a Company Global
In the summer of 2006, the global competitive landscape in which Nokia was
operating was changing at an astoundingly fast pace. Market growth was shifting
to emerging countries, mobile devices were being commoditized, handset prices
were declining, networks were combining (Nokia had just merged its own networks
infrastructure businesswith that of Siemens, forming Nokia Siemens Networks,
or NSN), Microsoft and Apple were making moves toward mobile devices, new
technologies were being developed, and new strategic opportunities were arising as
mobile phones were becoming the gateway to the Internet.
To win in such a fast-paced and intensely competitive environment, the company had
to move with speed and do a superb job ofsatisfying consumers. Decision-making
would have to occur at the lowest possible level to reflect the peculiarities of the local
markets while leveraging the power of Nokia’s diverse people, its brand, its financial
resources, and its technology and design expertise. Collaboration between locals and
headquarters and among multiple cultures and partners was paramount.
Nokia conducted extensiveinterviews with people inside and outside the company,
including partners and suppliers, to understand how Nokia was perceived and how it
might have to change. That research informed a number of actions and renewed the
focus on Nokia’s culture and, in particular, its values.
From Paper Mill to Conglomerate to Global Brand
Nokia, headquartered in Espoo, near Helsinki, Finland, is the world’slargest mobile
handset manufacturer. It holds some 40 percent of the global device market as of
the second quarter of 2008. It operates in 150 countries and had more than 117,000
employees, including NSN, as of late June 2008. It is the top-rated brand globally.
Annual revenues for 2007 were $74.6 billion (51.1 billion euros).
The company began in the late 1800s as a paper mill, then evolvedinto a diversified
industrial company and was an early entrant in the mobile era in the 1980s. In the
1990s, CEO Jorma Ollila restructured the conglomerate to focus on mobile phones
and telecommunications, and Nokia became the technology and market leader,
starting first in Europe, then expanding to the United States and dozens of other
developed and emerging economies, including China andIndia. In the early 2000s,
Nokia was briefly challenged by Motorola and Samsung but was able to maintain and
soon to increase the lead.
In 2006, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo (OPK, as he is known at Nokia) became CEO.
Nokia’s strategy at that time was changed to cover both the mobile device market as
well as services and software. In 2007, Nokia announced that it would become more
like an Internetcompany.
Transforming the Culture for the New Challenges
As Nokia’s leaders pondered what would hold people together and enhance
collaboration and speed across their large global company, they arrived at an
answer—culture, of which values had long been a foundation. Values align people’s
hearts and emotional energy and define how Nokia employees (“Nokians”) do
business with each other and therest of the world. Because Nokia’s existing values
had been unchanged for more than a decade and research showed there was some
ambivalence about them internally, the executive board, comprised of the CEO and
about a dozen senior leaders, decided it was time to re-examine the values. OPK
selected a team of people to create a process for doing so. The challenge to the team
was to get all thepeople of Nokia intellectually engaged. In keeping with Nokia’s
culture, the values would have to be the result of “the many” communicating with
Assigning this task was not trivial. It required that senior management be committed
to live with the outcome. The values that emerged from the bottom up would have
to be taken seriously and stick—or the organization would be seriously...