Leadership profile: Johan Made, SVP, stars in Eastern Europe’s ‘Mission Impossible’
In espionage thrillers, the “fixer” is called in as the last resort. He’s the resourceful person who does whatever it takes to tidy up loose ends, remove potential risks, and restore the scene. Johan Made, SVP, Sales, says his role in leading the Eastern, Western, and Northern European Regions is much like that of a fixer, and he loves it. In fact, he thrives on the high-stakes and edge-of-your-seat excitement that comes with a “Mission Impossible” assignment like his.
Johan has the education and expertise for the job. With degrees in business management and technology, he has worked in business analytics for most of his career. This includes stints with a Hyperion, Barium, Microsoft and SAP. Most recently he was head of Cloud Nordics and Baltics for SAP Sweden. Then, the opportunity at Infor became available.
The Northern Europe region had seen some challenges, including sluggish cloud deployment rates. The mission was to turn that around, and double the growth.
“Maybe I am stupid. But I like working in organized chaos, where balls are hopping around all over,” said Johan about why he enthusiastically embraced the role. “I think everything can be fixed. It might take a while. But it can be done,” says Johan. He adds that bringing out the best in people is key—and something he is quite good at. Trust, enthusiasm, and accountability are elements of his strategy, he explains.
His quest for an enthusiastic, positive work environment starts with his own outlook. “I am one of those people who always has a smile on his face. It makes a big difference. You can win so much more when you look on the positive side and enjoy coming to work. It’s hard for people to complain or disagree with you when you have a big smile on your face,” he says.
Attitude has been an important part of bringing the sales teams together into a cohesive, unified force, adds Johan. The NWE region is very large, stretching from the Nordics to Eastern Benelux and including UKI. He considers this challenge exciting. “It’s also humbling. Each country has such a different culture, and languages, and is quite unique. Each also requires a business plan tailored to very specific opportunities. And it’s important to always see the individuals, not generalities,” Johan says.
As part of the regional transformation, Johan has put managing directors in place and teams which can operate independently, without requiring Johan to be calling the plays. “I want the sales teams to be able to understand their circle of influence—be 200% focused on the things they can impact and where they can create change. If they can’t change something, then don’t worry about. Focus on what can be achieved.”
This is the philosophy behind Johan’s leadership style. He believes in letting people take responsibility for driving their own initiatives—within boundaries. When people are given the authority to drive improvements, they step up, Johan says. They engage and put in extra effort. “I have heard it said many times by customers and others outside of the organization. Infor people are passionate. We are all passionate people about our jobs, our software, and what we can do for customers.”
The impact of software on business success is inspiring for Johan. “I really get going when I can see how customers can transform themselves,” he says. “Sometimes, it can be the basics. Companies can get behind on modernizing. Then, deploying a basic digital concept can be game-changing.”
That’s part of what inspires him and what makes the job rewarding for Johan. Finding a balance between work and family is also an important driving force, he says. Married with two children, a daughter age 11 and son, 13, Johan has made a commitment to spend quality time with his family as often as possible. Ski trips and the kids’ ski training are some of the family’s favorite activities to enjoy together.
Johan’s efforts seem to be paying off for the Eastern European region. This year, the team has already hit milestones and is developing good momentum on its road to reaching the long-term goal.
Despite all of the positive accomplishments, Johan is quick to point to the team members and turn the spotlight on them. “I’m just the guy back stage. I’m quite happy to have the others on the team get the credit. They deserve the applause.”
- Infor culture