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Strategic facilitation in Finnish tax administration

Due to the transformation of work and changes in the nature of work, during the last few years, The Finnish Tax Administration has invested a lot of energy in improving the facilitation skills of managers and project managers. The Finnish Tax Administration’s goal has been to develop the facilitation know-how towards a more strategic dimension –  investing in strategic facilitation.

Humap has cooperated in conducting strategic facilitation trainings in The Finnish Tax Administration, to the facilitation network and project managers, both face-to-face and online. According to The Finnish Tax Administration development managers Mika Pulkkinen and Tarja Grönholm, the key value was the collective understanding that stemmed from the merger of theory and practice and made everyday operations easier.

We were able to deepen the know-how of our experts under the guidance of the experienced facilitators. Getting to know the theories and methods, as well as collective discussions and cooperation, provided us with shared meanings, language and understanding. Especially the atmosphere where difference is accepted and appreciated hit home from the very beginning, says Grönholm.

According to Grönholm and Pulkkinen, in The Finnish Tax Administration, the effectiveness of the collective trainings can be seen and heard in discussions as well as in the facilitation of everyday work. The issues we discussed together taught us something new and they have been actively implemented.

The trainings have truly brought added value to our everyday work. We exceeded all of our expectations multiple times, Pulkkinen says.

Moments like these facilitation trainings are the high points and the best hours of my personal career. In each training or cooperation project, you hope to learn something new and that is what happened here. In addition, I got to witness the sparkle in my colleagues’ eyes when they too learnt something new and were inspired to think in a whole new way, Pulkkinen adds.

 

During the collective meetings, we instantly saw that we would be enjoying these results and teachings for a long time, Grönholm adds.

The experienced facilitators within The Finnish Tax Administration also participated in facilitation training and, according to Grönholm, they too gained new skills and energy. According to her, the key to success laid first and foremost in shared dialogue where mutual meanings and understanding were created. Thinking and know-how were crystallized as a result of discussions and work.

It is incredible how, in these short training sessions, we were able to have such in-depth conversations and push the whole group forwards emotionally in leaps and bounds. Creating a mutual trust cannot be taken for granted. I believe that the trust created in these trainings will take us far.

According to Pulkkinen and Grönholm, The Finnish Tax Administration brought “a trailer packed with problems” to the trainings. We got to resolve genuine everyday challenges in each meeting.

It was important that we were instructed to search and discover several options instead of one truth. I wish we could have these training sessions and experiences every Monday! Pulkkinen gushes.

The key pillars in the cooperation between The Finnish Tax Administration and Humap have been flexibility and ease. All training sessions have had around 30 participants, but the atmosphere has been unreserved and present. Armours and other “useless frills” were stripped before coming together, which enabled us to profoundly discuss genuine needs from the very beginning.

We have gotten to know Terhikki and Eeva-Liisa through our own role as a customer. It was astonishing how easy it was for the four of us to understand each other from the very beginning. Terhikki and Eeva-Liisa jumped right into our world and began to mould their experiences and know-how to suit that. We got the feeling that they genuinely wanted to help.