Petter Stordalen is a Norwegian investor, hotel owner, property developer, and environmentalist. He is the CEO and owner of the investment holding company Strawberry Group and the owner of one of the largest hotel chains in the Nordics, Nordic Choice Hotels.
Petter will step on stage at Nordic Business Forum 2022 in September, so we asked him a couple of questions about his session and the event theme of future-focused leadership.
Nordic Business Forum: Can you give us a teaser of what to expect from your Nordic Business Forum 2022 presentation?
Petter Stordalen: The tourism industry has gone through the biggest crisis in modern times. For two years, the whole industry has practically been banned from doing business. All our businesses were sideswiped when the pandemic hit us in March 2020. I plan to share how our management team and I became laser-focused on leading our companies through two years of lockdown, and the importance of a strong company culture in times of crisis. But more importantly I will talk about the future, what lies ahead and how the crisis made us even stronger and better than before.
NBF: The theme of the event is future-focused leadership. What does that mean to you?
PS: The tourism industry, like all other industries, has faced major global megatrends in recent years—disruptive change, digitalization, globalization, urbanization, etc. These changes must be met with optimism by companies and leaders without losing their core values. To me that means always being two steps ahead, thinking outside the box, and challenging the status quo, while never losing sight of the fact that we are a human-driven business that cultivates diversity—with us there must be room for all.
NBF: What would you highlight as the most important thing(s) for leaders to focus on in the future?
PS: For me, building a good culture will always be important. I believe in people and diversity, and our business is about creating good experiences: A business FOR people, BY people. If you build a strong culture that values diversity, you have set yourself up for almost any challenge the future may hold. The pandemic may have changed the way we work and accelerated the digitalization, but we must never forget our most important resource—people and culture. Leaders who build trust and believe in their employees will have a much better chance at success going forward.
At Nordic Business Forum 2022, Petter will share with us how he has led his brands through all the turbulence. To see Petter live in September, join the NBF 2022 Helsinki event.