Story | Copenhagen ZOO

Strategy implementation involves brain, heart… and feet!

Copenhagen ZOO has in collaboration with Sunrise developed a commercial strategy for the next three years. In the video, CEO Jørgen Nielsen, shares his views on the importance of having a solid strategy in place to provide direction and guidance for management and employees – in particular during times of volatility and constant change. He reveals his philosophy on how management can ensure a successful implementation.

“As a CEO you need to be careful not to walk into the trap where you believe that you got the answers to all the questions – because you don’t.”

Jørgen Nielsen, CEO, Copenhagen ZOO

Why is a strategy crucial in an ever-changing world?

Copenhagen ZOO’s strategy for 2020 was turned on its head but according to Jørgen Nielsen it was necessary to have a strategy in place regardless.

“It is always good to have a three-year strategy planned – both for the management but also for the employees. In this way we can keep track of where we are going and where we are at this very moment. It is also beneficial for the outside world and the board so we can keep each other on the toes.

If we don’t have anything planned in advance, then we also wouldn’t know what we didn’t deliver on. And then it becomes hard to improve.”

He emphasizes how change has forced the company to discover new and innovative ways of working in order to adjust to new realities. The company can suddenly accelerate in new directions that was not initially part of the strategy.

A philosophy on strategy implementation


Jørgen Nielsen swears by a management model – his very own philosophy in fact – when implementing a new strategy. It involves three pillars: brain, heart and feet.

  • The brain is the plan developed by management. It must be a simple plan which can be understood by everybody in the company.
  • The heart is the driving force behind the culture. Everyone in the company must be in love with the plan in order to be motivated to deliver results.
  • And finally, the feet that carry out the plan. Jørgen Nielsen perceives this as his main role – to ensure the successful execution.

How can an agency add value to your strategy development and implementation?

“As a CEO you need to be careful not to walk into the trap where you believe that you got the answers to all the questions – because you don’t.”

Working with external consultants can be an excellent way to keep you out of this trap and to get a sparring partner in defining your strategy. Jørgen Nielsen clarifies:

“You get an extra spokesperson towards the board, the employees and the management and it provides you with a person who adopts the company’s mind-set and thinks like we do.

Since I became CEO for the first time at age 35, I have spent my entire career on sparring with competent external people. And I will continue to do so.”

Do you want to hear more?
Contact Senior Consultant
Anders Torpegaard
+45 31 40 45 05 or

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