Behind the scenes #19

Hey, Maja here!

Some may call me a Scandinavian bonanza. I am half Danish, half Swedish and live in Norway. Although, my professional background is slightly less eclectic – Copenhagen Business School, Mærsk and KPMG. In fall of 2021 I swapped my stilettos and dresses with sneakers and wool tees, and accepted the position of Northern Playground's new Supply chain manager.

I hadn't paid much thought to the challenges I would face in my new position. As a consultant I had surely faced far bigger challenges than I would at a small company like this, right? Well, I was wrong.

I started during the peak of Christmas season – without any products in stock. All hands were on deck, and I had to pitch in where and when I saw the need. I drove out to our warehouse to pick up products, fastened labels with our local producer and manned the store on some of the busiest days of the year. An unexpected start, but at least I was able to see parts of our supply chain with my own eyes. I also learned that unlike the corporate world, you don't need to ask for permission to take control – even if you're a newbie and have the fewest amount of stars on your shoulders.

Luckily, I enjoy being in control. But even that has been a challenge. Control and wanting to make quick and calculated decisions can kill a creative process. When we test new concepts, it is often the untraditional, manual solutions that prove to work best then and there. I would call that non-operational, but some of my teammates see it as creating opportunities. As our Creative director Kristoffer says, "Don't say, 'yes, but', say, 'yes, and'". It can be challenging for an efficiency nerd like me to let go of traditional methods and not focus on the downsides of solutions like those over. But how are we going to change the textile industry if we're always following someone else's path?

When creating our own path, I like to know where we're going and plan our route well. In previous jobs I have kind of taken it for granted that everyone thinks like this. On the contrary, our founder Jo loves creative chaos and playing it by ear. That makes the route a little less clear, but in return we just might discover a few more treasures on the way. Jo challenges me to see the value of chaos. I do sometimes, but don't thrive in it like he does. I work on this every day. It can be hard to set aside efficiency and dare to say "yes, and". But if it was supposed to be easy I never would have gone from corporate to startup.

Besides my style changing some (the stilettos and dresses are now in the back of my closet), I have also learned a lot both professionally and personally these past months at Northern Playground, and I can't wait to see what other areas will challenge my operational brain. The efficiency nerd Maja will never disappear, but that's also part of my contribution to Northern Playground's journey. She's just had to adapt a little 😊

P.S. For those of you who are worried about what has happened to my stilettos and dresses, they are now used on my reversed casual Fridays 😉

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