Photo credit: HikingArtist.com / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Passion, it stems from your deepest value base. Now that is a strong driver. Stronger than any incentive, any bonus, any annual target setting procedure you can build. It is bigger than yourself, spans across time and across your own needs. I have a passion for building a (work)life based on a modern view of human beings. Or on the ancient view of human beings. You choose.

It seems like somewhere in between Taylor’s Scientific management from 1911 and the matrix-organization-fetish from the 2000’s most companies forgot that we are creating an environment for a complex, thinking, learning and feeling biological organism to function in. Sometimes you need to look back, way back, to understand what has happened. If you are working with people related things (and who isn’t?) you need to know where these silly, made-up structures came from.

Work is built on over 60 years old theories

Why on earth have we kept up a fake sense of certainty by thinking that cognitive work can be planned to detail, that plan followed without looking around what actually is going on and then implementing stick-and-carrot incentivizing for holding on to the plan? The way HR is functioning now is mostly built on theories and practices from the first half of 1900’s. A century ago! Yes, yes – of course with some nice add-ons, such as leadership and coaching skills.

But if you add whipped cream on a pile of sh*t, it is just a pile of sh*t with cream on, right? (so sorry for that visual…).

If the foundation we build on is old, false, fake, the constructs on top of it cannot be very healthy, right? If you watch closer, honestly, most of the current structures and people systems builds on at least the following theories and thinking (cutting it short and down to the essence):

  • Taylorism from 1911. All work can be broken down into smaller pieces, monitored, measured and incentivized, people need to be paid by the amount of work they do, the managers supervise, plan, forecast, make the decisions. A human is basically lazy, selfish, and greedy.
  • Behaviorism 1940’ s-1950: A person can be motivated only externally with incentives, which is the only way they change behavior. Your incentive system is all built on this behavioristic human view. This builds on e.g. Skinner’s conditioning work with pigeons from the 40’s and 50’s; Thorndyke and Watson were also popular behaviorists who were i.e. conditioning animals and babies.

Yes, I am sure our human view has changed and we know better. Still, most companies haven’t been able to really redesign the underlying principles, starting from the human view. (Unfortunately, a lot of executives still around with a Tayloristic human view). To clarify the point: the foundations of our people processes and policies stem from thinking and environments that are a hundred years old!

The foundations of our people processes and policies stem from a hundred years back!

Agile HR Finland, the Finnish network for modern people professionals

My passion is strong and it is coming alive, right now, globally, with people who share it. The business environment has now changed towards becoming more metaphoric to a biological system. Quick, complex, unexpected, interconnected, networked, social, innovative, biological, neuroscience, agile, lean, people-centric, self-directed, data, robotics, cloud, predictive applications, …you name it. It is here. We can’t use thinking from the 40’s to create work.

Welcome to the era where work finally is changing, for real. Not just saying, but DOING. Welcome, meet the people who are building modern, people-friendly workplaces for the future. Welcome new ways of learning together, fast-tracking your own development. Welcome across fields, leaders, HR’s, IT, Agile professionals, finance. In Agile HR Finland, we are changemakers, pioneers or copiers of great stuff, innovators, test laboratories, anarchists. We change how work is working. We network, learn fast, go beyond, across silos, walk the extra mile, start from scratch, try new things. We share, speak, blog, tweet, discuss, impact, invite, listen and move.

I am proud and happy to have gotten such an enthusiastic response and to be starting a network like this in Finland. We hope what we share will be of great value for you, we hope that we can make an impact on Finnish worklife.

This blog will include stories in English and in Finnish, from network members and beyond. Welcome!

Riina Hellström


Photo credit: HikingArtist.com / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)


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