The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » Monthly - March 27, 2013
Finland in Poland
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Finns Honest and Result-Oriented, Survey Shows
   
Finns are honest, hard-working and result-oriented, a recent Business Culture Survey conducted by Finnish firm ExpatHouse has found. The survey, commissioned by the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce (SPCC), analyzed cooperation between Polish and Scandinavian businesses, including those run by Finns, comparing the results to a similar survey nine years ago.

On the whole, many things have changed for the better and there is more awareness of cultural issues that influence business, in addition to better language skills, the survey shows. Another encouraging finding is that Poland’s business environment and the businesses themselves have developed.

Having worked in Finnish-Polish business circles as a coach for 10 years, I have seen many things improve but there are still many challenges. The geographical distance between Finland and Poland is an hour-and-a-half by plane but the mental distance is much greater than one would expect it to be due to differences in history, religion, education, business environment and market practices, to name a few.

In the Business Culture Survey, respondents described Finns as honest people who keep their promises and are hard-working, long-term oriented, skilled and result-focused—though also introvert, non-communicative and inflexible.

Poles, in turn, are seen as hard-working as well but short-term oriented, hierarchical, formal, quick decision-makers and not very organized. These views voiced by Finnish and Polish business people should be the best and most reliable source of information as they come from real life.

I have worked with small companies and big corporations in the Finnish-Polish business community and they all seem to have somewhat similar challenges. Most of these challenges involve cultural factors, which cannot be ignored if a business expects sustainable performance and return on investment. Often I wonder why these companies invest so much in having common processes for the sake of consistency rather than local competitive advantage.

Technology is needed for sure, but it is the human factor that really counts. Simple things which we all appreciate like integrity, accountability, trust and respect are easy to say but difficult to deliver. Why? Because we have to look in the mirror and start with ourselves.

Anitta Koskio, ExpatHouse
More info: www.expathousesolutions.com,
e-mail: anitta.koskio@expathousesolutions.com