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International Leadership Professional network bridges the cultural gap PAGE 2

Netw orking Why? . PAGE 8

New categories of risk in digitalization PAGE 6

F5 NETWORKING The purpose of the network group “International Leadership” is to provide you with a specific set of skills you can translate into value for your company. You gain knowledge and get to exchange ideas with other members that will prepare you and your company for the challenges you are facing. Our Network Director, Mette Zølner, facilitates the meetings and invites external industry experts to speak which ensures a high level of professionalism. This way, we provide our members with a professional boost which creates a competitive advantage at the companies they work for.

The return I have gotten from this network matches the expectations I had when I first signed up. I have gained new knowledge, have been inspired about innovation and have gotten to share ideas with others. I have learnt about innovation in a business context from inspiring leaders in different industries as well as outside-in presentations that outline the newest megatrends keeping me updated on new possibilities. TORSTEN BJØRN SENIOR DIRECTOR DESIGN MANAGEMENT, LEGO GROUP A/S MEMBER OF INNOVATION IN THE REAL WORLD

PROFESSIONAL NETWORK BRIDGES THE CULTURAL GAP Our International networking group aims to help Danish and foreign executives navigate in cross cultural organisations. It might not be easy, but it is essential, researchers say. Often, leaders and executives like to think that they are empathetic and understanding towards their subordinates even though they might have completely different cultural backgrounds. However, research shows that this is often not the case. In a study carried out by researchers at Copenhagen Business School points out that there are frequent misunderstandings due to cultural differences when Danish executives engage in cross cultural activities with professionals from countries such as China, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.


“When acting globally it is important to acknowledge the values that you take for granted. Cultural differences are often significant. An important starting point is to be aware of your own cultural background. To know where you are from is crucial and is the most important factor when it comes to intercultural leadership and communication,” says associate professor Mette Zølner from Copenhagen Business School who was in charge of the study in an interview with Business Denmark. Network for Danes and Expats Mette Zølner is the Network Director for F5’s professional network “International Leadership”. In this network, Danish and International executives get together and discuss their professional challenges. A professional network with an international

The next step should be to get insights into what your co-workers take for granted. That is why it is so important to ask questions. If you expect the differences to be there, unnecessary conflicts can be avoided and you will be able to see new opportunities METTE ZØLNER NETWORK DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP

outlook is the ideal place to meet other ambitious executives and to expand your network and cultural understanding. Mette Zølner, an experienced researcher and lecturer, says that there are a lot of important questions to ask when working with people from different cultures. “The next step should be to gain insight into what your co-workers take for granted. That is why it is so important to ask questions. If you expect the differences to be there, unnecessary conflicts can be avoided and you will be able to see new opportunities,” says Mette Zølner. “It has been the most surprising finding in our research. It is quite obvious, however it is a crucial factor to remember,” claims Mette Zølner, who has been doing research on intercultural and organisational learning for most of her academic career.

NETWORK DIRECTOR Mette Zølner has been an Associate Professor at Copenhagen Business School since 1999. Her research is mainly focussed on the field of cross-cultural organisation and how practitioners operate at the interface between local and global practices and the implications it may have for leadership, management, communication and organisational learning. Mette Zølner holds a Ph.D. in social sciences from the European University Institute in Florence.

Cultural differences are a key ingredient The Danish researcher says that the study shows that speaking English or having a main common language in organisations, contrary to popular belief, is not enough to ensure full cross-cultural understanding. Actually, it can often be a disadvantage because subtle local nuances might get lost in translation. According to Mette Zølner, cultural differences, troublesome as they may be, are actually a key ingredient when it comes to creating more innovative solutions and to increasing a company’s competitive advantage globally. That is also among the main reasons why participating in a network composed of international executives is a helpful step in order to strengthen your international career opportunities.


WHO ARE OUR MEMBERS? This network is aimed at leaders with an international mindset. Whether you are a Dane looking to improve your cross-cultural understanding or an expat stationed in Denmark for a period of your career, this is the right network for you. Members of our network “International Leadership� typically work as leaders and executives in fields such as Business Development, IT or Marketing. However, your title or field is

not the most important factor - rather it is your abilities as a leader and your commitment to challenging yourself and others that are the main criteria. In our other networks we have members from a broad range of organisations and corporations. Skilled professionals from companies such as Lego, Deloitte, Danske Bank and Nets have already chosen us as their preferred networking partner.

I have exchanged ideas with other members - gotten their view on things I find challenging. I have had good talks with people from the same industry and received quality feedback. We have a space where ideas are put forward and discussed - it is great to be able to have that. JENS KRISTIAN KIMPER HEAD OF PRODUCT INNOVATION, DANSKE BANK MEMBER OF THE FINANCIAL INNOVATION NETWORK




Within the network you can discuss specific challenges you have and give feedback to the other members. You will be challenged and get to talk about strategies and specific issues with competent and unbiased network colleagues. This inspires new ideas and leads to specific tools you can bring home to your company.

