Tomoya Nakamura in aikido gear crosses his arms over his body with kanji beside him
©Katsuo Sugano

SECI Model

The SECI model illustrates how knowledge is created and shared. Learn how to put it to use for best practices, and how the Japanese concept of “ba” fits in to broaden your perspective.

Johari Window Model

The Johari Window Model is a self-awareness framework that helps you better understand . . . you. Learn how its four quadrants can help you identify gaps between how you see yourself, and how others see you.

Sunk Costs

Wondering if you should continue an investment or look for something new? Sunk costs can have a powerful psychological impact on decision-making. Learn how to recognize them to ensure rational decisions.

CAGE Distance Framework

Want to expand overseas? The CAGE distance framework can help ensure you're constructing a solid global strategy in four areas: cultural, administrative, economic, and geographic. Learn how to leverage useful differences between countries, identify potential obstacles, and achieve global business success.

Groupthink

Groupthink refers to group pressure and the perception of consensus which together lead to ill-formed decisions—or even unnecessary risks. Learn to identify the warning signs of groupthink and apply countermeasures in this online course.

Deductive and Inductive Reasoning

Solving problems with the best results means using two types of thinking: deductive and inductive reasoning. In this online course, learn to form a broad premise, make observations, and form conclusions from different perspectives.

Critical Thinking: Hypothesis-Driven Thinking

Anyone can come up with a good idea. The real challenge is putting that idea into action. In this online course, explore how to form compelling, testable hypotheses and bring ideas to life in your own organization.

Critical Thinking: Structured Reasoning

Even a few simple techniques for logical decision making and persuasion can vastly improve your skills as a leader. Explore how critical thinking can help you evaluate complex business problems, reduce bias, and devise effective solutions.

Critical Thinking: Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is a central business skill, and yet it's the one many people struggle with most. This course will show you how to apply critical thinking techniques to common business examples, avoid misunderstandings, and get at the root of any problem.

How to Dream

Join globally renowned author and Columbia Business School professor Dr. Sheena Iyengar as she explains how to approach your dreams with a new perspective. Learn to reflect on what you long to accomplish and what stands in your way.

Logical Thinking

Logical thinking is at the heart of confident, persuasive decisions. This course will equip you with a five-point approach to more becoming a more logical thinker. Learn to classify ideas and distinguish fact from opinion.

Investing & Diversity: The Changing Faces of Venture Capitalists

Is the venture capital industry embracing diversity in investors? Watch global venture capitalists from around the world discuss the state of things and what needs to be done for a more inclusive future.

Servant Leadership

There's more to leadership than driving a team to profit. In fact, there's a word for looking beyond self-interest to prioritize individual growth: servant leadership. Try this course for a quick breakdown of what that is, how it works, and how it can lead to organizational success.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Ever wonder what makes a great leader? Whether your role requires leadership or not, understanding organizational behavior is useful for your career. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can set you on your way.

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management are different skills, but today’s leaders must have both. Try out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to understand the difference, as well as when and why each skill is necessary for motivation, communication, and value.

Strategy: Creating Value Inside Your Company

Have you ever wondered why certain companies are more successful than others? The answer is strategy: internal processes that control costs, allocate resources, and create value. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can give you the tools you need for that strategic edge.

Strategy: Understanding the External Environment

To plan strategy on any level, you need to understand your company's external environment. In fact, your level of understanding can impact hiring, budgeting, marketing, or nearly any other part of the business world. Want to learn how to do all that? This course from GLOBIS Unlimited is the perfect first step!

Using Japanese Values to Thrive in Global Business

Japanese companies have unique cultural, communication, and operational challenges. But they also have values that have led to remarkable longevity. Check out this seminar to hear how these values help earn trust from overseas head offices and develop employees.

Turnaround Leadership: The Differences Between Japan and the West

What's the best way for leaders to communicate a shift in corporate strategy? How do you even know when it's time for such a change? This course explains how Japan might have one answer, Western companies another.

Conflict Management

Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable. But they can lead to positive outcomes if they’re managed well. Check out this online course for a two-step process that can help you manage conflict successfully.

Evernote Founder: How Tech Startups Can Break through in Japan

Can startup models from Hollywood and Silicon Valley succeed anywhere? Phil Libin, cofounder and CEO of startup incubator All Turtles, explains how AI can solve everyday problems to bring products to market.

