Have you ever noticed that the road to innovation is not straight nor is it flat, it’s disruptive, curvy and sometimes riddled with potholes? Typically, those potholes create distractions that cause burnouts, minor failures or even monumental, catastrophic failures.
The net result of this can often be loss of focus and fear within many organizations, especially as we start a new year. 2016 will be a year of major disruption in my opinion and it will require all the Ikigai and Kaizen you can muster within your organization.
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.
In times of change, “What’s in it for ME?” (WIIFM) is the “BIG” question everyone wants an answer to as soon as possible. Basically, we are all self-centered so this should be no surprise.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to see that the communications are clear, concise and authentic. Where possible, we need to understand another component in change and that is “What’s in it for “US” as a group?” The answers to question WIIFM can actually be included with a WIIFUS response.
In my experience, the biggest mistake most leaders make when trying to change something in the life or structure of the enterprise is to lead by announcement, by propaganda, or—worse yet—by executive dictate.
What may make perfect sense in your mind may not be understood so clearly by the rest of the organization. To you, the idea is completely logical. Trouble is, to win the support of others you must appeal to the intellectual and emotional bandwidth of people.
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.”
Today, let’s examine how you handle actions in the workplace.
Are you reactive to the events occurring within your environment and around you or do you take initiative to prepare for, participate in and/or control the events?
Do you intentionally take an active or passive role? Do you think in terms of the present or do you look to the future, anticipating outcomes and preparing for the consequences?
Are you a procrastinator in terms of making make a decision? Do you only make decisions when you have to, when you’re backed into a corner or when you’ve put it off for as long as you can? Or do you make conscious, intentional decisions as part of a larger, long-term plan?
How you answered these questions can have a profound effect on your career and company. I find that to be successful today every leader must have a laser focus and proactive, so here is how I view F.O.C.U.S.: