Dan Sten Olsson - October 2019


Namely - to take into account the complexity or the two-sidedness, (the duality) of everything - to nevertheless act decisively by - being simple, fast and brave.

To be able to see ourselves from the outside and compare ourselves with other companies, at this year’s Sphere Forum, we met three traditional companies – Bonnier, Ericsson and Morris Law, three start-up companies – Kry, Einride and Serendipity/Hidden Dreams and an example of a different constellation for co-operation – Hybrit. We devoted one day to these meetings and half a day to reflect on what the comparisons mean to us. The common potential for improvement for all our units is the ability to collaborate effectively in groups. Actually, we have no employees. We have coworkers. We are all coworkers, regardless if we have the opportunity to influence decisions or not. All coworkers influence our results. It is therefore of utmost importance that everyone has the necessary powers to do a good job and relatively quick access to the information required to perform it.

A new thing, we learnt, is that start-up companies emphasize the importance of individual differences in each group in order to achieve a fruitful collaboration. Ideally, every individual should possess a truly superior ability in their area. At Stena we have always believed in competence and the importance of consistently developing new skills. Those who do not consistently try to develop will eventually be phased out. It is tough but inevitable due to today’s rapid technological changes. Openness to new ideas and energy paired with the ability to make use of them will thus be our only lasting competitive advantage.

Spending time with energetic, highly competent and strong-minded people is not easy. The ability to work together is only partly inherent. It needs to be practised. The purpose of co-operating is not really harmony. The purpose is to acheive results without excessive energy waste. Responsiveness and care for the common good win, as long as you understand the complexity and have the ability to find simple, communicable solutions.

We do not only believe in the blessings of new technologies. We believe in the ability of coworkers to leverage them for new businesses or ways of doing business.


  • So what prevents us from seizing new business opportunities?
  • What locks do the obstacles have?
  • What keys are missing, in order for us to open them?
  • From the old company, which survived for one hundred and fifty years, we learned:
  • To have the courage to challenge with the intention of making the best better!
  • To use our powers to take the initiative, instead of being a victim of external factors.
  • In order to succeed, you have to let go of your convenience, often to such an extent that you feel bad.
  • Too much self-confidence has killed many companies.
  • To make money each single day and at the same time build for the future.
  • Being a quick follower is not enough. You have to be the leader.

We should look for the best business opportunities, where there are possibilities to scale up. As a rule, this means that we should try to find solutions which entail some sort of digitization.

The motto for our next twelve months will be:

We care and live in hope, to continue to develop ourselves and our companies to become and remain leaders.


Dan Sten Olsson

Gothenburg 6 October 2019


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