The Making of an Outdoor Power Equipment Nerd


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Wooden owlOne big part of the outdoor power equipment industry is tradeshows. Tradeshows allow dealers and end-customers to meet with representatives from different brands to see and try the latest products. I have taken part in three tradeshows so far, one in India and two in the US and it is always a great experience. The best part is that you get to meet with so many different people in a short period of time plus that it is interesting to see how different companies try attract customers to their booths.
This year at the Green Industry & Equipment Expo in Louisville, Kentucky Husqvarna had a chainsaw carver who did carvings in Husqvarna’s outdoor booth. It was quite interesting to see the process because when the carver started it was literally just a piece of log that was standing up right. But then he started to remove wood with his Husqvarna chainsaw and once he was finished with the cutting he also painted the carving so that he could add more details to the piece. Another company had brought a WW2 tank to their area, so it is not always that the main attraction is directly linked to the company but it can be exciting nonetheless.

The best part of the GIE tradeshow is that more or less all brands are represented and after working with Husqvarna for one and a half year I have become somewhat of an outdoor power equipment nerd. When I started I had a vague idea of what type of products are used but it was never a big interest of mine. But today, I cannot walk past a green space crew without noting what brands and equipment they are using as well as how they are using the products. When I was on vacation earlier this year on a very nice island in Malaysia I heard the familiar sound of a 2-stroke engine so of course I had to walk away from my spot on the beach to investigate, something that I would never had done two years ago!

Lunch break at GIE tradeshow

Lunch break at GIE tradeshow

Further, depending on the main focus of the tradeshow and where it is conducted one will get very different experiences. For example, the one that I visited in India focused on both outdoor power equipment for forestry and green space, but there were also many companies that were targeting farmers in India. Since farming is mostly done in a small scale in India I got to see a lot of equipment that reflected on that and there were a lot of smaller wheeled products and handheld equipment instead of the large tractors that you would find in Europe.

Finally, since my last blog post I have returned home to Sweden after finishing my assignment abroad in the US. So now I will get to work with R&D and Product Quality in Sweden as my last assignment. It really is amazing how much I have been able to do since joining Husqvarna, I have worked with different departments in different countries and it feels like I have learned and experienced something new every day. So if you want to continue to learn new things every day I highly recommend you to apply to Husqvarna’s trainee program!

Alexander Fornell
Global Trainee
Product Management & Development

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Why did I choose the Husqvarna Group Global Trainee Program?


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IMG_2752It’s been almost 1.5 years since I became a Global Trainee at Husqvarna Group and I have been living in fruitful life ever since. There are many job opportunities out there and Husqvarna Group is definitely not the only company that offers a management trainee program, so why did I choose Husqvarna Global Trainee Program?

First of all, the learning path of each trainee is different and flexible. Unlike many well-known trainee programs that have a well-development training framework, the Husqvarna Group Trainee Program is rather new – only 2.5 years old! – and managers are opened to adapting the program to suit each individual trainee. I had many discussions with HR and my managers about the job descriptions of the assignments and my development plan throughout the program. For example, even though I am a Manufacturing Trainee, I will still get to work in marketing in an upcoming assignment. The flexibility in the program will open your eyes and offer you more opportunities to explore your future career path.

Secondly, this program is international, meaning you can gain exposure and job experience in a global perspective. Husqvarna Group is a very diverse organization. It is not unusual to have more than five nationalities working in one project team. You will have the chance to attend training overseas and interact with foreign trainees. As a Global Trainee, I am given a lot of opportunities to work with colleagues or consultants overseas. One of my favorite project experiences was acting as Supplier Quality Engineer to make sure components were fit for mass production of a new product. I had to work closely with the R&D team from Japan to communicate requirements to suppliers. There were a lot of video conferences and emails exchanged. The best moment was towards the end of the project, on the night of Christmas Eve last year, a Japanese engineer and I finally finalized a report and greeted each other Merry Christmas! A lot of lessons learnt in a multi-national project experience, it’s all worth it!

The other important part of this program is the international working experience, which put trainees to work on an overseas assignment for 6-months. I am currently working in Nashville, USA. Moving from the big city of Shanghai to the small town of Nashville, every day is like an adventure for me, both at work and in daily life. Working in a foreign country is so different from working on a global project. You have to immerse to a new and unfamiliar environment and adapt quickly. It’s really challenging, but you will be supported by colleagues. This kind of opportunity is rather unusual in other management trainee programs, which makes the Husqvarna Group’s program very special.

