Top manager transforms Denmark’s largest interests and member organisation by asking: Why do we exist? 

When Stina Glavind took office as FDM’s new CEO in 2022, she came with a vision to transform and modernise the over 100-year-old organisation. Now in 2024, Stina Glavind reflects on the journey, the process, and the obtained results. 

“When I set myself a goal, I go for it. I don’t relent”. Børsen’s article from 2022 told the story of Stina Glavind’s decision to take on the position of CEO at Denmark’s largest member and interest organisation, FDM, after a career at Carlsberg and Coop. And about her recipe to succeed, in her career and when climbing mountains.

Now, in February 2024, FDM has announced a new member record, followed by the launch of a rebranding campaign aiming at vitalising the FDM brand and recruiting even more members. The launch is part of the holistic and thorough transformation of FDM that started right after Stina Glavind took office as the new CEO in 2022.

In 2022, FDM teamed up with IDna Group to start the transformation inside-out by looking at its inner identity first. Now in 2024, Stina Glavind reflects on our shared journey, the process, and the obtained results in this conversation with our senior strategist Beate Kornfeld. 

IDna GroupWhat was the situation of FDM when you started as CEO, and what was your priority as CEO during the first year? 

Stina Glavind: In the process of considering the position, I realised that I had a misleading and a bit old-fashioned perception of FDM. As so many other Danes, I mainly knew FDM from the magazine “Motor” which often was lying on the coffee table at my parents’ house. However, the various values of being a member of FDM were unknown to me until I researched it further. So I questioned, “Why does FDM not convey their narrative in a way that makes them relevant for someone like me?” Even before taking on the CEO position, I saw a clear need to modernise FDM’s narrative. 

“This was the start of a more thorough and deep process to clarify and define FDMs’ identity, which gave many clarifying aha-moments and contributed to the development and growth of the participating management team and team leads.”

Additionally, there was a clear need to define our position regarding the green transition within the car industry. To what extent does FDM need to represent our members, who still dominantly drive fossil fuel cars, and how far can we be ahead of our members in a time of transition and change? 

The internal process was initiated with the question of whether or not the green transition could be the needed vehicle to modernise FDM. 

After a first analysis and discussion also with IDna Group, we identified the green transition as a key topic for FDM but not as the purpose of FDM. Being an organisation that has been around for 100 years, the green transition is not FDM’s identity, and our purpose needs to have longevity beyond the transition to electric cars. This was the start of a more thorough and deep process to clarify and define FDMs’ identity, which gave many clarifying aha moments and contributed to the development and growth of the participating management team and team leads. 

In parallel, we conducted workshops with the Board and our Representatives (FDM’s Repræsentantskabet) to discuss the green transition and FDM’s role and position in it. Through this process, we aligned internally that FDM needs to take a bigger responsibility and a proactive point of view to maintain relevance, but also that FDM needs to be an inclusive FDM that enables and supports all parts of the transition to find and nurture the optimal solution. 

This resulted in a confirmed understanding that FDM’s WHY lies in uniting the car owners’ needs for mobility with the needs of a modern and sustainable society – during the current transition to electric cars as well as through all future transitions in the decades to come. 

IDna GroupRealising that you needed to modernise FDM’s external perception, many would have initiated a branding project. Why did you start the process inside-out by working on FDM’s identity first? 

Stina Glavind: Before you can go out and take the megaphone, you need to know what you want to say. Before the identity work, FDM had run many tactical campaigns on individual product offerings, but the overall narrative about FDM did not exist. We were lacking the narrative that could tie all offerings from FDM together in a meaningful way. We needed to increase the fundamental understanding of FDM, the inner bond of the total offering to support the recruitment and retention of members. We wanted our members to have an understanding of the broader FDM world they are entering, not just of a single product offering like our insurance product. Internally, we needed to understand that raising the understanding of the full FDM would help every product campaign and every mechanic in FDM’s vehicle inspection centre to recruit members. And to tell the overall story of FDM, we needed to clarify FDM’s identity and key narrative. 

