! Thank you to all that have shown encouragement and interest.

In Stockholm I participated in the CEB SHL Link event with over 150 HR Executives. My presentation was called: "Driving 1000 Sales People Towards Impressive Results" and it explains how we've assessed and developped our sales people at NSN.
















The day was at the same time a rebranding of SHL to CEB SHL Talent Measurement Solutions, as a step in the integration of SHL and CEB ( The story of a connection between SHL and CEB started with the Challenger Sale model. My own connection to it was that having read the story in HBR about "Sales is not about relationships" (Thank you Robert Fonteijn for forwarding it to me). I got in touch with Matthew Dixon. The story made sense to me and I could see that many of the buildingblocks of our Competence Development solution were adressing "Become more Challenger-minded". A month or so later Matthew Kiel and Patrick Swords of CEB wanted to meet when in Helsinki. We did so in my office and I suggested CEB, NSN and SHL would work together on developing the Challenger Sale profile mapping to SHL's OPQ profiles. Logic being that the 5 distict Seller profiles are distinguishable through OPQ. SHL had at that time over 80 million OPQ:s done, many of which are for sales people. CEB and SHL could jointly pitch corporations where part of the salesforce already has been profiled. NSN wants to develop and could serve as pilot for both companies to verify approach. The project didn't get off the ground even though I asked about it through both channels, but 6 months later CEB bought SHL.


Getting back to the LINK event:

There were presentations on boardroom view of talent management. It's about making sure you can deliver the expected 20% productivity increase.

A key message was to ensure the Networking Performance of individuals is crucial. As functions and teams are already effective, the next level of effectiveness comes from interaction across. Look into how you observe, measure and improve your talent on it.

Another key message was ensure HR understands the strategy and involved in what challenges need to be addressed. As HR professional you need to understand the strategy better than most to provide value on the LT. Your key value is likely to come from what people in your organizations will have to do differently to implement your strategy. Change through people.

A third key message was to use the data you have available to yourself, and the benchmarks that CEB SHL can provide you with, to answer key questions. HR has huge datasources and can potentially answer questions databased rather than guessing-based.


The presentations of the event are on the microsite created for the event behind registration at this link. Should you want just my presentation, without registering, send me an e-mail and I will send it to you.


If you have questions or comments, please use any of the following options:

A) you can comment on our LinkedIn - posting

B) you can comment on our Facebook - posting


C) you can send me an e-mail


We haven't yet enabled a commenting possibility on our internetsite, should we?


Carl-Magnus "Calce" Cedercreutz


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Selection of pictures for the website reflect family interests

Posted 23/9/2013


The pictures used here are largely taken by Carl-Magnus. Most of them are taken in Finland. Many of them relate to sports done by family and friends.

 Isabella Cedercreutz (1991) skied Moguls with Skisport Finland reaching a Bronze at Junior Worldchampionships in 2011 in Dual Moguls. She studies medicine at Helsinki University since 2011. She plays the fluet and piccolo. She is very active in her student organisations.

Camilla Cedercreutz (1993) still sails the 49erFX with an aim to represent Finland in the Rio Olympics 2016. She won Gold at the 49erFX junior Worldchampionships in 2013. She studies Business Administration at Hanken University since 2013.

Axel Cedercreutz (1995) plays Floorball with SSV on Finnish national youth league level. He has played internationally several times. He is a proficient pianist. At school he specializes in mathematics, physics and biology. He aims to start University studies in 2015.



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