The Conscious Manager - Reader Dialog 

I will post digests of your questions and comments on this page. Send them to me by email. Please share your favorite links and photos (small GIF files only) that would be of interest to your fellow conscious managers. -fp


Here's the first one:

I am looking to get back into the arts. I have taken tae kwon do for 2 years and attained a green belt. I would like advice on what to pursue for a ground defense/grappling technique. Also will this fit in with my TKD experience? Thank you for your time. -SJ
Aikido does not emphasize ground technique - for good reason, I think, but the choice is yours. Try jujitsu for strong ground work. You will probably find that neither aikido nor jujitsu will build on your TKD experience. They are both very different. -FP




A Q&A for those considering aikido training is here. This Q&A also appears (in a better-edited version) in the introduction of The Conscious Manager.


Click here for a Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQ) authored by Shihan Toyoda.


To provoke discussion, here is a list of characteristics of a conscious manager, adapted from the introduction of The Conscious Manager. It also appeared in Hikari, the Western Region newsletter of the Aikido Association of America.

Have you ever felt like you're living two lives? One after hours and one at work? I've been trying for many years to live life in one piece - that is, to make Phillips Sensei and Professor Phillips one and the same person.

Society has been changing, resulting in reduced roles for family, religion and other traditional transmitters of values. Furthermore, in the fast-growth, high-tech companies that employ my current students, cultural values are still "under construction." My MBA students are trying to formulate values for their lives and find meaning in their work. They come to school hungry to learn how to manage people, how to formulate ethical standards, and how and when to take a stand on an issue - and still make money for their companies.

MBA programs can serve by educating the whole person. As management dean at Oregon Graduate Institute, I'm trying to figure out how best to do this. How can one integrate the values of Zen martial art &endash; physicality, the reality of life and death, the imperative for sincerity and generosity &endash; with the suit-and-tie pursuit of market advantage in the business world?

It seems to me a manager embodying Zen values...

... tries to see the big picture.

... doesn't believe everything he or she is told.

... rejects easy labels.

... constantly hones personal skills.

... is committed to lifelong learning - for everyone in the organization.

... exercises respect and compassion in all dealings.

... is flexible but not wishy-washy.

... spares no effort to match the right people with the right jobs.

... lets employees put their best foot forward.

... controls the organization loosely.

... tries to see the adversary's point of view.

I would appreciate knowing whether you would change this list, and I'd like to hear about how you brought these characteristics to bear on a management or policy decision in your career or in your volunteer work. Have you unified your home and work lives? Email me. -fp