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Call for Paradigm Shift in Management

In the beginning of year 2017 we took a serious timeout and started to fundamentally elaborate our organization's operations.

Jaakko Hartikainen / March 15, 2019

This is our first blog that opens up a series of blogs about the topic of our passion: paradigm shift in management.

From good to great: we needed a serious timeout to take a new direction

In the beginning of year 2017 we took a serious timeout and started to fundamentally elaborate our organization's operations. We were 250 person developing digital customer experience solutions for clients in Nordic countries.

Business had been steadily growing but we felt that we could achieve much more if we found a way to really unlock the great potential we had in our people and teams. We believed that the unlocking begins when we put the People at the center and foster a culture the individuals and teams can truly feel the inspiration and inclusion and can operate in an environment of strong autonomy. Since March 2017 many things have happened and today we are an organization of 600+ people in eight different countries, business performance, customer satisfaction and future outlook significantly better than ever before.

Our journey continues and we are testing and learning new things every day. At this point we though that it is a good time to start sharing our experiences and exploring the important topic together.

24 months of hands-on transformation & learning in a global 600 people laboratory

We have had a 24 months exploratory journey of management innovation. In the beginning we had a strong intuition that we need to fundamentally rethink our management models. We have followed that intuition and step-by-step iteratively formed our beliefs, models and practices by working hands-on in our own organizational laboratory of hundreds of people in several countries.

During the journey we have also explored several books, articles, videos and podcasts to notice that our intuition and learnings are very much shared by the leading thinkers of future management. The reflections and feedback loop between the academy and our real life experiment has made the progress more systematic and also significantly increased our confidence on the early intuition.

What is at the essence of the paradigm shift in management?

The traditioal pyramid and hierarchy model of the organisation, which is what our organisation in many ways reflected in the beginning of 2017, is based on an idea that success is achieved by building efficient "machine" leading to hierarchy, top-down, command & control, predicting, silos, bureaucracy, thinkers vs. doers, easy-to-find-who-to-blame and similar structures and behaviors.

Living organism is a way to think about organisation based on placing humanity at the heart of everything, aiming to release full potential of the collective intelligence in the whole organisation and building ultra adaptability when the world is getting more complex and volatile around us. This requires e.g. extreme transparency, autonomy, trust, strong culture, breaking silos and completely different leadership styles & skills than a machine. In this blog series we will share our practical learnings of building an organisation reflecting characteristics of living organism with you.

Our personal aspiration

Our mission is to help organizations transform with a shift in management paradigm for making companies shine and people live fulfilled and inspirational life. We are driving the change in the context of larger corporation, Tieto, and we've seen the challenge being steeper and thus, more motivating, than just building things from the scratch. At the same time, the feeling of pioneering and showing the way for 15 000 professionals globally is super inspiring.

Meaning for the whole society

In the next 20 years the rise of Artificial Intelligence and technologies will fundamentally reform the work tasks and DNA of many organizations. In this new era the success is more and more dependent on People and their inspiration and creativity. Companies need to start reinventing their management model and organizational paradigm very fast for enabling People to live up to their capacity and thereby being relevant as a company.

Leaders need to adopt skills and behaviours how to build environments where psychological safety is nurtured, where strategy is built not for the organization but by the organization, and customers are served by passionate, bold and curious people. When competition is getting more and more global every day, this questions is getting crucial for any company and economy in the whole world.

We are inviting you to join this journey with us

The aim of this first blog was to introduce the importance of paradigm shift in management and how our story relates to that. We will share different perspectives, real life examples and learnings based on our journey so far, with a set of blog posts during the next six months. One of our learnings so far is that despite some literature and articles, this shift of paradigm cannot be only studied academically and there is no ready-made blueprint one can implement.

Success is not about which model you choose (in books and articles there are models like Spotify, Teal, Team-of-Teams etc.) but instead, what it requires is tons of real life laboratory testing, thinking, reflections, discussions and learnings with other people with enthusiasm.

We believe there is so much more to be learned and therefore, we invite everyone with similar interests to join the movement. All experiences, comments and contacts are warmly welcome. Let's make this shift of paradigm together.

With passion and humility,

co-authors Jaakko Hartikainen & Mikko Virtanen


Our blog series:

No 1: Call for Paradigm Shift in Management
No 2: Magnitude of Change when Shifting Management Paradigm
No 3: Why do so many companies manage people like machines and why is it one of the biggest problems of our times?
No 4: How to drive paradigm level change?  Our learnings and one crucial breakthrough innovation
No 5: Incredible India and breaking the hierarchy
No 6: Management paradigms in a nutshell, inspired by Frederic Laloux's book Reinventing Organizations
No 7: Our unforgettable journey to trust, transparency and eventually success 
No 8: We all know that “Carrot and Stick” model is outdated — Why is it so damn hard to implement new ways?
No 9: The Power of Purpose
No 10: Finding your purpose and living your life with it can unleash tremendous potential 
No 11: Organization as living organism and complex adaptive system

Jaakko Hartikainen
Head of CEM

Jaakko Hartikainen is a senior business leader with broad experience in building next generation digital services, agile way of working and new business models. His passion is to place humanity at the heart of everything and build sustainable success for increasingly complex world by empowered people and teams.

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