Reclaim the commute

Here’s a thought. How about the next time you’re commuting, do it without the company of your phone. Switch off your e-mail, Instagram, Facebook and the like, the precious leadership podcasts and e-books, even your relaxing beam-me-away music. Put away your phone all together and have a look around. A scary or just plain stupid thought? After all, commuting is boring and we should make good use of the time. Well how about re-defining ‘good use’?

Commuting is boring and we should make good use of the time. Well how about re-defining ‘good use’? Photo by Corey Agopian on Unsplash.

It’s so easy to kid yourself with thinking that you’re working efficiently when you’re constantly checking your e-mail on that 20-minute bus ride and the two-minute ride down the escalator to the metro. Sure, sometimes they prove to be the most convenient times to check the Twitterverse.

But who are you actually serving when you donate your attention to the endless mind-grabbers lurking in your mobile phone? Whose precious time are you spending?

Reclaim your commute! Make it your time again — not your employer’s, or the attention junkies on social media, or the apps you’ve grown addicted to.

Lately I’ve found that the more I rush from one meeting to another around town, switching from one role to another, the more I need to log out to tune into my next task. I can’t greet a new situation with a fully open mind if it’s still working on something else. Not only do I need the time to refocus and calm down, the people expecting me deserve my attention. Especially the ones waiting at home.

I urge you, as well, to try to put down the phone, even if for only one leg of your journey or for one day a week. Forget about getting stuff done and open your mind to what’s happening around you. See what you can spot through the train or bus window. There’s always something different even in familiar scenery, every single day. There might even be someone on the same ride you might share a smile or word with (go on, dare to face the Finnish nightmare of acknowledging the presence of strangers in close proximity…).

Chances are, you could end up arriving at your destination a bit more focused, a bit more relaxed — and dare I say even a bit more happy — when you’re not concentrating so hard on being somewhere else than you actually are.


Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash
Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash.

Constant change is changing how we think about careers – Lean thinking will help you adapt

Are you overwhelmed by the new normal of constant change? Don’t know where your career is going and what to do to get it back on track? Has the track disappeared altogether? Lean career thinking to the rescue! It will help you realise your career goals without the burden of ‘all-things-must-change’.

The times definitively have a-changed. Unfortunately, we can’t anymore rely on long-term-employment or rest on the laurels of competence gained in the past. Fortunately, we now have new autonomy and means to professionally go where we want to go, when we are not stuck in the given career paths or competence demands of a stagnant profession, single employer or static way of working.

Something old, something new, something borrowed – a career rhyme of our times

Despite having succumbed to the inevitability of change and need for professional renewal, rest assured – we can still enjoy and build upon our past experience and competence. The trick is to add on to it in novel ways. For your next career move you might just need to rearrange your old building blocks in a new way to be able to offer value to a new employer, or even your current way of working (a career move doesn’t always have to be a change of jobs).

Our in-built need to marvel at our work and to get the most out of our capabilities drives us to learning new skills and competence. We might even be called junkies for self-actualization. This trait makes it easy for us to acquire new building blocks. We are luckily also able to, and nowadays even expected to, use the building blocks of the people in our networks.

Putting the pieces together in different combinations is another matter, though, and requires insight into what sort of competence resonates with the needs of others. Testing your competence is like market research – if you throw your value proposition to someone, who will catch it? Testing and experimenting to gain insight helps to define your professional profile. What will interest others? What gives me fulfilment? Let’s try and see.

When the going gets tough, the most adaptable to change get going

In the uncertain future of which skills will be valued and give us meaningful jobs, we need a new mindset. In a world where we can’t always make fixed long-term career and professional development plans, or might need to change them suddenly, taking a Lean approach will help us adapt.

Where are you now? Where do you want to be? Why? These fundamental and necessary career questions won’t always give enough answers to actually help you make a change. You’ll also need to know what you need to change, how to know what needs to be changed, what sort of an impact a change will have and why it has that impact.

Get moving. Experiment. Reflect. Refine. Discover the things that create value for you and others; your purpose, the way you want to change the world, and where your impact is needed. Find potential and co-creation power in your ecosystem. Focus on the things that take you where you want to go. Realise that the things you want to do or change might not even lie in your job or be your next career step, but be something and somewhere else that’s meaningful in your life. Know where your flow is, what keeps it going, and go with it. And constantly see the change you want to be.

– How does this resonate with your thoughts? Drop me a line and we can see if I can help you make this more concrete for you.

Work Goes Happy and so do we!

Proud to announce our very first workshop with our partner Crescendo Consulting and Management Oy! I shall be joining Johanna Jussila at the Work Goes Happy 2017 well-being fair in Wanha Satama on March 3rd. We’ll launch our well-being coaching, Sauvakävelystä strategiaan, at the event.

Johanna is a seasoned professional in occupational health and mentoring well-being at work. I’ll be her wingwoman in organising a lean change workshop in addition to bringing an organisational competence view on the topic.

Please join us, both at the Work Goes Happy fair and for our Sauvakävelystä strategiaan workshop.


What’s your minimum viable career move?

Career planning in the days of yore was, well, planning, which in itself doesn’t yet take you anywhere. You can’t reflect on what works for you if you don’t have anything to reflect upon. That’s why experimenting with your career ideas and aspirations is important. Try a new role, learn a new skill, change even jobs if you have to. You don’t always need a far-thought plan or the perfect moment to take you in the direction towards your career goals.

Rigid plans tie your hands and the perfect moment never comes.

How then do you define a career move? Does a career move always mean a change of jobs, or a promotion of some sort? Not necessarily. Luckily for us all living in a systemic world, even a small change can make a big enough impact. What you need is some idea of what you want to do, and then finding a way to introduce it to your life. You might already be on your way to reaching your next career goal, or only be at that vague gut feeling stage where you just need ‘something’. Whatever your situation, even a small nudge in the right way can have the desired effect. Make your minimum viable career move.

What will it take for you to make a minimum viable career move? Tweaking your daily schedule to allocate time for something new? Finding a new network? Starting to tweet about a new topic? Opening up your thinking to new thoughts? The latter actually needs a bit more than just minimum effort, but nevertheless, your small move to something new can open huge opportunities.

Whatever your career situation is, it can’t and won’t stay stagnant in this our time of constant change.

Your career moves don’t always have to be big leaps into the unknown, but your career must keep moving. Jump, walk, baby step. Just dare to make a move, any move. Get your stuff out there and see what happens. Then you know how to continue and which way to go.

P.S. This article is my Minimum Viable Career Move. I’ve been contemplating the idea of making a proper practice of lean principles in career coaching for quite a while now. Instead of completing a monstrous unabridged handbook, I experimented with a tweet (with spelling mistake and all). It got retweeted – resonated with another person’s thoughts – so I figured I’m moving in the right direction.

I leapt onto a portfolio career to achieve my career goal; systems can only be changed by affecting them at several touch points, and by opening up vast interfaces for interaction. I combine being employed (Suomen Ekonomit), being an entrepreneur (partner with eg. Pro-Source and Crescendo, member of co-op Essentio) and by working in networks (eg. Agile HR Finland and Career Coaches in Finland).