BYLC Talks: Lessons from the life of a CEO: Petter B. Furberg

BYLC Talks: Lessons from the life of a CEO: Petter B. Furberg

5472 3648 Sumaiya Tabassum Ahmed

Petter B. Furberg, then an Interim CEO, Grameenphone, visited the Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) headquarters on May 24, 2017. Graduates of BYLC’s leadership programs had the unique opportunity to hear about the key lessons Mr. Furberg learned on his leadership journey, and engage in discussion about personal development, professional goals, and Grameenphone’s organizational values. Here are the top lessons that graduates took away from his session.

  1. Don’t change jobs often: Mr. Furberg, in the early years of his career, had only once changed his job within a year-and-a-half of joining. In his opinion, it takes almost six months for an employee to adjust to their workplace and understand the functionalities of a new workplace. Hence, one must give enough time to an organization so that they can create measurable impact.
  2. Gain experience from different job sectors: Before joining Telenor, Mr. Furberg worked in the banking sector as well as the government. Working in diverse fields helped him to gain a thorough understanding of the functions and processes of different sectors.
  3. It’s imperative to have a business plan: Mr. Furberg highlighted Telenor’s entry into the Bangladeshi market. For one of their first investments in Asia, Telenor wanted to reach out to 400,000 to 500,000 customers in Bangladesh. Within twenty years, that number increased to 60 million customers! Their business plan might not have been accurate, but it was still important because it clearly outlined what the company’s plan was.
  4. Change and adapt: You might not always be able to stick to your plans, and hence, it’s important to be able to change and adapt to challenges and opportunities that come your way.
  5. Learn something new: After a successful tenure as the Chief Financial Officer at Telenor in Thailand, Mr. Furberg was promoted to the Chief Marketing and Financial Officer. Although he had no prior experience in the field of marketing, he stepped up to the position and increased his wealth of knowledge.
  6. Step out of your comfort zone: Continuing the previous example, Mr. Furberg found himself in an uncertain role when he first became the Chief Marketing and Finance Officer. He was supervising people who have a vast knowledge in the field of marketing, whereas he didn’t have any. However, he stepped out of his comfort zone and faced the uncertainties of the new position, which became a fantastic asset when he became the Chief Executive Officer of Telenor in Thailand.

Near the end of his session, Mr. Furberg shared the four qualities that a successful leader must possess. They are:

  1. Be yourself: When you’re in a position of leadership, people are always scrutinizing you. Hence, it’s important to be genuine and not try to be someone that you’re not.
  2. Care and grow: People want to work for leaders who care about them and shows genuine interest in their personal growth.
  3. Accountability: A leader is always responsible for the organization, in success and in failure. Hence, it’s imperative that leaders hold themselves accountable as well as their team.
  4. The final and universal quality that everyone should possess is integrity. This is a universal principle that everyone should strive by. It is essential to be aware of what’s right and wrong. If you are with a leader or company that expects one to do something that is unethical, it’s better to move on rather than risking your career.
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