The network group is a place where you can talk about the trivial everyday dilemmas or your company’s strategic challenges. The network will function as your confidential space where you can consult with other leaders and get their point of view on your personal challenges in regard to your work. You will further develop both professional and personal skills useful to you and your company.



The world we live in today is vastly different to how it looked just five years ago. In this networking group, you get access to updated and specific knowledge that is not yet found in university textbooks and will not be on the curriculum of MBA’s for some time. Through exercises and discussions we focus on the implementation of new knowledge at your company.

The network is run by a Network Director who knows your industry and your challenges. His task is to manage the group and organize meetings according to the wishes and needs of the members. At the same time, he has a high professional level which ensures the members relevant input from outside the group.


POSSIBLE TOPICS UNDERSTANDING CULTURAL MEETINGS Why is it that a word like ‘empowerment’ means one thing in Denmark, while it takes on a completely different meaning in India? To understand values, we also need to understand different cultures. Danish leadership and hierarchical structure is in fact quite unique. At this meeting we discuss what is universal and what is particular to our region of the world to create an informed basis on which to communicate cross-culturally.

NEW APPROACHES TO INNOVATION The ability to be innovative is crucial today as disruption is occurring at an accelerated speed. Thankfully, new digital innovation methods are not only available to the agile companies of Silicon Valley. We take a look at some of the best tools and get familiar with MVP, crowdsourcing, rapid prototyping and visualisation. Additionally, we take a look at how the innovation process differs across different cultures. RETHINKING PEOPLE MANAGEMENT In the paradigm of the last century strategy and code of conduct was top down. These things are changing rapidly today and more companies are focusing on creating an organisation that enhances the individual instead of inhibiting them. The days of 9-5 and suit and tie are changing and the winners of tomorrow will adapt to this agenda. We take a look at new case studies of software companies that have successfully hired employees with autism and molded the company around their skills and ways of working.


MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS: LANGUAGES, VALUES AND CHALLENGES Big international enterprises are made up by a large number of different cultural values, languages and understandings. In that sense they are rather new as entities. We delve into real-life cases to explore the challenges of the modern leader in the multinational organisations in areas such as talent management and building an organisational culture focused on innovation.





 Four network meetings a year, the duration of each meeting is 4,5 hours including presentations from Danish or international specialists.  Networks and workshops with the other members under the supervision of a professional recognized Network Director who has experience in your field and knows about your potential challenges.  The possibility of participating in conferences about innovation and current trends. Each conference is two hours and is for members from all of our networks (please note that most conferences are in Danish)  A confidential forum online for sharing ideas with the rest of the members in the network.


 A collection of skills within the discipline of strategy and management.

PRICE An annual membership is 19.500 DKK – excluding VAT. The price is fully deductible for your company.

KONTAKT NETWORK MANAGER Emil Frederik Saxtorph Berthelsen Email: Telefon: +45 73 70 97 48

F5 Networking ApS Ny Kongensgade 9C, Baghuset 1472 København K Telefon: +45 32 11 00 00 Email:

LinkedIn CVR: 35523138


NETWORKING WHY? EXPERT: BEST TO NETWORK OUTSIDE OF THE COMPANY Leaders find that it can be difficult to network and exchange experiences with close colleagues. Due to this, an expert recommends that you seek out networks outside the company. CEOs often have a hard time talking openly about problems they face in their company. This is why network expert Christian Waldstrøm, who is the co-author of ’Corporate Networking’, recommends that you seek out a professional network where the problems are different than yours. ”In a network outside of the company you meet people who are like yourself but is not too close. The problem is that in your company, your competitors for the exciting projects, bonuses and promotions are sitting right next to you. And that makes it difficult to open up and talk about the challenges you are dealing with,” says Christian Waldstrøm, associate professor at Aarhus University and partner in Unilyze. He thinks that you can not get around the fact that the individual company is challenged when it comes to having an open dialogue and exchange experiences between each other:

”A company is characterized by a policy that is about obtaining favorable positions. Some get upset when you say it while others are recognizing it. There will always be different agendas in a company. A fight for resources, if you will. The people working with IT have their agenda while the production- and HR-people have another agenda”, the network expert explains. A question of trust Christian Waldstrøm also thinks that in order for a network to run smoothly, a high degree of trust between the members is essential.

”A network can be a safe place in contrast to your company. Therefore, it requires trust so you are certain that what you say stays with that group of people. There has to be a confidentiality that takes time to build.” But when the trust is established, the network will be rewarding – both for the CEOs on a personal level and for the company.

The most essential thing is that I have got to know a lot of new, professionally relevant people. A couple of us have formed a small work group and are now in the process of making an entirely new product. It is fantastic! If I had not been in the network, we probably would not have gotten that product idea. MICHAEL EMBORG PROTOTYPE COORDINATOR, ROCKWOOL. MEMBER OF THE NETWORK CONSTRUCTION OF THE FUTURE


International Leadership - F5 Networking (EB)  

Network Manager: Emil Frederik Saxtorph Berthelsen

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