Lessons learned from the Finnish forest

D&I Quarterly Q1/2021

Posted on

8 Apr

2021

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Dittmar & Indrenius > Insight > Lessons learned from the Finnish forest

There is something magical about the Finnish forest. However, this was not always clear to me.

I grew up listening to stories about mystical creatures living in the woods and wild animals that can see you in the darkest night. The first time I was orienteering in a Finnish forest, it was with a colleague from D&I. I had a map, a compass, a goal, and I did not feel at ease standing in the middle of the forest. I did not know which path to take.

After spending some time in Finland, the forest became one of my favourite places to feel intimately connected with nature. I now understand why: for me a forest is no longer a dangerous place. It is immense and full of possibilities. When you spend enough time getting familiar with the surroundings, you start to see the difference between the forest and the trees.

These are three lessons that I learned in the Finnish forest that I try to apply in my professional life:

1. There are countless different routes to reach the same goal

To reach various checkpoints, you must choose a route. In orienteering, you often choose the most efficient way. In contracts, you usually select the fastest route because of time constraints, lack of bargaining power, or the non-materiality of a clause.

When choosing your way through the forest, you can take the route around a hill or decide to climb it and descend it. One route may take longer than the other, but they both reach the same goal. Clients often ask us to assess the likelihood of success in a negotiation or case. In our analysis, we offer different options, from settlements to litigation and arbitration. The ultimate objective is to reach the clients’ goals while suggesting different routes.

2. Be prepared to change routes

The forest is alive, and there can be daily changes to its landscape. For example, fallen trees, a new course of water or a nest of ants is rising. Even when you choose your path, different elements may make you change your approach. You thought about litigation in the country where the investment is located, but maybe you have to change it to arbitration in a neutral venue at the last minute.

The main lesson is to be aware and ready to change course. Awareness makes you open to changes because you were already expecting them. Responsiveness is higher when you have thought about the implications of changing routes and know exactly where they will lead.

3. Take the most walked path (if that suits you)

Sometimes you can walk the paths that are marked on the map. Sometimes they are an easy trail or a duckboard (pitkospuut). You do not have to reinvent the wheel all the time. If the path takes you to the desired destination without any hiccups, there is no reason to change something that has been working well.

Spring is starting, the snow is melting, and the forest is coming back to life. Put on comfortable shoes, get outside and take a walk in the woods. Take paths that you know and then take unknown courses. Come back home, sit at your desk and think about which direction you want to choose for the contract that you are drafting. If you would like to walk the path together, get in touch, we are happy to put on our shoes and walk with you.

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Dittmar & Indrenius