The Miyamoto Model: How to implant New Work and create added value

Part I: The Model

During the last months I observe more and more discussions about new ways of organizing work, about purpose-driven companies, a needed skill shift in education and so on. Companies as well as consultants and the normal worker ask themselves: Is there a new way of working? Is it worth the pain? And even more staggering: How do we get there?

With this article, I want to give some insights in my work with a lot of companies who dared to confront themselves with the matter of New Work, with a new path to corporate success and, last but not least, to more personal productity and happiness in the work sphere: the Miyamoto model.

© Markus Väth

Miyamoto Musashi was one of, if not the most famous sword warrior in mideval Japan. He lived from 1584 – 1645 and died, supposedly undefeated, as a buddhist monk after finishing his still famous book about war strategy, Go rin no sho, „The book of five rings“. Being a friend of martial arts as well as a New Worker, I found stunning parallels between his „five rings“ and the important factors regarding New Work in organizations. So this is why I call my consulting model Miyamoto.

Miyamotos book contains five important dimensions for the way of life: Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, Fulness. These dimensions were of course named in the style of the big Asian philosophies like Buddhism, Confuzianism etc. For the modern business world they have to be translated and transformed to be understandable and useful:

Earth = Mindset

The earth represents the base of what grows, the substance, the livelihood of everything that exists. Without earth there is no life. Same could be said about a company. Without the right mindset no change will happen, no agility will take place, no fruitful culture will flourish. The mindset is the most important factor. Or as I heard a boxer say: „The fight is already won or lost before it already begun.“

Wind = Agility

Wind is unseen, but could have big impact: „You will never see the wind, but you`ll see the effects of the wind.“ Wind could be both refreshing and destroying. The same could be said about the introduction of principles regarding agility and self-organization in a company. Without an underlying, corresponding mindset the agile principles will either be rejected or mistreated by the organization.

Water = Learning

Like earth, water is the base of life. But unlike earth, water is fluid, flexible, adaptable in its shape to different grounds and circumstances. Parallel to that the contents and the forms of learning in a company must also be flexible, adaptable to the ever changing needs of new technologies and market innovations. Without constant flexible learning, an organization dies.

Fire = Strategy

Fire is a strong, but simple power; it doesn’t make compromises. It is also visible over a long range and gives orientation in the dark. A company strategy must fulfill the same conditions: Every employee should understand what the company is doing, why and how it serves the public. The strategy must also have an inherit power, creating the urge to follow it.

Fulness = Added Value

When all four parts are working together, mindset, agility, learning and strategy contribute to the fulness, the added value. In contrast to traditional management models, there can’t be a development in profit without the development and growth of the employee and the collective corporate culture. Miyamoto is therefore an integrating model of personal, social and financial growth in every company.

For friends of the visual, here’s the video.

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