WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR?

I am in a darkening forest running with the help of my headlamp’s bright beam. It has been quite a while since I last punched my control card and I am not at all sure if, considering my skill, I made the smartest choice of route to the following control. According to habit, I won’t let this little detail bother me, I just increase my speed- something that anyone else wouldn’t even notice. Just go, the main thing is to move.

When have you last challenged yourself and your work community to consider, why do we do things the way we do them? In the spring work paces are high in organizations. The first quarter is behind us and the strategic plans have reached every employee in our last goal discussions. We know exactly what we are aiming at this year, how our success will be measured, and where our mutual journey is pointed in the near future. We have lots of routines and ways of acting, which we have always done- there is no need to question them, because “this is the way we work”. Yet we are not able to answer the big question: “what are we fighting for?” 

You may think, yes we do, and justify it through your own duties. “We are here for customers”. At the same time, various indicators that measure customer satisfaction and -experience scream the opposite. What should be done in this situation? Would it be good to stop for a moment, shut off the headlamp, look around and try to grasp where in world we really are? As in orienteering, in business it is not only moving forward that is essential. I argue that it is essential to move together toward a goal. If we do our routines, sit in meetings, make phone calls and fill our charts without having the right direction, can it be compared to running in a dark forest without being sure of the direction- needless to say, the goal. When we add to this a quest for reaching common results, the equation is already quite difficult.

Which is more important, to do things right or to do the right things? I am convinced that people have very different ways of doing things even when the goal is the same. The choice of route may be longer, straighter, steeper, wetter or whatever. One hurries, another one moves at a walk. From a leadership perspective, this means that we should encourage people to think about how we can reach our goals together.

What old ways do we have to give up? What new do we need to come up with? How can we make our teamwork more efficient?

I encourage you to take your foot off the gas for a moment and think about why and for what reason your organization exists. Whether one’s own work has a clear purpose and duty is strongly connected to whether work is experienced as meaningful. As long as one’s own work is meaningful and important, even big obstacles can be overcome.

Juri Haverinen

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