Do you have a Venn diagram of your life?
A key part of modern life in the East, Ikigai is molded into the culture across all classes, and if we stop to understand what it represents in detail, it is a concept that could benefit us here in the West too.
With no exact literal translation, the Japanese term “Ikigai” is a concept of work and life that can be easiest imagined as a Venn diagram with four overlapping qualities: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. But it certainly isn’t as simple as that.
Ikigai is composed of two words: iki, which means life and gai, which describes value or worth. However, it is rarely if ever associated with actual monetary value in Japan, instead, it is about the value put on life itself. With this in mind, making three lists rather than four would be a more apt approach: your values, things you like to do, and things you are good at. The cross-section of which is your ikigai.
A prime example of ikigai is the desire of elders to pass on their wisdom - there’s no monetary value in doing so, but there is a sense of purpose in life. The same can apply within a workplace or trade. Good leaders take the knowledge they have acquired sometimes over many decades and then pass that down so the skill is retained. This is how master craftsmanship is preserved, and indeed in specialist industries such as injection molding, the same could be said to apply.
Researched tirelessly by many scholars and discussed at the World Economic Forum, it is now recognized that organizations that embrace ikigai can foster employee loyalty and investor confidence. By motivating staff to do what they are good at, and allowing them to see the purpose and benefit to others from the effect of their work, Ikigai is an approach that benefits every corner of the workplace.
Leaders who empower and engage with people right across their companies, from the middle of the organization – which stands to lose the most from change – right down to individual employees, ensuring they feel seen, supported, and inspired see employee engagement rocket, staff churn drop considerably and production increase.
Originating from as far back as 794 AD this ancient philosophy maybe can’t be fully testament alone to the long life span seen in Japan or the dedication of its citizens, but applied in companies across the ADIS AUTOMOTIVE GROUP of companies here in Europe, it is very clear to see that recognizing skills and motivation has huge benefits to an organization and even more importantly to the mental and physical well being of the team that power it.
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