Women Empowerment: Lessons from Cartier

How can women overcome gender inequality and reach their leadership goals? Cartier Japan CEO June Miyachi shares her secret in this special course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Marketing: Reaching Your Target

Every company works hard to get its products into the hands of customers. Are you doing everything you can to compete? In this course, you’ll find a winning formula to turn a product idea into real sales. Follow along through the fundamentals of the marketing mix and see how companies successfully bring products to market.

Marketing Mix

Seeing good products into the hands of customers is no easy task. The marketing mix can help. It's a collection of strategies and tactics companies utilize to get customers to purchase their products or services, and is an essential part of the overall marketing process.

The Principles of Negotiation

With the proper skills and attitude, anyone can become a successful negotiator.  But first, you'll need to learn the basics to prepare for, assess, and respond to offers for the best results. GLOBIS Unlimited can help.

Negotiation: Creating Value

Want to create more shared value between yourself and your negotiation opponent? Discover how cognitive bias affects the judgment of others. Try this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to master the value of negotiation.

Finding Your Life Purpose with Ikigai

Ikigai can guide you in your quest for self-discovery. Listen to Japanese brain scientist Ken Mogi explain why and how.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Want to leverage Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a leader? Try this short course to see how the theory can be applied in practical work scenarios.

Confirmation Bias

We all subconsciously collect information that reinforces our preconceptions. It's natural . . . but it does lead to a kind of flawed decision-making called confirmation bias. To become more objective and impartial, check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

An Investor's Lesson to Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs have the power to transform societies for the better. But how do you attract investors to start or grow a business? Or to sell one? Check out this seminar for the answers to these and more, straight from a master venture capitalist!

Managerial Accounting

Managerial accounting is a powerful way to measure progress, identify problems, and meet your goals. Check out this course to learn how data-backed decisions can help you run your business.

Finance Basics: 1

For a healthy mix of quantitative planning, evaluation, and management, you need solid decision-making. And finance is the secret sauce! Get the essentials of finance in this two-part course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis

Want to compare your performance vs. a competitor? Or evaluate a potential vendor? Then you'll need to conduct a financial analysis. This course will teach you how to use three financial statements and evaluate financial performance in terms of profitability, efficiency, soundness, growth, and overall strength.

Career Anchors

What drives you to be good at your job?

Career anchors are based on your values, desires, motivations, and abilities. They are the immovable parts of your professional self-image that guide you throughout your career journey.

Try this short GLOBIS Unlimited course to identify which of the eight career anchors is yours!

Digital Marketing Psychology to Transform Your Business

How does digital marketing really differ from traditional marketing? How is social media changing things really? And what's going on in Asia?

Pyramid Structure

Having the pyramid structure in your communication toolkit can not only help you approach a problem, but convince others that your solution is valid. Break away from linear thinking and test your logical thinking with this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi

The key ingredient to success? Passion.

Finding your kokorozashi will unify your passions and skills to create positive change in society. This GLOBIS Unlimited course will help you develop the values and lifelong goals you need to become a strong, passion-driven leader.

AI First Companies – Implementation and Impact

AI is changing the way companies operate. How do you structure teams to increase efficiency?

Technovate in the Era of Industry 4.0

Is Industry 4.0 is the next step of human evolution human civilization? Dr. Jorge Calvo seems to think so. Join him to learn how the past can help you set goals for an exciting future of digital innovation.

Technovate Thinking

Business leaders of tomorrow need to harness the power of technology and innovation. That means understanding algorithms and how they drive business results. Discover opportunities to make technology work for your competitive edge.

Product Life Cycle

Every product takes a natural course through the market—there's a how, when, and why customers adopt products at different stages. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to find out how a product you use every day is part of this cycle.

Logic Tree

Logical thinking is the most valuable asset any business professional can have. That's why logic trees are such a valuable tool—they can help you identify a problem, break it down, and build it back up to a solution.

MECE Principle

Using the MECE principle can help ensure you categorize without gaps or overlaps. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited for a practical demonstration of how it works!

On a week-long business trip to Kyoto, I had the opportunity to visit Toji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which dates to the Heian period (794-1185). In the Kodo Hall of Toji sits the Katsuma Mandala, a life-sized arrangement of statues representing Buddhist figures and the interconnectedness of the universe. Around the central Mahavairocana (a celestial Buddha) are twenty-one Buddhist statues: the five Dhyani Buddhas (wisdom Buddhas), five bodhisattvas, the five Great Wisdom Kings, the four Heavenly Kings, the Brahma-Deva, and Sakra Devanam Indra.

