Victoria Roos-Olsson: [00:00:00] In Dubai, for example, where I was in charge of the leadership development, we would have 40 different restaurants. And I always told the restaurant managers, the way I check out your leadership style is to go to your restaurant on your day off. How does your restaurant run when you're not there?
Patrick Baldwin: Mr. Paul.
Paul Giannamore: Patrick. Back on the Atlanta Sessions once again.
Patrick Baldwin: Oh, man. It was a great week in Atlanta, but Andreas and Victoria Roos-Olsson did not disappoint. This was incredible.
Paul Giannamore: No. As I said before, I love this interview and was it wrong of me to bring Andreas on, but largely talked to his wife? Was there anything wrong with that?[00:01:00]
Patrick Baldwin: Does he feel used yet? Andreas? You're listening to this right now.
Paul Giannamore: But his interview was fantastic and his wife is a brilliant woman. I really enjoyed speaking to her about her book as well as what she does at FranklinCovey.
So, I want to be honest with you, Patrick. When Andreas came out with Victoria, I knew she worked for FranklinCovey and I know that they, so, for our audience, Andreas was the chief operating officer of Nomor, which was a $200 million transaction we did with ServiceMaster about a year, what, year and a half ago, give or take? No, almost, no, two years ago now. Is it two years ago? Yeah, COVID just, I lost a year.
And so Andreas was one of the shareholders and his wife is an executive at FranklinCovey. She got an assignment in the United States. So after the transaction, they moved from Sweden to Atlanta to get to enjoy COVID lockdowns in the U S. I didn't really know exactly what FranklinCovey did. I remember the FranklinCovey planners. So, literally, I thought it [00:02:00] was a calendar company. I remember "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," right? So, there's a lot of books that the executives over there at FranklinCovey have written over the years, and FranklinCovey is a kind of consulting coaching business for business owners, really, right?
Patrick Baldwin: That's what I learned, actually, in the interview. I only knew FranklinCovey from the publisher "7 Habits," right? We've previously spoken about the "4 Executions of.."
Paul Giannamore: "The 4 Disciplines of Execution,"
Patrick Baldwin: That's almost what I said.
Paul Giannamore: That's right. Victoria, Andreas's wife, is one of the co-authors. So there's three authors that wrote this book, "Everyone Deserves A Great Manager," which was on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. I don't know if it's still on the bestseller list, but I know, a few months ago, when Andreas and I were talking about them coming over for an interview, it was on the list. So, congratulations to the authors.
Patrick Baldwin: What [00:03:00] do you say we get into this interview with Andreas and Victoria Roos-Olsson?
Paul Giannamore: Let's do this, Patrick.
Patrick Baldwin: We're here with an Atlanta Sessions. We have Andreas and Victoria Roos-Olsson joining us today. Thank you all for being here. Paul, you've known this couple for a few years now. The Nomor deal in 2019. Andreas was the COO of Nomor and, Victoria, you are an author with FranklinCovey, so we might talk more to you than Andreas today, but you needed a ride to get here.
So thanks for doing your part.
Andreas Olsson: Thank you. Thank you.
Paul Giannamore: Yeah. My first question for you is, did you also write a book or are you just freeloading?
Andreas Olsson: No, no. I mean, [00:04:00] exactly. Hey, there's, you know, there's a lot behind the book. All the stories about me that Patrick can tell you about her, write the book.
Paul Giannamore: Yeah, no. So, I really appreciate you guys being here. So of course, Andreas and I worked together on the Nomor transaction, but Victoria, this is the first time we got an opportunity to meet. So I want to start with you. Lovely to meet you. What are you doing here in the U.S.?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: I am working with leadership development. And for FranklinCovey. I do everything from keynotes to executive coaching, working with the executive teams, first level leaders, everything like that.
Paul Giannamore: What month did you move to the states? You moved at, was it in the middle of 2020? Is that when you guys came?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: I came a bit earlier, but Andreas, for obvious reasons, was staying behind before we got settled and all of that. And then, so I've been here a bit longer. Yes.
Paul Giannamore: And were you working with FranklinCovey in the Nordics before you came here?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: I was the managing [00:05:00] director for FranklinCovey in Sweden.
Paul Giannamore: Right on. So what prompted you two to come to the U.S.?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: When I did write the book, which I wrote together with two of my colleagues, they actually really wanted me to come over here and we've been fortunate. We've traveled a lot in our family. We've lived in 10 different countries and worked in different countries.
We were pretty excited to see, you know, the next step for our family before our girls sort of graduate and move off to college and it was a wonderful opportunity for us to come over. So yeah.
Paul Giannamore: And you're enjoying Atlanta?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Yes! Very much.
Paul Giannamore: How did you choose Atlanta? Or did they say Victoria, we want you in Atlanta or.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: So they did want me on the east coast, which is also really good for us because it makes it easier for Europe. So, for example, I'm doing a workshop next week with European and Asian leaders, which means I start at 4:00 AM in the morning. I mean, it's all virtual now. So we actually had to pick between Atlanta and New York and we love New York. I love it. My sister has [00:06:00] lived there for many years, but we, you also love to play golf, and we love the warm climate. And Atlanta is a lovely place. We live north of Atlanta in a small little town called Alpharetta and it's perfect to raise a family.
Paul Giannamore: That's fantastic. And you guys had been here about a year and you learned English? You came here and you didn't speak the language.
Andreas Olsson: Amazing. It's amazing.
Paul Giannamore: Patrick, what do you got?
Patrick Baldwin: Did you have to pick the most humid spot on the planet to live?
Paul Giannamore: This is very different than where you came from. This weather is a little bit
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Remember we did live four years in Dubai, so we've been adjusted to the heat, but the humidity here, of course, it's a bit worse.
Patrick Baldwin: Take us back cause this, I think, this is our first time to have a married couple. I'm thinking of
Paul Giannamore: Yeah. Last time, we had Mike and Debbie.
Patrick Baldwin: Mike and Debbie.
Paul Giannamore: Yeah.
Patrick Baldwin: Yeah.
Back us up. So before pest control, before FranklinCovey, y'all's backgrounds, [00:07:00] hospitality, right? Hotels? So what, was it Dubai you all met?
Andreas Olsson: Prior to that, actually. So we met at the hotel school, the Hague, which is, you know, essentially one of the five best hotel schools in the world, sponsored by Heineken, which is a good thing, I would say. So Victoria was ahead of me. I'm a slow starter. So I was a few years behind, even though I'm older and yeah, that's where we met. Yeah. We've been a good pair ever since then.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Yes. Yes. And we've been fortunate enough to be able to combine our careers. And we've sort of traveled and explored the world through our different jobs, really.
Paul Giannamore: So you guys, you met in school, then how do, I mean, you literally worked together as you went to different places?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: We did work together in Copenhagen, in Denmark. Yeah. But so the first thing that happened when we fell in love was that I had applied for and I got accepted, three weeks after we were an item, to China. So it was like, [00:08:00] oh, okay, so I think I met the love of my life and now here's this management internship.
That's how we started out our
Andreas Olsson: China. Germany.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Then you went to Germany.
Andreas Olsson: Then we had Brussels, England. Yeah. We had a lot of distance.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: For our first years
Andreas Olsson: In the overall relationship.
But we always worked in different, even though we were in the same hotel, we worked in different departments.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: We worked once in the same hotel.
Andreas Olsson: Once
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Copenhagen
Patrick Baldwin: How was that? Working together?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: It was good. I mean, we were in different departments. You know what happened with we managed to keep it sort of discreet, so no one really knew. And then it was like the big staff party once the hotel was open and everyone had such a great party that night. And then the big gossip is happening the day after. And someone went, "oh my God, I just saw Andreas from finance and Victoria from, they were kissing on the dance floor" and someone was like, "they live together." [00:09:00]
Andreas Olsson: What a spoiler.
Paul Giannamore: Like the morning after the holiday party.
Andreas Olsson: Exactly.
Paul Giannamore: All truth comes out.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Yeah, yeah.
Paul Giannamore: That's fantastic. So when did you get involved with FranklinCovey?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: So I actually did read the book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" at the early start in my career. And I'm like, okay, I'm a fan. And then when we moved to Dubai and that actually is a fun story in itself because we had moved to Scotland and Andreas is not only looking for his own jobs, but he's like the career coach for the entire family so he had been looking for jobs for me, as well.
We've moved to Scotland and I'm getting settled. I came a few months later with the girls and sort of in our apartment, unpacking, Andreas is calling and says, "I have this, I've just booked this consultant and she has this amazing job for you in Dubai." I'm like, "okay, well that's good, but we're here now."[00:10:00]
"No, no. She's going to call you in two minutes." Right. I'm like, okay. And then the two of you managed to convince.
