It is not a secret that the Russian economy is not producing optimistic news lately. Falling oil prices, international political turmoil, economic sanctions and counter-sanctions and so on. The result is basically a stagnating market that poses challenges to both foreign and domestic companies. Some time ago it was in many respects easier to lead the Russian operations, the market was growing and one had to manage and capitalize on this growth. Now it is different and the saying ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ comes to mind. With its market size and potential, for many companies Russia should be and is a long-term opportunity. What we are experiencing at the moment is temporary turbulence rather than permanent decline. Still, the times call for serious thinking and rethinking and most of all a fresh approach.
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Spend ten years benchmarking, training and developing in the field of finance and you get to see a lot of ways of doing finance. Many finance organizations are good, some more complicated in various and tedious ways, but a few stand out as being in a league of their own. It’s not just how, or how well, they do what they do – it’s that some finance organizations are so extremely competent that they end up doing somewhat different things.
Increasing productivity in Finnish companies has been a hot topic in Finland for the past year. Despite numerous efforts in three part negotiations between politicians, business leaders and union representatives, a mutual agreement on how to do this has been hard to reach. I would like to add a completely different viewpoint to the debate. How can we use positivity to become more productive and successful in business and on a personal level?
Finland is not a cheap country and that is no news to anyone. Even if the government’s efforts to bring costs down favor businesses, Finnish labor will still be considerably more expensive than most labor on earth. In the meantime, competition is getting fiercer and more importantly, the evergreen mantra “Finnish quality” is slowly but surely losing its shine. It is not that our quality shifted. It is rather that many competitors managed to maintain or improve their level of quality. With quality often being perceived comparable, many global customers start wondering, if paying more for the sake of something being ‘Finnish’, is actually worth it.