Risto Lähdesmäki knows how positivity, hard work and a loving leadership style pay off: his company, Idean, is now headquartered in Silicon Valley and has design agencies employing some of the world’s most talented designers in 18 major cities globally.
My client Risto Lähdesmäki is the CEO of the international design agency Idean and one of the founding members of the company. He has over fifteen years of experience in designing digital services, user interfaces and user experiences. The guy has been involved in hundreds of projects, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Risto uses design to combine the vision of senior management with profitable business.
Lahdesmäki has done a great job at that. Today, the company is headquartered in Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, California, USA. Palo Alto is located in the metropolitan area around San Francisco Bay. Idean’s head office is next door to the headquarters of Facebook, Hewlett-Packard and many other giants.
But what values and habits have played an important role in guiding his company to the brightest stars in the market? When you ask Risto this, the answer is simple: Love.
The years at Idean have been busy, with many successes, setbacks and failures. But with Finnish guts, they never gave up, and always got up to try again. It has all taken a shocking amount of work, effort and courage. Such working days throughout the years that there were barely a few hours of sleep a night and no more than a week’s holiday a year. In recent years, businesses were constantly more or less on the verge of bankruptcy. Fortunately, however, Risto and his company had faith in the future and kept trying.
Before long, Idean began to receive very large orders and was already trusted by the world’s largest companies, such as IBM. Idean, now one of the brightest market leaders, is rapidly conquering the American market. The company already employs 265 top professionals in 18 cities around the world.
Risto’s loving management style treats staff like family. Employees can throw out ideas that sound crazy at first without fear of failure. It is in this space that even the boldest ideas can come forward and be heard – and often become the diamonds in the rough.
Over the years, I have had the honour of working as a photographer at many of Idean’s fabulous corporate events, capturing unique moments. And anyway, having worked as a photographer and partner for many other great companies over the years, I have noticed many things. However, the following has remained indelibly etched in my mind: Successful companies have a warm atmosphere where people are valued. Employers praise their employees and know how to give praise. In this way, employers also gain the respect of employees and others, not by managing through fear, but by earning it. And employees are happy to put their best skills to work.
I wanted to write this blog post to inspire people to continue to have faith in tomorrow and in hardworking entrepreneurship, even in this challenging economic climate. The key idea is not to let fear control what you do. Respecting others, always being humble and willing to improve, and being brave enough to try new ways of doing things. As Risto and many other achievers have shown, the best successes and experiences really do come outside your comfort zone. Eli pelko pois ja kohti jännittäviä seikkailuja.
All the best and success for 2020!