Work should be the cornerstone of well-being for people, and a thriving working community should be its beating heart. The world of work holds immense potential for enhancing well-being and meaning, paving the way for a sustainable and profitable future. Just as a company’s growth and objectives are achieved collectively, we also know how to constructively address challenges and dilemmas, keeping people at the core. These might sound like fundamental principles we all agree upon, but in everyday life, the way people engage, their interpersonal skills, and their presence often differ.

In today’s landscape, numerous industries are discussing the hurdles of attracting and retaining talent. The methods of working are evolving, and change is sweeping through our lives and the world. Competent individuals switch jobs at will or embark on independent projects through various networks. Recruitment often exhibits a boomerang effect, with former employees being enticed to return. According to a study, over 33% of Europeans are contemplating changing jobs within 3-6 months (McKinsey 2022). The public sector is already grappling with professionals shifting fields, work-based immigration undergoing regulation changes, and those who remain being overwhelmed by their workloads.

We need swift structural overhauls and tangible changes that balance the needs of both people and nature. A change in mindset, responsibility, and the presence of bold reformers is imperative. Innovative thinking is a necessity for effective management.

Where does this superior competitive advantage come from?

An adult typically spends a third of their waking hours at work, which is why meaningful work is often at the center of a fulfilling life. It provides a means for individuals to fulfill their passions and make a positive impact on the world through their work. Should the role of management be radically transformed, and what impact would that have on the meaningfulness of work? This is what I have pondered in this blog.

Innovative thinking for effective management is crucial. The key is to identify and address the most significant bottlenecks in your own working community. When work within your community is meaningful and the atmosphere is inspiring, this positivity extends beyond the workplace in various positive ways. Motivated and courageous people can achieve remarkable feats when they collaborate. I firmly believe in this.

Initiating change requires leadership, and leadership, in turn, necessitates a reformed way of thinking. We require a collective understanding of the impact of change and the ability and willingness to nurture the capacity to adapt to change within the work community.

How many management teams engage in ongoing dialogues about leadership and the significance of work as a future success factor for the organization? I’m referring to genuine and analytical discussions on the topic, where existing practices are thoroughly examined and constructively questioned, the thoughts of the work community are widely heard, bold decisions are made, and the work community and stakeholders are engaged in an open dialogue.

Building a superior competitive advantage demands a change in thinking and corresponding change management. There’s no harm in attracting innovative thinkers and experts to shape a more sustainable and profitable future. Together, as a management team, as trailblazers and authentic individuals, we can unearth everyone’s untapped potential and turn it into a superior competitive advantage, seamlessly integrating it into our evolving work culture. At the same time, we set an example for others.

Focus on three key areas

Successful change management requires a shared understanding and the promotion of a new way of thinking. In my experience, current and future experts seek environments where three crucial areas take center stage:

Innovation Activity: This involves continuous experimentation and forward-looking approaches to discover the next commercial success. It’s an entrepreneurial endeavor in which the entire organization and its stakeholders can participate, reflecting the organization’s culture and how it values its people. I believe that innovative operators win the talent competition by offering meaningful work, such as pioneering new growth paths.

Circular Economy: As the economy increasingly embraces circular economy principles, the builders of a more sustainable future are eager to expand the circular economy’s footprint rapidly. A more sustainable future challenges actors to make more significant moves than simply altering a few figures or ordering an ESG report. We need experts who can drive structural changes and efficiently utilize recycled materials to transition to a fully circular economy, impacting not only the environment but the national economy.

Leadership: Leadership is about guiding one’s own work toward success in a way that creates favorable conditions for everyone, fostering a space for dialogue, learning, and teamwork. Leadership is a shared responsibility within a work community that allows for mistakes and collaborative learning. Superior leadership builds a consistent sense of purpose and intervenes when it’s needed. A culture of valuing people is established, drawing future talent.

With this approach to leadership, we create a culture where talent flocks to work and succeeds while maintaining a diverse and balanced work community and considering the broader world.

About blog writer – Elina Ali-Melkkilä

Elina Ali-Melkkilä is an entrepreneur and the founder of Direo Oy, who has strong experience and understanding of customer-oriented work and leadership in technology companies. As CEO of Direo, Elina wants to renew the culture of leadership so that we develop more prosperous companies, where people can thrive and build a more sustainable future. Elina works naturally in bringing selected priorities to everyday life, sparring and coaching individuals and different teams, management groups and supervisors. Elina has several years of experience in change management projects with Finnish clients. She applies the goal management mindset based on the OKR model to implement the strategy. Elina believes that the best benefit from technology comes when we first focus on people and management. Let’s create favorable conditions for interaction and share a common understanding of the direction. We engage in continuous dialogue, reflect and learn together.

Great numerical goals are the result of the work of committed experts, not the other way around.