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Every year, through Axademin, we offer our managers and top talents a number of seminars and training programs, including board training, financial training and an introduction for new managers. Axademin comprises three areas:

Axiom
A unique leadership development course for the Group’s top talents, in which we work actively with the most important issues on our companies’ agendas. Axiom plays a key role in recruiting the right talent for creating and retaining diversity in our companies.

Seminars
Provide our managers with development opportunities in various areas, including board knowledge, digital knowledge and financial training. Our seminars are a key part of our efforts to develop sustainable and new business. During 2019, we will offer training in above mentioned areas for nearly 1 000 employees.

Meetings
We discuss the most important global trends with our employees. We invite the most interesting people, internally and externally, from Sweden and abroad.

 

Meet some of the participants in the previous Axiom programmes here:

"All about people and trust"

At the age of 31, Christian Lund has more than 10 years in the security business, starting and already leading a team of 15 people in service, support, customer and employee training and technical sales at RCO.

He decided to join the Axiom programme at the suggestion of his manager, who thought it would be the next logical step in his career.

“I was attracted to it because of the networking opportunities,” he says. “And it has been great to meet all these great talents. I’ve learned a lot about other companies, but this has confirmed companies are all about people.”

Although Christian had heard from earlier participants that the programme was time consuming and very challenging, he was surprised at how useful it was and how much fun it was to learn about new businesses.

Christian says he learned a lot about leadership, how and why certain things work, how to talk to his team, and how to set up goals. “There are great speakers, but I also learned a lot from the other participants and the questions they asked. That makes the knowledge more concrete, because you get to see the same thing from different perspectives.”

And the ideas are already making a difference in Christian’s everyday work. “One of the things I tried was to let the team be the problem-solvers,” he says. “I can support, but they need to create the solution sometimes. And they need to trust that I trust them.”

Who’s afraid of digitalization?

Åsa Iderbring has been working for KICKS for nine years, starting as a buyer for KICKS and Åhléns. After the companies split in 2011, she worked solely for KICKS. With Axel Johnson’s launch of Axbeautyhouse in December 2018, she became the Nordic Purchasing Manager in her categories for both KICKS and Åhléns.

“It’s really exciting to be in retail right now,” she says. “Customer behaviour is changing. With digitalisation, we need to create something more to drive customers to the store. It’s happening really fast and you can see other companies struggling. The physical stores are dropping in traffic.”

She says that one theme of the Axiom program has immediate applications to her job: the idea of building a community and a purpose. “I’ve been reflecting a lot on those things because we could find a purpose for our everyday staff at KICKS and Åhléns and make them feel part of this community. I think that is so inspiring.”

She says she had high expectations coming into the program since she had heard a lot about it from colleagues. “But it exceeded my expectations, especially learning about the rest of the group,” she says. “It has been really great to meet all these people who share the same challenges at different companies.”

She says she has also learned more about leadership, especially how to reach, lead and inspire the young people on her team, who are on the front lines as consumer behaviour changes. “We’ve been speaking a lot about the personal meeting and the value of relationships in the program. It is the future. Many are afraid of digitalisation, and what that will bring, but our business still comes down to meeting people.”

"An explosion of ideas"

For Katri Hopeakoski, who leads a 12-person technical sales team at SKS Mekaniikka Oy, which joined Axel Johnson International in February 2018, the Axiom program has been an intense experience. “Your mind is exploding with all the ideas that you get from people working in different areas,” she says.

One of the surprises so far has been from getting a close-up look at the speed of change in retail, compared to heavy industry, where change has been slower. “It’s crazy how quickly they need to adapt to new things in retail,” she says. “You have to be bold and try new things. You might make a mistake, but then you need to try again. And try different things at the same time.”

Katri, who has a business and communications background, says one of her goals was to get a good introduction to what Axel Johnson International is all about. “I was also especially interested in learning about digitalization, the future of leadership and the evolution in business environments. “We are a very traditional industry where people are informed from the top down,” she says. “I’m interested in getting more people involved and sharing information – trying to be more transparent so that everyone knows what our targets are, for example.”

One of the most fun things for her has been getting good ideas from colleagues. “You can be in a totally different business, but still you have customers, you have vendors, you have employees,” she observes. “The basics are the same.”

Food for thought

After almost 30 years in retail (since age 16) Abed “Abbe” El-Aaraj has been working at Willy’s, for nine years. For the past six years, he has been a marketing manager, during which he has been responsible for launching e-commerce at Willy’s.

Abbe had heard about the Axiom program for a while, but it wasn’t until last year that one of his colleagues persuaded him that it was something he just had to do both for networking and for taking the next step in his career, something he’s glad he did.

“There have been great presentations from the leaders of the company on their visions, ideas and experiences,” he says. “I also learned a lot from other people and their experiences in Axel Johnson.

“I’ve been working with food all my life. But at Axel Johnson, we have so many businesses, like clothes and cranes and wires. It’s interesting to hear other stories, not just food stories.”

Looking ahead, he says he’s ready to put what he has learned into practice. “It’s not just sitting here for three days and then going back to your normal schedule and routines. You have to reflect on what you have learned. I learn something every day at work, but you also have to bring back things that you didn’t learn at work. I like that.”

"Axiom provides a fantastic network"

 

Camilla Penttilä took part in Axiom in 2017. She has worked at the Axel Johnson Group since 2010, including as marketing manager for Fujifilm Sweden and Norway, which was formerly part of the Group. Today, Camilla works as a project manager in M&A and strategy for Axel Johnson International.

“The program gave me a great deal of insight into who I am and what is required to be an effective manager. All of the participants perform a specific strategy project for some area of the Group, which provided a deeper view of another business area and demonstrated the challenges of coordinating a project involving people from various workplaces. I learned from this project the importance of continuous dialogue with the client and securing a shared view of the project delivery at an early stage.

“What I appreciate most and really feel that I have benefited from in my daily work is the network of contacts that I gained during the program as well as the extended knowledge of the Group and the various business area. Throughout the program, there was a useful mix of inspiring lectures, theory and practical exercises/challenges, and I gained several tools that I use on a daily basis,” says Camilla Penttilä.

 

Simon Tideman, warehouse manager at Martin & Servera in Halmstad, agrees with Camilla that the program provided a valuable network of contacts. Simon, who took part in the program in 2015, has worked at Martin & Servera for seven years, starting out as a purchaser.

“Axiom provides a fantastic network and that was what I also appreciated most. The program is demanding but also very inspiring, and it was great fun and instructive to work with colleagues from other areas of the Group.

The program aims, for example, to give insight into leadership, but also knowledge of project work, presentation techniques and other specific areas, such as finances.

“It has also given me deeper insight into the Group, governance and the values that characterize the program and the various operations,” says Simon Tideman.