In the heart of Leinonen Group success lies Seppo Hämäläinen, a visionary leader who has guided the company through years of growth and evolution. With a commitment to building a truly multicultural and service-oriented organization, our CEO has not only shaped the company’s trajectory but also fostered a unique culture centered around people. In this interview, we explore the insights and reflections of Seppo, uncovering the milestones that have defined the company’s journey and the strategic vision that guides us into the future.
You have built Leinonen Group throughout several years. Reflecting on your past, what accomplishments or milestones do you believe have had the most significant impact and what has shaped you the most as a leader?
We are truly multi-cultural company as our offices are in a dozen countries and clients are coming for all over the world from very different cultures and industries. As we are a service company we don’t build our operation around certain product or even process but relationships between people. We have long employee and client relationships and it really shows the power of correct communication between people. Leader can just help with tools, processes and practices but the real magic happens between people. That never stops astonishing me!
Could you share with us the long-term vision and strategic goals you have for our company? How do you see us evolving and adapting to industry changes in the coming years?
Leinonen has been built around people – in our vision first comes “great employee experience” as it is our people who we are. Second in our vision is “superior client experience” as that is created by our employees. In the accounting industry we all like to talk about processes, solutions, systems, etc., but we have put people above all.
Investing in our employees’ growth is a priority. What initiatives or programs do you believe are crucial to enhancing the skills and capabilities of our workforce, and how do they align with our organizational goals?
One of our values is “right people together” and as it states it is crucial to have right people on board. Not everyone’s personal values match with ours and that is all right, we all are different, but forming a working community requires certain similarities as we want everyone feeling they are in right place with us. Only on top of good working community we can build learning both in mandatory skills as accounting industry is very strict with rules, and soft skills to create client experience.
Our company culture is often cited as one of our strengths. Can you describe the core values and principles that shape our culture and how they drive our success? How do you envision preserving and nurturing this culture as we grow?
As our company is based on right people working together and very high ethical code it is obvious that our culture comes from those basis. One vital part is our described “behaviours” which give opportunity to everyone to get back to basics with their colleagues and discuss how we are doing today, what we want to strengthen and what we want to keep, or stop doing. Only continuous discussion among all employees can create strong culture. Management job is to enable, and help to correct when we see we are going wrong.
Leading a company demands a significant amount of time and energy. How do you manage to strike a balance between your personal life and professional responsibilities? Are there any habits that have proven particularly effective for you?
Maybe it is age and experience which gives tools to balance. Big part of my work is done outside from office and not in front of computer, and strategic level thinking I work when running, skiing or walking. My brain seems to be more efficient when my body works. A few times a year I go hiking to places where mobile phone does not have coverage. I think it is important to remain our brains every now and then that world goes around without us participating in it.
Continuous learning is essential for personal and professional growth. Could you tell us about a recent book, course, or experience that has had a profound impact on your leadership skills? How do you incorporate ongoing learning into your busy schedule?
I was in NBF and liked Lencioni’s “Working genius” presented by him, as well as his book about it. But there is also lots to learn from not so obvious sources. Reading novels like The Night Circus by Morgenstern or Alice in Wonderland (where Cheshire Cat is my all time favorite) or listening famous Finnish philosophy Esa Saarinen I can get new POVs to business and our company. Subconscious is a great power when you let it wondering around and connect different things together.
In the essence of Leinonen Group success lies a commitment to people – a dedication to fostering the right community and prioritizing genuine connections. As our CEO emphasizes, the magic truly happens between people. In the vibrant tapestry of cultures and talents that define our organization, the future holds boundless possibilities.