I watched something very unusual and awesome today. A CEO who is hugely successful, admired by all his staff, and cares so much about his own staff he started crying during the interview. Most CEO's today are money hungry cocksucker's who don't care if they run a perfectly fine company into the ground while making hundreds of millions themselves. One awesome CEO? Meet Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, one of the worlds richest men, and unbelievably admired by his employees.
I watched an uncut interview with Kamprad today, unfortunately it's in Swedish and no English text is available. Every CEO in the world should watch this interview and learn more in 15 minutes than they have their whole life. Simplest and most awesome interview I've ever seen. I have a love hate relationship with IKEA. I hate putting their stuff together but love their CEO. A few highlights:
- Admit You're Wrong: George Bush, can you hear this? Kamprad is not afraid to admit mistakes which are according to him too many to count. "It's not dangerous to make mistakes" he says
- Fiasko Pelle: One of the worlds richest and successful men calls himself "A Fiasco". He admits having bad self confidence all the time.
- More Women: He wants more women in higher positions at his organization. Never heard a CEO say this unless it was compete bullshit
- Lots Of Crying: In the early days, IKEA faces tremendous opposition from everyone. Kamprad says he had many nights when he cried himself to sleep
- Don't Neglect Your Kids: He seems to have a good relationship with his kids but regrets not having been there for them in the early days. It was IKEA all the way.
- Fun at Work: Everyone at IKEA should have fun at work, otherwise it's a waste. Not only is he saying that, IKEA is famous for this. It's one of the most admired employers among younger people.
- Too Cheap: In the early days, IKEA was not allowed at trade shows because competitors said their items were priced too low. Ingvar sometimes had to sneak in with a carpet wrapped around him.
- Lets Not Expand: IKEA has been expanding fast but earlier this year, before the crisis in the markets, they decided to slow down a little bit. Not because of less profits, they are making more money than ever, Kamprad want the 150 000 employees to get a little better at what they already do well.
- Crying For Employees: Quite a few years ago, Kamprad was in the newspaper headlines for fascist/Nazi connections 60 years ago. He was never a Nazi but regret being associated with some people back then. He wrote a letter to all his 498 employees in Älmhult, headquarters in Sweden, where he apologized and explained the situation. A few days later he got a letter back from all 498 employees who said "We're on your side Ingvar!" This made him cry during the interview and showed just how much he cares. Some coldherted CEO's with no respect from employees should learn from this
- Old But Sharp: Kamprad is 82 years old but has a sharp mind and come across much younger. He still works quite a bit and I'm convinced he does it only for his employees. He's greeted like a rock star at every Ikea store he visits. I don't know any CEO who can claim this.
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