This story is going to be a slightly sweet. A little story. The story of an ordinary worker who decided to look through the good lenses. Connecting People. A mission that taught me what the inside of a company means. I learnt it by sketching on the grid paper.

The mission sums up the company’s business idea. That is the reason for company’s existence. Role in society. The foundation on which the activity is built. This is how the mission is described in the textbooks. How many company missions live and breathe in the actual operations of everyday life? The analytical definition often overlooks the emotion needed to accomplish the basic tasks. A feeling that makes the amygdala tickle. I cannot say if Connecting People ever achieved official mission status. For me, however, it was.

Maarit Lappalainen
Maarit Lappalainen

I sit with a consultant psychologist in a conference room planning coaching process for a group of Nokia people around the world. It was around the year 1998. As the conversation meanders, I draw a globe on the corner of a piece of paper, surrounded by a ring of smiling stick-man figures holding hands. The visual implementation is not attractive, and it is a bit childish too, but the meaning of Nokia’s basic mission opened to me. I named the sketch: Sea of ​​people. I think it was printed on the trainers’ t-shirts too.

The human was at the heart of Nokia, as the Connecting People mission says. Both the end-user on the streets and the company’s employees could identify with it. The mission was close to people and it was active. It was concrete enough and suitably open to new possibilities.

Connecting People served different business areas from phones to networks. I will call you. You call me. The brand was strong, visible, and coveted. With the help of the maps’ service, people found each other. Music connected worldwide. Games were played with friends. Photos were taken and shared. The global factory and logistics giant pumped products seamlessly in the integrated chain. Workers built the cutting edge of technologies regardless of skin colour. The teams were close. Family acquaintances were born, and kids were also born to Nokia couples. Beyond Nokia Facebook group instantly grew to a network of nearly 30,000 people. Examples of Connecting People could be listed endlessly.

To myself, Connecting People has meant hundreds of encounters in an international network. Living together in chaos during wild growth and sharing frustrations on a downhill slope. Sometimes the bad sides of life were shown. Fatigue. The stomachs were often laughed at in a curl. Pride was felt. We learned together. We combined tremendous ideas into a concrete product, services, or industry 4.0 approach. In my strategy work, bringing people together to build on common goals sums up for me Nokia mission. Connecting People opened the importance of process work when we described the activities between different parts of the organization. In product management and customization development, I worked at a node. We combined product development, production, purchasing, design, sales, and marketing, and, above all, customer wishes. Further, I interpret my role as a developer as a bridge builder in the spirit of the Connecting People mission.

Connecting People is all this and much more. The mission reached the age of 25 couple of years ago. We will remember longer. I am grateful to respect the colleagues with whom I was able to connect with people.