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Last but not least, you can learn a lot from your fellow trainees in the program. I am really glad to be surrounded by a group of young, ambitious and knowledgeable international talents in the program. We interact during each training module overseas, and sometimes we work on the same project during our international assignments. I really enjoyed the moment during our last training module when trainees from Ukraine, Sweden, the U.S. and China, discussed the topic of Generation Y at the workplace. There are many differences in our point of view of course. However, we all face similar challenges and have our own solutions to tackle them. There are simply so much that we can learn from each other. The trainee group eventually becomes a great platform to share and gain knowledge from different functions of the organization and different parts of the world. It simply feels great to learn and grow with a group of awesome individuals.

I am very glad to have made the decision to apply for the Husqvarna Global Trainee Program, it gives me the flexibility to develop myself in a global platform and workplace and grow and learn with a group of amazing talents. If you are planning your next step, I hope you apply for this program that offers an exciting life like mine, and give a chance to Husqvarna Group to welcome a great asset like you!

Lois Lau
Global Trainee from Shanghai, China

Open positions are published on the Husqvarna Group website

 

More posts by Lois:

Living in the diversity of Husqvarna Group

Life-changing experience with unique exposure

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Learning the laws of the urban jungle


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How do you make a Swede panic? Easy, put her in a 35°C hot Shanghai subway station in the middle of rush hour. For a person growing up in a municipality with a population of around 10 000 people, a city of 24 million can take some time getting used to. However, once you learn how to take a deep breath and relax in the crowds (and just accept that you’ll never be able to walk in the pace you want), Shanghai can be a really fun place to live! There sure isn’t a lack of things to do anyway. I won’t go into too much detail here (come visit Shanghai and I can tell you more over a beer instead) but during my time here I have been singing my throat dry in a KTV, visited tons of tourist spots, spent a Saturday on an international beer festival and last but not least: enjoyed an amazing team building activity in a mountain area outside the city.

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So what about work? Well, believe it or not but I actually do spend some time on work as well. Just as I suspected in my last blogpost, November has been extremely busy, probably my most intense month as a trainee so far. However, I see this as a good way to challenge myself since I know that if I want to excel in my career, these stressful periods will undoubtedly be part of it. Moreover, the extra hours don’t feel that heavy since the projects I am working on are so interesting. One of the best parts of the trainee program, as I see it, is that I get to take on much responsibility and that the tasks that are given to me feel very challenging. It’s encouraging to see that colleagues at Husqvarna Group trust us trainees with difficult tasks and want to see us develop.
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Last week I spent most of my time running a value engineering workshop in product packaging. We had a cross-functional team working hard to come up with good ideas for improvement and we received a lot of valuable input from the different functions. Additionally, we had one day where we invited suppliers to participate in the workshop, which gave us even more interesting ideas and insights. This goes back to what I wrote about in my last post: that the suppliers are the experts when it comes to their specific parts and by including them, we can get new ideas that we could not possibly come up with ourselves. Another fun thing about this workshop was that Husqvarna Group’s President and CEO actually paid us a (very) short visit, it’s encouraging to see that even top management take an interest in these kind of projects.

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This week however, it’s time to shift focus and prepare for long days at the office, because in only one week from now we will be holding our Asian supplier day in our Changzhou plant in China. This time, I have been assigned project leader for this event, which of course puts a lot of responsibility on me but, as I already mentioned, this is something I enjoy and I have a really great team to work with. Anyway, I should probably go back to work now since I have a meeting coming up soon. A planning meeting for one of the five (!) innovation workshops we will run on the next supplier day.

Next time you hear from me I will be in Japan, looking forward to give you an update about Tokyo!

Lisa Barrehag
Global Trainee
Sourcing

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How to dodge a silver bullet


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I’m back in Huskvarna, enjoying Swedish November in it’s prime. This is a usual period for me to concentrate on work, improving routines, catching up on reading and attempting to outrun treadmills in a local gym. The time is also right to gather my thoughts and reflect on my current experience. Thanks to a small push from the corporate communications department (hej Karin!), I also get to share them with you.

