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Chapter 1 Zen & Creative Management

Page 4

In industry, “growth” commonly means but one things: to get bigger.  Success is equated with size, rationalized as economy of scale, and projected as a national faith through the G.N.P. index.  Hollywood, Broadway, General Motors, and more recently the conglomerates are the result.  A balloon, as it is blown up, gets bigger–but this is not growth.  It is simply expansion.  As many a breathless and startled reveler has discovered, bigger is not always better.  The capacity of the balloon does not grow, but the capacity is subjected to more and more demands.  Expansion could therefore be seen as using more and more of a given capacity.  Growth, on the other hand, means increasing the capacity of the system as well as the demands that are made upon it.  Partial reorganization of a company would bring about expansion or integration.  Expansion occurs when the reorganization causes those parts of the organization that are addressed to increase their demands upon the rest of the system (for example, a work simplification program).  Only total reorganization can bring about growth.  Only total reorganization can bring about growth.  Without growth the forces of differentiation and integration–process and structure–become unresolved conflict, causing fragmentation, empire building, and eventually the decline of the company.

We can therefore differentiate three forms of “orderly” change that can occur within a company:

  1.  The change of integration, which we shall call self-regulation.
  2. The change of expansion.
  3. The change of growth.

Philosophers have long been aware that our experience of the world is not simple but complex.  A few moments’ reflection will show most people that what we experience, how we experience it, why we experience it, and that we experience at all are different sides or dimension of experience.  What we experience gives rise to facts.  How we experience gives rise to functions.  Why we experience this rather than that gives rise to structure.  That we experience at all gives rise to a mystery, related in some way to Will.

February 21st, 2020 ~

Expansion vs. Growth: I have talked with small business owners, mainly in the food industry.  Recently, an owner of a beloved bakery told me she has been repeatedly invited to expand her business.  She has owned the business for several decades.  Early on, it was in the background of her mind to expand.  Now, she can’t imagine it.  Her footprint is all over the bakery and it just wouldn’t be feasible to replicate this at another location without losing quality.  Not to say others haven’t done it.  The same goes for pizza making.  An owner I know has said the quality of the dough goes down if you can’t thrown the pizzas by hand.  When you use machines, it is evident in the quality of the pies.  So, maybe many businesses expand when they franchise.  But are they really growing their business.  What do you think?

Categories
Conditioning The Book of Life

Awareness May Burn Away the Problems

May 24th ~ All thinking obviously is conditioned; there is no such thing as free thinking.  Thinking can never be free, it is the outcome of our conditioning, of our background, of our culture, of our climate, of our social, economic, political background.  The very books that you read and the very practices that you do are all established in the background, and any thinking must be the result of that background.  So if we can be aware–and we can go presently into what it signifies, what it means, to be aware–perhaps we shall be able to uncondition the mind without the process of will, without the determination to uncondition the mind.  Because the moment you determine, there is an entity who wishes, an entity who says, “I must uncondition my mind.”  That entity itself is the outcome of our desire to achieve a certain result, so a conflict is already there.  So, is it possible to be aware of our conditioning, just to be aware?–in which there is no conflict at all.  That very awareness, if allowed, may perhaps burn away the problems.

February 21st, 2020 ~  Awareness of what we are doing, thinking, feeling.  We are such a doing society.  K uses the word climate.  Our climate impacts our thinking.  The weather here in California allows us to be quite independent.  It is hard to relate to other parts of the world where the climate is more harsh.  Being aware of ourselves.  no easy task since we are so busy and focused on doing.  Be satisfied with being Aware.

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Chapter 1 Zen & Creative Management

Page 3

Classical organization theory suggests that there is “the company” and that there is “change,” and these two are in some way in opposition.  Monolithic organizations have been set up with the view that the company acquires significance through its stability.  Emphasis has been put on the hierarchical structuring, and a tendency toward “power structuring” has enabled the company to acquire inertia, or resistance to change.  this inertia has a positive side in so far as it assists the company to face the forces of degeneration and deterioration.  On the other hand, the emphasis on the hierarchic structuring of the company has inhibited the generation of ideas.  It would be nearer the truth to say that an organization should be the orderly expression of change.

An organization changes along three “spatial” dimensions: lateral, horizontal , and vertical.  Its functions become increasingly more differentiated and complex (the lateral dimension).  New systems, procedures, and understandings bring about new integrations or new orientation, and there is a tendency toward different and new wholes to be created within a company (the horizontal dimension).  The organization also changes in another dimension.  As the company grows, higher level ideas are introduced, enabling it to encompass an increasing field of phenomena (the vertical dimension).

