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Nomadic Thinking in Tokyo:
Mapping Territories, Breaking Taboos in Leadership | 
東京で遊牧民のように考える テリトリーマッピング、

The HR Agenda

Seminar speaker illustrates how modern business transformation can be inspired by 15,000-year-old nomadic principles. | 15,000年の歴史を持つ遊牧民の掟が現代のビジネス変革にいかに光をもたらすか、セミナー講演者が明かす。

Originally written in English

      “Some people asked me about my academic background,” Anthony Willoughby said. “So I say I learned it all when I was a little boy, through this: ‘Stone Age Man in Britain,’ a book that all schoolchildren in Britain start with.”

     Willoughby, founding partner of Mammoth Hunters, was the featured speaker at a seminar titled: “Think Global, Think Nomad! Heading Towards Business Transformation Through Territory Mapping.”

     Willoughby used the illustrations in a classic, British schoolbook to show the parallels between Stone Age culture and business culture today. “Business is: do you know the animal, do you have the weapons, do you have the skills?” he said, showing a page featuring the tools that prehistoric men and women used.

      “We need to be doing business in new areas with huge opportunities. But we’re not allowed to go there because senior managers are hugging each other and never giving us directions.” This time, to illustrate his statement, he showed a drawing that borrowed its style from cave paintings, with stick figures hugging in a circle.

     The prehistoric human’s feeling of being stuck and yearning to see greener pastures is a feeling that is too familiar for many people navigating the business world today. Willoughby said that when he encountered that problem some time ago, his solution was to move. He travelled the world and found his answers in Kenya, by learning from the Maasai, a renowned tribe of herders and warriors.

Claiming a Leadership Position

     Maasai elder Emmanuel Mankura also shared his life story and the story of his tribe’s centuriesold way of life during the seminar, as a way of offering a new perspective for participants to map out their personal and business paths. He started his story by stating his place in the world. “This is my territory. This is where I was born. This is my home,” he said, showing a picture of him standing nobly in front of his family hut.

     As a young boy, Mankura was given the task of taking care of the cattle of his family and the entire community, which taught him respect and responsibility. When he grew up, he was circumcised and was initiated into the life of a warrior, which taught him courage. As a warrior, he underwent harsh training in order to be strong enough to raid other tribes, protect the community and guard their territory from the enemy.

     After several years, he laid down his warrior spear in exchange for the stick of wisdom: he transitioned to the role of an elder. “After learning about responsibility (as cattle herder), courage (as warrior), we will now learn about wisdom.”

     While Mankura takes prides in the centuries-old traditions of the community, he is an instigator of change. “Ladies and gentlemen, life is changing. Life of the past is not the life where we are now and it’s not the life of the future… The challenges keep on changing, so to face these changes we have to break many taboos,” he said.

      “Taboos are beliefs that we had which no longer makes sense,” he said. One example he gave was when the Maasai resisted the “new ways” such as the educational system brought over by the British when they colonized and occupied Kenya. “The Maasai now,” he said, “continue to be marginalized because they had very few representatives in the government, mainly because most are still uneducated in the mainstream system.”

     Another tradition that Mankura is trying to break is the treatment of women in their society. He wanted the practice of female circumcision to end, but the ceremony is still so deeply rooted in the culture that a child of an uncircumcised mother is automatically treated as an outcast. Mankura, on the other hand, sees women in their tribe in a different light: “The woman takes care of the children, cooks food and builds the home. She has a very important role but she is not credited for what she does.”

Learning From Metaphors

     Unlike conventional seminars with a structured, classroom-like setting, attending the “Think Global, Think Nomad!” seminar was like sitting around a campfire and listening to stories. And as with most great stories, the audience was allowed to discover for themselves the metaphors and insights that they could take away and apply to their own situations.

     In this seminar, the lessons of being nomadic and breaking taboos offered a framework for navigating the challenges of today’s workplace. It proved how the leadership principles of respect, responsibility, courage and wisdom were universal as well as personal.



     マンモスハンターズの共同設立者であるウィロビー氏は「Think Global, Think Nomad!(グローバルに考えよう。遊牧民になったつもりで)テリトリーマッピングを通じて事業変革を目指す」と題されたセミナーで基調講演を行った。












     体系化され教室形式で行われる従来型のセミナーと異なり、セミナー「Think Global, Think Nomad!(グローバルに考えよう。遊牧民になったつもりで)」に参加することはまるでキャンプファイヤーを囲み、話に耳を傾けているかのようだった。そして素晴らしい物語の場合と同様に、参加者は、内容を汲み取り自分の状況に適用することができるメタファーと洞察を得ることができた。



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