Life at Essity: Collaboration to achieve best resultsPublished: 2018-03-12 10:28
I have mentioned in my previous blogs that I work in a very international team. We aren’t a very large team but we are spread out across Europe and usually have 2-3 different time zones to co-ordinate at one time. That’s not even including our extended network which is about 10 times the size of my little team and spread as far. As you can imagine, sometimes it feels less like organizing a meeting and more like herding people. It’s not that my colleagues are late, disrespectful or anything like that, quite the opposite. It’s just the practicalities of working in an international company. Everybody has shifting goals and priorities and, coupled with things like a time difference, you have to learn to be flexible in both your schedule and how you approach a task.
Sometimes the time difference can be amusing for a different reason. For example, when I speak to people in the United States, mainly California the time difference is 8 hours. What that translates to is a golden window at the end of the day/beginning of the day to have calls. That does also mean however that one of us will be perky, full of morning coffee, ideas and energy and the other will be at the end of a working day, draining the cold dregs of that coffee that you forgot about an hour ago. But this again is part of the fun.
I was speaking to a colleague of mine over the December period, being British naturally I brought the freezing weather up and my colleague pointed out that it was 18 degrees outside for them and getting hotter, that’s high summer for me. I love those moments, where the world seems both tiny and massive at the same time.
The challenges I’ve been speaking about bring me to the meat of the matter and something my friends have asked me before: Don’t you find it difficult to get things done with such a spread-out network? Actually, no. This all comes down to one thing really, collaboration. In my small time with Essity, I have noticed the drive for teamwork and inclusivity is present everywhere you look.
The technical definition of collaboration is: “The action of working with someone to produce something.”
Whilst that is true in essence, what I am talking about here is more deeply rooted than that. If you take the definition in its broadest sense it means “A works with B and produces C.” In my experience it’s more like – “A works with B, B speaks to D who has done something like this before. D then joins in with A and B, giving helpful pointers and things to watch out for and A and B end up producing a much better C.” And so on, algebra was never my strong point but you get the idea. What I am trying to say here is that often there is no straight-line solution to a task. Without colleagues around you to help, support and disagree with you, you will not achieve the best result, or even the second best. Without collaboration, valuable experience is not shared and gets lost.
Teamwork, in its many forms, is important. It forms bonds and you exchange knowledge and experience. Because of those interactions, the company culture is fed, strengthened and enriched. I have changed roles since I started Essity in the GO! Program and, even now, I still drop in for a catch up or get some help from my previous colleagues. Something I have learnt is to never underestimate the relationships you make at work. I have been helped countless times by colleagues of mine who have far more pressing things on their plate but still take the time to help me out.
1 of the 4 pillars of the Essity beliefs (core values) is collaboration. In its many forms collaboration is an integral part of Essity’s DNA as a company and the people who work here. We work with each other, our partners, suppliers and yes, even our competitors. The phrase “competition breeds innovation” is apt here. We push each other to be better, to work smarter and, in the end, contribute to not only raising health and hygiene across the globe, but our own standards as well. In my limited experience I think a living culture within a company, that employees invest in, fosters a positive and enjoyable work environment.