Change can occur at many different points within the system.  The emphasis on the vertical dimension or the hierarchic structure tends to resist the influence of many of these changes.  This results in the “cataclysmic” approach to reorganization according to which a company is organized at a given time and then, through a continuing failure to adapt, it reaches a crisis, at which point a new reorganization becomes necessary and the cycle is repeated.  By regarding a company as a system open to its environment, having many dimensions, each of which is inducing change, the cataclysmic approach can be replaced by a more dynamic approach based on growth.

February 20th, 2020 ~

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Conditioning The Book of Life

There Is No Noble or Better Conditioning

May 25th ~ Does not the urge of the mind to free itself from its conditioning set going another pattern of resistance and conditioning?  Having become aware of the pattern or mold in which you have grown up, you want to be free from it; but will not this desire to be free conditioning the mind again in a different manner?  The old pattern insists that you conform to authority, and now you are developing a new one which maintains that you must not conform; so you have two patterns, one in conflict with the other.  As long as there is this inner contradiction, further conditioning takes place. 

….There is the urge that makes for conformity, and the urge to be free.  However dissimilar these two urges may seem to be, are they not fundamentally similar?  And if they are fundamentally similar, then your pursuit of freedom is vain, for you will only move from one pattern to another, endlessly.  There is no noble or better conditioning, and it is this desire that has to be understood.

 

February 20th, 2020 ~

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Chapter 1 Zen & Creative Management

Chapter 1–Page 2

Page 2 ~ In addition to job description and organization charts in a company, there are other elements such as budgets, forms, appraisal systems, systems for introducing new products to the company, salary-administration systems, long-range forecasts, management-development systems, goal-setting systems, data-processing systems, and management-information systems.  All are developed independently with very little integration and frequently with an increasing despair on the part of those who are called upon to develop the systems, through the recognition of how little relevance or connection there is between what they are doing and what the rest of the company is doing. 

The framework within which reorganization is at present undertaken is one in which analysis, or reduction, alone is known and recognized.  This inadequate framework brings about a violation of harmony, of structure.  “Everyone knows” that to solve a problem one must start by breaking the problem down into smaller problems and, where necessary, these into yet smaller problems.  One then goes about solving each of these simple problems and then synthesizes or integrates the solutions in a steadily ascending hierarchy.  However, to break a problems down is to reduce the level of the problem, and by changing its level one changes the problem entirely.

To organize but part of the company is like trying to bake half a cake.  Often a manager will say, “Well, first let us set up this and that department, or this and that role within the department, or perhaps this and that systems.  let us get those working, and then later on we can turn our attention to the rest of the organization.”  This is something like a housewife saying, “Let us first of all put in the flour and water and perhaps some currants, and later on we will get around to the eggs and sugar and the rest of the ingredients, when we have cooked the first part of the cake.”

February 17th, 2020 ~

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Conditioning The Book of Life

Freedom from Conditioning

May 26th ~ The desire to free oneself from conditioning only furthers conditioning.  But if, instead of trying to suppress desire, one understands the whole process of desire, in that very understanding there comes freedom from conditioning.  Freedom from conditioning is not a direct result.  Do you understand?  If I set about deliberately to free myself from my conditioning, that desire creates its own conditioning.  I may destroy one form of conditioning, but I am caught in another.  Whereas, if there is an understanding of desire itself, which includes the desire to be free, then that very understanding destroys all conditioning.  Freedom from conditioning is a byproduct; it is not important.  The important thing is to understand what it is that creates conditioning.

February 17th, 2020 ~  Understanding is the key word here. We have a hard time to slow down enough so we can see our conditioned mind.  K has talked about understanding as opposed to knowing.  Knowing feels more like getting caught up in it.  Understanding feels like observing.  Here is another meditation from K on Understanding.

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Chapter 1 Zen & Creative Management

Shareholder, Employee, Customer: The Basic Triad

A company is a multidimensional system capable of growth, expansion, and self-regulation.  It is, therefore, not a thing, but a set of interacting forces.  Any theory of organiztion must be capable of reflecting a company’s many facets, its dynamism, and its basic orderliness.  When a company organization is reviewed, or when reorganizing a company, it must be looked upon as a whole, as a total system. 

A system can be defined as a set of independent but mutally related elements.  The different jobs or functions in a company are the “independent elements”; each has its own reason for being; each isdone by a different manager, each of whom is expected to act to some extent as an autonomous and independent whole.  This, after all, is what we mean by responsibility.  But the mutual relatedness of the job with other jobs in the company is as important a feature of the organization as the content of the job itself.

