Ville Tolvanen // November 19 2018

Game of zero-sum

When it comes to work, too many people and companies are focused on playing a winning card in the game of Zero-Sum. Zero-sum game is a a situation in which when one loses in equal amount, another one gains and the other way around. When talking about the politics of working life, it looks like different participants of the discussion just want to reclaim as much as possible at once to the disadvantage of other participants. Nobody plays the game on the principle of mutual interest, but of ”me, me, me, me myself and I first!”
Zero-sum game is born of a false idea of the relationship between value, work, working and workers. From me to you and the other way around -kind of thinking will not have room, if the owners, givers and takers understand that they gain only from a shared good. Together. By generating more valuable companies and corporations, a divisible value is born for all. The clients, creators and owners. Many want just what’s good for them, regardless of mutual benefit. The collective gain and benefits are sacrificed carelessly at the altar of personal politics or profile. 
Maybe the game of Zero-sum is a reflection of old-fashioned values in work-life. Less and less work is being done in a specific place and time, under the eye of the management and always in the same fashion. More and more of the value is created for clients in different networks in a place, time and channel chosen by the one who is paying. 
It’s especially troublesome to see, how many companies in hot industries such as construction, car dealerships and others as such, are being unprofitable in these days. The same concern is also valid when we think about Finland. If we don’t have enough income to cover our expenditures already now, what will happen when the situation worsens? I’m sure this applies not just for Finland, but for societies all over the world. The one and only right road to take is to change the existing thinking around value, work and creating work. Success is born only when the operating efficiency is improved constantly.
Many people think that the results will improve, when we do what has always been done but just more and for a better price. Outsourcing to cheaper workforce and doing things in volume. A better way out of a game of zero-sum is to create constantly more and better value sustainably and robustly. This is possible only if we understand that all parties of work are working for a mutual goal.
– V
By Ville Tolvanen, CEO

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