El Salvador, my beloved homeland, is rich in tradition, stemming from the Pipiles, an illustrious tribe known for their artistry and nobility. I often reminisce about their revered principle of Tlamachtiani, which I was taught translates to “someone who does it with knowledge, with mastery, as the Teacher of Gods executes Godlike teachings.” This resonates deeply with me, reminding me of the Japanese philosophy of kami waza, which emphasizes the pursuit of excellence. As we sail into the vast seas of the digital age, these age-old tenets serve as guiding stars, illuminating the importance of mastery and excellence in our endeavors.
However, the quest for mastery in the corporate world is mired by a prevalent fear of risk. This trepidation manifests in hesitations like “that’s not how we do things here.” Rooted in corporate culture, such sentiments are the product of outdated attitudes and rigid mindsets that are resistant to adaptability.
In our connected era, achieving success requires more than excelling in one’s craft. It demands that we not only be the best but also challenge conventions and take calculated risks. True mastery now encompasses expertise in one’s field and the courage to innovate. For businesses to thrive, they must combine the precision and dedication of a Tlamachtiani with an unwavering spirit of innovation.
Taking Risks Doesn’t Mean Being Reckless
Contrary to misconceptions, taking risks is not synonymous with recklessness. It’s about informed, bold decisions. Surprisingly, despite rapid technological advancements, many organizations are hamstrung by conservative hierarchical structures. Many leaders I’ve met have expressed regrets over past decisions and wished they’d been more audacious.
Successful companies today champion a culture of continuous experimentation, viewing every misstep as an opportunity to refine, learn and progress. They embrace change, seeing it not as a threat, but as a chance to redefine industries.
These successful organizations tend to have leaders who champion a culture of experimentation. They understand the value of the trial-and-error process. They grasp that every failure is a steppingstone, a chance to learn, refine and iterate. These leaders foster a corporate culture that welcomes change and actively seeks it out, understanding its potential to transform not just their business but sometimes entire industries.
Research by McKinsey & Company suggests that businesses best positioned to thrive in the connected era adopt bold strategies and move quickly. These firms are fearless in placing bets on fresh paradigms, marrying new technological advancements with innovative business models.
Blending Mastery With Innovation
Drawing parallels from my personal journey and the lessons I’ve gleaned from various companies, two truths stand out. First, to be a leader in the digital age, you must approach tasks with the spirit of the Tlamachtiani, striving for unparalleled expertise. Second, being open to risks is paramount, recognizing that the digital landscape rewards those who can blend tradition with innovation.
So, the question arises: Do you see yourself as a Tlamachtiani? Or, perhaps, do you aspire to be one?
It’s time to shed the outdated factory mindset. Dive into the expansive horizons of the connected era. Immerse yourself in a world where risks are tolerated and embraced for their tremendous growth potential.
Try to develop the mindset of an artist: Strive to make a difference with your work, iterate and try until you have a work of art, do not fear rejection, make all the effort you can to be excellent and different, and aspire to be the best.
As you navigate this new landscape, remember that with each step, you’re setting the stage for a future of innovation, progress and transformative success.
I’m just wondering: Are we mere passengers in the connected era, or are we at the helm, charting its course? The melding of the mastery of Tlamachtiani with the courage to innovate might be the compass we need. Let’s embark on this journey with both reverence for the past and an eager eye on the horizon, shaping a future filled with promise and unparalleled success.