Tai Chi, yoga and other movement sciences shows us tools to help us relax and to shows us how to move. This article started from a place where it was asked what could be learned to apply to management from these ancient disciplines – realising that both management and movement is about the change that we want to see around us.
Please find below 8 principles that can contribute to our understanding of management that is drawn from these movement sciences.
Every Movement Starts from the Centre
When we move from the centre, everything else follows naturally. The movement of the centre always comes first and leads the rest of the movement. It takes much practice to learn to move from the centre and then it becomes a way to think about the body and being.
“If we learn to go with the flow of the universe, to work with the natural rhythms of life becomes so much easier.”
In management we need to realise that movements start in the centre – both of what people believe and in taking responsibility as managers and in being all that you can be. Build a strong core and good will come off it. This involves working with people that are close to you and building strong relationships. Move your mind and the body will follow. Move your spirit and the world will follow.
Feel the sky – touch the earth
Keep the back straight and the head drawn upwards towards heaven. Align the energy centres. Keep the head held upwards, do not let the head drop forward to look at the hands or feet. Follow them with the eyes. Bring it down and with your hands touch the earth. Feel the connection to the earth and centre.
“We learn to maintain our connection to divine guidance, to let spirit direct our lives.”
Dream big visions that are ambitious but keep grounded and remember that success comes through others. Remain grounded and never forget that work still needs to get done. Managers become bigger than the work and they direct others without understanding what is involved. The most powerful and respected managers understand what is involved at the lowest level of their organisations and respect that. They touch the sky and press the earth.
Everything is Curved, Nothing is Straight
Keep the wrists, elbows and fingers unlocked. Keep the shoulders down. Open up the hips unlock the knees and the ankles. Locking any of the joints cuts the energy flow. We give way rather than resist. Once we are locked and rigid we are vulnerable.
“We learn the path of least resistance, to flow like a river. Avoid rigidity in our lives, be open to different approaches, different ways.”
We know in management that everything is not always straight. While we charge ahead towards a goal – people, processes and resources always enter the picture. We need to plan for contingencies, not everything will go our way all the time and sometimes that is for the better, sometimes not. Either way – we need to be able to continue business. Being flexible allows for possibilities that did not exist before.
Create space to be yourself
Keep the arms and the hands away from the body, give your self space. Make sure that there is space under the arms for the body to breath freely. We work not only on the physical level but also out into the energy fields around us. The more open and confident we are, the more open and confident our movements.
“In order to make change in your life you need to give yourself time and space.”
We need to allow people to grow and express their thoughts, ideas and creative power. By standing in the way of people we only stand in the way of achieving business objectives. Sometimes we need to give people time and space to achieve objectives. Another view is that you can either control time or space, but not both.
At the same time be both strong but also supple like a bamboo
Make sure that you are well rooted into the ground, that your stance is strong and well grounded. Keep the upper body relaxed and the upper body movement flowing. We keep the connection to earth energy through our strong stance enabling us to balance the strong energy of heaven.
“We maintain balance in our lives. While we seek spiritual growth and development we also stay grounded in our physical existence.”
In business – honesty, integrity, strong work ethics, passion, commitment and inspiration grounds us. It is the things we need to remain firm on seeing at all times, and that we should not tolerate if it is being compromised. At the same time, we need to ensure that the energy flows through our organisation and that organisational and systemic blockages in the organisation is addressed. Just having great ideas without execution is not enough.
Everything Changes, Nothing Stays the Same
Always move as if you are ready for the unexpected. Put down the heel first, so you can turn to face a different direction. Sink the weight down gently so that you can lift up again if necessary. Adapt your form to how you feel. Sometimes stronger and more expansive, sometimes soft, gentle and nurturing.
“Experience the universal dance of life, the constant interplay of positive and negative. Expect the unexpected in your life. Nothing will stay the same for long. Be open to change and see it as exciting rather than threatening.”
Be open at least to the possibility that the way that you are thinking about the business problem you are experiencing right now – it completely different to how it will play out. In being prepared for anything and to see opportunity, some of the greatest ideas of our time have surfaced. Try to say no less often and yes more often. Being open to change allows organisations to move forward. Also drive change – do not always be driven by it. Be the change you want to see.
Seek your own interpretation
Always seek stillness when you do your movement practice. Use quiet surroundings, still the mind and still the emotions. Let the movement rise out of the stillness. We work with the subtle energy of life. Our awareness of our spirit and of our senses comes with a quiet mind, focused and alert.
“If we are to know ourselves as we truly are, we first need to find stillness and peace inside. It is only through this stillness, through knowing our true self that we can make sustained change in our lives.”
Find your own path. Don’t try to copy people – be authentic, lead and find your own path. Be all that you could possibly be – but be it because you believe in it yourself. When you reflect investigate how you feel about a specific situation – find your own voice and be true to your own destiny. Most great leaders and managers grow themselves and form their own opinions. They let people around themselves discover themselves and grow the business.
Suspend judgement and seek truth
Let the movement come from the turn of the waist and the shifting of the weight, with only minimal movement of the arms, wrists and hands. By looking for minimal effort we get maximal freedom and get the most out of the experience of the movement.
“Our perception of the world around us is based on judgement and does not represent the truth. Learn to look beyond your perception to see the truth.”
Always use facts, data and real cases to back up emotions. While it is great feeling that something will work, it is also important to be practical about it and to put in place the necessary actions to ensure that it achieved. Look at the smallest thing that can make the most difference and actually do it. Don’t just think about it – but move your mind, move your body.
As life is a dance and we grapple with better ways to manage, sometimes we can seek and find inspiration in the strangest places. Be at least open to the possibility that there may be a different way to look at things and maybe you too will find management inspiration in new ideas.