25 March 2014

Determination, passion and sacrifice

Winter Olympics are past. It is time to move forward, but before doing that, I'd like to share three things that impressed me in the Olympics. Those were determination, passion and sacrifice.

It is easy to understand that in order to be among the best in the world you have to have determination at the very high level. Not only the training is geared towards succeeding in Olympics but the whole life of the athletics is supporting this single goal. I want to make it clear that I'm not advocating focusing on working the same way, but I'd like to have the same determination towards my goals where work related goals are among the most important. After all, I spend about the same time at work than off-the-work (not counting time to sleep). One thing I absolutely like about the Olympics is the fact that is puts other achievement is the right perspective. Athletics compete whenever they are in the competition - big or small. But it is very visible that succeeding in Olympics is far more important. To me this is a lesson that companies living in quartile economy should learn. We should have ambitious targets and believe ourselves on our way. Reacting on every new signal is short sighted and only takes us away from reaching our ambitious goals.

Passion is my favorite. I saw more and more athletics being passionate towards being the best they can be. Yes, they always compete against others but actually very often they face tougher competition than trying to meet there own standard. When they succeeded they enjoyed and when not, they cried. Many cases they were truly able to acknowledge if others were better. Somebody has said that we don't need good losers but winners. That is one way to look it, but often the other competitors are there to help us to get best out of us. This passion coming within is the key. If you don't have it you won't be able to train to compete. If we have the passion toward what we do, we don't compete against each other's but rather help each other's to become even better. Maybe that is the true meaning of being preferred partner in business.

Can there be a winner without sacrifice? Here I must go to ice-hockey. In hockey goals are scored in front of the goal. This area is not big but it is often very crowded. For defenders, you have to be there to protect your own goal and forwards are there to score. So it means that this "war zone" as it is commonly called is place where players whack and hack each other's and where the hard puck is constantly flying at high speed taking deflections from the players and there sticks. It is the area where games are won or lost. It is also the area where people are continuously hurt. While this is nature of the ice-hockey today, we can fell a victim to the same pattern at work as well. It is a matter of competing interests. We want to be safe, but sometimes we fell we must rush the start-up of the processing unit or we just want to finish the job as fast as possible to go home early and are taking risks that can and eventually will case an injury and production loss. In ice-hockey we have learned to cheer defenders that throw themselves in front of the high flying puck, but in work we should learn to cheer those who do the job the right way.

You may say that the athletics are something special not similar to us and they only do it for relatively short period of time. It is not possible to have to same determination and passion in "normal" life. I'd like to ask, why not? After all, were can already show some results that indicate that we are doing that. We have developed new high quality products and wonderful production units. We have developed and refined businesses. In refiners Olympics we would have won few gold medals. Next we will take our safety to the same level. Then we can say that not only we have world class products and units but we also make them the right way.

Harri Järvelin
Director, HSEQ