Andreas Olsson: We had a plan. We had a good plan.
Paul Giannamore: A couple of drinks. Next thing you know, a couple of plane tickets.
Andreas Olsson: Honey, we're going for dinner, candlelight.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: So long story short, we ended up moving to Dubai instead. That's how we ended up there. And my company there, my organization, we're working, partnering up with FranklinCovey. And at that point, coming from Europe, FranklinCovey was not that big there at that time. I'm like, oh, there's an organization. And I started working, using their material in the organization. So we did a lot of leadership development and that's how I got connected with FranklinCovey. And then I sort of stayed in touch cause I'm like, Yeah. This is it.
Paul Giannamore: How big is FranklinCovey?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: So we are the world's largest private leadership development organization. [00:11:00] So we're fairly big. We exist in 147 different countries around the world so it's a really global organization. And fairly big in the U.S.
They are about 120 consultants working full time. We've gone through a transformation, like many organizations in the past 10 years, I'd say, so we really do support lots of organizations within the organization, giving them a lot of the tools and materials so they can use it for themselves as well.
Paul Giannamore: Now my question for you, Victoria, what was the origin of this book? So, tell us about this.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: I've always felt strongly for the first level leader. Like I think it's such an important job and it's rarely something that most leaders actually don't get any preparation for. You've all been in pest control and there's technical aspects of your job. And you're both in finance, so [00:12:00] you learn, you got to school and you know this is how it works. And if you start in pest control, you'll go out and someone will teach you technically. That works for most things in our careers, apart from the role of being a leader. So, what would be your guess? What do you think is that average age when most leaders get their first job in leadership? Like when you get your first promotion into leadership?
Paul Giannamore: Well, Andreas was a slow starter, so maybe a little older for him, but I don't know. Patrick, venture a guess.
Patrick Baldwin: About 25, just thinking my background, but I don't know.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: No, no. So the average age, according to research from Harvard, is 30. I agree with you. I think maybe within pest control, within hospitality, is probably even younger, but what do you think, on average, is the average age when leaders get their first actual training in leadership development?
Patrick Baldwin: I'm still waiting.
Paul Giannamore: Like 40, no
Victoria Roos-Olsson: 42.
So it's a 12 year gap, right? And I think that's [00:13:00] so important because what other profession would you do that? Oh, hey, congratulations. You're now a nurse. Try it out for 12 years and if you didn't kill someone in the meanwhile, you know, we're going to give you a little bit of training. And I think that's what we do to a lot of leaders.
So, going back to your question, I think for me, it was always, it's no real rocket science. There are certain skills that, if you have them, if you get it, if you know and how to practice them, you can really make a difference for yourself as a leader, but also for the people you work with.
So, for me, that was a dream to always write that book. And sometimes the magic of - I, for various reasons, I'd taken a little bit of a time out from my role as the managing director. I said, now I'm going to write this book. And then I wrote to my dear colleague, Scott, in Salt Lake City where we have our head office, and I'm like, " you see now? I'm writing this book now." And he said, "that's perfect because that's the next book we're going to be writing." So, that's how it happened. We decided to write it all together.
Paul Giannamore: How long did it take the two of you to write this?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: It's not the [00:14:00] two of us, I'd say like, this is what I've learned now in the book writing business, it's a team of lots of people and we're three authors.
So Todd, our colleague, also join us. From the start, it's probably like a process of two years.
Paul Giannamore: Wow. Okay.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: And I've just started to write my next book. So I wonder how long that's going to take.
Paul Giannamore: You have a working title yet?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: No. Well, I have a few different ideas.
Paul Giannamore: Okay. So when you talk about leadership training. What do you mean by that? Well, so let's say I'm a 30 year old guy - I wish I were 30 - and now I've been placed in the position of managing others. So how do you draw the distinction between me being a manager and being trained as an actual leader of people?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: So, first of all, that's an interesting concept. We could have a long conversation about what does it. Some people really love to go into depth, like management leadership. We even debated when we were giving the title, should it be like an effective leader? I must say [00:15:00] we use it, you know, both of them in there, but I do think that, and what I've noticed, I said the audience was first-level leaders. That's how we started, but we are working with executive committees. So even with CEOs on these critical practices. I think, first of all, it's just like when you learn anything new, it's like getting the basic right. sometimes I say, it's like the basics and my colleagues go, "Victoria, you can't call it basics," but it's sort of the fundamentals of like, make sure we get this right. So that was what we were trying to aim at in the book. And in this course, like, okay, here you are, you're 30, you got the promotion. Or let's say that you're 45 or 55 and you're doing this. And you're like, actually I feel a little bit lost. It's going okay, but maybe it's not doing great. What is it that I can do? Easy practices that I can easily pick up that would actually have a great impact on the team that I lead.
Paul Giannamore: I've got a great question for you, Victoria. [00:16:00] So last night I was in the car and I got a call from a friend of mine in the industry. It was a business that we had sold years ago and there's been a lot of different leadership changes. This is a rather large business. The guy calls me up and says, "okay, we've got a new manager at our organization and everyone's frustrated." And I say, "okay, why is that?" He said, "well, the new guy is going to, and he's a manager, is going to all of the frontline people asking them 'what's it like to work with this manager? What's it like to work with that manager?' And all of the managers are just irate. They're all upset. This guy doesn't know anything. How dare you come in here and talk to our people."
Is this the type of stuff that you work with? Are you training people how to deal with these sorts of intricacies of being a new manager and a new organization? Because you're a stranger, right? You're like a fish out of water. You come into an organization. There's 500 people below you. How do you deal with stuff like that?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: That's a [00:17:00] really great example and, yes, certainly that's where we coach leaders all the time. So, if I'm understanding it correctly, he's actually the manager of these managers going directly to the front line. There are some really good things about doing that and there are some things that can really scare your friends off.
Paul Giannamore: Exactly.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: "Oh my God what will they tell him?"
Paul Giannamore: Exactly.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: So, if I work to coach that leader and really talk, because he has a really good reasoning for doing that. And I think it's really good, but it's also bad, setting the trust with the people that reports into him, right. To really sit down and say like, all right, so I'm going to do this, but it's
Paul Giannamore: Here's why I'm doing it,
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Exactly. And I think we should never underestimate the importance of building trust in our relationships. And so I probably would ask him to really consider
Paul Giannamore: how he communicates this
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Yeah. And what he'll gain from it.
Paul Giannamore: In our [00:18:00] industry, and, obviously, you've lived it because of your husband. We'll have a lot of frontline employees and then you might have a branch with a branch manager. What are some things that ownership can think about? And Andreas, this is a question for you because you've been at it for a long time. In our industry, we tend to develop talent internally, right? It's not a sexy business. You don't go to business school and say, I want to get into pest control. So you're developing, you're taking frontline employees, you're turning them into branch managers, service managers, regional managers. If I were an owner of one of these businesses and you were sitting down with me, would you give me any sort of suggestions as to how do I think about putting together a formal program for raising these people up?
I mean, what are some high-level thoughts you have?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: I mean, first of all, every industry thinks that they are very unique. And while there are big differences between certain, you know, you'll have the extremes. I think the pest control business is similar to hospitality business and to many other industries and many [00:19:00] leaders are entrepreneurs, right? They got this because they were so excited. They started small and they've grown. And they're like, so there are a few typical traps that we fall into. One would be that you look at that individual contributor and think about how you yourself got promoted into leadership, but your first role, probably you did that individual contributor job really well.
Paul Giannamore: Right.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: So you were enthusiastic, you were proactive, when you got the job done, right, and those are skills that are great to have, but they're not going to be the strongest skills, necessarily, for you as a leader. You'll still need them, but I think the critical path, which is what we talk about in the first chapter is how do I make that shift from being that great individual contributor into a great manager and a great leader? And it's not necessarily the same requirement that we need. So I [00:20:00] do tell senior leaders very often, one of your most important jobs is not what you think, like the strategy and the business. Yes, they are important, but it's actually to develop other leaders.
So I would say don't just look for who's my best individual contributor, but look for who is a really good leader. Who is the one who can see everyone else? Because, at the end of the day, you're not so interested in their individual contribution any longer. You're looking for their leadership skills.
Andreas Olsson: Yeah. I think also that what we did was looking for competency. So write down the competencies that a manager or leader should have and build on those. That's something that you need to be able to lead the team, handle conflict, doing the sales in order to speak to your big clients. I mean, what are the competencies that you need for that role? You do competency-based learning, basically.
Paul Giannamore: The two of you are saying, I always think about the classic example: you have somebody who's a phenomenal sales guy. He's just great. He's [00:21:00] killing it. And then we're building a sales team and we say, okay, let's take this great sales guy and let's make him the sales manager.
Andreas Olsson: Yeah.
