Develop an internal culture to withstand external pressures

True stories, Chris Thorsen – part1

This article is part of a serie of stories of how aiki can be applied in business for better leadership. They show how business success depends on the spirit of the leaders, the way in which they source their power, and their willingness to be guided. Chris Thorsen and Richard Moon (Quantum Edge), the authors of these testimonies, help executives develop the inner mastery skills required to achieve a unified spirit in the midst of today’s complex, high pressure business world. 

At a large, computer chip manufacturer, a start-up team was floundering in its efforts to create the entrepreneurial culture needed to produce the smooth and timely manufacture of its new product. Team members, representing several departments across the company, had begun the endeavor by playing “poker,” that is, by holding their cards close to themselves and bluffing regarding schedule commitments. At one point the resulting confusion actually stopped the manufacturing line.

The team leader invited us to help with the situation; our involvement brought ongoing team building that included Aikido exercises emphasizing integrity and the power of blending. This experiential learning increased the team’s valuing of cooperation and enabled members to be open and honest with one another for the duration of the project.

We also enabled this entrepreneurial team to develop an internal culture that could withstand the external pressures of its surrounding environment. Once the early breakdowns had occurred, the parent company’s senior executives, using a more traditional management approach, increased the intensity of their project monitoring, wanting to advise on every move. In addition, mid-way through the project, success was assured by a very large customer commitment, but ironically, this sale brought with it huge demands and a need to interact well with yet another established company culture different than their own.

Aikido principles helped the team envision itself as a ball (a metaphor for cultural integrity) — able to respond to pressure by rolling or bouncing but never being crushed or deformed by negative influences of the more powerful organizations.

The results: this product start-up team thrived, increasing their revenue from 20 million a year to 20 million a month within the span of a single year.

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