Monday 5 December 2022. – On Tuesday 6 December Finland celebrates its 105th independence day. The day has always been important for us Finns. We treasure our grandparents’ perseverance in keeping us independent.
The current generations have had it easier. There have been decades of equality and political stability, as well as economic growth. Is there a secret recipe? Do Finns have any values to share with others, outside their country’s borders?
The Finnish foreign trade started far before the independence. Since then exports have been the only way we can live and prosper here in the North. Without exports, we would be exchanging beaver tales with fellow villagers. But even with extensive exports, Finland hasn’t had a big footprint in the world’s business life. This is a small country with only 5.5 million inhabitants.
Many people in the plywood business have contacts all over the world. In the case of big nations, it is easy to think of common nominators for their citizens. We probably have a mental image of how Italians, Chinese, Britts, or Mexicans are to deal with. But what about Finns? Are there any characteristics?
I asked my friends abroad to describe how the Finns are. Quiet. Modest. Stiff. Honest. Stubborn. But before that, they said that Finns are good at keeping promises. That felt nice.
It is a fun exercise to think of national stereotypes. Distinctive differences can be spotted. At the same time, people move, and national characteristics blend. Minds and skills develop.
In every line of business, from plywood to perfumes, the most important business skills are universal. At its simplest, that’s how you connect, treat, and inspire people.
On the eve of our Independence Day, I want to continue learning new skills and honing the skills I’ve inherited. Being open, direct, and trustworthy. As a Finn, that’s the gospel I want to spread in the world market. A business that feels like a clear blue sky.