Paul Giannamore: And he's horrible at it.
Andreas Olsson: Yeah.
Paul Giannamore: Just absolutely horrible at it.
In the pest control space, akin to what you just said, it doesn't matter what industry, you have these entrepreneurs that start businesses and they, themselves, have typically never had formal training in managing people. Actually, most of them are horrible managers. And I feel like a lot of privately-held businesses' growth is stunted just because, if I'm an entrepreneur, I automatically wear all the hats. Right now, I'm the manager, I'm the CEO. I'm not a good manager. And I see this a lot in the industry. Do you ever think about, let's say I run Paul's Pest Control Company. I'm not a great manager. I've never been formally trained. Is it, should I be focusing on training and educating myself or am I oftentimes better suited finding a manager that's not me? And kind of stepping back and being more of a shareholder and I'm talking about small businesses.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Yeah. And that's a [00:22:00] challenge with small businesses because you don't always have the luxury of saying, okay, I'm going to now also employ this manager, who's going to do all of that. That's part of why I love doing what I do. Also, we might feel like " it's not my thing and I hate the people part of this. I used to want to do the fun stuff." Just like you probably wouldn't think twice about going to Farra and learning around the latest technologies, just to take a little bit of time out, to see like, hey, what are a few skills that I could implement that, at the end of the day, is really going to raise the effectiveness of my organization. So see, just like any other skill that you would want to upskill on. Maybe you were an entrepreneur, but not that much into finances. You quickly learned that, okay, for me to grow, I need to learn this stuff. And I would say the same goes for the CEO, because, at the end of the day, everyone will look up to the owner and say, "what is he or she doing?"
I think we should [00:23:00] not underestimate the value of being a role model. So even though it might not all come naturally to you and, which is fine. Figures don't come naturally to everyone. Like there are different things. You can still learn. I think, start with yourself just so you can have a certain ability of being a role model. I speak to a lot of entrepreneurs and I find that many are, this is hard for them, right?
It's like, "I hate that. And I don't really know." So just like you'd upskill in anything else, I definitely recommend you to do that. Having said that, you might want to also make sure that you have someone around you that is not the one that you think, okay, this is the best guy, but really has that skill. He's more interested in the actual leadership and management and will do that really well.
Paul Giannamore: Andreas.
Andreas Olsson: No, no, I, I totally agree. I think, in order to lead somebody else, you need to know thyself. That's the first command of leadership. You need to know what you're good at [00:24:00] and what you're not good at. And, you know, we all have our favorite things to do and to execute during the day. And we have those things that's being procrastinated. And knowing those things that you push forward, it's crucial for anybody who wants to lead somebody else.
So speaking of leading an organization, some months ago, we had Svein Olav on the Buzz. Charming individual. Loads of laughs. You were on his team for a long time as
Paul Giannamore: COO of Nomor, one of the largest European pest control companies, which was ultimately sold to ServiceMaster. And when was that? The fall of '19?
Andreas Olsson: Exactly.
Paul Giannamore: Wow. Time really flies, doesn't it?
Let's enlighten our listeners a little bit. When did you join Nomor? I mean, you came right out of the hospitality space, right? And went to Nomor. Is that right?
Andreas Olsson: More or less, yeah. I had a few years in Dubai. I was doing consultancy work for hospitality industry. I got a call from Robert who also worked for Svein. Listen, we need somebody to head up [00:25:00] operations. And I, like this, I was there and straight into a wasp summer in 2010. And it was crazy. It was such a great experience for myself and for Nomor and for the whole team.
Paul Giannamore: Did you not have a dinner table discussion with your wife and you guys were like "pest control? What is this? Are you sure you want to do this?" Victoria, did you warn him or no?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: You were the one who said, "pest control. I'm not sure," right?
Andreas Olsson: Yeah. I have some preconceptual ideas. I thought, listen, this is, you know. Saying that, I mean, I had to look, I think, you know, our group of friends were probably the most flabbergasted, like, what are you doing, going from hospitality, nice properties? I said, listen, if you've ever gone to a general manager's office in a hotel in Edinburgh where I was the general manager, it's in the basement. Next to the beer kegs. It's a smell. It's a foul smell. It's damp. You know, you're going to save the best space that you can [00:26:00] sell to your clients, obviously. And the people you work with, it's basically the same. They're great. I mean, the frontline in hospitality and in pest control - they're great craftsmen that know what they're doing. Most of the time, they love it. They're hands-on. So the difference is not so big.
I had concerns, especially my first six months as well with Nomor and getting into a company at that stage, that wasn't really up to standards.
Paul Giannamore: This was the grand turnaround.
Andreas Olsson: Yeah
Paul Giannamore: All sorts of problems
Andreas Olsson: Yeah, yeah. We had clients leaving us. I, you know, came straight into the biggest region. We had the worst hit-by-the-wasps summer. There was no structure. It was kind of terrible, to be honest. It was a war zone, but we had a goal and that was to fix it. And then to make it even better. And, again, Victoria was talking about trust, and I think that's the key word. And I think I had a trust in Svein Olav and Robert and the [00:27:00] rest of the team and it was also the other way around. We trusted each other and we trust that we were going to make it.
Patrick Baldwin: Curious, Andreas. Coming from the hospitality space into pest control, not a lot of glamour in pest control. What did that look like? Bringing that customer service mentality and even leadership into pest control industry?
Andreas Olsson: It's more similar than how we see it. I think that we try to do a lot of customer service with Nomor. The perception is that this is typically the business where you have mainly men, big guys, but you know, hard, it's manly. And then we try to get some women to be in the front line. We try to do all of this stuff. As a client, you need the empathy of the pest control technician to understand their problem. How is it like? You don't need a robot coming in there and going like, okay, only to fix the problem. I mean, it's great if you know how to get rid [00:28:00] of wasps or ants or termites, but you also need to see the customer service side and what I experienced is that a lot of the companies make a lot of commercial about their press control businesses. But also, do you answer the phone? Do you answer the phone within three rings? Do you show up at the time you tell your client you're going to show up or do you say I'm going to be there during the day and then you make the client wait the whole time, rather than giving them a time slot. You get a text message saying "thank you for having us come to your house. This is not included in your insurance or in the service. However, you can buy this from our platform or website." All of this is customer service that adds value to your company and also to the the client, themselves.
I think that's where we saw quite quickly that hadn't been done in the north of Europe. It was like kind of a basic service. Like you have a lawn service, somebody comes around, you don't have an idea of when they're going to arrive, there is no pre or post photographs of the lawn. We started all this communication. What about [00:29:00] pictures and the reports? Try to get, what does the consumer, your client, what do they value? What do they want to see? They don't want to have a 50 page report of how many issues you have. You want to have an executive summary and then if they want to read the rest, then they can read it.
So we had a lot of those transformations being done that enhance the value of the experience from our guys and girls. And I think it goes to what we try to do is diversify. We had a lot of immigrants in Sweden. We tried to get the on board, being able to speak, especially in the front desk, being able to speak Arabic, Spanish, whenever they get a call-in.
And also, I know that we translated all our information, during my time, into nine different languages. I think there's a lot still to be done that can actually add value to your business, talking about pest controllers, focusing in customer service.
Patrick Baldwin: Let's talk about competition. Anticimex's backyard, been around a long time. You came [00:30:00] in with the Nomor as an underdog. What set it apart? You talked about your really revenue driven mentality.
Andreas Olsson: Yeah, exactly. We were really revenue driven. I have to say that, Anticimex, they started out in the thirties. It's a fantastic company. They're doing so well. And I'm thinking the last few years, the transformation has been amazing. However, I think that in Europe, back at 10 years ago, there was no competition.
And we said, we need competition in order for a market to be healthy. What we liked about Nomor and our culture was being underdog of the market. And I think that's what was one of the success factors for us. At least that's what we believe. Historically, in Sweden or Scandinavia, Anticimex had a more, well, they have to correct me if I'm wrong, but we say more cost driven module where you have an insurance where you pay up front 20,000 kroners and then we take care of your contract.
And we try to be, there's [00:31:00] obviously, the schedule routes, but then as little as possible. We might have a different approach where we're more revenue driven. We wanted our technicians to go out there, do their inspection, but also do add on things. Can you enhance the service? And people say, "well, that's selling." Well, if you enhance the service and if you add value to yourself and to the client, that's service and sales at the same time. And not overselling, not doing stuff that they don't need, but being, you know, the expert that actually visits them.
So I think our strategy was always very revenue driven.
Patrick Baldwin: Makes sense. I'm curious. It was a big turnaround, right? We heard the interview, coming in short, it's going to be struggling to make the first payroll. I'm wondering when's the first time you turned to Victoria and said, I need a little help or help me with the situation?
