November 16, 2016

How to challenge perspectives?

Simon Olson

Project Manager Trainee, Tieto

My name is Simon and I am a graduate trainee in Tieto Healthcare and Welfare Sweden. I have always been interested in innovation and strategy and recently I was faced with the task to shadow my closest manager for one day. I got excited but I wanted to take it one step further so I contacted our CEO Kimmo Alkio and challenged him on open culture.

In this blog post I will tell you about my reflections on open source culture and why it is so important to challenge the status quo in an organisation. I will illustrate this by introducing you to a friend of mine.            

Let me tell you about my friend Dave. Dave is a hardworking, humble and honest kind of guy who by all means want to do right for himself. He is a big thinker and is looking to make an impact on the world but is feeling conflicted as to how.

Dave works with a lot of smart and talented people and is on one hand very happy to take part of such a great team, but on the other, anxious of appearing naive and foolish in front of his co-workers. He is growing increasingly frustrated with himself, feeling that his opportunity to make an impact slowly slipping away. Dave is worried that he does not have enough experience to start challenging the prevailing perspectives in the team.

Questioning the obvious

So, what can a guy like Dave to get courage to stand up and to speak his mind?

He can start by questioning the small things and then  scale up while staying true to his core values no matter what. You may have heard that asking why, why, why is one of the best sets of questions you can ask. Sometimes that might be true. For instance, asking a series of why’s is effective when you need to break down the assumptions of a problem to understand the context. However, asking “why” does not answer the important questions of whether or not to change those habits. Instead Dave should ask himself why not. Why wouldn’t Dave challenge his peer?

You might think in respect to experience, but it turns out that even the most experienced co-workers need to be challenged sometimes in order to keep developing.

Challenging perspectives

Dave exist in every team and in every unit. Dave might sometimes be you or me, waiting for that perfect opportunity to challenge the status quo in order to move forward, but he needs help.

I challenged my inner Dave by challenging Tietos CEO, Kimmo Alkio, on open culture and it turned out to be a very interesting and fun experience. We discussed everything from high level strategy to personal core values and connected over the importance of staying true to those values. We both shared our learnings and reflection to the point that when I left Helsinki I felt at least a few inches taller.

Now I would like to challenge you!  I would like you to take the liberty of pushing your idea the next time you feel like Dave. Challenge your peers by staying true to your values. Be humble, listen and learn and you might be able to make that impact on the world that you were looking for. After all, why wouldn’t you?



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