QlikTech's Lars Bjork: When public really means private

QlikTech CEO Lars Björk in his Radnor office: "Everyone who joins the company, in whatever position, has to go to Qlik Academy" in Sweden. (Ron Tarver / Staff Photographer)

Lars Bjork says he's the first Swede to take an American company (Radnor's Qlik Technologies Inc.) public. Who knows if that's really true, but, in our recent Leadership Agenda interview, he talked about how going public affected his management style.

Bjork says he believes, generally, in open management. One component? Making company financial information readily available to employees -- the idea being that transparency breeds engagement and collaboration.

But that kind of financial transparency is not entirely possible under U.S. Securities Exchange Commission regulations:

"It’s hard to be as open about everything as part of the organization as I would like it to be, because you are under rules and regulations by the SEC," he said. "It’s a shame, personally, I would say it, but that’s the flip side of the coin of being a publicly-traded company.

"I could not walk out and talk about past quarter results before we talked about it to the Street because of the risk of somebody mentioning it at home and then it gets out in the press and we get sued," he said.

"In the past, we had a QlikView application, because we have software that does all of this, and everyone could look into how [we] did," he said. "That’s one of those things [that] is a little bit sad.  You have to find other ways and other metrics that people can relate to that are still OK to share, so there are ways around it."