– In the green shift we now are facing, Norway has every opportunity as a nation to be leading within development of sustainable products and solutions for the maritime industry, says Gry Cecilie Sydhagen, CEO of Metizoft.
We wanted to learn more about Gry Cecilie Sydhagen, her thoughts on leadership and the way forward for Metizoft as well as the maritime industry in a rapidly changing world. So, we have asked her some questions.
Q: What type of leader are you?
A: I have an informal leadership style which I hope opens up for good dialogues with my employees. Having one-to-one conversations with all of them are important to me. I believe this strengthens our collaboration in the company. I want everyone to thrive and feel that they are part of Team Metizoft. I am fortunate to have highly skilled employees both in Norway and Asia. In my role as manager, this means that I must be flexible and focus on having several cultures in the organization finding a common ground and be led in the same direction.
I have great faith in “freedom under responsibility”, and it makes me happy when employees are at the forefront and engaged. To have harmony in the workplace is crucial, and humour is a very important part of the work life at Metizoft.
Q: What do you find most inspiring in your job?
A: That the people around me are happy and that we manage to get the best out of each individual employee inspires me and gives me extra energy. That they thrive, have fun and look forward to going to work. Seeing them reach their goals and that I as manager can help them along the way, inspires me a lot. I think it is a privilege to be involved in creating jobs!
I have never been an A4-person and I am known for thinking out-of-the-box. I find untraditional decisions inspiring. And it can sometimes go fast from getting an idea until it has been turned into a solution. The reward of seeing us make it happen gives me a real energy boost!
Q: What future vision – related to leadership, competence development and sustainability – do you have for the company?
A: I am proud that Metizoft was one of the world’s first to offer Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) to the maritime industry, and that we today are the global market leader. The future will be characterized by a high focus on developing more sustainable products and solutions, something that has been our core business since the start-up in 2006.
Expertise in green technology and sustainability is always a focus area for Metizoft, and we always strive to be at the forefront of developments within our segment. Our aim is to be a solid and credible partner for our customers.
Q: What is the most important experience you have had last year during the Covid-19 pandemic? How has the pandemic affected the company and the organization?
A: The importance of being proactive and constantly focusing on the big picture has been crucial for Metizoft’s success during the pandemic. When it seemed that everything would stop, we were early finding alternative solutions to reach the market without the possibility of physical customer meetings. We then experienced that the orders came rolling in. The sales team had their hands-full and the project department had to hire more people to handle the workload. In addition, we also found new methods for solving inspections via video.
Our global network of sales agents and inspectors at all strategic world ports, as well as our offices in Singapore and China, has been a strength when the pandemic put an end to all travel activities. We see from this experience that despite the challenges, it is possible to collaborate across national borders. In my opinion, new routines for digital collaboration have come to stay and we will follow the development to be best equipped in the future.
Q: On a personal level, what are you most looking forward doing when the pandemic is finally over?
A: I really look forward to travel to Asia to meet all my friends and colleagues there. I also look forward to taking my family with me and travel to warmer places. To sit around a table with many friends and share food, wine and good stories. I’m also looking forward to again be able to participate at trade fairs and to travel around the world. And not the least, to be able to arrange a proper company party to celebrate that we got through the pandemic as well as we have done!
Q: How do you think working life will change in the future, and how will it affect your management?
A: I have always needed flexibility in my everyday work. When I need to think strategically and be creative, I have to be in a quiet room so that my thoughts can flow freely. Then I will come up with a solution. This probably applies to many of us.
During the pandemic, we have tested the home office in a different way than before, and we see that it works. I believe this way of working will be very relevant also in the future, especially if you need time to work efficiently without interruption. We are now looking into finding a new home office model, but do not have a concrete solution yet.
We have also experienced that first-time meetings with potential customers have been unproblematic to conduct via Teams. However, we see that networking and creating new relationships lose some of their dynamics in the digital dialogue. So, I therefore think business trips and physical customer meetings will continue after the pandemic, but perhaps on a smaller scale than before.
Q: What do you think about the future prospects, challenges and opportunities for maritime companies and the maritime industry?
A: Norway has always been a world leader within innovation. But I now see that other countries are breathing down our necks and developing good solutions, often at a cheaper price. So, we have to work hard to maintain our position. We need to lift this issue to the governmental level in order to help financing innovation and further development in the Norwegian maritime industry. We need rapid decision making and less bureaucracy in the innovation processes. And we need to identify and take the new opportunities before others are getting ahead of us.
In the green shift we now are facing, Norway has every opportunity as a nation to be leading within development of sustainable products and solutions for the maritime industry. It is also crucial that we continue to deliver quality – something we are known for in the world. We may cost a bit more, but Norway is synonymous with quality!
Q: How have you benefitted from the NME membership?
A: The most important of being member of NME is the opportunity to market the company together with “Norway” at major international and domestic trade fairs. The Norwegian pavilion attract many decision makers, and the cooperation among the exhibitors in the pavilion is also of great importance. Our supplier portfolio is growing rapidly, and we are lucky to be able to exhibit together with several of our customers. We have also participated at the annual ERFA conference and we now look forward to seeing how the North Sea Matchmaking event in May can contribute. All in all, NME is a strategic partner for Metizoft!
About Gry Cecilie Sydhagen
Gry Cecilie Sydhagen founded Metizoft AS in 2006 with an ambition to make the maritime industry greener. She holds a degree within informatic and system development from Molde University College in Norway. Since she founded the company, she has held the roles of entrepreneur and chief technology officer in addition to being the CEO. She is also chair of the board and/or board member of companies within the Metizoft sphere as well as externally. In 2009, she was honoured as the «Norwegian Female Entrepreneur of the Year» for her effort in developing green technology solutions. She is 47 years old and lives with her partner, their three children and lots of pets.
Metizoft is among the world’s first and leading consulting companies providing IHM (Inventory of Hazardous Materials) solutions to shipyards, shipowners, suppliers, and other business segments in the maritime industry.
METIZOFT Ship Lifecycle Solutions provide user-friendly tools emerging from advanced software, in addition to IHM inspections, document management and IHM maintenance, removal of hazardous materials, and ship recycling planning and supervision.
Metizoft operates out of Norway, Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong. In addition, they have an extensive network of IHM inspectors, operating out of strategic ports on all continents. More than 60 employees go to work every day at their offices to provide sustainable solutions for the entire ship lifecycle.
Read more about Metizoft on: www.metizoft.com