I came across the beautiful Japanese concept of ‘nemawashi’ yesterday, which is an informal process of laying foundations for a proposed change or project. I guess we would call it ‘socialising’, or consider it gathering feedback to reduce the friction of the proposal.
The word ‘nemawashi’ comes from gardening and literally translates as ‘going around the roots’. A gardener would gently dig around the roots of a tree over an extended period of time to prepare the tree for a move.
Moving a tree is hard. Take your time.
Sometimes, landing an idea or a change is difficult and involves laying groundwork in a deliberate way so as not to introduce shock into a process.
Nemawashi. Playing the long game.
This weeks news has been relentlessly heavy going. The sadness in Las Vegas, Puerto Rico and Spain is almost unfathomable. In amongst the news stories, I found this quote:
You could not have been born at a better time than the present, when we have lost everything – Simone Weil
Sometimes it is hard to see through the smoke, but there has to be an opportunity in the situation. A chance to show our compassion, and our love. A chance to show that we can change things and reform. A chance to make the pendulum swing the other way.
The thing about pendulums we too easily forget in the darkest hours; they swing back. Right now, one is quietly supercharging its return – Alain de Botton
I hope that we can supercharge each other with compassion and common sense.
There is nothing like ambiguity to crystallise the abilities of a leader. Navigating uncharted waters, and helping others see a way forward is an essential skill for anyone who aims to take a leadership role.
Leadership is accepting responsibility for enabling others to achieve shared purpose under conditions of uncertainty – Marshall Ganz
The old adage of ‘change is a constant’ has been true in all the businesses I have served in, and every group has needed its leaders to take responsibility and enable their teams to move toward a common goal, whatever the conditions and challenges.