This mutual relationship corresponds to the structure of the whole, and it must be emphasized because it is frequently ignored when organizations are reviewed.  When managers reorganize they often do not give very much attention to how parts of the system are related in time or structure.  Furthermore, this relatedness is something that is poorly understood.  For example, managers frequently write job descriptions in complete isolation from what the company as a whole is trying to do.  Although organization charts are drawn, they often ignore the content of job descriptions.  A gesture is sometimes made in the direction of relatedness and structure by putting dotted lines on the organization chart, but these frequently serve to confuse rather than to clarify the issue.

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Zen & Creative Management

Foreward–Page 4

February 12th, 2020 ~ This book has taken shape over several years and is offered with several aims in mind.  First, it is hoped that some of what is suggested will strike a resonant chord in the minds of readers and give them direction for their own consideration of organizational issues.

The life force that organizes species, organs, and organisms also molds organizations.  Human beings cannot conquer nature-they are nature in action.  The creative leaps made by man and the creative leaps made by nature are of the same kind.  Nature makes use of what may be called “un reculer pour mieux sauter,” a recoiling, in order to leap that much better.  When nature’s evolutionary drive has reached a cul-de-sac, it withdraws and breaks out from a new point in a new direction.  I am suggesting that Zazen is a discipline that uses un reculer pour mieux sauter; this approach provides greater facility in dealing with those organizational cul-de-sacs that are both frustrations and opportunities.  Zazen seems to be as old as mankind; what is new today is its availability to the West, and specifically, its availability for dealing with the complex, multifaceted problems encountered in organizations.

February 12th, 2020 ~

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Conditioning The Book of Life

No Part of the Mind Is Unconditioned

May 28th ~ Your mind is conditioned right through: there is no part of you which is unconditioned.  That is a fact, whether you like it or not.  You may say there is a part of you–the watcher, the supersoul, the atma–which is not conditioned; but because you think about it, it is within the field of thought; therefore, it is conditioned.  You can invent lots of theories about it, but the fact is that your mind is conditioned  right through, the conscious as well as the unconscious, and any effort it makes to free itself is the state of the mind when it knows that it is conditioned  and realizes that any effort it makes to uncondition itself is still conditioned?

Now, when you say, “I know I am conditioned,” do you really know it, or is it that merely a verbal statement?  Do you know it with the same potency with which you see a cobra?  When you see a snake and know it to be a cobra, there is immediate, unpremeditated action; and when you say, “I know I am conditioned,” has it the same vital significance as your perception of the cobra?  Or is it merely a superficial acknowledgment of the fact, and not the realization of the fact?  When I realize the fact that I am conditioned, there is immediate action.  I don’t have to make an effort to uncondition myself.  The very fact that I am conditioned, and the realization of that fact, brings an immediate clarification.  The difficulty lies in not realizing it in the sense of understanding all its implication, seeing that all thought, however subtle, however cunning, however sophisticated or philosophical, is conditioned.

February 12th, 2020 ~

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Zen & Creative Management

Foreward–Page 3

For example, instead of wastes being the very basis for new life and growth, they lie on one side–unusable, polluting.  When people no longer fit the system, they are unemployed, poor, discarded.  In nature there is interpenetration; each is a whole supporting and sustaining the whole.  In technology there are only parts; everything is a part of something and everything is ultimately replaceable, and, ultimately, meaningless.

It is not that technology is “bad.”  It simply lacks any self-regulating mechanism.  Technological thinking is a marvelous creation but, as Matin Heidegger has pointed out, it is its very success that must be feared because it so captivates, bewitches, dazzles, and beguiles us that it threatens to become someday accepted and practiced as the only way of thinking.  “Then man would have denied and thrown away his special nature–that he is a meditative being . . . The issue is keeping meditative thinking alive.


  This meditative, intuitive thinking assumes wholes are intrinsic, that they are relative, and that we cannot reduce the complexity of a whole without changing its nature.  This calls for an awareness of the organic integrity of a concrete situation–an openness to all its aspects.  In Zen Buddhism such an openness and awareness is called Zazen.  Within the practice of Zen lies an alternative way, one of the very few remaining ways, of facing our predicament.

Zen is the outcome of the profound need each of us has for meaning, which can only truly be found when we have understood clearly who and what we are.  Zen is not exotic or otherworldly; it concerns practice more than theory.  In the practices of Zen a person comes to terms with life in a meaningful way.  Many would say that if only they could become better managers., their lives would be more meaningful/.  It would be truer to say that if we could find our true meaning, we would stand a chance of becoming better managers.  Becoming a better manager would be a byproduct of a practice aimed at reaching the source of our most pressing need: the need to be whole and significant.  The solutions to our managerial problems are inextricably connected to the solutions to our personal problems.