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How Norges Handles Mistakes

How Norges Handles Mistakes

by Starling Insights

Starling Insights Editorial Board

Mar 15, 2024


In an article published in the Financial Times last month, journalist Robin Wigglesworth explores how Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) — Norway's $1.5 trillion sovereign wealth fund — handles and learns from mistakes.

Wigglesworth references a report Norges published in February in which anthropologist Tone Danielsen evaluates the fund's culture. Therein, Danielsen discusses an incident where one employee's Excel mistake caused the fund to lose roughly $92 million.

As evidence of Norges' commitment to psychological safety, the employee immediately reported the mistake to his boss and took full responsibility. "I openly express that this was my mistake, and mine alone. I felt miserable and was ready to take the consequences — whatever they might be," he told Danielsen.

However, the employee was not punished or "blamed" for his mistake. Instead, Norges took this as an opportunity to improve their practices and ensure that it would not happen again. "These things happen," Nicolai Tangen, CEO of Norges, wrote to the employee and his boss at the time. "We run a complex operation and I am more surprised that we historically have had very few, or no incidents like this. You are both super professional and important contributors to NBIM's success."

For more on Norges' culture, don't miss Nicolai Tangen and Carine Smith Ihenacho, NBIM's Chief Governance and Compliance Officer, in our 2024 Compendium▸ Learn More

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