Go to your Dojo

Go to your DojoIn ordinary parlance, a dojo is a place where martial artists convene to work out, train, and hold contests. But, literally translated it is Japanese for the location of the way.

The way is more than the way of the martial artist, more than the way of judo, karate, tai kwan do, or whatever system of combat.

The way refers to the principle that makes the martial art possible, the underlying order of the universe that a martial artist harnesses to achieve superiority.

Thus the dojo is the place where this way is cultivated. It is not a place where a skill or talent is taught as much as it is a place where a different mindset and way of interacting with the forces of the universe are developed.

When I think of building the capacity to respond quickly to changes in the market, I am talking about creating a new way of operating. This is a cultural effort that involves a particular mindset. That mindset is built around the principle that an organization exists to generate value in the marketplace and the way to create that value is by being sensitive, responsive, and proactive to the needs of its most important constituents.

When I say, Go to the Dojo, what I am suggesting is a deliberate cultivation of this mindset inside the organization.

Through regular reviews of customers’ needs, market conditions, new circumstances, and proactive deliberation, staff members should be encouraged to find the wins that can be brought to market and implement them, large and small.

Yes, from the outside this looks like a place to practice and train. But on the inside there is more going on. There is nothing short of the transformation of the people involved to become true value generators, using the resources at their disposal to improve the quality of their customers’ and shareholders’ lives, and to make a good profit doing it.

Everyone can be energetically involved in creating the kind of win-win that is a worthwhile pursuit for both the organization and its beneficiaries.

Dojo activities include:•

  • Convening the senior leadership team, vice presidencies, departments, divisions, managers, front-line staff, and even all-staff gatherings to discuss what it means to organize around the customers’ benefit and innovate accordingly.•
  • Reviewing day-to-day operations with an eye to improvements that directly result in increased customer satisfaction, delivering more value at lower cost, increasing value at the same cost, or providing options that increase value in exchange for increases in cost.
  • Sharing of Practices Worth Replicating that proactively deliver value to the customer while generating additional revenue or enabling cross-selling within the organization.

These are examples of harnessing the underlying order of the universe to achieve excellence. This is how you go to your dojo.

image credit: dojo.dtsagile.com

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Seth KahanSeth Kahan is a Change Leadership specialist. He has consulted with CEOs and executives in over 50 world-class organizations that include Shell, World Bank, Marriott, Prudential, Project Management Institute, and NASA. His book, Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out, is a Washington Post bestseller. Visit GettingChangeRight.com for a free excerpt.

Seth Kahan




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No Comments

  1. Grant Lichtman on April 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm


    Very timely and relevant. Education is at a crossroads where we will reduce content delivery and replace it with instruction and time spent practicing the skills that really matter…a lot like what takes place in a dojo. In fact I am part-way into writing a book with several other educators and our model includes metaphorical/virtual spaces like The Meditation Room and the Gym where students and teachers spend time during the regular instructional time. Reflection, mindfulness, self-awareness: these will become part of the mainstream, not a tangent. I am writing more on this on my blog site.

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