Mindfulness is the buzzword of our times, and many practise it as a means of personal growth. According to Teetta Kalajo, Country Director of Potential Project Finland, programmes based on training the mind can also enhance an organisation’s performance, creativity and flexibility. Potential Project is a multinational company that Teetta brought to Finland eight years ago.
Teetta Kalajo was never going to be an entrepreneur
Teetta holds a Master of Arts degree in Education. After graduating, she started working for Nokia as a manager in Human Resources and spent years abroad on various Nokia sites. She returned to Finland in 2007 and went on maternity leave the following year. She spent five years at home with her children, and during this time, mindfulness as a way to train the mind became an important part of her life. She profoundly understood the enormous potential that is released when one works to overcome the obstacles in one’s mind.
In 2013, upon learning about a company called Potential Project, Teetta realised that she had found exactly what she had been looking for: a way to help people and organisations develop and improve by training the mind. To bring the company to Finland, Teetta had to become an entrepreneur. Teetta has never considered herself to be that entrepreneurially minded but because she felt that she had found her mission, she set up a company in 2013 and expanded the operations of Potential Project to Finland.
Potential Project has exported its business idea to 28 countries
Potential Project was founded 15 years ago by Rasmus Hougaard from Denmark. The company’s operations rely on scientific research, an understanding of the private sector and the ideas of mind-training gurus. Hougaard is a sought-after speaker in international congresses and seminars around the world. He frequently publishes articles on mindfulness at work in many publications, such as the Harvard Business Review.
In each country where the company has a presence, an entrepreneur is responsible for the operations. In Finland, this means Teetta Kalajo. Potential Project Finland currently employs Teetta and five Senior Trainers who are also entrepreneurs. The operations have grown well. According to Teetta, the demand is constantly on the increase.
How to introduce mindfulness to organisations?
How does Teetta’s company implement mindfulness in business life in practice? Potential Project for example offers mind-training consulting and training packages. Although the employees of the customer companies are usually knowledge workers, the training has proven useful for example among security employees, too. Every programme is tailored to the customer company’s needs. Areas of development may include performance and efficiency, balance and flexibility or creativity and energy management.
The company’s customer base includes large international companies in the consulting sector, the financial sector and the video game industry. The training package tailored to a company may last from a couple of weeks to a few months, or the project may even take years. The package may include talks on a selected theme, individual workshops or series of workshops, coaching and intensive leadership training. The work techniques of the programmes guide employees and supervisors to increase their concentration and awareness.
Teetta calls mindfulness exercises a gym for the mind, and they can be done in a conference room, for example. However, personal development is not the only goal of the training packages – they aim to support the organisation and its processes as a whole.
Books on how to train the mind
According to Teetta, organisations should think what leadership style will result in the best possible implementation of their strategy. The management of knowledge workers cannot be based on authority. In their case, the leader is at the service of the team. An employee will deliver their best results when they feel well at work, have a sense of belonging and significance, and can make a positive impact.
Potential Project has published two books by Rasmus Hougaard in Finnish: One Second Ahead (published in Finnish as “Tilaa ajatella”) and The Mind of the Leader (“Ajatteleva johtaja”). The first book describes how each and every one of us can work more efficiently with the help of mindfulness. Training the mind does not only improve performance but also the well-being of the individual.
The second book, The Mind of the Leader, takes a look at the challenges of leadership. It describes how successful leaders lead themselves, their teams and organisations in a way that guarantees results. According to Hougaard, a leader must be a “people person” and an altruistic enabler of operations.
Teetta as an entrepreneur
Potential Project Finland has been in operation for some 8 years. Although entrepreneurship was not originally Teetta’s goal, she feels that her current work is meaningful and important. The company has not had to carry out actual marketing because they have gained customers through networks and recommendations. And the demand for the company’s services is not likely to diminish in the near future because the interest in the human mind will grow as work and practices change and companies need means to optimise cooperation.
o, Country Director of Potential Project Finland.
: Marianne Sundblad
Photo: Teetta Kalajo
Potential Project Finland Oy is one of the 2,500 member companies of the Federation of Espoo Enterprises (Espoon Yrittäjät).
Read more and become a member: www.yrittajat.fi/tulemukaan