Interview with Bjarte Bogsnes about leading complexity

Watch the video in our LinkedIn post.

Hello Bjarte. We are so happy to have you in our Leading Complexity program. For those who have not met you, can you tell us about who you are and your background?

I’m a finance guy by education but have also worked in human resources. I work with Beyond Budgeting which I’ve done through various corporate roles for my entire career. I was responsible for the implementation at Equinor, former Statoil, one of Scandinavia’s largest companies. Last year I made a difficult decision. I decided to leave the corporate world and start Bogsnes Advisory to be able to work full-time with Beyond Budgeting since the interest out there is simply massive.

Why should leaders care about complexity?

Leaders need to take reality seriously and things have changed, not just in the business environments in the world around us but also in organizations. These realities, external and internal, are something that we must take seriously and that have implications for how we must lead and manage. It has implications for the design of our management models. That is what Beyond Budgeting is about. It’s addressing the fact that things have changed.

So why is this a challenge for leaders of today?

I think the biggest challenge when it comes to Beyond budgeting it’s not necessary to change what we do because there’s no rocket science. The challenge is to change how we think and that includes challenging the two main assumptions behind traditional management. Number one, that you can’t trust people, and number two, the future is predictable and plannable.

And both those beliefs are something that we need to let go of because it’s simply not true. But it can be painful for many because this might be what they have practiced and believed in for many many years. So that’s the challenge, to change how we think.

What is the key message to leaders facing complexity?

Organizations need management models that can cope with, not just the business environment and the complexity we find out there, but also with new and bigger expectations from today’s employees. It’s more than just wanting a paycheck. Again Beyond Budgeting is offering a management model that addresses both leadership and management processes. It’s about becoming more human and adaptive as an organization. That’s the key message in Beyond Budgeting. It’s about much more than budgets. But the reason for that budget component is because traditional budgeting sits at the core of traditional management. And unless you also address the budgeting mindset and processes you are not able to cope with neither the environment nor the expectations of the employees. This is business agility in practice.

The title of your session in the Leading Complexity program is exactly that: “Beyond Budgeting – Business agility in practice”. What do you hope for the participants to take with them after the session?

I can promise participants a good understanding of what Beyond Budgeting is. What it is, how it works, and also why it improves performance in the right way.

Great. Thank you very much, Bjarte

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