24 June 2013

Finland’s VISTA success

This week, 32 teams from all over the world will arrive in Gothenburg for the VISTA 2012-2013 world final. Three of those teams, Team Harju, Kuusamon Wetteri and Wetteri Power Oy, are from Finland – more than any other country.

At the Nordic semi finals in Madrid last April, the Finnish contingent claimed three of the four spots for the world final. As a result, for the first time Sweden will not be representing in the world final. Marcus Hällström, VISTA leader for Finland, shares his thoughts on why Finnish teams have been so successful.

Why were the Finnish teams so successful in the VISTA semi finals?
“The teams that have qualified for the world final are very experienced and skilled. I’ve closely watched the way they work in competition. They do everything by the book and according to Volvo’s instructions – they don’t take short cuts or rely on memory. They are very skilled at finding information on Impact and in other sources.

They also work well in teams, and work in a constructive way. Each has a role and knows what each should be doing. They have a good team set-up, with a good balance between theory and skills.”

Are there any other initiatives or actions that have contributed to Finland’s VISTA success?
“Behind all this, we have had a strong focus on training over the past few years and broadening our training offer. Before 2008, we had to kind of guess what courses were needed, however since then we’ve switched to competence platforms. Now we deliver training courses according to identified needs. It also helps that many dealers in Finland continue to invest in training, even when the economy isn’t strong.

This year was the second time that Finland was the strongest market in the Nordic semi final, and I believe this is because of the level of investment in competence development.”

Do you offer any other incentives to encourage teams?
“We do have other prizes throughout the competition, such as prizes after each round, or prizes for most improved between rounds. There are also incentives such as a study trip for one team who don’t reach the semi finals. We try to share prizes and awards around so its not the same teams winning all the time.

However, while prizes are a nice way of encouraging teams, I don’t feel they make a big contribution to our success. After VISTA 2009, we conducted a survey to find out why people participated, and the vast majority said it was for competence development and team building – only a very small number said they were in VISTA for the prizes.”

The Nordic semi final is a very tough competition. Were you surprised Finland claimed three of the four world final spots available?
“Three out of four is amazing, but to be honest, I almost guessed it in advance. I was mainly following the teams closely in the semi final, and they performed excellent. They are strong teams and I knew they would finish high based on their performance. They worked hard and deserve to be in the world final, so I’m not that surprised, more proud.”