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Hans Christian Iversen: Shaping Business Leaders Through Coaching, not Bossing

by Cameron Baker


Hans Christian Iversen has 25 years of experience in a diverse array of business sectors, including Media, Manufacturing, Publishing, Professional Services, Private Equity and Professional Mentoring. He has worked as an operation executive and is very skilled in leadership mentoring. Currently, Iversen is a Senior Associate at Strengths Unleashed, as well as a Director and Mentor at Iversen & Associates. Hans Christian Iversen has a brilliant business mind and an engaging philosophy and we were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview him.


Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What led you to your current positions as a Senior Associate at Strengths Unleashed and a Director at Iversen & Associates?


I've done a lot of strategic consulting. I'm Danish, I've worked around Europe and in the Middle East and Asia, not so much in the US. I've been a partner with a lot of consultancies – Deloitte, BDO, Berger – and I've also worked running Disney publishing in Eastern Central Europe and these things have sort of led me into leadership mentoring and a lot of non-exec work and that's what I really like to do: help develop new leaders and help young leaders succeed.


Can you tell me a little bit about Strengths Unleashed and Iversen & Associates? What does a typical day or project look like?


What we do is we help c-level executives – both at the SME level and at the multinational level – develop their strengths and talents further. For example, you might have a managing director who's very good at strategy but not very good at administration, so we help him develop and implement those skills in strategy. We tell him to stay away from the administration which can be done by someone else.


We focus on developing his strength further by becoming excellent at what he's doing as opposed to becoming mediocre at his weaknesses. We administer a number of different assessments then we actually help him develop those strengths by coaching and mentoring him over 6, 12, or 18 months with regular intervals usually every two or every four weeks. When we start these sessions, we usually set some goals so we can monitor what we actually deliver and how and when we deliver it.


Iversen & Associates really does the same thing but we have more than 10 years’ track record in this space and the difference between what we do and what others do is that we focus on people's talents and strengths we don't focus on their weaknesses. It's our philosophy that if you're particularly good at certain things and you're able to develop those talents into major excellent strengths, you can easily cover up for things that you're not so good at by becoming great at things that people will then respect you for.


How has making meaningful relationships with your employees and colleagues helped you throughout your career?


I work with and lead people by giving them as much responsibility as possible and as much free leeway in terms of authority and transparency because I believe that they are the ones who interact with the clients and keep them happy and they need to develop their careers as well. I try to promote them and act more as a coach and a facilitator as opposed to a boss telling them what to do and when to do it and that has proven generally better in terms of working and developing people on an individual basis.


How would you describe the cultures at Strengths Unleashed and Iversen & Associates?


We actually just investigated the culture in Strengths Unleashed and we came up with the fact that we have some very strong individuals who are very competent, driven and motivated. They want to develop both the company and themselves, but they're not brilliant at teamwork and we have some work to do there and that's really what came out of that cultural assessment, though we did find that when the teams do work, they work relatively well together. At Iversen & Associates, which is a smaller company, the teamwork seems to work very well


Do you have any advice for young people who are trying to make their way in the business world?


I think the most important thing is to make sure that you do something that you really love and enjoy. You should feel that you're committed and you should want to develop in that field. It’s important to identify yourself with what you’re doing and feel that it's something you want to put your efforts into. If that's not the case then don't do it, move on and find something that you're really engaged in. There are too many people spending time at work to pay for the rent and pay for the food but are not really interested in their job and considering how much time they spend on it, that's a great pity. So my advice is to be engaged and if you're not engaged then go and move on and do something else.


What is an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career?


Helping to establish Disney in Eastern Central Europe and we also ended up doing it in comics and in books in Israel.






About ELEFense

ELEFense computes company engagement, sentiment & keyword trends in real-time at a

department level, revealing Enterprise Cultural Analytics to manage employee burnout and much more. We can create a graph of employee and company health that indicates the effects of events and trends on cultural change. This is done automatically & in real-time without using questionnaires or other traditional methods. ELEFense saves you from relying on opinions or voluntary contributions to make a management decision.






Cameron Baker works as a Sales and Marketing representative at ELEFense, specializing in

content creation. He is originally from Boston, Massachusetts and attends the University of

Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is studying Economics and Political Science and is working towards a career in Marketing, Equity Capital Markets, or Public Service.


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