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It’s been over a month since the start of my marketing assignment. It was perfectly timed to kick off with the Global Online meeting in Frankfurt, Germany. At the moment, Husqvarna Group is in the middle of rolling out the next generation of websites for all its brands across tens of markets all around the globe. This is a large scale undertaking, which goes beyond a trivial design update, challenging the way we approach user experience in an omni channel environment, redefining content management practices and setting up a number of important building blocks that will shape the online presence of the company for the years to come. It’s a very exciting initiative and the timing is perfect for me to contribute. Expect updates!

Still, it was more to the Global Online meeting than just aligning teams with the current state of affairs. All four days were full of workshops, best-practice sharing and inspirational sessions with our partners. One of which had a rather surprising twist for myself. We were in the middle of a vivid discussion about the innovative possibilities offered by new technology and suddenly I found myself to be the most skeptical person in the room – something you would never expect if you’ve ever met me or read any of my previous posts. However, that was the role I had to assume in the discussion, as my perception was that the participants were mainly overoptimistic about the technology and hardly ever mentioned unavoidable limitations, placing trust and hoping that the technology will contain a solution in itself – a classic silver bullet illusion.

You might also to refer to it as ‘panacea’ or ‘magic pill’. Essentially, all of these terms describe the same, comfortable to a human mind belief into an ultimate flawless solution to a complex problem. Typically, it can raise two types of issues: endless search for a silver bullet or ephemeral confidence that you had already found it. I’m personally much more inclined to the former one – I can spend days chasing a mirage of a better solution that will solve more general problem and excel strategically until somebody taps me on the shoulder and reminds of the deadline. However, it requires more than an injection of pragmatism to fight off the later pitfall, even though the solution is very similar in nature – the key is to have your team rightly balanced with people of diverse personalities and backgrounds that can look at a problem and assess solutions from different perspectives. Obviously, building such a team is a problem on its own and, keeping in line with the main message of the post, do not expect me to provide a bulletproof solution to that. Nonetheless, do take a look at Predictive Index. All the Global Trainees were introduced to this tool during our visit to our American headquarters in Charlotte, USA. It has proven very effective for The Husqvarna Construction Division and might benefit you too.

Even though no solution is perfect and technological limitations should be always accounted for, sometimes it’s useful to cut them loose and let yourself dream. This is exactly what a group of designers from our office in Stockholm did, which resulted in an exciting concept for our future products. Check out this video. It’s a great inspiration for us all at Husqvarna Group and fills me with the confidence that my future with the company will be anything but boring.

Cheers!
Andriy Shyshka
Global Trainee
Digital Solutions and Services

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Tales from the U.S.


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I’ve now been in the U.S. for close to two months in our regional sales organization working together with sales, marketing and product management. For me it has been rewarding to be here in the U.S. as the market for outdoor power products is quite different from the one you find in Sweden. Here, homeownership is about 63% (the lowest since 1967) compared to Sweden where about 40% of households are living in a house. Further, in the U.S. the reservation wage is lower, which means that many homeowners outsource maintenance of their yard to contracting companies.

Thus, when looking at the U.S. market for outdoor power products it needs to be done through these and other lenses in order to understand the end-customer and their needs. This might sound obvious, however as time is always a constraint, one might easily fall in the trap of making decisions based on what oneself would want if one where to buy a product. When you work with a specific category of products everyday it becomes second nature why some features make a product better than others, but as a matter of fact to an average customer that buy the product, it might have been several years since they bought that specific product.

Thus, if you add features to a product or service that are beyond the must-haves you need to be able to articulate the explicit benefits to the customer and why he or she should pay extra for these benefits. This also means that you need to consider what channel the product is being sold through. Does it sit on a shelf at a retailer waiting to be bought or is it sold through a dealer that can talk to the customer regarding the benefits of it? And when creating a product for a professional user, one need to consider that the product’s performance is only one part of the considerations – you need a complete offering that includes service and maintenance for the commercial customer, because in the end the product will only be as good as the service and support offering is, since the professional customer is interested in efficient up-time.

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My trainee colleagues and I visited Charlotte Motor Speedway during our latest trainee week in the U.S.

I enjoy working as a trainee at Husqvarna Group, as the company encourages me to travel and meet with end-customers in different countries in order for me to collect the lenses one needs to create an attractive offer to our customers. Thus, when I finish my program and start working in product management I will have many experiences from my trainee program that can be used in my future role.

