Anyone following the news these days will know, we’re living in some pretty crazy times, both home and abroad.
Politics, the environment, the rise of China, Global Trumpism, Tesla, Bitcoin, Brexit, COVID, Zoom calls…
Culturally, it’s a mess, too. There’s a reason why nobody is watching the Oscars anymore.
How the heck is a leader supposed to lead in these crazy times?
Short Answer: You remember your Kung Fu lessons, back in your martial arts days.
Kung Fu? What’s up with that?
The thing about Kung Fu is, well, in the movies it all looks terribly fancy. But in reality, it isn’t.
It’s basically just a half dozen or so basic stances (horse stance, bow stance, etc), a few kicks (front kick, slap kick, etc), a few punches and slaps, a cartwheel or two, and then various combinations of the former (forms), drilled again and again and again, over time, till it all becomes second nature.
And stretching. LOTS of stretching.
Even after many years of practice, 95% of what you’re doing is honing the stuff you learned in your first three months. But somehow it’s turned you into a beast in the process.
Eventually, you figure out that there isn’t any big mystery to Kung Fu like there is in the movies. All there is training. Work ethic. All there is AN ETHOS.
So when you go to a really great Kung Fu class, what you notice is that Sifu (Teacher) doesn’t actually teach you that many techniques. What he/she tries to do is create a great vibe in the class, that makes the students really want to train harder, make them want to help out each other get to the next level.
This is what “Culture” means. This is what real leadership means. Not telling people what to do, but creating an environment where magical things happen. In business, or in the dojo.
Or as Sifu Shi Yan Ming in New York likes to say, “Train Harder! More Chi!”