October 3, 2023

Pegasus Voyage

Study the Competition

Global IB exam chief: how jazz provides lessons in management

Two childhood inspirations have permeated the various job and managerial model of Olli-Pekka Heinonen, the sometime Finnish politician, policymaker and general public formal: education and new music.

As he plots out approach in his new role as director-typical of the Worldwide Baccalaureate procedure very first introduced much more than 50 percent a century back, he is drawing on both these influences. He will take over a complicated world-wide organisation as it seeks to increase and satisfy the altering demands of youngsters and modern society in an era seriously disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“My father was a teacher and I was born and lived in an condominium in a most important school,” he says. “I also examined in the [Turku] Conservatory [of Audio] and for a yr was a new music teacher.” Heinonen, 57, then experienced as a lawyer and — at least as he describes it — approximately each and every action in his qualified existence has been guided by requests and nudges from others.

He was questioned to grow to be a parliamentary adviser, then minister of education at only 29, right before he had been elected an MP. After that had happened, he grew to become minister of transportation and telecommunications. From 2002 he spent a ten years jogging Yleisradio, the Finnish condition broadcaster, but later on rejoined authorities as condition secretary to the primary minister.

The only position for which he ever utilized was his past publish as director-typical of the Countrywide Company for Instruction in 2016. That put him in charge of a school procedure held up as a showpiece all around the environment, judged by benchmarks this kind of as the OECD’s Programme for Worldwide Student Assessment, for its perception in balancing powerful academic achievements with existence outside the house school.

“My philosophy is that you need to not location your belief in preparing issues,” Heinonen, says. “There will be surprises and you need to just go together with what evolves. The only position I have utilized for was at the Company. I felt it would be a very good time to return to the criminal offense scene of the industry of education.”

He cites as just one of his biggest achievements the period of time as education minister in the mid to late 1990s, when he granted autonomy to cities, educational institutions and instructors them selves. He stresses the groundwork had been laid over the earlier two a long time by demanding all instructors to have masters’ degrees. That boosted their competence, embedded a society of continual pedagogical investigate and bolstered their substantial position and regard in modern society.

Key management classes

  • Grant autonomy — in Heinonen’s scenario, he devolved education decisions to cities and instructors them selves

  • Embrace the ‘humble governance’ idea and accept that leaders do not have the right responses

  • Leadership is not about just one person, it need to be distribute in the course of a corporate or organisational procedure

  • Communication to create belief with workers and stakeholders is important

“My method was to incorporate everyone in the process,” he says. Influenced by his government’s model of “humble governance”, he embraced the notion that “at the top you do not have the right responses, you have to require individuals in co-establishing them. Leadership is not about a person, it is a top quality that need to be distribute extensively in a procedure. If you emphasise the role of just one person, you are failing.”

He says he learnt humility, but also the want to connect much more. “I’m not by character someone who needs to be in the highlight. I’ve figured out to do that. We Finns in some cases connect as well little. We try out to be very precise and leave other issues out, but speaking to create belief is central.

“In the starting, I had the notion that remaining in a management position intended you need to appear, discuss and gown to appear like a chief,” he says. “That will not operate. You want to be on your own, the person you are. Authenticity is so critical, and the integrity that will come with it.”

A single of his biggest frustrations arrived as minister of transportation and telecommunications, when he struggled all through the spin out of Sonera from the Countrywide Postal Service. Its shares rose sharply and then collapsed all through the IT bubble. “It didn’t go as easily as I hoped,” he says. “I realised how difficult it is to merge the environment of politics and company. I need to have concerned all the companions even much more strongly to obtain a common solution.”

He then took a crack from politics, partly reflecting a want to “balance work with family and restoration time”, as he says. “I learnt to always have much more of individuals issues in your existence that give you vitality than take it away. Often make confident you have a reserve to cope with surprises. If you do not have that sort of spare vitality, they [very good and bad surprises] will take you.”

He took charge of the condition broadcaster, and made his id as a supervisor, drawing parallels with his activities as a hobbyist trumpeter major a jazz band. “You create a thing new with a shared melody that everyone is familiar with but with a large amount of home for improvisation. It’s the identical in an organisation: you need to have a couple of guidelines everyone is committed to and leave home to create new issues with everyone by listening and connecting.”

He established about accumulating a mixture of survey knowledge and personalized diaries and interviews from the Finnish general public to realize their values and attitudes, which exposed how various they have been from individuals of most of his workforce. “You can have a stereotypical perspective of issues. That led me to genuinely try out to realize our citizens as prospects.”

3 thoughts for Olli-Pekka Heinonen

Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo conducting the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Sakari Oramo

Who is your management hero?

The very substantial stage Finnish conductors Sakari Oramo, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Susanna Mälkki. I had the satisfaction of seeing them in motion in rehearsals and in concerts. It’s marvellous how these specialists can create a connection on the place, give responses and make professional musicians do a thing alongside one another that you want them to do and do it in a way that they are giving their greatest.

What was the very first management lesson you learnt?

I played new music from a very youthful age and a very early lesson was when I saw how critical internal commitment is to management: remaining ready to create interior commitment for a team of individuals to reach a thing alongside one another.

What would you have accomplished if you had not pursued your job in education and politics?

Audio would have been a thing I would have seemed to do, I would also have genuinely relished remaining an academic researcher. The potential to inquire about and learn about new issues, strive to obtain a thing new and by that to make a distinction.

Searching again on his activities, he thoughts the notion that management centres on selection creating. “Actually implementation is the approach,” he says. “The way you are ready to carry out issues is a very large strategic alternative. Instructors will not obey due to the fact someone says they ought to. They have to realize why and have the internal commitment to do so. We need to be talking much more about the idea of imperfect management: to confess uncertainty and create learning paths for the much larger procedure to obtain the solution.”

The IB procedure is today applied by much more than 250,000 learners in approximately five,500 educational institutions all around the environment. It has extended sought to educate learners in a extensive range of topics with broader understanding of the concept of awareness and the use of job and group-dependent work together with “high stakes” ultimate written exams.

To several, that demonstrates the aspirations of several national education reformers to prepare for this century’s challenges — although some IB instructors bemoan that whilst they love the principle of the qualification, they are frustrated with the organisation behind it and its slow speed of adjust. Like other exam bodies, it was criticised for how it modified its marking units all through the pandemic.

Heinonen is self-confident that the IB embodies an method — also reflected in the Finnish education procedure — in which “competences are getting to be much more central. It’s about what you do with what you know and how to educate for an uncertain potential we can not forecast.”

He sees “strong dedication to take the IB heritage into the new era” by workers and instructors. “It’s not the approach, it is the implementation,” he says. “We have to have that much larger jazz band attempting to perform the identical tone and improvise.”