Alexander Fornell
Global Trainee
Product Management & Development

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Living in the diversity of Husqvarna Group


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My name is Lois, I’m a Global Trainee from Shanghai, China. Working in a multinational corporation like Husqvarna Group I have had many chances to work on projects with colleagues from all over the world. However, working in a project is completely different from working in a foreign country. I am currently working on my international assignment at our facility in Nashville, USA, focusing on Materials Management. I moved from one of the biggest cities in China, to the American countryside where I will be for 6 months.

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Being a Global Trainee requires a high level of adaptability to new environments. Here in the U.S. I am challenged by the cultural difference from the workplace in China every day. The colleagues here have a much higher sense of cost-effectiveness and are much result-orientated. The conversations at work can be very direct sometimes, so it requires a different way of problem solving and business communication. Language is another challenge for me since I learnt British English and used mostly Chinese back in the Shanghai office. But the immersion here helped me to pick up the American English gradually.

I am involved in tasks related to Asian factories/suppliers. Being the only Asian here, I feel responsible for explaining to my American colleagues the Asian business culture and mindset. Sometimes I help translate the ‘indirect’ message in a more ‘direct’ way so my colleagues can understand more about the meaning behind a message. I am very glad that my colleagues are open to these new ideas and I believe this can be beneficial for the cooperation across the world. And I wish to continue to do that to create a better platform of communication for the Nashville office to our Asian counterparts.

Besides the work, in the Nashville office, we may not have fika like in Sweden, but we have a monthly Potluck where all team members will bring a dish to the office and everyone share some great food together! It is a great chance to mingle with people from different departments as well. I have decided that next month I will bring some authentic Chinese food (not fried spring roll nor chow mien) to the Potluck for everyone to get a taste of China.

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Our monthly Potluck in the Nashville office

Since it is a really small town with only around 5000 people, everyone knows each other and everyone takes care of each other. Even though I came here alone, I never feel ‘lonely as a pine tree in a parking lot’. Being a newbie in town, my colleagues show me around and introduce me to people here. They also invite me to their family events and to watch local high school football games, one of the biggest events in town! I feel more integrated to the community here when I start cheering for our football team and picking up some southern slang like saying “How y’all doin’ at work”.

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Local High school football game, our team was winning!

Last month we had a Global Trainee training in Charlotte, USA. My favorite training sessions were about the Multi-generational workplace and Personality Analysis. The Multi-generational workplace workshop gave me an overview of different backgrounds and characteristics of each generation in America and how these affect their behavior at work. The Personality Analysis workshop on the other hand made us understand more about ourselves and how we can be aware to adjust our behavior in different environments. These trainings are crucial for working in a multinational company because it reminds us on always being open to differences and utilize the strength of different cultures and different individuals. While working in another country right now I get to practice that every day!

DSC_0868_w1000As a Global Trainee I really treasure this international assignment opportunity and feel blessed to live in such a diversity where I can embrace, enjoy and learn about the beauty of differences in culture, not only at work but also in my daily life.

Ain’t that awesome?

Lois Lau
Global Trainee
Manufacturing

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Collaboration is the key to success


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Right now, I’m sitting at an airport in Charlotte, USA, waiting to catch my (delayed) plane back to Sweden after a very exciting training module at the Husqvarna U.S. headquarters. My trainee colleagues and I have spent a week learning more about our operations in the U.S. and we got the opportunity to visit factories and customers, as well as participate in some product testing and leadership training.

Lisa Barrehag 2

Lisa Barrehag

So, how to entertain yourself at an airport? During my year as a trainee I have had plenty of practice in this area and I don’t think shopping is the best option, especially not for a purchaser who happened to spot that exact same perfume a couple of days ago for a much lower price than what the airport offers. Instead, I was considering reading a book or checking out another article about the latest innovations in the battery industry (can’t believe I never realized how fascinating batteries are until I started working in electric sourcing) but then I decided the best option would be to finalize this post before the boarding starts.

The last time I wrote a post here, I was right in the middle of the preparations for Husqvarna’s EXCITE Day 2015, an event for our 150 biggest suppliers. As I wrote then, I was really looking forward to the event and now when it’s over I can say that it not only lived up to, but also managed to exceed my expectations. Organizing and participating in the EXCITE Day is definitely one of the biggest highlights during my trainee time so far, even though I had very busy days and constantly felt like I had to be at five places at the same time. In the end, people seemed to really enjoy the event, and it felt very rewarding receiving all the positive feedback afterwards (and of course also some ideas on how to improve!).

