The Savola Four Internal Values
Savola Ethics full document (PDF 318 KB)
At Savola we believe that the first step towards success needs to be taken by the individual himself. We, as individuals, need to believe that our success is largely dependent on our own actions and not those of others. After realizing this, we need to begin the process of adopting the correct attitudes and traits that will enable us to succeed. For Savola, the first set of such traits is what we call the “Internal 4”
The “Internal 4” detail the enablers we need to begin the process of realizing the need for personal development, beginning our personal development, and implementing that which we have learned. These traits will enable us to overcome the personal attitudes that obstruct our growth and development. Specifically, these traits will help us overcome the prime obstacle to success – arrogance.
Confident Humility (Tawado):
As Savolans we believe the primary obstacle to success is arrogance. The reason for choosing arrogance as the primary obstacle is because it breeds in us several attitudes that prevent us from doing what is needed to succeed. For example:
- Arrogance can instill in us the belief that we know all that is needed, and that no one is more capable than we are. This, in turn, means that we will not, or be reluctant to, seek the advice or guidance of others, since we believe no one can add value to what we already know. Thus, when we face problems or are unsure of how to proceed, arrogance will not let us turn to others for support. Ultimately, this means we will solve problems based on our limited knowledge and experience leading us to sub-optimal solutions.
- Arrogance can have a negative effect on our success when it instills in us the belief that seeking the help or advice of others is “humiliating”. Thus, even if we do not believe we are the best, we will still not turn to others because we do not want to appear “humiliated” in their eyes. Here, again, the consequences are we will solve problems on our own relying on our limited knowledge rather than utilizing the greater knowledge and experience of those around us.
- Arrogance can prevent us from admitting mistakes, as this will make us look “weak” in the eyes of others. This refusal to admit to mistakes means we will continue in a project, process, or idea even though we know it is wrong, and we know that the actual results will not be as expected or promised. More damaging, however, is that by continuing in the wrong path, we are hurting not only our personal performance, but are also negatively impacting the organization and others who might be depending on us.
Thus, arrogance prevents us from accepting:
- That there are those who are more knowledgeable and experienced than us from whom we can learn and benefit.
- The advice of others, since we perceive seeking such advice as “humiliating”.
- That admitting to mistakes is a sign of strength, and will be appreciated by those around us since it will save them a lot of time and effort both in working on the wrong solution and recovering from it.
Thus, the first driver to success is the value that will enable us to overcome our arrogance and ego. It is a driver which will enable us to stop and review or course of action whenever we are in doubt or unsure. This is the value of Confident Humility (Tawado). Tawado grants us the confidence we need to perform our assigned responsibilities while at the same time instilling in us the humility we need to overcome, or at least minimize, our ego and its arrogance. Thus, with Tawado we will perceive our arrogance as an obstacle to, rather than an enabler of, success, and we will strive towards overcoming it. It is the value that will enable us to accept the fact that we do not know everything; that others can be, and some most probably are, more knowledgeable than us; and that it is never wrong or too late to admit to mistakes and learn from them. Tawado is the value that will allow us to accept criticism open-heartedly, assimilate this criticism, and use it as a means for personal growth and improvement.
By uprooting this arrogance, by accepting the fact that we do not know all we need to know, and by accepting the fact that others might be more knowledgeable than us, we now have a duty to ourselves to act on these facts. Our primary duty is to develop ourselves.
This self-development can come through traditional means of instruction such as attending courses/seminars, or using audio-visual instructional material (e.g., books, tapes, CDs, multimedia). These means, however, provide only a partial detail of that which we are trying to learn. They provide us with the theory, and its application in specific, and isolated cases or scenarios. They do not truly show us how to apply and employ this knowledge in our daily lives and its various situations. To relate the needed knowledge to our lives, and to make it relevant to our needs, we need to experience it first-hand, and see it demonstrated in front of us. In other words, we need to see a living example of this knowledge and learn from it. This more powerful, effective, and relevant means of transferring knowledge from one individual to the other is achieved through the process of Apprenticeship (Iq’tida).
Much of the literature in management has focused on “Leadership”. Yet, unless we are born leaders, we need to learn the art and skill of leadership. Indeed, most of us are not born leaders and, consequently we need to invest the time and effort to develop to the level required by our jobs or the level we aspire to. This means that we spend a good amount of time learning. The most effective way of learning the leadership skills is by emulating our role models, or examples, or Qudwa’s. And it is here where the trait of Apprenticeship (Iq’tida) comes to the forefront.