Andreas Olsson: That was way before I...That's why I married this lovely, not only for the looks, but also very smart.
listen, I had it, you know, I [00:32:00] think that the problem is when you, as Victoria said, when you start out, you're getting to be picked being the person to lead the team, if it's a small team or not, you kind of, you want to be the perfect leader, but you have so much to learn.
I think you can learn a lot from the different modules and literature that's out there, but you also have to experience some of the issues yourself. I don't normally tend to bring the work home so much, but when I have.issues, this is my speaking partner. And we discuss, how could this be done differently? Was this a good idea? A lot of times, I hear, okay, how can you have done this differently?
You know? And I think that's a good way to, you know, you need to criticize yourself and to kind of do that "did I make the right decision?"
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Or "what did I learn from it?"
Andreas Olsson: From it, as well?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: In life, in general, to just take a pass once in a while and say, "what happened in the past week or months or a year. And what did I learn from [00:33:00] this? And what are my key takeaways?"
Patrick Baldwin: What's the first thing that you had to help him with?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: You know, a memory comes to mind
Andreas Olsson: Tie your shoes
Victoria Roos-Olsson: You remember, in Copenhagen? So we were in our late twenties. You were attending a workshop with me for an entire week.
Andreas Olsson: Exactly.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: So that was probably the first time. That was the only time we really worked in the same place.
Andreas Olsson: Management at Hilton.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Yeah.
Andreas Olsson: I think, typically, we talk about in pest control, if you do frontline, you could have people with issues. You know, people that, they'd do something that maybe turns into something negative and then try to help them out of this. And then without coming home and give ideas and help each other and I think that's the key relationship.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: He's an awesome coach. I mean, you really do it well. I mean, everyone would love him, but it's all in the questions.
Andreas Olsson: Thank you very much. I think that's what we did at Nomor was to always to, I mean, you've seen the pictures, Paul, you've been to the parties [00:34:00] that we had for, and the parties were for the employees, not to say this is how good we are. This is the manage team because, without the guys on the front line, we're not this successful. So it was always trying to pin them down and try to have them feel and see and experience what's in it for me, being part of Nomor.
Paul Giannamore: From management presentations and all the discussions we've had, even from Svein Olavâ€™s interview, I think one of the things that I remember distinctly about Nomor is that in the beginning, when you guys got together as a team, that the employees weren't even proud of the organization, like they didn't even, they weren't even excited to be there, so it was a challenge for you as a management team to really create something that the employees are proud to be part of that team. So how did you guys do that? What was it like in the early?
Andreas Olsson: I think the advantage that, and I say this for Robert and myself and the whole team, actually, we had a few of us had to work for larger corporations, and I think that's a good [00:35:00] combination having worked for larger corporations and then small companies, cause that mix is great in the sense that we have been exposed to different incentives, mostly on the management side.
So we took those incentives and, you know, showed them to the front line, say, listen, would you be interested in if we ran a competition? Like every fall and spring, where, except for getting a commission from all the sales, you can win trips and we keep, on a weekly basis, what you're doing and doing all these kinds of trips around the world. We went to see Barcelona FC play in Barcelona for extended weekend and all these great adventures.
Firstly, we did it only for a selected, like the person, one person won and they can bring their wife. And then we realized, this is great, but it's, there's no team building. Then we changed the run that to be, let's bring in at least 10 or 15 of the frontline so we can take them all somewhere, climb a mountain or go to Barcelona and see a [00:36:00] nice futbol game.
The only way we're going to do it, we're going to bring them all together. So we had like 10 to 15, I think at the end, like 30 people, me chaperoning. That was hell, but hey.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Then he needed support when he got back.
Andreas Olsson: Bringing all these guys and girls together and go off for an extended weekend to climb a mountain in Poland. That brings the team together and it's such value added to the whole organization. It's just great.
Paul Giannamore: You raise an extremely important topic in my mind. You know, when I think about incentives, you've got long-term versus short-term right? So the higher up in an organization somebody is, the more longer term you want the incentive to be. And then you have individual versus the group. At some point, if it's too individualistic, it turns into a competition. It's not team building. On the other end of the spectrum, if it's too communal, it kind of takes away individual performance. So was it trial and error trying to balance these or was it the management team, taking those incentive structures [00:37:00] and experience from other organizations and bringing them in?
How did you guys sort through that?
Andreas Olsson: That's a good question. And I think it's both, I think it's all components that you mentioned. It was trial and error. I think the first trip was somebody, one was to New York. And only one person from the company left. Everybody else was envious.
But we were like, oh, this is fantastic. And then realized, okay, everybody's envious and you know, it created this bad feeling.
And it was a bit of trial and error and then bringing in different components. I think we eventually found a mix that was really good. I think, as you describe it, it needs to be individual for bringing that kind of inside the person itself, but then not too vague and it can't be too communal as well.
So it needs to be both. We managed to get most of those components in there, which turned out really well. We liked it. I, you know, we obviously we'll ask the team, always say, listen, where can we go now? Where is a good incentive? Where should we travel? What do you like? Going out [00:38:00] fishing in Norway, doing a fishing trip? You want to climb a mountain? You want to go on a bike race? No, I think we found a good mix there. It's not easy. It's not easy. It takes a lot of work setting to get it the whole trip and the monitoring that the entire point system and everything that we'd done. So, we also had a philosophy that we're not going to spend money on marketing.
This is the marketing we're going to do that's going to be internal. And that's all the trips that we're going to offer to our employees.
Paul Giannamore: Victoria, I have a question for you. When I think about the manager of an organization, I think about a CEO, right? So what is the ultimate responsibility of a CEO? So he's setting strategy, thinking about the architecture of the business, like the organizational design, the incentive structures, like the routines, establishing culture. Clearly, as a leader, higher up within the organization, it's more of kind of a broader strategic outlook. But when you think about management and leadership [00:39:00] training, you talked about first level managers, right? So that's a very different manager than somebody who's thinking about how do I design appropriate incentive structures? In the course of your business, and when you're working with different managers, how do you think about the role of a manager as it evolves over time?
I don't know if that's a fair question. Just something that popped into my mind.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: It's a very good question. And it's a very important question because I do think you were saying like, okay, these are all the rules of the CEO and, for example, culture, extremely important. And I think many leaders sort of leave culture to chance. It's, okay, you know, every organization will have a culture, whether we like it or not, right. I do think there is a lot of benefit of thinking as leader to say, intentionally, what kind of culture do we want to have? What am I actively doing to build and create that culture? So that's part of it.
Paul Giannamore: If I'm a leader of an organization, [00:40:00] how do I even answer the question? What are my options? What do I want? Are you saying like a competitive culture versus or what are we talking about?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: How do you define culture? it's a very, and first of all, we know there's going to be a culture wherever we go, whether we like it or not. It might be there. I mean, I'm sure a lot of people can relate to starting in a new organization and discover it's a toxic culture, right? So we know what it is. And I heard someone describe culture once as, "it's what everyone is doing when no one is watching."
It's really not about the nice poster with, "These Are Our Values" and then no one is living them, but it's really, what is it that we're doing? For example, are we competitive? Are we revenue focused? How do we do leadership? Are we this way? Are we really listening or taking it to, so that would all be part of the culture. It truly is in the DNA. It's what we're doing. However, it can be changed. It can be [00:41:00] transformed. Right? Another thing that I think, and as you said, yes, we wrote the book and then I do work a lot with first-level leaders.
I do find that the CEO with the executive team very often underestimate the importance of really being leadership coaches. So very often, when I work with senior executives, if they think about leadership, it might be about how they do leadership, but in reality, I'd like for them to think about "how am I coaching all my managers so that they are great leaders?"
And sometimes we think that just because we become so senior and we should avoid sort of the basic, or we don't have to worry about that. But, really, as a CEO, you need to be excellent at delivering feedback. For example, to your direct reports. And I use the example sometimes, and it's a [00:42:00] former colleague of mine back in Sweden, used to a professional soccer player when he grew up. And now he's a consultant and he works with leadership and he has two teenage sons, or they used to be teenagers. They're a bit older now. He was the coach for their soccer team. The sons, they were a little bit like, "hey," because they were getting pretty good, and they were like, "dad, we're just doing all this basic practice and isn't it time for us to be a little bit more advanced? We're just working on these broadside kicks and things." And he was like, "Hmm." Then they had the opportunity to go to Italy, I think it was Milan, to see one of these top soccer teams of the world and to see them practice there on the big arena and the stadium, all the stars are coming in on the playing field and
Paul Giannamore: doing drills
Victoria Roos-Olsson: The boys go, "look, Dad, now you can learn a little bit of nice techniques." The first thing that they're starting. It's the basic drills. [00:43:00] And I think, going back to your point, yes, it's different, but it's not that different. Of course, there are drills where longer distance, sharper and all of that.
