Interview with Stefan

Studio Ocee

Stefan Thestrup Jensen
Age: 39
Residence: Odense, Denmark
Education: MSc BEng in Intergrated Design
Interests: Football and Underwater Hunting

Stefan began his career with Ocee International almost three years ago as a Project Manager for Studio Ocee. When a senior position as Technical Process Manager in the studio came up for grabs, Stefan applied – and got the job!

Congratulations on your new role as a Technical Process Manager in Studio Ocee!

  1. What are your primary responsibilities in your new job?

My new responsibilities involve taking care of tasks from a technical perspective throughout all our development and optimisation processes in the group of Ocee International. This includes ensuring a successful implementation of new products in our three production departments and PTA-issues as well. To help me do that I have the best team possible. And the team is also part of my new responsibilities.  Creating the best conditions for the team in order for us to be as successful as possible. As one unit. Basically, my job is to keep track of time management, contribute with technical insight and day-to-day management.

  1. Which position did you have before?

Before my new job as a Technical Process Manager, I was working with product development as Project Manager. My responsibilities were our new series of wooden furniture and our FourReal® A table. I also had PTA tasks and spent a lot of time working very closely with our production unit.

  1. What made you apply for the new position?

I have been working for Studio Ocee as a Project Manager for almost three years now. In that time, I have had a lot of thoughts and reflection about the workflow in the department. I had a feeling, that I could create value in the department as a leader. I really wanted to bring those thoughts into action. I have a clear vision of who I want to be as a leader. I am aware that this is a process, but I know in which direction to go.

Essential to my role as a leader is the notion that I have four really competent employees. They all have what it takes to make the right decisions. My job is to help them solve their tasks and function as their gatekeeper. And of course, shape and form all of our processes systematically.

  1. Did you have any precautions before applying for the job?

Yes, as a matter of a fact I did. Before applying, I talked to my colleagues about my intentions. I told them about my plans openly and asked them to let me know if they had any objections. Luckily, they didn’t. For that, I am really grateful. I was not willing to lose any of my colleagues.  

  1. How would you describe your own leadership style?

My priority is to take on my leadership role in a very natural way. In my opinion, the transition from colleague to leader requires a flat structure. Not hierarchy. We have always had a very relaxed approach in the department, and I want to maintain that. To me, personal relations are pivotal. I believe in growing from mistakes. Mistakes happen because we are only human. I want to be a leader who recognises people for trying and taking responsibility. It is my job to help and guide them towards reaching their goals. But it is their responsibility.

As a leader, I want to be as close to my employees as I possibly can. And take care of challenges along the way. Strong communication between daily tasks is what matters the most.

  1. What are your thoughts on Studio Ocee’s decision to advance you?

I think it is fantastic! I see it as substantial credit and a massive pat on the shoulder for my efforts. Sometimes hiring outside the business doesn’t always add value. And that to me, is an important realisation. Hiring from outside can sometimes be challenging. My previous knowledge about workflows, good and bad, and skillsets within the department is a huge advantage. It enables me to optimise workflows quicker and more efficiently. I welcome all the new challenges and work responsibilities. It is such a privilege to get that opportunity to grow. On both a professional and personal level.  

  1. How has it been being you in your new role so far?

It has been really great! And tough at the same time. Changes take time. Internally the chain of command has changed, so we are still practising. Even though my inbox has exploded, I am really excited, and I look forward to coming in to work every day.