So, this is it. The company I have worked for the past 8 years, Fastems, is restructuring, and as my job has been to innovate, develop, and improve instead of leading daily operations, my position is being cut. Thus, I am free to join another company at short notice.
In this post, I will tell you a little about what I have done and what I would like to do next. If this piques your interest, please call me or drop me a line via LinkedIn or email!
The three phases of my career so far
My career so far has consisted of three phases:
First, I was a philosopher, interested in what is right and wrong, what a good life is, and how to present and analyze ideas logically. I worked at the university doing research on moral philosophy for some years after completing my Master’s degree.
Then, I worked in documentation and localization in almost all possible roles: QA, translator, writer, and finally team leader. Documentation, while often undervalued, gave me a great perspective on a wide variety of products and operations, because documentation is involved in almost everything, including marketing.
Now, I work on continuous improvement, process improvement, and strategy. In many ways, this has been a return to philosophy even, as the academic discussion on strategy often refers to names I became familiar with more than a decade ago in a different context: Rawls, Hobbes, Locke..
What I do now: innovate, develop, improve
I have tweaked practically every part of Fastems. I have worked especially on corporate culture, project management (PMBOK), sales process (Challenger, solution sales, value-based selling), strategic analyses (market, competitors, environment), and social collaboration around feedback and innovation. Themes that are no strangers to this blog, either!
I think my greatest strength is my ability to rapidly create a system-level understanding of the whole business and use that understanding to make tangible improvements. I have used this strength to identify issues (and gain authorization to fix them), lead improvement projects, and coach and spar the whole organization, especially the management team members.
I have always followed the Lean maxim, go to the gemba (the place where the work is done). While I have mostly navigated on top management level as of late, I have always verified the needs as well as the results by talking with people who do the actual work and by doing things myself as well. While reports and measurements are all fine and good, they can never capture the whole truth, only a part of it.
Finding ways to combine Lean thinking with social collaboration methods has been a passion of mine for many years and has found various manifestations in the many improvement projects I have managed.
Where I want to work next: purpose and perfection
I have come to realize that the importance of corporate culture cannot be over-emphasized. There are many kinds of companies, and they are a good fit for various kinds of people. There are two key things I need to be happy: purpose and strive for perfection.
Purpose is vital. Why does the company do what it does? To make money? Sure, money is nice, but without a purpose to guide the company, it lacks direction and focus, and will eventually fail at making money as well. I suppose there are lots of purposes I could identify with. A couple of examples that I am quite fond of are LEGO (“to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow”) and Amazon’s Kindle division (“to have every book, ever written, in any language, available in 60 seconds or less”).
Strive for perfection is another key thing I am after. I am not afraid of change. I do not want to live in a static environment where progress is not made, because everything is best done exactly as it has always been done. I know there are many companies out there that pursue perfection, such as LEGO (“det bedste er ikke for godt”), Toyota (“True North”), and Amazon (I love this Darden MBA video of a presentation by Marc Onetto).
On the other hand, the general failure of Lean thinking in the West is a testament to how many companies do not really commit to perfection. I fully understand, it can be difficult at times. OK, it can be difficult most of the time, but when you have the whole team working in the same direction, it really is not that difficult after all.
One more thing regarding where I would like to work: location. I currently live in Finland, but I am ready to move abroad, it would even be a welcome change. My whole family is greatly fond of Denmark, which we visit every year, and we have also discussed other countries, such as the UK, Belgium, and Luxembourg. I might be open to other options as well.
Further information and getting in touch
You can view my full profile and recommendations on LinkedIn: http://fi.linkedin.com/in/villekilkku
I also have a wealth of references from Fastems available upon request, for example our CEO and several management team members have promised to recommend me.
If you wish to contact me to discuss possible opportunities or even just to wish me good luck, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mobile phone number is +358 50 588 5043.
Finally, if you think someone you know could use my expertise, please share this post to your networks! The power of social collaboration lies in serendipity, so using that to find a new challenge would be most apt!