the obstacles to superproductivity amongst high-performing professionals are usually very human

Last week I had the pleasure of spending three days in Finland with some of our Nokia clients and a few folks from fellow agency RG/A. After spending Wednesday night in Helsinki – via spending €6 on some mineral water, €12 on a salami sandwich and enjoying some reindeer for breakfast – we headed off from Nokia House to Vanajanlinna, a building that is officially (but maybe inaccurately) described as a castle (what constitutes a castle anyway?) located a couple of hours north of the capital.

Billed as a ‘team building’ event I was naturally cautious (in really rather British way), mainly as we had been forwarned that our facilitator  was Finnish philosopher Esa Saarinen, famed across the country for his regular TV appearances and noted “for his colourful style and personal approach”. (He lived up to his billing too, sporting an interesting leopard-skin print jacket and tie for the entire two-day event).

It quickly transpired that Esa’s modus operandi was basically to lecture solidly – with brief interludes of hugging and ‘power discussing’ – for not insignificant lengths of time, meandering around dramatic personal anecdotes to deliver points of view around positivity, systems intelligence, and collaboration. Not quite the snowmobiling and saunaing that I’d been expecting. And yet, against all odds, it was actually really rather good.

Lessons were learned, bonds were formed, beers were drunk and tears were shed (seriously – Esa’s a man not afraid to publicly air his emotions), but ultimately I came away with a real sense of positivity and feeling generally inspired about how we can change the world. Perhaps. And for a cynic like me, that’s pretty damn good going.

And just to prove it, here’s a pic of myself (right of picture), Esa and Richard Summers (fellow W+K planning type) living the positive one-team dream:


Mad. In a very good way.

The big question is: what can brands learn from it all?


Tags: ,

3 Responses to “the obstacles to superproductivity amongst high-performing professionals are usually very human”

  1. simonjoeyrobertson Says:

    Crennellations and arrow slits, I believe. Possibly also oubliettes?

  2. rory Says:

    Esa looks like a blend of Groucho Marx, Jimmy Saville, Johnny Ball, and a zulu warrior… glad you had fun anyway, and good to see you blogging again

  3. Ben Says:

    What can brands learn from it all? Team building events better without Colman.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: