I fell in love with a tale about archers, and this led me to explore the world of Kyudo, the Japanese art of archery. This in turn provided the inspiration for the background for the novel I’ve just published in Spanish, Poderosamente Frágiles (Powerfully Fragile).
Kyudo means ‘the way of the bow’ in Japanese, and it is considered the highest form of discipline for the Samurai warrior. Originally, it was seen as a kind of ritual, like calligraphy or the tea ceremony. It was even thought of as a defensive discipline until the advent of firearms. Its roots lie in Buddhism, Taoism and Shintoism. It is the meditative martial art par excellence in which the different postures connect us to something bigger than just drawing a bow. Considering its beauty and its profundity, I am surprised that it is so little known in the West compared to other martial arts. (more…)
Just imagine if we could train employees to become ‘intrapreneurs’, that is to say, people who start up businesses within the company they are working for? Yuri Jain at Unilever is an example of an intrapreneur. He has come up with a new water purification system that has generated massive sales in India. Colin Harrison at IBM is another intrapreneur. He has created new applications that help to make cities healthier. In times like the present, we need to develop new business models, and this will only happen if we can promote the emergence of intrapreneurs within our companies. (more…)
We don’t need leaders who merely take black and white decisions; neither do we need leaders who explore the grey areas in-between. Rather, we need leaders who are able to deal with two polar opposites or two contradictory elements at the same time, and to do this efficiently and without feeling overwhelmed by the dilemma. On the one hand, leaders need to focus on the short term- on reducing risks and on putting in place reliable systems. On the other hand, they mustn’t lose sight of the long term, and they need to create the right conditions for people to innovate and for different alternatives to be explored. These two apparent contradictions need to be addressed at the same time; it is equally dangerous to operate only in the short term or to be thinking exclusively about the future. However, in such complex times as the present, we run the risk of being fenced in by one side of reality, and completely forgetting the other, which gives it balance. Moreover, if we put the emphasis purely on reducing costs and don’t build for the future, we will stifle all the optimism and motivation of the people who work with us. (more…)
‘Bring us 10 people that we end up hiring, and you’ll win a Ferrari 355TB,’ was the enticing offer made by a software company in San Francisco in the year 2000, when the continual drain of staff to the competition was everyone’s big headache. Employee commitment to companies had deteriorated to such an extent that people were changing jobs for a better salary in a way that had never been seen before. Researchers took to studying the reasons for this lack of commitment, and they established a connection with the mass lay-offs which affected 39 million people in the United States from 1980 to 1995. At the beginning of the 21st century the economic cycle had changed, but the emotional memory of the recent past was still fresh. In the not-too-distant future, companies in Spain may find themselves grappling with a similar problem. (more…)
Pilar Jericó, partner and managing director at Be-Up.
The time has come to focus on our strengths. For years now, experts have been urging us to concentrate on the areas where we need to improve; however, the fact remains that management and leadership have to be based on strengths, both of individuals and of the group as a whole. A strength is something that gives us energy to deal with difficulties and sets us apart from the rest. It is also something that can be developed. A strength is more than a skill, because it implies a positive attitude to overcoming challenges. (more…)