Iq’tida means to seek out, interact with, and learn from those who are more knowledgeable than us, and are willing to share their knowledge with us. These individuals should become our Qudwa, or role model, from whom we acquire the specific knowledge we need. Thus, Tawado helps break the barriers our arrogance puts up against learning from others, and Iq’tida instills in us the traits through which we can actually learn from others. Iq’tida can be practiced through one of three possible methods. First, there is the formal process through which an individual with the requisite knowledge and experience is identified and designated, by the organization, as our mentor, or Qudwa. The second, and more common, method is to learn directly from those who are more experienced and knowledgeable than us, and with whom we have continuous on the job contact: our line managers. The third method is when we recognize the required expertise or knowledge in an individual who is neither our line manager nor official mentor, and we approach that individual seeking to learn from him. Regardless of which type of Iq’tida we find ourselves engaged in, as Savolans with Tawado, it is up to us to take advantage of these conditions to better ourselves. To maximize the benefits of Iq’tida, we need to exhibit certain behaviors and undertake certain actions. First, we need to explore and actively interact with our mentors/managers to discuss and challenge issues. The purpose of this discussion is to learn and clarify issues; it is not discussion for the sake of discussion. Being a process of learning, Iq’tida then stipulates that we need to actively support, and propagate the advice and guidance of our mentors/managers. We need to exhibit a keen interest in and appreciation of the knowledge being gained. At this point it should be clarified that the support and propagation we are exhibiting is not done for the pleasure or satisfaction of our mentor. The reason we do this is because one of the most effective means of entrenching recently acquired knowledge is to actually use it and communicate it to others. Thus, by supporting and propagating the knowledge we are actually enhancing our ability to absorb it. Iq’tida further stipulates that we need to be honest with our mentors/managers/colleagues by providing them with relevant, timely and accurate feedback on what we are learning from them. We need to openly discuss with them the problems we are facing and not hide from them facts that might hinder the learning process. We need to ask questions when we are not sure, and speak up when we do not understand. Iq’tida also requires that we seek out those individuals who are most knowledgeable so that we might learn form them. Last, but definitely not least, Iq’tida requires that we seek feedback. Ultimately, Iq’tida is about having the right attitude and demeanor towards knowledge and its acquisition from any available source.
Fierce Resolve (Azm):
By not putting the acquired knowledge to use means our Iq’tida process will have been in vain. Thus, to continue the path towards uprooting the obstacles to success and entrenching the enablers, we need to use the knowledge we acquire. Implementing knowledge, however, entails changes to our current practices and habits. Such changes are difficult, and cannot be achieved in one step; they need to start from within. They need to start with a decision that we will enact the needed changes. This is the starting point of Fierce Resolve (Azm.) Azm, or “Want-to-Do”, is about having the decisiveness to act on our intention and to adopt the knowledge we acquired to better ourselves. Azm is about having the desire to deliver, and the mental focus to determine what must be done to achieve what is required of us.
We also need to be decisive in setting our priorities and the manner by which we will address the issues we face. Without the decisiveness to prioritize our responsibilities we will not be able to effectively fulfill those responsibilities nor will we be able to give the more relevant and important responsibilities their due. In addition, we need decisiveness to select the optimum solution, among many, for any situation or task we face. Azm stipulates that a correct decision is the one that provides the most effective solution. This is the solution that optimizes our returns for a given amount of effort.
Thus, we can claim to possess or have adopted Azm when we demonstrate:
- A desire to analyze the various situations we find ourselves in, and the knowledge needed to address those situations.
- A willingness to acquire the knowledge needed to prioritize between the various situations.
- A commitment to determine the various solutions available to us for any given situation.
- A commitment to determine the most effective solution. This entails understanding the requirements for each solution (in terms of resources and effort) and the returns expected for the required effort.
- The decisiveness to decide which situations will be addressed and which solution will be chosen for each situation.
Thus, Azm, the “Want-to-Do” trait, addresses the behaviors and attitudes we need to have in order to understand our options, prioritize from among these options, decide on which to choose and prepare the needed plans to effectively execute them.
Relentless Pursuit of Perfection (It’qan):
When we have Azm we have the ability, willingness, desire and intention to do our best. However, it does not guarantee that we will do our best, since, by nature, we tend to search for shortcuts or paths of least resistance. Thus, Azm does not guarantee our work will be as error free as we can possibly make it, and that we are able to achieve our objectives in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Similarly, Azm does not guarantee our work is as comprehensive as possible, or that we are able to identify all possible contingencies and scenarios, and addresses them. To ensure the quality or comprehensiveness of the work we do we need a value that will drive us to give our best. We need the value of Relentless Pursuit of Perfection, or It’qan. The literal translation of It’qan is perfection. To us, however, It’qan is about how we strive for perfection by adopting the main drivers of perfection - caution and care. By being cautious about our work, what we deliver to others, and what we are responsible for we will always be vigilant about the quality of our work. We will be driven to investigate/review our work in detail to remove any problems or errors. We will be driven to ensure that what we deliver is done to the best of our abilities and that no stone is left unturned. We will be driven to ensure that all contingencies or possibilities were investigated and addressed by the work we present. We will ensure that we will utilize all the knowledge and help we have available to us. We will contemplate as many possible outcomes of our actions as possible and develop contingencies for each. Once we are continuously driven by this care to do our best we will have acquired the value of It’qan. Having adopted and implemented the value of It’qan, means we will tend to produce high quality work. This tendency of consistently producing good work might gradually instill in us the belief that we are “experts” at what we do, and that there is little left for us to learn. This belief can ultimately lead to arrogance and a retrenching of the obstacles to success. Thus, to ensure we avoid this trap and remain on the path to success, it is essential that we review these four values continuously and make all of them an integral part of our daily lives. That is, we need to revisit our Tawado, Iq’tida, Azm, and It’qan regularly. Top