“With a joint understanding of FDM’s WHY and identity, the synergies between different parts of the organisation are way higher.”

IDna GroupNot all CEOs are aware of the benefit of working inside-out by starting a transformation with clarifying the organisational identity. You have experienced the value of identity for business development in your previous positions. What is identity for you, and why are you a convinced supporter?

Stina Glavind: In organisations, it is key to have a shared understanding of why the organisation exists. When I started, FDM was fragmented between the interest organisation and the commercial part of FDM, which again was divided into different product teams. Working on only one particular offering, it is no surprise that employees over time develop a slightly different perception of FDM’s WHY. 

 With a joint understanding of FDM’s WHY and identity, the synergies between different parts of the organisation are way higher. The interest organisation and the commercial part of FDM are not two different parts, they are the Yin and Yang of the same FDM and can strengthen, balance, and support each other. The long-term insights from counselling members can be used for product development or for influencing regulations, just to mention one example. 

Our work with identity has given us a shared understanding of the fundamentals, a shared language, and a strong guidance that eases prioritisation. It is not about personal opinions as we have a shared reference that we have agreed upon. 

Clarifying identity was the first step in our transformation. When we introduced the Identity Compass to all employees, we were met with the question: What am I supposed to do differently on Monday? To give a more profound answer, we developed FDM’s 2030 strategy out of the Identity Compass listing concrete actions. 

“With a defined Identity, the output of the strategy process is more long-term focused, more visionary and ambitious, and it stands on a stronger foundation.”

IDna GroupYou have been part of a strategy process with and without having an Identity Compass defined. What was the difference? What impact did the Identity Compass have on the strategy process?

Stina Glavind: With a defined Identity, the output of the strategy process is more long-term focused, more visionary and ambitious, and it stands on a stronger foundation. Within the process, you get deeper, and at the same time, you can lift yourself into a helicopter perspective. There is a common thread that holds everything together now. When all of FDM’s employees saw the 2030 strategy at the beginning of 2024, the feedback was overwhelming. Because of the connection to the identity, the strategy has a compelling clarity for all employees. We now have direction and guidance on every topic we are working on, may it be ESG, charging products, or our input and standpoint on regulations. 

IDna GroupWhen we did the identity project together, you had just started as FDM’s new CEO. What benefit did the process have for you as a new CEO?

Stina Glavind: The identity project has been the best team-building exercise that I have ever seen. We have become a completely aligned management team, which has erased all major discussions on priorities and directions. We have established a shared reference and foundation for the years to come. Many strategic discussions and decisions were easier after having defined the Identity Compass. Establishing our playing field from the beginning gave us a great start as a new management team. And it was fun doing it together. 

“The secret of IDna Group’s facilitation is the impression that we feel that we defined our Identity Compass ourselves.”

The secret of IDna Group’s facilitation is the impression that we feel that FDM did the work and defined our Identity Compass ourselves. You were with us with excellent facilitation throughout the entire process. But we were the ones who did the work. We perceive FDM’s Identity Compass as our work. And that is a great success experience for the management team. 

“We have become a completely aligned management team which has erased all major discussions on priorities and directions.”

IDna GroupYou have been a great example of taking the Identity Compass and using it not only as a common thread in the strategy process and as a guide to consolidate and develop the product portfolio but also in the external execution via the new brand campaign. Reflecting on all the benefits the identity process has had for you, which one was the most important one? 

Stina Glavind: The identity project has given us the answer to how we can increase FDMs’ relevance and clarified our reason for existing. It has increased the meaning of working for FDM. Now, we are clearer about FDM’s ambitious contribution to society, and I perceive it as meaningful to have that clarity. The joint understanding of FDM’s reason to exist has strengthened the cooperation and collaboration within FDM and now we succeed in realising our synergies much better throughout the entire organisation. 

Stina Glavind, we thank you for your time. 

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