Just last year Saab was looking hard for a Head of Treasury Operations. Someone who “can relate to other people in an adaptable and sensitive way”, someone “good at setting clear targets”.
Although the person they were searching for a person with managerial experience it was Kristina Vikdahl – a 25-year-old graduate in business administration – who got the job.
Learning from the team
An ice hockey captain since her early teens, Vikdahl has always been able to read between the lines. Whether in the locker room or on the ice, sensing player’s moods and knowing how to handle them has been a skill she has come to rely on.
This sensitivity has been vital to Vikdahl’s job as a manager. “I am used to setting targets,” she says. “At the same time, in sport everything’s black or white. If I make a wrong pass that results in the other side scoring – I get immediate feedback. When you set a target in an organisation you need to think differently. There it’s not as clear what is right or wrong – or even whether there is a right or wrong.”
Calculating and overcoming risk
Vikdahl explains her role at Treasury Operations “If Saab is going to invest in a new financial instrument, it’s our job to calculate how it would affect our portfolio in terms of the risk. I like the fact that we have a problem-solving function.”
As a two-time championship winner with Linköping HC, Vikdahl has participated in 40 international games. Now, however, as her career has advanced she has decided to put her hockey aside.
“It’s no fun to be at that level and feel that you can’t give it one hundred percent, so when Swedish coach Leif Boork called before an initial training camp, it felt natural to say ‘no thank you’,” says Vikdahl. “I’ve now got a more harmonious approach to ice hockey. I don’t take it all so seriously and it’s easier for me to enjoy the game.”
The professional team
Vikdahl knows about achieving goals. Now she is weaving her professional dreams. “Being satisfied is not in my nature,” she says. “I’m always striving to create a good team spirit, regardless of whether we are going for gold in the Swedish championship or have to meet a deadline. As a manager and team captain I know that everyone needs to do their bit and perform if we are going to go all the way.”