January 8, 2016

Your colleagues might be everyday superstars

Toni Kainulainen

Solution Consultant, Tieto

A role model is an abstract concept. People that I look up to are likely to be completely different than the role models my friends have. So I had to ask myself – how do I define a role model and what does it take to be one?

Initially, I had a list of role models and inspirational people who over the years had shaped me into the person I am today. There was a lot of variation over the years. As a kid, I idolized hockey players and stars of the 1990s. The more recent names were tech wizards, successful entrepreneurs and people with whom I had worked over the years. All of them, however, had a unique way of working. Many of them had a vision that helped them achieve their goals.

When I started at the Tieto Pension Centre of Excellence, we were nearing the end of a transition period when the open source culture was starting to make a difference. As change often takes time, I could see both ways of working, and the gap between the old and the new was huge. Open source culture not only removes barriers between units and people; it also presents an easy way to find insights and inspiration.

At Tieto, being a role model is not dependent on the job title or employment history. Any expert, leader or co-worker can be one. The motivation they have is contagious and boosts atmosphere immediately. One shouldn’t underestimate the impact of example; being a role model is all about switching the mindset. Thinking about what kind of an environment improves workplace culture and changing one’s behaviour accordingly helps a great deal. Colleagues and their example mean even more when times are tough and motivation is harder to find.

It pays to share a hint I’ve got from a friend and which I’ve since adopted as a guideline. Whenever you are in need of inspiration, you should change your perspective and think about the person you envy the most. That fellow might be someone who gets all the interesting projects or who presents the best ideas in customer meetings. Envy helps you see abilities and qualities you’d like to have but don’t have. Recognizing these traits is the first step towards change and success. Those people are real and ultimately they are the ones to follow.

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