The World Economic Forum ranks Finland number one for competitiveness. In the OECD PISA study, we rank number 4 and 5 for reading and science. Finland recently came in second in the world for transparency. We have a 100% literacy rate and 90% of our people under 30 speak fluent English. We have the cleanest water in the world. We’ve even just be named the happiest people in Europe!
What could possibly be wrong?
Why is it for example that of all the US direct investment into Nordic countries, Finland’s share is only a measly 3%?
Leading economist, Roger Martin-Fagg of Henley Business School, recently reminded us that in business, personal relationships still matter! “Be nimble” said Roger, “be distinctive, but most of all, be compelling!” We think it’s countries that trade together, but it’s not, it’s companies, guided by people. “People still choose to buy from the people they like best,” said Roger.
We Finns are competitive, talented, we develop excellent products and services, and we have good infrastructure, so what’s missing?
Mind your P’s and Q’s
Andrew Kakabadse, Professor of Governance and Leadership at Henley Business School has spent a lifetime researching how senior business people actually add value. “In today’s mature market,” Andrew says, “it’s a constant challenge to engage with your audiences and stakeholders, and come up with compelling propositions.” So, what attributes does a leader need in such a market? Andrew believes it’s a combination of the five Qs.
Let’s take a look at them through Finnish eyes:
IQ: When it comes to advanced cognitive abilities or intelligence quotient, we’re there!
MQ: When it comes to moral quotient, taking an ethical approach to the way we lead and deliver value. We’re mostly there!
RQ: When it comes to resilience quotient and coping in a complex business environment, the Finnish determination comes into play. We’re definitely there and sometimes even too much!
PQ: But what about the political quotient, measuring a leader’s ability to navigate diverse stakeholder agendas? The political quotient determines how self-aware and politically savvy we are. This is where we Finns may start to flounder.
EQ: The emotional quotient is about finding the balance between self-awareness and self-management; and social awareness and relationship management. This is where Finns on balance don’t excel very well.
How can we expand our emotional and political intelligence?
It’s embedded in the Anglo-Saxon education system from a very young age. Political and emotional intelligence means the ability to pay attention to what we think and feel while at the same time reading the signals from others about what they’re thinking and feeling. As a UK-based school, Henley invests in emotional and political intelligence at all levels of our curriculum. This is compelling and distinctive and it’s definitely a positive differentiator that we’re proud of. Henley’s clients have continuous opportunities to develop their personalities as leaders; they’re encouraged, even required, to take a stand and to share openly.
What makes Finns nimble, distinctive and compelling? It’s our courage to be strongly and openly what we are but in a way that respects other people as well. Sharing connects us in life and in business; it makes us human.