For me personally, the EXCITE Day was a very stimulating event where I got to talk to lots of interesting and nice people (internal as well as suppliers), listen to great presentations from top management and watch the award winning suppliers receiving their awards. The day also included round table exercises in small groups, where suppliers from different commodities sat down together with Husqvarna Group representatives and discussed a few topics, such as innovation and sustainability. One of my responsibilities was to gather all the notes from these discussions and to summarize all the input. It was very interesting to go through our most important suppliers’ thoughts and points of view and I could quite quickly spot some recurring comments.

Lisa Barrehag 2

One of the most noticeable things that pretty much every group brought up, was the importance of having a close cooperation and utilizing the suppliers’ expertise in our development processes. After all, it is important to acknowledge that our suppliers are the experts in their respective field and that we can learn a lot from them. I think that this view is something that mirrors a general trend with supplier and customer forming a closer collaboration based on trust and a win/win mindset instead of a more “transactional relationship” with sole price focus. Research highlights many advantages with a collaborative relationship: improved quality, more innovative thinking and time to market, to name a few of them. To me, it seems quite clear that this is more beneficial over the long term than the more traditional perception of the supplier/customer as opponents where only one can end up being the winning party. I think that the award ceremonies during the EXCITE Day was an important way for us to apply this mindset. By highlighting the suppliers’ efforts and successes we could hopefully encourage continuous improvements and assure that great performance doesn’t pass by unnoticed.

Enhancing the relationship with our suppliers is something I will continue to work with during my next assignment, which will start very soon. I will move on to Asia and my third assignment which will be divided between Shanghai and Kawagoe (a “small town” some 30 minutes train ride outside Tokyo). I will be involved in supplier development activities and value engineering tasks, such as organizing workshops including product tear down together with the suppliers. And guess what, there’s another supplier day coming up in December, this time exclusively for our Asian suppliers. Looks like November is going to be busy…

So to sum up, it seems like I will have a very exciting autumn and although I certainly will miss all of my amazing colleagues in Sweden (and England and Germany!), I really look forward to start my next assignment.

Lisa Barrehag
Global Trainee
Sourcing

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Smart garden, smarter garden, the smartest garden


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Andriy Shyshka

Andriy Shyshka

My dearest reader, it’s been ages. How have you been? I hope that you have enjoyed the summer and are back on track making the world a better place.

What about me? Past half a year was absolutely fantastic! Being a global trainee for Husqvarna Group has plenty of perks. Among them is an opportunity to get an international rotation at one of the Group’s locations worldwide. That, and some insight from my previous assignment, brought me to Ulm, Germany. Here, I joined the product management team of the Gardena Division.

So, if you are already done googling ‘Ulm’, try to picture me wearing Lederhosen, holding a Biermaß, listening to Schlager music, while trying out some cheesy German one-liners to break the ice with the locals. That would give you a pretty good image of what a typical Frühlingsfest/Schützen/Vatertag/Samstag looks like around here. But there is much more to Swabia then just beer and difficult dialect. It’s a place of astonishing nature, many historical landmarks and very frank and accurate people that are a phenomenon on their own. But let me stop right here. As the title suggest, this post is about my assignment.

I joined Ulm’s product management in February. I was to participate in the development of a conceptually new product range for Gardena that will hit the shelves in 2016. Even though eventually you will know it by a different name, let me refer to it as ‘smart garden’ – a rather self-explanatory and incredibly enduring name that naturally caught on within the team.

If you are following the current trends in the Internet of Things (IoT), it will not catch you by surprise that the market of home automation is rapidly growing (20 to 25%, by different estimates). And it’s growing side-by-side with garden automation. This creates an exceptional opportunity for Gardena – to deliver a system with a unique combination of automatic watering, robotic lawn mowing and, most importantly, intelligence that would reflect company’s expertise in the area of plant care. It is also a challenge, as the above sums up the expectations placed upon the project, making it, by all means, one of the boldest and most innovative initiatives in the group.