And I do think, when it comes to leadership, don't underestimate the power of being a good listener. I always tell leaders, if you want to have the best answers, you first need to ask the best questions. And how do you set that culture? If you have a one-on-one with your direct report and you're not asking any questions, that leader likely will not go back, necessarily, and ask any questions. So if his or her employees are direct reports. And, in turn, you'll have a culture in your organization that isn't really listening, that isn't hearing, that isn't picking up what's going on.
Patrick Baldwin: Victoria, I have a question. We have a scenario. Taking Paul's Pests for a second. If Paul and I are peers and we're technicians. Andreas is the boss. We'll still call it Paul's Pests for royalty sake, [00:44:00] and he gets promoted to service manager and all of a sudden we were best buds. We were hanging out on the weekends. Now he's my boss, okay? What does he need to watch out for or be ready for? Because now, not saying you're going to get an ego over it, and then what's the relationship like? How can Andreas help coach Paul into that role?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: That's such a brilliant question and very, very important because this happens all the time, right? And it puts all three of us in a difficult situation. So first of all, the support from Andreas is very important to set you up for success and to do. The most common mistake for the "Pauls" in that situation is that, "oh my goodness, I got this promotion, so now I better prove that I'm worthy of it," which means I need to act like this manager and I need to know all the answers because now I'm the boss, right? So you're [00:45:00] sort of expecting that I should know. And you're expecting, but in reality, you get into that situation, you need to be even better at listening and asking questions, not feeling that you have to have all the answers. But we know as soon as we get a little bit insecure in life, in general, we get that urge that we need to prove that we are good for somewhere.
And that's where the leader comes in at that point where I'm talking about the leader, also being the leadership coach, that's the moment where it's not, "hey, yes, good luck. And yes, go and have a meeting," but like "all right. Hey, how did your meeting with Patrick go today? What questions did you ask? Tell me, what did you find out? All right, good." That's a critical point where I think many leaders are sort of just dumped in there. They're led in there. Maybe even this leader promoted you because he was so busy with that or stuff that he just needed to put someone in the place. They didn't really have time to give you [00:46:00] that. And that's where we have that 12 year gap where it's like, "okay, good luck. Try it out. If you still like it."
Paul Giannamore: If I were promoted to a service manager and he and I are buds. So now, how would Andreas coach me to deal with my former peers now? So what's like, "yay. I'm promoted. I'm the boss, man." So what happens the next day when I go in? How do I communicate with Patrick, my friend, who were drinking on the weekend? Now, all of a sudden I'm checking Patrick's work.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: That's the point. Now is that what you're going to do? Is that the aim and purpose of your situation? I would guess, if I were Andreas, I would sit down with you and say, "let's set this up. How are you going to do this? All right, good. You're going to start with a one-on-one with your direct reports, right? Which is the scariest thing, because you're like, "oh my god, I don't want to talk to him. And I don't even know what to say." Right? Well, the good news is you don't really need to do so much of the talking. You need to sit down and say like, "all right, so this happened. I'm now the supervisor. [00:47:00] In the next month or so, what are you expecting from me? What can I do? What's one thing that you think is working really well right now that we should just definitely keep? And what's something that you're like this been frustrating me for some while. Can we stop doing that? Or can I start..." I would coach you to really listen, but also to prepare a little bit and set up those formal interactions.
Because usually those are the ones that could be a little bit scary and we tend to then avoid them, but really go in, not with the answers, but with the good questions and then start to see, all right. I would also encourage you to find some quick short-term wins. Like what's something little because you probably know, because you've also been in, that's been frustrating
Paul Giannamore: My wife needs this advice. She needs to listen more and yell less. For sure.
Andreas Olsson: Notice how quiet I am right now.
Paul Giannamore: This, no, this makes perfect sense. Actually. You really [00:48:00] laid this out well. This is very clear.
Patrick Baldwin: In this similar scenario, starting to make you all a guinea pigs for this. Victoria, you're right about the one-on-ones, which is a different concept. Y'all talked earlier about the empathy factor. It is more of an emotional connection. It's not like, Hey, you're not showing up at 8. You're not showing up on time at nine, right.
That relationship is a lot more coaching and emotions. This is not an emotional, and you almost did it like, Hey, you're the manager now. This is a rough, tough, get-dirty industry. What do one-on-ones look like in the pest control and service industry, number one? Number two, time is money. So if he keeps me in the field servicing, like we're all going to be punished by pulling me out of the field 30 minutes a week or biweekly.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: So I think that's a very relevant question and a question I get often, oh, that's probably great, right, that we should have it, but that's [00:49:00] going to cost us way too much. That's not going to happen. So usually what we start to work on is why did we have, one-on-ones? What's the purpose?
Very often many leaders think of, oh, it's for me, the leader to sort of check in how's everything going, and I've had, I've been guilty of having, many of those one-on-ones in my career as well, which is like, "Hey, what did you do last week? What's happening now? How can I? Okay, perfect. Yes. Great." Right? They may have been really friendly and nice, but what we really want everyone to rethink about is, okay, this is my chance in this sort of busy everyday, just what you were saying - everyone's out on the field, I don't see what's going on - to really help and understand my team and help him or her to raise the engagement.
Right? So to be engaged for what is it that we do, because going back to your point that the service that we're providing, how we go out and meet the client, really also depends on how engaged do we feel for the organization. When I work with leaders, I usually start out by creating [00:50:00] that business case. What's your business going to look like if you have engaged team members versus non engaged, literally bottom line, what difference? And I think it's important to start out there. And then say, all right, the purpose, really, why we do one-on-ones is it's that moment to help raise that engagement. And then if you know that as a leader, you go in and, oh, maybe I should do my one-on-one differently. It's then thinking of it might not feel so productive and it might feel like I'm stealing 30 hours that could have been billable hours out on the field to really just listening and asking these questions. I go back to that engagement business case we just created and say, all right, but that's what you were doing.
I think that is the mindset of the leader to really see, all right, I'm really doing this for the [00:51:00] individual, but also for our organization. It makes business sense.
Patrick Baldwin: On that, Andreas, at Nomor, that level of engagement. That's one of the lines that stuck out is that leaders can't create the level of engagement of their employees, but they can grade the environment. So taking that to COO, what did that look like? How can you influence the environment?
Andreas Olsson: You can do it a fair amount for sure. I think we have, Sweden especially in itself, because we have, by law, that you need do one-on-ones because we have a collective union in Sweden.
All different industries have a collective union. And one of the really good stuff that's comes out of that is that you need to have a one-on-one annually with all the employees.
It doesn't matter who you are. We did that and stretched it even further. So we wanted to, obviously, have everybody engaged. I think we're going back to the looking at the competencies of the managers and the branch [00:52:00] managers. We also talked about how do we communicate? How do we get everything out? Cause that was one of the biggest hurdles for me as a COO is that, in a hotel, you were in a hotel or you have a meeting that takes 15 minutes, you get the word across and then you, that was it. Here, you have 26 different offices, eight different regions. We have to get that cascaded all the way out and vice versa, all the information.
And so we had a very structured approach when it came to meetings and virtual or by phone, but very structured and not taking too much time. But we were, we did a lot of one-on-ones with a lot of team activities, but also, one-on-ones are the crucial factors. And one of the one-on-ones, what I liked is to celebrate success, to tell somebody one day they have done a good job and not in the corridor or in the car, "oh, that was such great. Perfect." Sit them down. The more [00:53:00] formal the environment is, that kind of a higher frequency, it's going to be more amplified if it's in a structured environment. So if you sit down and you tell them, Franklin, this is, what I see you do there and this is how, the way you did it. It kind of, almost like a paraphrasing each movement that they did and tell them, this is what I want to have you do all the time and let them know because I think that today we all have SOPs and this is your contract.
We expect you to see our clients go out, be friendly and do the pest control and then try it to the next client. But then how do you know, as any employee in your organization, how do you know when you had a really good day and that you added value to the company? You need to understand this because otherwise you will have employees just running around like crazy, thinking that there are so busy, they're doing great, but they're not.
Patrick Baldwin: Yeah.
Andreas Olsson: I think that's the lesson that we learned. You have to [00:54:00] be very specific and, you know, what's a good day for you? What is your assignment when can we say you did a really good day and if they, if you understand that, that's great.
And then you need to celebrate it, of course.
