Ulrika Wikström and the importance of work-life balance in the career

19 February 2020

Motivation, corporate culture, curiosity, respect and values: and again, ethics, humility and empathy. These are the ingredients behind the leadership for Ulrika Wikström, General Manager of Dyson Italy, among the 100 most influential women in our country according to a ranking drawn up by Forbes last year.

The Swedish-born manager has lived in Italy since 2003 and for over 20 years she worked for L’Oréal in the Paris, New Yorke Milan offices, before arriving last September at the English brand that produces and exports electronic devices all over the world. high technology. “The move as Marketing Manager from brands such as Maybelline, Lancôme and Yves Saint-Laurent to a company made up of scientists and engineers was the result of a well-defined orientation, which had as its common denominator the passion, the desire to put proof and an insatiable curiosity, elements that have always characterized me” explained Ulrika Wikströmagli students of the Global MBA of Bologna Business School.

The starting point of the whole intervention was the article “How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton Christensen, published on Harvard Business Review in 2010 and suggested by the Didactic Director of the Global MBA Marcello Russo. The portrait of a professional with firm values ​​emerged, whose career was determined by a balanced mix of personal and professional choices. “The passion for one’s job makes it ambitious, but the biggest lesson for me has been to give the right weight to the private sphere and find time for me and my family every day: since I started marking the agenda, between an appointment and the other, the running session on Friday morning, productivity also benefited and the results proved it”.

The ideal manager for Ulrika Wikström is the one who seeks his personal well-being and motivates his employees by urging them constructively: “We must not give answers nor much less orders, but push those who we have to ask questions to find creative solutions, enhancing the background, the forma mentis and the values ​​of the individual”.

As a foreign manager in Italy, Ulrika admitted that changing the sector to 50 years was far from simple, but she tried to stick to the idea she had of herself: “I have always been a curious and proactive person and I have made choices professionals who reflected the idea I had of me”. How? Leveraging on two factors: “it is fundamental to cultivate a network of contacts and direct one’s objectives towards a specific purpose: to this, I would add targeted training, not intended as an effort to encourage knowledge and skills, but as I continue to absorb sap for the mind, to remain curious and open-mind”.

Lots of hands raised during the moment of the students’ questions: from how to motivate your team even in times of crisis which, for Ulrika is an opportunity to rethink your models, to what your luck in your career counts: “it matters a lot to be in the right place at the right time, but the perseverance of being found in as many right places in more right times counts more, up to the most important soft skill for her: “undoubtedly empathy and curiosity towards who I have in front of me”.

“My advice? – he concluded – Have an idea of ​​what you want to become and strive for the best possible model of yourself”.


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