Kintsukuroi – Leadership Lessons


Continuing a theme from this week’s post “Beautiful words bring dimensions of meaning“, today considering the Japanese art of Kintsukuroi and lessons that leaders can learn from it.

So many entrenched organisational paradigms look to avoid breakdowns, mistakes, even to pretend they didn’t happen.

At a human level, we are the sum total of all of our experiences and the cracks and breaks that we repair are part of our uniqueness in and for the world.

At a leadership level, I look for paradigm smashing lessons to my friends, Travis Carson and Tony Cooper of Market Force .

TC and TC2 and their colleagues teach all around the world, and one core piece is that breakdowns are inevitable, so a key to leadership is then to move from breakdown to breakthrough and do it quickly.

They teach a marvellously simple visual they call a “Breakdown Recovery Model” in which they bring awareness to the learning that successful teams have lots of breakdowns, they simply get through them quickly and without judgement, learning each time.

As they note in the blog linked above:

“…you can move away from the judgment that breakdowns are “bad” and that they “should be avoided.” Instead, you begin to accept that breakdowns are not bad or good for that matter, they are inevitable…

With this perspective, you realize that the key to maintaining balance in your life is getting through your breakdowns quickly AND not having the same breakdowns over and over again.

If you are having the same breakdowns over and over, it means you are not learning.

And, as we all know, each day in the school of life a lesson is presented, and that lesson is repeated until learned.

The most prosperous people we know are not living their lives free from breakdowns – again, life is breakdown, solution then you die. No, the most prosperous people we know get through their breakdowns quickly and learn from their past breakdowns.”

Of all of the principles, tools and methods I’ve learned and taught over the years, Market Force is among the most powerful of all. Over recent years I’ve done less and less workshop teaching, but I always love the chance to introduce and teach Market Force to people!

Breakdowns are to be embraced, fill the cracks in gold.


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