My IKEA Journey Until Now - Stephen Hodson
Why do you work for IKEA?
I work for IKEA because I enjoy working with people on the massive scale that it allows. Working in a store with 450 is just Incredible and brilliant for diversity. I also chose to work for IKEA because of the endless opportunities to grow and to move both nationally and internationally
How do you make a difference to a better IKEA?
Hopefully by being myself, by being an authentic person and leader and by helping others to find their way and progress
What have been your key highlights or turning points in your journey?
Probably the period between finsihing my degree and looking for a job in that field and then deciding it wasnt for me and finding the fast track programme instead. This was the big turning point in my career so far
My IKEA Journey until now...
What has been your biggest learning?
Leadership is not a race. You will never stop learning or become the 100% ultimate leader. As ambitious or as driven as you may be, leadership is not a race, sometimes its better to take the staircase one step at a time and reach the same destination, rather to run and fall!
Anything you would have done differently?
Nothing. I dont belive in looking back on regrets. Each experience is useful whether its enjoyable, or not so much.
What are your key responsibilities in your current role?
Self-Serve is big business here in Leeds so we account for one third of all the money coming into the store. So my main task is to make sure it is easy to shop for the customer, and availability is the best it can possibly! It is also important that we maintain the level of inspiration and consistency from the showroom so that the customer experience is great all the way through the store. I also have a team of 22 people including 2 team leaders so this is the biggest part of my day-to-day. People focus.
What skills do you need for your current role?
I’m a firm believer that if you are a capable leader of people, experience comes second to this. If you can lead the team and develop the people, you can gain the knowledge alongside this. But of course experience helps…
Previous leadership training key for this position?
As we are quite a unique brand, I think good knowledge of IKEA specific leadership is essential, good knowledge and demonstration of the IKEA leadership capability framework, situational leadership, my conscious leadership & so on.
What do you want to do next?
I am looking to apply for the 'Next Generation' development programme and become a functional manager within the next 18-24 months. I would like to be a store manager by the time I am 30. (Currently 24) These are my set goals to have something to drive towards, but how I get there will change from day to day I am sure. Who knows exactly what tomorrow will hold.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about this role?
You need to have a passion for working with people! You also need to be able to build effective relationships and be able to influence others and take feedback well. I believe you also need to have a lot of energy, as Self-Serve can fluctuate daily & get away from you quickly if not constantly maintained and improved!