Ronny Solberg has been the CEO of Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC (AGL) for the past year. His company is building the Shuakhevi Hydropower Project (HPP) – one of the largest infrastructure investments in Georgia, with a total investment of USD 416 million.
Mr. Solberg is from Norway and has worked in the upper management of a variety of companies in the hydropower field.
Mr. Solberg is married with three children. His oldest son is an engineer, and his daughter is studying engineering and planning to work the hydropower sector like her father.
His youngest son is a 19 year-old surfing school student in the middle of a decision-making process with respect to his future profession. Unlike his younger son, Mr. Solberg is a motorbike enthusiast (he has twelve) and avid skier.
He recently visited Goderdzi Pass and believes that the area has solid development potential as a ski resort. In his free time, he also enjoys brewing beer and hosting friends. In Norway, he lives near Oslo in a house at the edge of a forest, though he does not spend much time at home – his work keeps him abroad most of the time.
Mr. Solberg and his wife currently live in Batumi and love being in the city, especially during the off-season. Mr. Solberg enjoys Georgian wine and traveling to different parts of Georgia. This autumn he traveled to Kakheti and was so impressed by Kvareli Lake that he is planning to invite friends to join him there this summer. He is also interested in Georgian fine arts and intends to purchase works from Georgian artists.
How would you describe the team you lead in Georgia?
Our team can overcome any challenge. As you know, the majority of AGL team members are Georgians. When you implement a project in foreign country, it is vitally important to be familiar with the traditions, culture, and environment of the host country – successful communication is not possible otherwise. The first thing I did when I arrived in Georgia was to get to know this country.
Georgia is a fascinating country with a complex culture and extraordinary people, many of whom work with us at AGL. The knowledge, education, experience, and professionalism of these Georgian colleagues has significantly contributed to the success of our project.
To what extent are women represented in your company?
I can proudly say that 60% of the employees in our Batumi office and all of the employees in our Tbilisi office are women. They hold managerial positions and are part of our company’s management team.
My work is mostly in the energy field, and therefore we are regularly in touch with specialists in Georgia’s energy sector.
I have been very impressed by the number of knowledgeable women working in the energy field in Georgia, since men are so often overrepresented in this sector. Personally, I would like to see even more women interested in careers in the energy field.
Mr. Solberg, Georgia is a developing country that is gradually implementing modern methods of management in its private companies. You have many years of experience working in managerial positions. In your opinion, what are some of the first steps that a manger needs to take when starting a job?
First of all, you have to study the needs of the company, but I would also like to highlight one other important factor which is crucial for any company to achieve success.
It does not matter whether you manage a large company or small one, whether you are a mid-level manager or top manager, your first step is to build a team where everyone has the chance to make the most of their abilities.
You need to watch and study your team members and enable them to do what they do best. Naturally, this is not a simple process; however, projects cannot be successful without an effective and motivated team.
Many managers still don’t believe that it is important to establish or improve a company’s internal communication channels. How are these being developed in your company?
Communication requires constant improvement and development to keep pace with technological progress. It is very important to keep employees updated about ongoing processes through internal communication channels. They should never get information about the company’s achievements or challenges through external channels.
We use all means of technology at our disposal to achieve this goal. In addition, I believe that face-to-face communication the most effective form of communication, and therefore we often use it.
What advice would you, as a CEO with years of experience, give to Georgian managers?
I believe that a CEO should always feel that a company’s success or failure is their responsibility and never that of an individual employee or team.
Still, it is essential to give employees a sense of responsibility and decision making capacity within the bounds of their abilities and roles. And most importantly, always find time to listen to your employees.