Patrick Baldwin: that's great. Thank you. Victoria, another question. And this one stuck out as well. My partner, Bobby, I remember having this meeting nine, eight or nine years ago. I don't remember. We brought in one of the presidents of one of the neighborly brands, so the old Dwyer Group. It's a franchise organization, large franchise, I'm sure you all are aware. Bring him in and he's helping teach us like running this big corporation, franchises. Hey, you should, if you want to deliver bad news, the secret is doing this like Oreo sandwiches. What do you call it? Good news. Bad news. Good news. I functioned in that way for a long time. And, in here, I picked up, that's probably doing a disservice, isn't it?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: It's one of these old classics on how to deliver feedback, [00:55:00] like the sandwich or the hamburger method and lots of different names. And the challenge with that is it's so commonly used that people are like, oh, you're telling me something good now. So I'm just not really listening because I'm waiting for the bad news.
To your point, to really make sure that you have moments where you're just really focusing on what you saw that worked really well and the impact that had, don't save it and just sit down and, okay, now I'm going to have that structured. I feel very passionate for the art of giving feedback because there are so many people that it makes us feel So uncomfortable to give it, especially when it's bad news.
And again, to your point, it goes up to senior executives who were like, "oh, I don't really like doing that," right? And it's a skill that we can learn and think about our intention. Why am I doing this? It's really to help this person.
Paul Giannamore: How can we learn those things? How can we all get better at giving direct feedback?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: I can coach you.[00:56:00]
Paul Giannamore: Yeah?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Yeah.
Paul Giannamore: Or I just watch my wife as she gives me bad
Victoria Roos-Olsson: But I do think that it's just like going back to the finance skills, right? It's a skill. And I don't think we should shy away from being prepared. Very often, if I'm going to have a conversation, a feedback conversation, with one of my direct reports and I know that there will be certain, that this is going to be hard, I'm really well-prepared. And when I say well-prepared, I know I've asked myself, why am I giving them this feedback? I always say, ask yourself, what's your intention? Share your intention with your employee. But before I go in, in the conversation, what I've done is really gathered a collection of behaviors.
So what is it that I've seen that wasn't working well and this behavior because that's it. It's not like you're always late or you're not very service-minded or [00:57:00] just talking over everyone in the meetings all the time or whatever it is that might be not working. Look at the specific, Hey, now in the past weekly meetings, I've noticed that when so-and-so starts talking, you have actually interrupted three times in a row or when you go out and visited the client and I saw we got this. Really be very specific. And I usually say if you can't write it down beforehand for yourself, you're not specific enough because then it's sort of vague. Then think about what's the impact of that behavior? If this is going to continue to happen, what's the consequences? Maybe people will not really listen to you in the meetings any longer or we might get bad scores or whatever it is. Again, the impact is, it's where you sell the behavioral change. Because, at the end of the day, you give feedback because you've noticed [00:58:00] something or it's something that you want to amplify and you want to see more of or it's something like this is not going to help this person. It's not going to help, but have you ever tried to change a behavior?
Paul Giannamore: I try to change it every day, but it doesn't work.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Right? It's not super easy. So I think you want to identify the behavior, but you also want to identify what's the impact of that? And that's where you sell the behavioral change. Those are the steps. Have them written down before you go into the conversation. The part with leaders is before you sort of "here I am, I've prepared. And I'm going to tell you all of this," start out by asking, "Hey, I'd like to talk about the meeting yesterday. Patrick, how did you think it was?"
And starting out with that point and then, where do you think that's a good idea to start out asking, instead of seeing, sorry, now the coach wake up in me, but what do you think?
Paul Giannamore: Yeah,
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Why is it a good idea [00:59:00] for us to start asking rather than just coming in
Paul Giannamore: Because maybe we would seem like we're condemning the person as opposed to starting the dialogue. Making it comfortable that
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Yeah. So we're creating trust. We're creating a dialogue. What else?
Patrick Baldwin: A feedback loop to make sure that they understood and we verbalized it. You can clearly re-communicate.
Paul Giannamore: Are you trying to see if we, ourselves, recognize what we're doing is wrong?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Yeah. So this is really, so all of the things that you said, they're absolutely right and correct, but as a bonus, it gives you, so here you are, you're a bit uncomfortable about giving this feedback and you're like, okay, I'm going to give it. Now is this a blind spot for the person? Will the person, "oh yeah. I think the meeting went great" or "oh yeah, I'm great at service. It's my whoa-oh." Or "you know what? I did notice I kept interrupting him" or "no, actually, I just had this bad news happening before" or, so here you are with your list, but maybe the person now just [01:00:00] told you himself or herself, "yeah, these are the things" and see what a different conversation that will be.
And versus if they have a complete blind spot, you'll be "okay, so now we need to be even more detailed in my examples." And then the final part, when we tie it all together, or even if you're getting great at that and you're following these steps, it's agree and action because if it's something that needs to be changed very often, we all assume that you go out and do it, but just stop there for a moment. So next meeting, what are we going to do differently? Or when you go out and see that client tomorrow, tell me and, again, ask the questions. So even when we are giving feedback, ideally, we should do the least talking. It's all in the questions.
Patrick Baldwin: We've spoke about change and probably smaller levels. One-to-one. Direct report. Taking change. We'll see how you do here. [01:01:00] There's a test here. Chapter five is about change. Chapter five, right? And thinking about Nomor and the private equity coming in about five years into that 10 year stretch or so, or nine year stretch, that definitely would have shocked frontline employees like, oh, something's changing. Private equity. What's going on? We're getting into Norway. And, a couple of years later, all of that. Maybe not knowing that the final end in sight, and you're just helping guide them there, what does change look like communicating that down so you don't have a bunch of frontline people that are just working in fear every day?
Andreas Olsson: I think you're spot on. It's essential. We were very clear every time something happened, but you never start something before it's signed and sealed. We always had a very clear way of getting those new news or messages out in the organization where we call everybody. We [01:02:00] started with the management team and then the branch managers and all the front lines.
And I think we did it in such a way, that the way we conveyed a message was more like, the more we build, the more secure the environment and our workplace is going to be. I think we conveyed in such a way, and this is also the help of Svein Olav, and the way he was so relaxed about it.
It actually turned into more taking away the anxiety and for our guys and girls to be more proud of the company. We are now the fourth largest company in Europe when it comes to pest control. I think that's a skill itself, but I think we always had a very clear plan, always, how to communicate this kind of news. I think that's essential for any organization.
Patrick Baldwin: What kind of things where you watching for from the front line to make sure no one pushed back against that chain?
Andreas Olsson: Branch needed to have at least one weekly meeting with all the guys and girls for that specific branch [01:03:00] to make sure that we've got all the feedback. We actually had a plan where you need to feed back the minutes from that meeting centrally to make sure that it actually happened.
Because again, you're not in the hotel, you got 26 offices. You want to make sure it happens everywhere and that you follow the processes, procedures, our culture. Cause this is for us, the weekly meetings, and hands the culture of our company. Because it was an open workplace, everybody could ask questions and it was also a forum for getting information out and getting information from the technician saying, listen, this is a procedure that I don't like, or I've got some issues with this. So, it was a forum. And I think that's where we told everybody, this is what you need to convey. This is the message. And if you've got questions that you, as a manager of that branch can't answer, then feed them back to us and we will help you. Also what I think we did very well, I, together with Svein Olav and Jacob, we visited all the branches.
You [01:04:00] go out there and you need to be visible. If you've got 26 offices, you need to be visible. I think today you can do it also with video messages, but I think it's important for any organization that you're visual and out there, speaking to your guys and girls in all the different branches. It's a lot of work. I mean, a lot of traveling. Sweden is a vast country, but we did it.
Paul Giannamore: Now in this whole COVID world, we're virtual on a lot of things. I used to make 60 transatlantic flights per year and I hated it. And so the one, a lot of people suffering COVID, the one silver lining for me is that I wasn't on a plane all the time and I loved it. I'm almost not particularly excited about going back to the old style of life.
Victoria, what are you seeing as you talk to your colleagues, globally? I mean, clearly we're more in a virtual world now. Do you feel like this is changing the way that we'll do business, even after things open up?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Most certainly. We've all been part of the [01:05:00] world's largest remote work experiment in a sense. So, if you just look at America and before COVID, about 5% of the workforce work from home. During COVID, 60% of the workforce who have worked from home. And now the challenge is that many people, just like you, it's the same because we're like, this is pretty good, right? And I was talking to our friend and then neighbors, I like having breakfast at home in the morning. It's much nicer than I thought. I haven't done that in the past 20 years because I'm traveling all the time. Right now we're sort of looking into the new way of working the hybrid workforce and the challenges and I get asked this a lot. How do we make that happen because we don't have that much research on that? We can't really look at that. But what we do know is that people don't want to go back to the way it was before. But also they don't necessarily want to do, you know, so now it's a trick, I think. Personally, [01:06:00] I think we're in a very exciting time period because now it's how do we make the best out of those two worlds? What have we learned from this year of working remotely, doing things differently? What is it that we've missed from the past? How do we merge that together and find, so we're finding ourselves in a new form of change again.
