More than 20 years of experience at Oracle has turned Ilkka Latvio, Director of Consulting in Oracle Finland, into an accomplished leader, an invaluable skill in times of extraordinary challenges. What lessons has he learned throughout his career, and how have they shaped his leadership vision? Ilkka provides insight into how our leaders think, and what that means for work-life balance, career advancement, and overall job satisfaction.
The road to Oracle
Ilkka began his career in 1993 as a currency trader at a local bank in Finland. Then an opportunity came along to move to New York, where he continued his work as a currency trader for two and a half years. “It was an exhausting but exciting time in my career,” Ilkka remembers. “Take the opportunities you get to work and live abroad, as they’re valuable life experiences where you learn about different cultures, practice other languages, and make new friends—I still have many friends in the US.”
Having experienced life outside Finland, in 1998, Ilkka returned home. “After seven years as a currency trader, I felt I needed to do something different. Oracle was looking for salespeople for the Financial Services sector, so I applied.” That application led to a new role selling technology and applications. After 7 years, he applied for Sales Director for Technology and Sales, which started his path to leadership.
After assuming different Sales Director roles, and becoming Key Account Director for one of Oracle’s high-profile Finnish customers, Ilkka made his latest move. “The position for leading Oracle Consulting in Finland opened, so I applied. I believe Consulting is about delivering values to our customers; as a results-driven person who always wants to do his best, I believe I’m able to deliver on that promise.”
Reasons to stay
Fast forward to the present and Ilkka is celebrating his 20th anniversary at Oracle. What has made him stay in the company all these years? “I’ve always thought that Oracle is the leading company in the technology market,” he says. “I like the dynamic atmosphere, the people who work here, the fact that we have strong leadership, and our corporate strategy. I like that I’ve been able to take new positions, learn new things, and be successful.”
Another thing that has kept Ilkka at Oracle all this time has been the work-life balance he enjoys. “I have a 20-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter—my wife and I have been married for 19 years. I appreciate Oracle’s flexible work culture, which supports my family life and makes it fairly easy to maintain a work-life balance.”
A great leader starts with a great team
As a leader at Oracle, Ilkka has honed his vision to bring out the best in his team. These are his tips to shape, motivate, and build trust within a team:
Communication is key
Communication is very important when it comes to leadership, especially when everyone’s working from home. “Keep your door open; really listen with your heart and ears; talk to your employees. As a leader, I should always learn new ways and reflect on how I communicate with my team. That’s why I’ve started to communicate more through video: it’s a good way to raise people up and connect better with those who work remotely, as they can see your face and hear your voice. The message becomes more powerful.”
“Cover topics unrelated to work, like general wellbeing and how employees are doing. It’s become more meaningful than ever to have group video meetings with cameras on to discuss how things are going and to stay positive, just like at a regular in-office coffee break. I know that my peers are working hard, or even harder now, so we need to try to loosen up periodically together. Also, it’s very important to remind everyone to exercise during the day, as we tend to spend more time in front of the computer now.”
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