Being Savvy

August 26th, 2014

I recently came across the phrase ‘Global Savvy’ in an international coaching article by Geoffrey Abbott and it struck a chord with me. I hadn’t heard the phrase before but it described being ‘globally savvy’ as the capacity to create positive value from the interplay of feeling, acting and thinking, where the context is diverse and messy.

I really liked that last bit. Messy. And what does being savvy have to do with messy? I wanted to know more. The author talked about being savvy – in this case globally savvy in a cross-cultural coaching context – as “injecting subtle energy” into the way we feel, act and think. That someone is savvy if they habitually: Feel positive about difference and are curious to explore; Act to create connections and remove barriers; Think in ways that can handle uncertainties, ambiguities and paradoxes. We can ask ourselves: how do feelings, actions and thoughts interplay for me? What shifts in my energy and attention could I make in order to be more savvy?

Depending on your personality, and whether you’re a head, heart or more gut-centred person, my guess is that you’ll find some elements of the three more challenging to consider than others. For example, if you’re a gut-centred person, you’ll have strong instincts and tend to move into action quickly to make things happen. Instead, a more savvy approach might be to spend more time on the interplay between your feelings and thoughts – to think about how your behaviours might have the best possible impact for others and to be more curious about exploring your own feelings. If you’re more of a heart-centred or feeling person, then it’s the interplay between thinking and acting that you could focus on. Thinking about how you’ll handle difficulties and what actions you’ll take to create genuine connections with others.

If you’re more of a head-centred or thinking person, then the interplay between feeling and acting could yield you positive outcomes. How do you feel about different scenarios and how would you behave in order to remove any barriers between yourself and others?

In the hum-drum of everyday life, the context is often messy, yet this messiness is needed if we’re wanting to grow and be savvy.

Regardless of being ‘globally savvy’ or ‘self savvy’ (as I’ll call it), it takes time and ongoing effort to develop new habits. And as we inquire more truthfully, yet playfully into the motives behind our feelings, actions and thoughts, especially in challenging situations, we’re able to see more clearly where we might be stuck. As the author says, “the challenge is to explore and leverage the connections across the three elements and to look for growth and development that is integrative. It is a framework for you to open up fresh conversations and engage in the paradoxical state of ‘serious play.’

Whilst it isn’t always easy, if we’re really interested in doing our part to become a happier individual and to make the world a better place, then our work starts with us. Despite not necessarily understanding, or agreeing with, another. And despite things being messy.