Fortunately, I knew about smart garden much earlier. The colleagues, with whom I worked during my first assignment, have brought me into discussion about the IoT platform that should provide means of connectivity for smart devices and introduced me to a team of developers that were just starting outlining the architecture for the system. That gave me a valuable heads-up and allowed me to arrive to Ulm well prepared.

My role within the project has changed several times. I’ve started by taking responsibility for updating the business case, costs calculations and participating in supplier selection. Later, I assumed more technical role to support the integration of system components between the development cycles. And eventually, I went back to the roots as a software developer for a product identity registry and manufacturing support system.

Professionally, the time spent in Ulm has been extremely rewarding. I had an opportunity to participate in the product development process from several perspectives that either allowed me to utilize my skill to the fullest or were completely new to me, and demanded to catch up quickly. I was fortunate to receive a chance to work side by side with brilliant managers in product development and real visionaries in the area of IoT, to whom I’m sincerely grateful for all the guidance and support.

It felt great to be back to Baden-Württemberg, a part of Germany, to which I feel strong connection since my exchange semester in Mannheim. However, the next assignment already awaits. At the end of September, right after a week of training at our U.S. headquarters in Charlotte, I will start working for Online Excellence initiative at Brands and Marketing organization in Sweden – yet another exciting challenge in the journey of Global Trainee.

More updates are coming.

Peace!

 

Andriy Shyshka

Global Trainee

Digital Solutions and Services

Older blog post by Andriy

Connected is the new black

 

 

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Tardiness and its domino effect


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Jonathan Cabeza

Jonathan Cabeza

It has been 47,304,000 seconds since I started working at Husqvarna Group, the world’s largest producer of outdoor power products like robotic lawn mowers, garden tractors, chainsaws and trimmers. I have had the pleasure of learning about engineering, product management and sales. In addition, I have learned to appreciate the value of workplace etiquette and being courteous to anyone I come across at work. By now, you probably grabbed your smartphone, opened the calculator or unit conversion app to convert the figure above into more familiar units like days, months or years. You might be asking yourself why would I go through all the trouble to provide a timeframe in such an unusual way as well. The reason is quite simple. Every second matters and once a second is gone you cannot get it back.

Let’s pretend it is Monday morning and you have a meeting at 9 AM in one of the meeting rooms at work. It is now 9:10 AM and you just finished setting up the meeting (PowerPoint presentation, conference call, etc.) and you are ready to start; the prior meeting ran over 8 extra minutes. But hold on, someone who is critical to this meeting just sent you an instant message to let you know that he will be there in 3 minutes because he was in another meeting than lasted longer than expected. Then, you remember that you only have the meeting room reserved until 9:30 AM and there is another meeting after that. Your presentation, without the Q&A session, was 20 minutes long last time you timed it. At this point you are probably freaking out and asking yourself “why me? I was on time.” This probably sounds unbelievable, but it happened to me and it certainly did not feel great.

If I only had a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12S, the car that was modified as a time machine in the Back to the Future film trilogy, to go back in time and plan ahead to prevent this “perfect storm.” Unfortunately, there wasn’t an easy way out of this situation. However, a few years after taking a management course heavily focused on emotional intelligence and recently suffering the aftermath of the previously mentioned chaotic chain of events, I was driven to further develop a series of guidelines I had been using in the past to avoid similar scenarios, which was obviously not good enough. This latest version has made sure, up to this day, that all my meetings start and end on time, and has decreased the impact that other people’s tardiness has on my team. I would like to pay it forward and share it with you.

1) Booking meeting rooms: This is my favorite. If you are booking a meeting room, make one reservation as you normally would with all participants and also make an additional booking just for yourself 10 to 15 minutes before the meeting starts. This will allow you to be prepared to start the meeting on time even if the previous meeting lasts longer than scheduled.

2) Provide a timed agenda: Provide a timed agenda at the beginning of your presentation and make sure to include the Q&A session on it. This will encourage your audience to leave the questions for the end.

3) Rehearse your presentation: The more you practice, the better your presentation will turn out. Practicing will also help you give the presentation quickly and effectively giving more time for the Q&A.

4) Q&A time warning: Once you are done presenting, keep track of time to make sure you stay within schedule. Let your audience know that time is running out and that you will be taking one or two more questions.

5) Follow-up meeting: Sometimes new topics and questions arise that you will not be able to answer during that meeting due to time constraints. Schedule a follow-up meeting if needed and encourage the audience to reach out to you in person, by phone or email with any additional questions.

