Photo credit: Henrik Trygg/KSSS

Arto Linnervuo – team leadership in different environments

In order to provide your clients with the most valuable legal advice in every situation, you have to analyze each matter carefully. Setting long- and short-term goals, and picking the right members for every team, are equally important in high-performing environments, be it at sea or on land. Partner Arto Linnervuo, a passionate sailor since childhood, knows this. His hobby supports his work as a successful technology attorney and team leader with a strong client focus.

A team leader, who wants their team to succeed, needs to set the course and trust that every member of the team knows what tasks they have and is able to perform them well. In advocacy, the long-term goal is to continuously provide excellent service. The short-term goals are to complete every matter successfully and give the client what they need in the specific case.

“The leader has to closely analyze the goals, the matter and the client, in order to know exactly what kind of team is needed and pick the right people and personalities, with different skill sets depending on the type of work being performed, and help them work seamlessly together towards the shared goal. In some cases, what is needed is a lawyer with strong technology expertise and another lawyer with deep knowledge of a specific aspect of the law. And my own contribution as well, not only as a leader but a member of the team”, says Arto Linnervuo.

This is also the case when sailing.

“As a skipper, I pick the people that complement each other – and me, as their team leader.”

At sea, as well as in work for clients, unexpected situations arise, even if they may be somewhat direr when you are on a small boat in the middle of the ocean. The skipper’s role is to analyze the situation, listen to different views and decide on the path forward.

“I have to be able to stand in for every team member in their specific role when needed. I once spent several hours hanging upside down in the engine room in our boat somewhere on the stormy North Atlantic Ocean, helping to repair the engine together with the team member with a background in mechanics.”

Trust, communication and openness

Leading teams in an expert organization is not always easy. Knowing your client is key, as is knowing your team. A team where people trust each other to handle their respective responsibilities, and help each other when needed, will perform well.

“The best teams are heterogenous, consisting of people with different personalities and skill sets.”

Arto Linnervuo describes himself as a leader who listens, is direct and open, and has a strong focus.

“In order to get to know the team members and get them to open up and build trust, you need to be open about yourself and your own feelings and shortcomings. Everyone has their own personal comfort zone, and, as leader, I have to be aware of this to be able to support them in their development as lawyers and to help them go outside their comfort zone.”

“At Roschier, trust between team members is very important. You have to be able to fully trust your team members to perform their tasks accurately and on time, in order to keep driving the project forward. The same goes with the crew on a sailboat – every team member is hand-picked for the special talents they can bring to the team.”

Always reaching further

“In order to keep your work performance consistently top-notch, it is important to find something you enjoy doing outside of work. I am very competitive and enjoy the high-paced work as a technology lawyer. To clear my head between client projects, I enjoy the challenges of offshore racing.”

Arto Linnervuo’s trick is to always try to go outside his comfort zone. In advocacy, this means always striving for something more, figuring out what the client needs in new and unexplored territory and finding the best way to give it to them. On a racing boat, he finds ways to constantly develop the team’s and the boat’s performance.

“I think it is important to approach every new situation with fresh eyes and an open mindset. The approach should always be tailored to the circumstances at hand. Set your goals, and help your team find the best ways to reach those goals.”

Arto Linnervuo has been sailing ever since he was a young boy, and today he is the commodore of a sailing club he has founded and the skipper of the Tulikettu Racing team, whose goal is to reach new milestones in the world of offshore racing.

He won the prestigious Gotland Runt Offshore Race in 2021 and the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race in 2018, and he was named Finnish Offshore Sailor of the Year 2018.