Paul Giannamore: This morning, I had a due diligence meeting and it was one of the first ones we've done in person. And the acquirer has hired a lot of people over the last 18 months. I've been working with these people for the last year. Virtually, I met them, it was a weird experience because, on the one hand you feel like you really know them, but then you've never met them in person, so it was weird this morning, actually, to finally meet some of these people in person. I think it has demonstrated that we could definitely do a lot more virtually. On the flip side, I do think that in-person is important.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: I had a similar experience with someone I worked with for a year. [01:07:00] And finally we were meeting in person and it was interesting because the meeting itself - the formal part of the meeting - could just as well have been done virtually, but then we went for coffee because, between the meeting schedule, we have 20 minutes of free time, let's go and grab a coffee. During that conversation, we really sold some great stuff.
Andreas Olsson: Yeah.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Like that impromptu discussion. And I think that's what we are, we need to find that balance.
Paul Giannamore: You raise a good point because you're not going to have the same sort of banter online as you would. If we're having a cup of coffee right now, and we're saying, Hey, look at this guy and this and blah, you learn things about people that you would not do virtually because it's more formal.
Andreas Olsson: Yeah. I was thinking about COVID, it also leads to innovations. Typical banning in Europe with the pesticides - a lot of pesticides were banned and suddenly have to be innovative. What can we do against bedbugs? Oh, heat [01:08:00] treatments. And I experienced this firsthand in Sweden. When we were moving, we sold our house and were moving here permanently to the states. And I was waiting for these guys to come and estimate how much the whole house is going to be to move to the states. That's going to come around because it's COVID. They sent me a link and I go around with my phone and show each room, exactly what we're going to bring.
And, five hours later, I got an offer from them. This is what we can learn from different industries. Think about the pest control industry. I mean, there must be so many redundant drives the first time out. "I think I got bitten. Can you come and have somebody, a technician, come out?" You'd drive for a few miles. You wasted two hours from a pest control technician going out there looking for something that they can't find, rather than make inspections virtually. I mean, not for everything, but you could probably take away some redundant factors. Now in Sweden, you want to make an appointment with a doctor, you go [01:09:00] online. Some kind of innovation is in there when we can't follow our normal procedures. I think that's good. I want to get this bloody pandemic away from here as soon as possible, but it can also bring some good, actually.
Paul Giannamore: A couple more questions for the two of you popping in my mind. Victoria, in addition to picking up this book, if I'm a manager and I really want to - I might not have any formal training in management, whatsoever. I'm an entrepreneur. Next thing I know, I've got 50 team members that I'm responsible for. I think there's so many options out there to educate yourself that people don't even know where to start. If I really am serious about learning, myself, what are some things I can do? I can pick up some books and I could read, but what are training programs or what would you suggest? Where can I start?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: I do think picking up a book might be a great idea or it might not because sometimes people that are so busy, we don't feel like we have the time to just sit down. I would say, get in touch with FranklinCovey because there are so many different ways [01:10:00] of getting that support from a professional. But what I would really encourage everyone is keep learning. I feel very passionate for that. Sometimes we're like, okay, I know my stuff, but things, going back to the idea of change, keeps changing. So what was my stuff five years ago? It's not necessarily the stuff today. So, wherever you are, just challenge yourself, learn new things, seek to try out new things, test new things. Be curious. Go out and ask questions. I think that's key. Listen to other people. I love the idea of what you are creating. Patrick told me a little bit about it before. Bring people together. Let them ask each other questions. What can we learn? Maybe it's not even the same industry, but how are you doing?
Like you're saying, look at that moving industry. So I think, be curious, ask questions, do invest in reading. I mean, there are some really good books. One of my favorite books from this year is a Adam Grant, "Think Again," which talks about learning, but it also talks [01:11:00] about unlearning.
So facts that have been, to one of our biggest challenges is to unlearn, but then, just like you would in another skill, take time to master it. If you want to become a better manager, spend some time preparing and doing it. And, by all means, get a coach or get someone to come into your organization and help you give your team a few guidelines. We usually say when we come in, it's not "this is how to do it," but "listen, here, you have a framework that you can use to get the most out of your business and your organization."
Paul Giannamore: Talk to me a little bit about FranklinCovey. If I came to the organization, I said, "okay, I've got a disaster on my hands." What happens? What's the next step? How does it all work?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: You do speak with the client partner who will really listen and try to understand what is actually happening in your organization because we have so many different programs and it really is like, what is happening? What is it that you really need help with?
Very often, [01:12:00] someone can come, "oh, my leaders need to do this or we need this," but we'll ask all these questions to see. Maybe it's something that we can't just see. Maybe it's more the symptom that we see, but we need to go a little bit deeper. So we'll help you with that. That's what we do. We'll bring in a consultant depending on where you are and what kind of organization. So, as I said, we have many, many consultants, so it would be maybe someone like myself that would then come in and ask even more questions and start sort of a partnership.
And sometimes some organizations will say, "Okay. We'll want to have this course, but more often, what we see is, just as I said, we've also transformed. It's not the way it used to be 10 years. You bought a course and that's it. But you sort of get a membership, which I liken it to a membership of a gym, right? It's not that you just need to do spinning. Actually, we need to do a little bit of yoga. We need to do some strength and [01:13:00] how do we make that? So we can tailor-make exactly what it is that your organization needs and the good thing is it's actually not that costly anymore. Just like it's not that costly to buy music. You know, today, it's the same with training. There are so many good tools. You can do some live in person. You can do some live, but online. We do a lot of that, obviously, in the past year, but you can also use some of the tools and just do it yourself and use it for your organization.
Paul Giannamore: What size organizations do you folks work with?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: All kinds. That's amazing. I was mentioning next week, I'm getting up at 3:00 AM in the morning to do work for Asia, Europe. It's a large, international client and I work with all of them, globally, but we also work with small organizations with maybe 20 employees that really want to set their culture. So from very small to very large.
Yes. It is cool.
Paul Giannamore: That is interesting.[01:14:00]
Patrick Baldwin: A couple of questions about management, sitting like a fly on the wall. And we know we've had a fly around here for a second.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Because we are in pest control.
Patrick Baldwin: If you're brought into a meeting and you're watching Paul and Andreas and me sit in a room and you're sitting next to the CEO and he's like, "I need you to identify the next leader in my organization and my next service manager or someone to take my place as CEO." What are you looking for? What's the X factor?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Well, first of all, I probably wouldn't pick it up from just attending a meeting. People can say very smart things in meetings and look very well behaved. I used to tell leaders, in Dubai, for example, where I was in charge of the leadership development, we would have 40 different restaurants. And I always told the restaurant managers, the way I check out your leadership style is to go to your restaurant on your day off. And I want to see how does your restaurant run when you're not there, [01:15:00] right? What procedures do you set in place? How did you build trust? So I think that's one thing I would really look for and to where we started out this conversation, with your friend, he had a great idea, that CEO checking it, like how's my frontline people actually doing. So I would investigate a little bit around that without doing it exactly that way. I think that's important and then, again, asking a lot of questions very often. If we start to really ask and talk about what is it that excites you? What is it that really, what is it that we need? What is it that this organization needs at this point? Is it someone to maintain? Is it someone to grow and take us to the next level? It will require a slightly different leadership skill.
Patrick Baldwin: Well, thank you. Question about productivity, which I think was like time and energy management. I heard you mention yoga a second again. A rewarding day [01:16:00] is looking back on the day and accomplishing. I think the older I get, the more I realize that the most precious asset is time. And I've put more value on that over the years. And I'm always thinking about productivity tools or scheduling a day or an ongoing, never-ending to-do list helped me. Where do I start?
Victoria Roos-Olsson: First of all, I think managing our time and energy is something we've looked at like, okay, you individual country, you arrange that for you. Fix that for yourself. I do think that is going to be one of the most important leadership competencies of the future because time and our energy management is going to be our most important resources.
They say that, what is it, 75% of the jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence within the next 15 years, the way as we see them today. So what is it that we need? We need our brain. We need our emotional [01:17:00] ability, our way to read clients and, do that well, you need to be well rested, focused and use your time well.
So that's why we need to do it. And the reason I say it first is because very many leaders, we tend to say our, it's kind of like a reward. I do it when I've done all my other stuff. Maybe then I'll have a little bit of time for myself. I'd like to turn it around and say, how are you investing in your time and energy management so that you can make smarter decisions. So you can be a better leader and more strategic.
First of all, do your weekly planning. So many leaders tell me, "oh yeah, I do weekly" - I ask. And then I say, "what day of the week do you do your weekly planning? Oh, okay. Well, that's good. That's sort of a weekly check-in." I'd recommend every person - leader or not - just sit down once a week and look at the next week and say, "Hey, what's my most important goals next week? What is it that I want to achieve?" [01:18:00] Look at your roles. So, we have "dad," we have "partner," we have "a business leader." We have "people leader," not necessarily the same thing. I say, what is it that I want to accomplish next week in these different roles? Very often, when I look at an executive person's agenda, it will only be their meetings in there.
