As we start 2016, I would like to open our imaginations a bit and examine work and life from a couple of Japanese concepts that we have all heard about but few truly understand. The first we are going to look at is “Ikigai” or “the why you get up every day” and the second is “Kaizen” or “the philosophy of continuous improvement in work and personal lives”.
Many authors discuss these topics independently but I really feel they need to be combined to realize the real power that is present in their use and empowerment. Here we are going to examine an integrated process that can help you become more intentional and empowering in 2016.
Could the solution to resistance to change be a simple act of unlearning? Let’s look into this and see just how complex this statement really is for humans.
Lao Tzu said, “To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”
Peter Drucker said it another way, “We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”
I have been a fan of the TV program NCIS since it was originally released. I have loved it for a number of reasons but most of all because of the focus on Gibb’s rules as a core of operations for the team. There are 50+ of these rules that have cropped up in many of the episodes over the 11 seasons.
One of the aspects of Gibb’s rules, that I like, is they are dynamic and change as attitudes and underlying values change which is important for growth. While you need to retain some rigidity, the flexibility allows you to balance responses and reactions
These rules have their foundation from Gibb’s values and time leading black ops missions while he was a Marine. They were adapted to his work with the NCIS investigative team so they have a tendency to be reactive or military based.
While I agree we can apply many of the characteristics of military engagement to business, I find they are limited because the motivations are different. In reality, nothing we do in business is truly life threatening or based on imminent physical danger. Yes, there are those who have this perception but it is rarely fatal to an individual.
As a leader, you are probably interested in the sustainability of your company, if you’re not then it may be time to find something else to do for a living. The key to continually being on the sustainable path, you really need to focus building blocks that can provide the base of a culture of innovation. That’s because, in a fast-moving, VUCA world, where people expect things to get better and better, and cheaper and cheaper, innovation is your primary tool that can be used to get ahead of your competition and stay there.
Innovation is not some mystical, close your eyes and with wishful thinking have something appear that is new, improved or revolutionary. It is something that must be done intentionally, proactively and with full participation by all within the company. Building blocks can make it easier for everyone.
Our brain was never designed to just trap and retain information, in reality it was created to allow us to generate thoughts and ideas. So often you retain so much useless trivia that it may actually hamper our ability to think creatively.
When you have a job, you are paid to exercise thought power in the execution of plans and processes so it is important to understand how to avoid burnout and be productive at work, at home and in society in general.