Linda Fjære Sløk, 4P/ Category Manager PC at Lenovo shares an insiders account of the developments Lenovo has undergone in the last decade, specifically so to facilitate a more inclusive, dedicated and ambitious working environment. Linda talks about the implementation of Lenovo’s new ThinkPad.
You have 15 years of experience working in the computer hardware industry. What are the main challenges and changes you have seen the industry undergo?
We are in a fast-moving industry and therefore we never stand still at Lenovo. Each quarter in the PC business can be compared to a year in many other industries. It is necessary to micromanage every day and have clear plans and ambitions. You need to have the right high-quality products and the right price at any given time together with the right business model to be the best in our industry. Now more than ever, I think we see a more customer centric driven industry, as such we are learning something new every day!
We are in a fast-moving industry and we never stand still at Lenovo!
You were working on implementing Lenovo's ThinkPad ® strategy. What does this entail and on a more general note, what factors need to be taken into consideration when bringing new devices onto the market?
Although ThinkPad is an extremely strong brand and one would assume that it is easier to extend its portfolio, in my experience it always takes longer than expected. We need to give new products time to be explored both by our business partners and customers. ThinkPad is a high-quality brand and like with many new products, categories must be supportive, be well-tested and have the lowest fail-rate in the industry
You have been at Lenovo for 12 years, starting of as Brand Manager and later moving to your current position as PC Category Manager/4P. What made you switch positions and what do you feel are the key lessons and skills you have learnt throughout these differing managerial positions?
I started on the product side and was travelling a lot to customers and business partners in Norway. It was very interesting to get to know the people using and selling our products every day and gave me a lot of insights into our business. When the 4P role was established in Lenovo 10 years ago I moved to Denmark as I had the opportunity to combine both the product part and the strategy part of the business and have responsibility of the total business plan. I have always been a bit of a “business head”, eager to bring our business to a higher and better level, and that is exactly what I am able to do in my current role. We have worked hard and have climbed from 15% to 50% market share in Denmark: I am very proud of what our team has done. Hard work combined with an ambitious and stabile organization and with the right people, are key to success.
Lenovo has climbed from 15% to 50% market share in Denmark, I am very proud of what we have done as team.
Aside from work, what do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
As a mum of two kids aged 6 and 9 years old, there is not much time left at the end of the day. However, I plan my week with a detailed degree to ensure I have time to exercise and to meet up with friends or go out with my husband. When summer comes, I really relax by being in my garden and going to our summerhouse!
A recent global survey, which was taken by Lenovo employees, showed that more than 85% of its workers felt that the environment they worked in was inclusive, equal and respectful. What policies, initiatives and actions have been put in place to enable and facilitate such a setting?
Lenovo has changed a lot since I started, it has significantly grown in size! I have never been bored in Lenovo because we change the structure every year, new goals every quarter, big ambitions and new achievements. I personally feel the organization is open minded as we all run for the same goal, therefore, the organization listens to you as an individual and as a team. I think Lenovo is working hard to bring the best out in people and value what we do.
At Lenovo we change the structure every year, have new goals every quarter, big ambitions and new achievements!
You are currently participating in our Women Talent Pool Program. What do you enjoy most about the program and is there something which has surprised you whilst talking with the network and partaking in our events?
I am humble to have been selected for the talent program. It is a pleasure to meet so many talented and inspiring women across Europe. They really inspire me in the way they handle both tasks at work and at home and show me that everything is possible. Women really need to work on their confidence and understand that not delivering 100% is sometimes ok! In this talent program I have also had the pleasure to have our SVP President for EMEA who is my mentor and has given me good high level perspectives on our business, whilst simultaneously inspiring me to continue to grow as a person and as a professional.
We have tradition at WIL, in which we conclude our interviews with a question from Proust questionnaire. Therefore: which living person do you most admire?
It is not possible single out one person. There are so many individuals that I admire, who are at different levels and roles in life. My conclusion is: Be the change you want to see!