”I would like to challenge perfectionism”
Søren Kofoed Weeke has been the CIO of SOS International since November last year. Thus, his first 100 days have passed. Learn why Søren Kofoed Weeke accepted the position – and why he believes that SOS International needs to dare to be slightly less nice.
It is still patently obvious what made Søren Kofoed Weeke so emphatically accept the challenge of heading SOS International’s Group IT last autumn.
Søren Kofoed Weeke lists: A managing director with a clear strategic understanding, a strong Group Management with a declared wish to transform the area of IT and, not least, an organisation with the defined purpose of assisting people and making a difference.
- I get excited about the fact that there is a clear mission of change. I experience having the full support of the management and the organisation to make changes, says Søren Kofoed Weeke, who states that he is motivated by setting a target and acting in unison to reach it.
SOS International’s objective of assisting people and making a difference was a contributing factor to ensuring that Søren Kofoed Weeke now spends his days at the Nitivej premises in Frederiksberg, making frequent trips to the other Nordic offices.
- I have always wanted to work to serve a purpose, but this is the first time that my dream has really come true, so I find myself in a job which really motivates me, both professionally and personally, says Søren Kofoed Weeke.
Less control, more action
Søren Kofoed Weeke does not fear change. On the contrary. This is why he is pleased that, in SOS International, he met an IT organisation that performs without a hitch. Because this means that the challenges facing the new CIO are not found in the day-to-day operations but, rather, in changing the culture:
- I have encountered a culture where there is an extreme preoccupation with doing the right thing, however without openly verbalising how it is done. I would like to challenge that perfectionism and lack of openness as the reverse side of the coin is that things happen rather slowly and in an uncoordinated manner. I would like a little less niceness, more of a devil-may-care approach and more empowerment for the individual employee and more debate on identifying the right solutions. Our experts are able to guide us and have the expertise necessary for us to be able to create gold together.
The first step in breaking away from perfectionism was taken by Søren Kofoed Weeke in January when he carried out an organisational change in Group IT.
- My ambition is to create a flatter structure with more focus on the task at hand and less control. The employee handling a task should also be given the mandate to carry it out, says Søren Kofoed Weeke.
The organisational change removed a management layer, leaving a number of department managers with direct reference to the CIO. This makes the decision-making processes more transparent and promotes a network-oriented structure where there are no headquarters in Copenhagen but, rather, equally ranking departments in all locations in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
- That requires a strong management team and skilled staff. That, however, we do have already, says Søren Kofoed Weeke.
Focusing on customer needs
When Søren Kofoed Weeke says that he is motivated by creating change, these are not changes for the sake of changing. The objectives of the changes are getting more value for money and increasing the focus on customer needs:
- We need to give more thought to the end result than how we get there. We do not have to create solutions that could be used for teaching at university. We just need to make things work to ensure that the customers receive value, says the CIO, who sees his own role as being the one removing obstacles:
- I am the one straightening out the railway line and removing obstacles to allow my staff and managers to provide the solutions we were meant to create.
Søren Kofoed Weeke:
MSc in computer sciences from Aarhus University, 1994
CIO, SOS International since November 2019
Previously CIO of Experian, Danske Spil and VP Securities
When off-duty: 50 years old, married to Pernille and father of Sebastian and Andreas, spare-time scout leader