In ordinary parlance, a dojo is a place where
martial artists convene to work out, train, and hold contests. But,
literally translated it is Japanese for the location of the way.
The way is more than the way of the martial artist, more than the way
of judo, karate, tai kwan do, or whatever system of combat.
The way refers to the principle that makes the martial art possible,
the underlying order of the universe that a martial artist harnesses to
Thus the dojo is the place where this way is cultivated. It is not a
place where a skill or talent is taught as much as it is a place where
a different mindset and way of interacting with the forces of the
universe are developed.
When I think of building the capacity to respond quickly to changes in
the market, I am talking about creating a new way of operating. This is
a cultural effort that involves a particular mindset. That mindset is
built around the principle that an organization exists to generate
value in the marketplace and the way to create that value is by being
sensitive, responsive, and proactive to the needs of its most important
When I say, Go to the Dojo,
what I am suggesting is a deliberate cultivation of this mindset inside
Through regular reviews of customers’ needs, market conditions, new
circumstances, and proactive deliberation, staff members should be
encouraged to find the wins that can be brought to market and implement
them, large and small.
Yes, from the outside this looks like a place to practice and train.
But on the inside there is more going on. There is nothing short of the
transformation of the people involved to become true value generators,
using the resources at their disposal to improve the quality of their
customers’ and shareholders’ lives, and to make a good profit doing it.
Everyone can be energetically involved in creating the kind of win-win
that is a worthwhile pursuit for both the organization and its
Dojo activities include:
� Convening the senior leadership team, vice
presidencies, departments, divisions, managers, front-line staff, and
even all-staff gatherings to discuss what it means to organize around
the customers’ benefit and innovate accordingly.
� Reviewing day-to-day operations with an eye to
improvements that directly result in increased customer satisfaction,
delivering more value at lower cost, increasing value at the same cost,
or providing options that increase value in exchange for increases in
� The sharing of Practices
Worth Replicating that proactively deliver value to the customer
while generating additional revenue or enabling cross-selling within
These are examples of harnessing the underlying order of the universe
to achieve excellence. This is how you go to your dojo.