”If you see something that doesn’t work, fix it immediately”

VIDEO | In just 10 years, Cadeler went from being a market challenger to a prominent market leader in offshore wind installation. Guiding the firm through the transformation is CEO Mikkel Gleerup. On stage at the Treasury 360° Nordic conference, he delved into the evolution of his leadership approach throughout the process and the insights as a modern leader in an increasingly complex world.

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When Gleerup came on board at Cadeler in 2017, he was the 23rd employee. Now, the firm counts 550 staff. The effects of the company’s rapid expansion on its personnel is something that is always on his mind. “I think a lot about this all the time – how can you maintain some part of the 23-people company in a 550-people company. It’s a journey to still keep the same fundamental culture and DNA even though growth is happening.”

Indeed, with rapid growth comes difficult decisions – “I think anybody who’s a leader knows that you cannot always be doing what everybody expects from you, because you also have to make some tough decisions once in a while”. But no matter how difficult the decision, Gleerup is a proponent of facing it head-on. ”If you see something that doesn’t work, fix it immediately,” he said, emphasising that this has been his biggest learning from guiding Cadeler’s growth journey. “Things have a tendency to become worse with time; they don’t fix themselves.”

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Some of the hardest decisions have had to do with organisational reshuffling – telling people that they are no longer right for certain roles, and that the role would be filled by someone else who could better maximise the growth of the company. “I really think that this is something you need to be incredibly humble about because when you make changes in people’s (professional) roles, you’re touching their whole life – at home and in their spare time. I think if you cannot take this element of leadership incredibly seriously, then you should not be a leader.”

Mikkel Gleerup is CEO at Cadeler.
The discussion was facilitated by Thomas Bo Krogslund Joergensen, Consultant, Russell Reynolds Associates.

 

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