We are changing the Swedish Consular Offices

Krönika i Swedish American Chamber of Commerce’s tidning – Maj 2000

In the new economy, real assets are worth less and brand names more. This is a good thing for a country with SAAB and Volvo; Ericsson, Tetra Laval, and IKEA. And now H&M, Europe’s biggest fashion retailer has just opened its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York — a brilliant success so far – and is looking to open stores throughout the U.S. during the coming year. Trying to get into H&M on the weekends is like trying to get into a popular downtown club at midnight: the lines are endless, and the only thing that is missing is a bouncer at the door!

H&M brings the latest from Sweden to New York, not only fashion but management styles. All of H&M’s new hires have had to spend at least one month in training in Sweden (the consular officers at the Consulate General had some late nights getting out all those visas!). What H&M wants is that every employee should have a sense of responsibility – one might even say, a sense of ownership – for the business as a whole, not just his or her part. Even if your part is serving coffee in the café, you should still be able to assist customers, and guide them to where they want to go. This is the Swedish service concept: bulldozing pyramids, flattening out hierarchies.

We are changing the Swedish Consular offices in New York, with the largest Swedish information service abroad. We are underfinanced and and dependent on sponsoring from companies. The Consulate is giving consular service to Swedes and Americans. We are in this field working more extensivly with our website. We are introducing Swedish culture in the US. Spreading the word on Sweden means also that we — more yhan before – are now expanding our activities to include providing information both on new business efforts in Sweden, as well as on the improving business climate there. And the more we do, the more we realize there is to be done in promoting Sweden.