Friday, April 6, 2007

A Different View Of Life

This is one interesting reading for the weekend:

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. Globalized 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". 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.From my previous experience working in Goteborg, people there are niceand they don't even have the slightest 'kiasu' spirit that Asian people tend to have.
Izwan Hafiz Ahmad - 8690


At April 6, 2007 at 8:24 AM , Blogger shahriman said...

If only Proton could follow the foot steps of Volvo.
Anyway, it shows the people attitude that brings the most out of a productivity of a company.

At April 10, 2007 at 8:26 AM , Blogger zaki said...'re right....everything is back to the attitude

At May 7, 2007 at 7:12 PM , Blogger deOughtred said...


i too wish proton could stand as tall as volvo or honda, toyota, better still. but again, it lies with the people's attitude. one thing, malaysians are not really patriotic, not even an inch close to the japanese, americans and now koreans.

it's just happen that automotive is the 2nd largest money-generating industry in the world that people open up their eyes to anything that happened. we, malaysians, don't just not want to buy national cars but other malaysian-brand things like kronos, line 7 or jking (as compared to adidas, nike) or zan's pizza over pizza hut or jangan pandang belakang movie over the stupid wild hogs, cicak man over spiderman.. the list goes on and on. some people argue that quality comes before loyalty. it's really a chicken and egg situation. don't forget korean cars were not good like today.

too bad for proton. a simple analogy. the parents (Malaysia) wants their first child (proton) to be alim ulama/tahfiz (global player) but at the same time, during the 15 years upbringing the child (proton), the child (proton) was exposed to things like unbenificial tv programs like shin can, doraemon (influx of japanese, korean and even lousy chinese cars) and other anasir-anasir jahat like porn magazine (the AP scam, the double invoicing of excise duties), etc. How to have a really alim ulama/tahfiz child? While the second child (perodua) were given a free hand to decide what he wants to be, to marry a foreigner (partnership with Toyota) or just makan gaji (rebadge and sub-assembly of cars instead of making own engines, design car from scratch).

Too bad the last 3 years of Tengku Mahaleel in Proton (especially after Tun M's resignation) he was more busy educating the people (including ministers and policymakers) than running the business. Too shameful that even most ministers can relate the need for the existence of proton to the development of nation. Once you don't understand this, how could you expect the people like you and I to understand? And don't expect the ministers to carry the Jalur Gemilang flying :-(

It's like Hikayat 1001 Malam kalau nak bercerita about proton. but, some guys prefer spending their nights playing cards or berjudi than talking/discussing about such issues. who's to blame? ;-)

manliness through wisdom


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