Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Interesting Reflection - Slow Down Culture

Arrgggghhhhhh... Everyday, work, work, work, nothing but just working. Really slowly killing and suffocating me. Can't breath properly. Pressure. Stress. Distress. Competition. Career. Promotion. Bonus. Salary. Overtime. Working our asses off just to survive, to take care our family, our wives, children. Just earning couple a buck so we can spend away to pamper ourselves and keep the rest in our little piggy bank. Who have not been in that situation, the modern slavery in this globalized world? I think we all have been working at odd hours outside working hours trying to get the job done before the due dates.

Honestly, who like to working extra hours just to satisfy or please our blardy boss? Have you ever wondered why we work over-time just to finish the assignment or project? Recently I received a forwarded email from a friend, regarding working culture. The email really hits me when I read it. Hope you all find it interesting and the most important, understood the message it trying to send out. Please feel free to give some comments.

An Interesting Reflection: Slow Down Culture

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalize processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to posses a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

Said in another words:
1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo, a state in Brazil.
2. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
3. Stockholm has 500,000 people.
4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Nokia are some of its renowned companies. Volvo supplies the NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don't you think?" Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there's a movement in Europename Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being". French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour work weeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US's attention, pupils of the fast and the "do it now!".

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living.

It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance to a tango.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".

Congratulations for reading till the end of this message. There are many who will have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this globalized world. Sit back and take a moment to ponder. Chill....


belle said...

really good one..
i wish we can do tht in reality.
but different places supply different things.
might seems as an excuse but we in msia doesnt allow us to "slow down"
if onli outr country is as well develop,and ppl well behave?
it does not apply for those country tht is tryin to catch up.try saying this to isreal?
...but we msian r happy this way
and wat we enjoy here is procrastination,whcih is also a pleasure i guess =]

k u k u j i o a m a n said...

Hahhaa...yup I do enjoy some procrastination also... Malaysia Bulleh!!!!!