Monday, February 26, 2007

An interesting reflection from my friend

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 Europe name 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 workweeks 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".

18 comments:

Mama Sarah said...

SEnyum je baca entry ni...

anggerik merah said...

Cikdinz,

Gelak baca letak kereta jauh dari entrance. Yes, every opportunity available to walk. Tapi kat sana best to walk because tak berpeluh pun.

Betul ke French productivity is better than American & British?

loveujordan said...

I kinda like the idea of the slow down culture referring to what you mentioned...."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."

Itu mungkin boleh berlaku di negara maju tapi bolehkah Malaysia ...belum maju dah nak slow down...???

Zakiah said...

"no wonder swedish kill themselves..." - Bill Bryson

D said...

slow down culture, ek? eh, malaysia kira no problem la... hardly punctual gitu. tak ke slow namanye? but, i know what you mean. i've just read a novel by Sophie Kinsella: The undomestic goddess, and it really makes one pause to think about the rush - is it worth it?

k.d said...

Must be nice working there..stress free!

RaFFLeSiA MeRaH said...

aku pun nak senyum jugak cam mama sarah tuuu...cute jer senyum bila baca bahasa omputih niiii...ngeh ngeh (lindosh nyer peberet)

NBK466 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NBK466 said...

Den tak berapa faham ler cite nie.. maybe dia guna BI Sweeden kot..den BI London..ha..ha..ha..

Qisst said...

I hv to slow down now due to my backache. Blame it on my rush-rush attitude in everything,I fell and injured my back. Moral of the story, don't rush! hi,hi..

Helena said...

kalau kat negara omputih, memang relaxing, takde rushing2..... tapi kat sini jangan harapla dapat buat camtu.....

MULAN said...

datang awal2, park jauh2... very opposite tu dgn tempat kita kan.. tu la tempat kita kan lain bahangnya..

maklang said...

betul mulan betul...kalau boleh nak park depan pintu masuk!

Kaklong said...

salam,

mcm mama sarahlah, saya pun senyum gak

david santos said...

Hello!
This work is very good
Thank you

cikdinz said...

mama sarah - senyum jerk. msg nampak tak....

anggerik merah - europe more advance than america....

loveujordan - malaysia maju dgn kehancuran...

zakiah - hidop terlampau slow buring gak kan....heheheee..

d - mana ada. i'm punctual man.

kd - stress free yg penting.

reflesia merah - My english are the most powerful in Malaysia....

nbk466 - they use english language from BI Jawa Timur...ekekekk..

qisst - you received the msg right....heheheee...

helena - mentaliti kena ubah kan...

mulan - kesedaran sivik & moral yg tinggi..

maklang - bukan depan gate je, kalu buleh nak bawak masyuk lam opis...

kak long - senyum ada makna tuh..

david santos - not only good. it's great, it's marvelous, it's wonderful........

13may said...

:)

kat sini kena buat keja laju laju...hehhe

cikdinz said...

13may - laju-laju sampei membahyakan nyawa...heheheee..