Niels Jensen on building trust, and why it’s good to get out of your comfort zone
By Adobe Life Team
Posted on 04-27-2021
Niels Jensen joined Adobe in the middle of the night. It happened back in 2012, when the company he worked for at the time, Efficient Frontier, was acquired. “We were so excited. We were a small company of 300 people, so we were uncertain about what to expect with Adobe,” says Jensen. “But then we were invited to Adobe Summit in the US, and it was amazing to see the big picture of the company’s strategy and products.”
In the nine years since the acquisition, Jensen says he’s appreciated the resources and opportunities of a big company. And he’s grown his career from client services director to head of customer success for central Europe.
“It excites me to see a customer succeed with a solution we provided for them,” explains Jensen. “And even when we have a problem, I enjoy getting things back to green. It’s all about being open and transparent and building trust. When there’s trust, things speed up, and we can make difficult decisions together quickly. It’s how we create true partnerships.”
Leading a far-apart team, and keeping them together
Jensen’s team is spread across multiple countries, so part of his mission as a leader is to bring people together, even when they aren’t in the same place physically. One of his inspirations is the management classic, Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek. “When it comes to leadership style, I’m very transparent—it’s similar to how I build relationships with customers. I like to include people in every decision, I help clear road blocks, and I support my team any way I can. It’s how we build a culture where we all support each other.”
During COVID, Jensen has been especially focused on supporting his team. “We’ve worked to find the balance between maintaining our connections and valuing people’s private time—because it’s so difficult to separate work and private life when we’re all working from home all the time. We try to meet often, but for shorter sessions, so we can focus on our priorities before video-call fatigue sets in.”
Beyond work, Jensen helps keep the team connected with optional virtual coffee hours every morning. Subjects range from sports to the best of Netflix and ongoing home DIY projects, to a chance to just check-in about how everyone’s doing. The team has even gotten together by video call to play games and bake cookies together. “Our cookie meeting included a good discussion of chewy versus crispy,” Jensen adds.
Even though he’s used to leading a virtual team, Jensen is eager to get back into the Hamburg office. “We have a beautiful space right at the harbor, surrounded by great restaurants for lunch. Most of the 200 people in our office are engineers, so there’s a mood of intense concentration, and everyone is very nice and helpful.”
Jensen’s top tips for building a career
When people ask Jensen about building a career at Adobe, he advises, “Be brave.” Jump at opportunities to learn new things, and take full advantage of the diversity of departments at Adobe to find new experiences. “Be open to stretches,” he says. “Be open to change. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone to grow.”
Topics: Adobe Culture, Brand, Adobe Life, Adobe Life - Europe, Career Advice