And it will look fairly okay, but it's just meetings Really, I want you to put in your work time, right? What are you actually going to do? When are you going to plan that super important meeting? That needs to go in there. Your plan should reflect what it actually looks like. In that, make sure that you also plan for moments of small breaks.
And that is one of the advantages also, of actually working from home now. And I say, have a little bit of a walk before you go into that important meeting where you need to be fully, not after as a sort of a relief, but before, to get it sorted. So I think [01:19:00] that's really important and see, how do you use your time?
Sometimes I asked leaders to draw, how does my energy look like throughout the day? What's my typical dips and what am I doing to make a difference? We know that there are certain energy drivers. Yes, I mentioned yoga. I'm a yoga instructor. I'm also a running coach. Those are things that we want you to do to be stronger, to be better. It's not a reward. It's something that actually is an investment, I'd say. So make sure you get those things, that you eat right, that you move. Have a standing desk. If you sit, every time you sit down for four hours without moving, we're not getting to four hours yet, but we shorten our life with 11 minutes.
You don't want to do that, right? And, even as a leader, get walk-in talks in there. And do these things that take you out from just sitting there in front of your computer.
Patrick Baldwin: That's really helpful. Thank you. What I really appreciate about this book. [01:20:00] It was different for me because most books it's a lot of theory and it doesn't really give action steps. And this was all about application. During the chapter at the end of the chapter, at the end of the book, it's like, what are you going to do now? What are you going to do next? Start now. It didn't just say, take a break before you continue in the next chapter. There's places to fill in. It's not quite a workbook. I don't want to call it that, but I mean, I can see where it can really make a big change. And I hope for the service industry that they take this seriously. It happens all the time. "Hey, congrats. You're the new boss."
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Yeah.
Patrick Baldwin: "Good luck. Call me if you need anything."
Victoria Roos-Olsson: We have so many clients from the service industry. Because we also have a workshop around, based on the book that we've created. So they really appreciate it.
Patrick Baldwin: I recommend it, Andreas. You should read it.
Andreas Olsson: Yeah, [01:21:00] it's a great book.
Patrick Baldwin: You knew I was going to put you on the spot.
Andreas Olsson: I knew it.
Paul Giannamore: We really appreciate it. I mean, this is a wonderful conversation. I could talk to her for hours. You've got so much stuff to say, so thank you both for coming and welcome to America. I know life is tough as an immigrant. You guys will struggle, but we appreciate you coming.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Very happy to be both here and in America.
Andreas Olsson: Absolutely.
Victoria Roos-Olsson: Thank you for having us.
Paul Giannamore: Did you feel like I spoke more in that interview than I typically do?
Patrick Baldwin: I think you did. You asked a lot of questions. Maybe because you're usually asking me [01:22:00] questions and there's not a lot to get out of me. Victoria and Andreas, they have a lot to say. It's the practical, right? There's the theoretical. And she speaks on it and she coaches on it. There's also the application.
This was the best of both worlds. I mean, this interview and seeing how it lives out in the hospitality industry, but also in the service industry.
Paul Giannamore: What I liked about this interview, I like the other interviews as well, but, some of these interviews with Brian Alexson and Emily and Tim and Brett Ponton, for example, these are profiles of chief executives and their businesses, right? And there's really only so much detail. I think the most substitive CEO interview I've had thus far was Jarl. I had two hours of peak Jarl, getting down to brass tacks. With the others, it was really more of an overview of their management philosophy in the business. What I liked about Andreas and Victoria's interview is, like you said, there [01:23:00] were some pragmatic takeaways from these interviews and I enjoyed it much more than I thought that I would.
So Andres and Victoria, thank you so much for joining us on the Buzz. So what were some big takeaways for you? I think the first one was that Andreas is a freeloader.
Patrick Baldwin: That was my first one. That was my notes from you. You said it.
Paul Giannamore: I identified that right off the bat. What else?
Patrick Baldwin: The frontline leader, I feel for them. Hey, you're a really good technician or a really good salesperson. And now we're expecting you to manage your former peers and not a lot of training and a lot of it based out of necessity. Hey, we're so busy. I need you to go take this, handle these people, and I really still don't have any time to effectively manage you to manage others. It's managing chaos if it's not well thought out, well planned. Hopefully, listening to this will help people slow down to go faster.[01:24:00]
Paul Giannamore: I agree with you. To your point right now is, a lot of the interviews that we have, they're folks talking about things like strategy and architecture and incentive structures and people and so on and so forth and, to a certain degree, leadership, but we really haven't had any sort of in-depth interview with somebody on the bare bones basics of managing others.
And so that's where I think this one really filled in a gap. And if you want to bone up on your management skills, I think reaching out to FranklinCovey or at least picking up "Everyone Deserves A Great Manager," might be a really good way to start.
Patrick Baldwin: I want to hear from our listeners. If you are successfully pulling off one-to-ones, knowing that you were pulling production or sales time away. Knowing that you're going to get a long-term return on that. What they did with the turnaround at Nomor, they walked into a culture that the employees were disenfranchised with the business and having to [01:25:00] do a full 180 on the financials and on the culture, the operation's nine yards. This is the one thing that struck me. He said they didn't spend money on marketing. They spent it on employee incentives. That's how they grew the business was getting employees turned around and motivated in the right direction.
Paul Giannamore: Yeah, I guess you can juxtapose that to what Brett Ponton said a few weeks ago, where, with Terminix, he's walking into a business with a balance sheet, right? It doesn't have a P&L or a balance sheet turnaround. It is an operational to people-related turnaround. And if you'll think back to, I want to say it was about episode 25, we heard Svein Olav, who was the CEO of Nomor, who worked very closely with Andreas over the years, twenty four? Twenty five? Twenty six? Let's call it that, whatever it is, Patrick. It's in the mid twenties.
Patrick Baldwin: I thought it was a test. Like, it's 23.
Paul Giannamore: No, you hear Svein Olav. They had the issue of not only a financial turnaround, but also in every aspect of [01:26:00] operations.
And so you can kind of hear the other side or a little additional context from Andreas talking about the whole Nomor situation. That's enlightening.
Patrick Baldwin: And, behind the scenes, here's Andreas's wife scratching her head. What are you walking into? Do you understand? That looks like a nightmare that they walked into from her point of view, but definitely more than capable to turn that around. I mean, of course, right? Now, in hindsight,
Paul Giannamore: Apparently, Andreas, it appears that he didn't tap into as much consulting from her as I would have thought he would've or at least,
Patrick Baldwin: Why did you say that?
Paul Giannamore: At some point in the interview, maybe it was cut out of the interview that we published. I don't know. Cause I haven't listened to this now for months, but I asked them how often he was getting advice from her.
Patrick Baldwin: Yeah.
Paul Giannamore: Didn't he say not that much or maybe
Patrick Baldwin: I think he dodged that question, too. Smart man. At one point he said, he's staying quiet, [01:27:00] so, oh man. Well, this was great. I'd love to have them back. Or at least Victoria.
Paul Giannamore: At least Victoria. Absolutely.
I feel like, Andreas is great. I got to really know him, leading up to Atlanta Sessions and just a great guy and still sticking around like he loves the industry. So.
Yeah. Let's talk a little bit about that. So they're in the states now. He was the COO of Nomor for a long time. I really, really enjoyed working with Andreas - a lot of energy, sharp manager and really good with people actually. And so, he's in the states, Victoria's with FranklinCovey. One of the things that Andreas is doing now is bringing European technology companies in the pest control industry in the United States and vice versa. He does a lot of things internationally. So if there's anyone out there that wants to track Andreas down, just reach out to Patrick. He'll do the pre-screen and make sure you're not an idiot and send you on to Andreas.
Patrick Baldwin: It's a low bar, Paul.
Paul Giannamore: Yeah.[01:28:00]
Patrick Baldwin: Well, awesome. Hey, next week we have Brian Alexson, the president of Anticimex North America. He's been there since May, June, I mean, this is fresh out of the promotions, straight into the Boardroom.
Paul Giannamore: That's right. He was on for a few weeks and then we had them in the Boardroom. So we have a new president of Anticimex North America. Looking forward to publishing that next week.
Patrick Baldwin: All right. Well, until we meet again, Paul, you have great week.
Paul Giannamore: You too, Patrick.
Patrick Baldwin: [01:29:00] [01:30:00] [01:31:00] This episode has been co-produced, edited, and mixed by Dylan Seals of Verbell.[01:32:00]