Inspiring environment on trading floor

Blog entry by Director, Head of Trading, Henrik Tveteraas.

Blog entry, May 27, 2019

 

My biggest goal is to create the most inspiring and developmental environment on our trading floor.

So far in 2019, my best day at work was the last day of January. Why? Because not only did we celebrate the best ever monthly result in the history of Lind Capital, but even more important it was the culmination of a great team effort. The spirit amongst the team-members that night was out of this world, and showed exactly what I want to achieve – great results while having a great deal of fun down that road!

So what do I do to support this spirit? And how do we create a culture that inspires people? First of all, it is important to understand the people you are working with. Our people represent all age groups, but we have a tradition of hiring newly graduates. We do that because they bring great energy, a fresh open mind, and not least a desire to learn and perform. On our trading floor all employees are in the 25-35 age group, hence it is about leading generation Y.

We accommodate this by giving a great deal of freedom to our people in every aspect. We all have a mutual responsibility of developing our company but at the same time I expect all employees to contribute beyond their own responsibilities. I try to live the well-known quote from Steve Jobs: “We don’t hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

I know it might sound pretty smart and a bit corporate too, but I will try to bring it down to earth with a few examples of how we are really doing it.

We run weekly team meetings and in addition to discussing the market in general everyone is encouraged to bring new ideas to the table. Let’s say you have an idea that XYZ can improve your business area. You pitch the idea on our weekly team meeting, we use the meeting to leverage the idea, and then we decide on whether to implement the idea or let someone do more research on the area. The fact that we decide on the spot really shows our extremely short decision path, which is a trademark of Lind Capital. It also shows that everyone’s voice is being heard, and if you want influence it is up to you to take responsibility. Here, the best argument always wins regardless of position and experience.

This culture also requires that people are willing to take responsibility both for their own and the company’s development. One of the best ways to do so is to gather inspiration from external sources. Personally I have done several things in regards to my personal development. I have been engaged in business networks, attended conferences, read books, and had personal coaching sessions. I encourage all my employees to do the same because we are highly dependent on our people to constantly develop so we keep moving forward as a company.

On a more personal matter we also work with unlocking each individual’s potential. We have personal development conversations and all employees are offered individual development plans as well. However, this is not what creates a developmental environment but it creates a good starting point for coaching sessions, which can help employees improve their performance and unfold their potential. One example of a great session is this guy who generally is rather quiet without a big desire to enhance his performance although he is highly recognized as a very bright guy. He has never expressed his long-term ambitions but we started a series of conversations with the ambition of setting some future career goals which should also help improve his general performance even further. During these sessions we came across everything from personal matters, his childhood, and how it could explain some of his performance patterns. We tried to take all these discussions and use them to outline some low-key actions to improve his performance to help him reach his career goals, and of course to be even more valuable to the company. I am both grateful and humble about these conversations, because when we move something or someone, I feel a special sense of purpose in my work life.

In the daily trading I try to use the same philosophy. I think people often assume that being Head of Trading is very much about making major trading decisions and big calls, but in my opinion it is much more a coaching role. I will never be able to know every single trade into details like the Traders do. They look at the markets and models constantly and get all information from their data, models, screens, network etc. I trust them to make the best possible decisions and then it is my responsibility to help them evaluate and give them both feed-back and feed-forward so we can help each other grow. That is also why new employees are given a great deal of responsibility from day one. We need them to start trading straight away because that is the only way to learn and develop the right skillset and as in everything else we do – we see mistakes as a way to get better.

Being part of a company supporting this mindset is a big reason why I still love to go to work every morning – Even after almost 10 years of employment in the company. I started as a Trader and while I still love the buzz around trading I get even more satisfaction from creating an environment where I can see people develop and grow. If I can do just a minor difference to the people around me, and help them perform slightly better, then I have reached my goal. And ultimately, it is also why it feels so great being out with the team celebrating – not only because of the financial results but because of all the hard work that lies behind. That’s when you feel the great connection to your colleagues and that you are a part of something bigger than just a common workplace.

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