It was cold in Kyoto, but it wasn’t the weather that shook my body and soul. As I stood in front of the Katsuma Mandala, I felt strong energy and aspiration—ki. I also felt the urge to know more about this masterpiece. Who created the Katsuma Mandala? What were their intentions? How does their wisdom resonate today?

Esoteric Buddhism

Esoteric Buddhism is characterized by its emphasis on personal practices, whereas Exoteric Buddhism emphasizes Buddhist sutras.

Toji is the main temple of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism in Japan. It was founded by a Japanese Buddhist monk named Kukai, more commonly known as Kobo Daishi. Kobo Daishi brought Esoteric Buddhism to Japan from Tang Dynasty China in 823, at which time he received permission from Emperor Saga to build the temple and become its head priest.

It was Kobo Daishi, then, who commissioned the Katsuma Mandala.

Wanting to know more about this influential figure, I traveled to Wakayama Prefecture to visit Mt. Koya, the headquarters of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism and, like Toji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Heading into the temple complex, I walked past the Great Gate, visited the Kongoubuji (the head temple of Shingon Buddhism), and once again encountered a Katsuma Mandala on the Great Stupa. At the most sacred site, called the Okunoin, are many five-story stupa grave stones representing the five elements that were used to create the world: earth, water, fire, wind, and sky.

In the town of Koya, the temples are adorned with colors and Sanskrit writings that create an atmosphere more akin to India than Japan. Between the Buddhist figures, temples, and many Shingon priests, the spirit of Kobo Daishi seems to thrive, even today.

Wishing for a truly authentic experience in the deep forests of Mt. Koya, I chose to stay in a temple, where I enjoyed the monks’ shojin ryori vegetarian meals and participated in the morning rituals. I chanted the Heart Sutra, which I was lucky enough to know from my previous position providing funeral services through Sun-Life Corporation. The sense of ki in this morning temple ritual was strong.

Esoteric Buddhism says that a person can attain enlightenment during one’s lifetime. As for the ascetic training of Shingon Buddhism, Dr. Yuukei Matsunaga’s book Mikkyo (“Esoteric Buddhism”) explains the process:

“The fundamental method in Esoteric Buddhism lies in yoga practices, where three mysteries (the body, speech, and the mind) unify to become one with those of the Buddha. The ascetic sits in front of the main Buddha image, recites the Shingon chants aloud, and forms the mudra (symbolic hand gesture used in Buddhism). The ascetic centers his heart and mind and meditates on the image of the Buddha, bringing the elements of the Buddha and the ascetic together to melt into one. In this way the ascetic, in the human flesh, has achieved enlightenment in this world and become a Buddha.”

The One and the Many

The success of Shingon Buddhism lies not only in the books and sutras of sacred teachings, but also in the Esoteric practices used with actual Buddhist statues and mandalas that were created and passed along from teacher to ascetic one by one. Kobo Daishi received his knowledge from the priest Huiguo in China, and then in turn passed along his knowledge to high priests that followed him in Japan.

This brings us back to the mandala.

A mandala models the interconnectedness of the cosmos, nature, and the secular world. Contained within is the Absolute One (the Mahavairocana celestial Buddha as the cosmos) and the many (the five Dhyani Wisdom Buddhas, the five bodhisattvas, and the five Great Wisdom Kings). Also contained in the mandala is a rhythm (the expression and the inspiration), the living breath of the cosmos. By meditating on universal coming and going, the interchange between the one and the many, the ascetic is able to understand the cosmos.

Or at least feel the ki as I did from the Katsuma Mandala at Toji.

Resonance of the Mandala’s Wisdom Today

Ueshiba Morihei, the founder of aikido, once said, “I am the universe.” In aikido, we position ourselves to feel the gravitation of the earth. Moving in a circle, we unite and capture our opponent in a martial form.

Aikido certainly has a little Esoteric Buddhism within.

If Kobo Daishi were to speak in front of business people today, what would he tell us? His words in the Mikkyo say the following:

“If just a little of the inside and the outside of the ki of the wind blows, it will without fail reverberate and have a name and become a voice. … A voice raised is not empty, but will invariably distinguish itself and become a name and a written character. A name without fail invites a body. This is how names are formed and brought into reality.”

There is much we can learn from these traditional teachings and historic sites of generations past. Let us, as managers, use our voices to create a bright future. Our thoughts and voices surely have the power to not only impact business and society, but form a new reality, a better world.

Connect with Insights

Trouble keeping up with all the insights? Subscribe to our newsletter for monthly career inspiration right in your inbox!
Your newsletter subscription with us is subject to the GLOBIS Privacy Policy.