What were the factors behind the success of Lars Magnus Ericsson and the company he established?
Some were linked to Lars Magnus’s personality. Physically, he was described as “very tall”, lanky as a young man; his physique later became “powerful, and inspired an immediate impression of calm and energy”, according to the physician Knut Harald Giertz, whose father-in-law Lars Magnus became. His gaze was “acute and penetrating”, and he moved “calmly and with dignity”.
According to Johansson, Lars Magnus’s attitude to people was to trust them. He considered that his word should be good enough for anyone, and he did not like employing lawyers when making financial agreements.
A thoroughly researched obituary in the Stockholms-Tidningen newspaper stresses Lars Magnus’s iron will, “for which difficulties were to be overcome”. He had “an unusual appetite for work – he never put something on the shelf to return to when there was more time or a opportunity”. As a rule he was at his workplace at seven in the morning and often stayed well into the night. He had the maxim “Do it now!” displayed in his office.
Others said he demanded a great deal of others but always more of himself, and that he had a “remarkable capacity to see through people”. In many respects “he went his own way, creating this and that for the pleasure of solving problems”, but in terms of his career, “he was characteristically a man with a practical viewpoint, who looked mainly at results”.
One obvious factor was Lars Magnus’s expertise in the workshop, which meant that his workers had complete faith in him. Johansson lays particular stress on Lars Magnus’s skill as a designer:
“He was a genius in this area ... Anyone watching how Ericsson worked got the impression that the construction was already there for his inner vision before he set the design down on paper. He did this so rapidly and assuredly ... He could see in the smallest detail how the apparatus that currently occupied his mind should be constructed so that it could be manufactured in the simplest and most rational way.”
Johansson also mentions how Lars Magnus strove for perfection:
“He was utterly meticulous and wanted the execution of a design not only to be solid and practical but also stylish and elegant ... The telephone administration of one of the English dominions in which the Ericsson factory had gained a large market declared that the Ericsson telephone was the Rolls-Royce of telephones.”
Author: Svenolof Karlsson & Anders Lugn