6) Audience’s back-to-back meetings: If you are not the presenter and you have a meeting immediately after, let the presenter know in advance that you do.

7) Smart meeting scheduling: Avoid early morning meetings to make sure that everybody is in the office and have been able to catch up with time-sensitive matters. In addition, try scheduling your meetings when all attendants do not have to attend meetings before and after yours.

8) Suggesting a different meeting time: If you believe that there is a chance that you might not be able to make it to a meeting on time, be courteous and suggest a different meeting time; I tend to offer a brief explanation if I have to resort to this and do so, at least, one business day before the meeting.

However, you do not have to limit yourself to fighting tardiness merely at work. You can do the following at home to ensure you are always prompt:

1) Before the week starts: Adjust all your watches and clocks around your home with a different time between 10 to 15 minutes ahead of time; different times will prevent you from knowing how much of a safety cushion you have. Make sure you are getting at least seven hours of sleep (set an alarm to go to bed if needed). Try to prepare all your meals for the week.

2) The night before: Set one alarm and make sure your smartphone and/or alarm clock is several steps away to avoid snoozing (having one alarm and not being able to snooze means that you will wake up at the time you initially planned on waking up the night before). When you set the alarm, account for extra 15-30 minutes for unforeseen events like traffic, pumping gas, etc. Ensure that your smartphone has enough charge to last the whole night and that your alarm clock’s backup battery still works; this will protect you in the event of losing power during the night. Finally, choose your work outfit for the next day and prepare your gym bag if you work out or perform any activity immediately after work.

It definitely takes some effort adding every step mentioned above to your life. However, by doing so, you will be modeling the way, and you will be taking an important step towards improving yourself as a professional while you are positively impacting your company’s culture; all your peers will appreciate the effort you are putting in and will likely follow your example. I realize my list is not perfect and, thankfully, I still have decades to keep improving it. Surely, I am not alone in this fight. So, what do you do to make every second count?

Jonathan Cabeza
Global Trainee
Product Management & Development – Consumer Brands
Charlotte, USA

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Everything has gone global

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Getting to know the end-customer


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My current assignment in Malaysia has been really exciting because I have had the opportunity to travel a lot in Asia to meet with end-customers and see for myself how they use our products, such as chainsaws, trimmers and lawn mowers. Working in product management as a trainee is similar to being an old-school apprentice, because many of the most important things about being a product manager can only be learnt by being out in the field visiting customers and getting to know them. There is no academic course that can teach you why certain countries prefer one type of product over another, which is why you need to create your own opinion by talking with customers and senior colleagues.

Husqvarna customer in Guangzhou_w1000

Customer in Guangzhou, China

Luckily for me, meeting the customers is one of my favorite tasks since they are the ones that will buy and use the product and I think it is an interesting challenge to think about how to create better products for them. Further, in order to stay ahead of competition one must also think about how our products compare to others and what can be done differently to ensure that our products create more value for the customer. Many times this means to not only think about how they are operating the machine but also to think about the context in which it is used. For example how much training does an operator get before using a machine, an operator with more training can be expected to know how to properly adjust a harness and can therefore have a more advanced one than a user with no training.

Furthermore, I have realized that we might design a product to be used in a certain way but in reality the needs of the customers are different and they will make adjustments to the product for it to better fit their workstyle. When you see examples like that you need to reflect and decide if the adjustments are something that needs to be made in our own factories or if you should focus more on customer training. I think that this is what makes the product management role so interesting, it is a broad role in which I get the opportunity to think both big and small. Big in the sense that you need to find a balance in the product range between the different products to create a profitable and futureproof range. Small in the sense that when you write a product specification it can be the small details that decides if a product will be a success or not and you have to be aware of what is important to include and what can be left out.

Travel in Thailand w_1000

Alexander Fornell, travelling in Thailand

This is what makes the Husqvarna Group’s global trainee program so great, because when I was doing my final year at university I had no idea of what I wanted to do after graduation. Now I know that I enjoy working with products and customers since it allows me to contemplate how I can solve customer problems and bring new ideas to the market. But with the global trainee program I will also get to work in other functions and who knows, there might be another area that I enjoy even more!

Alexander Fornell
Global Trainee
Product Management & Development

Earlier blog post
Gaining valuable work experience while travelling the world

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