It’s been a few days that I have been pondering about what to write next. And then, just this morning, an article popped up in my LinkedIn feed with a term that I had never heard before. I was intrigued by this Japanese word – Shikumi.

I read the article and found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with the concept. I then decided to do some more research about the term and was surprised to find hardly any material about this concept in the vast expanse of the World Wide Web. In fact, in addition to the article on my LinkedIn feed, there was precisely one other article about this term.

So what does Shikumi mean? Reference material being limited to just these two articles, this is my understanding of the term.

Shikumi refers to the processes or frameworks that exist across an organisation that binds it together and keeps the organisation performing effectively. These frameworks provide operational guidelines to the team, helping them with decision making when facing problems.

Examples of Shikumi in action could be:

  • A weekly / monthly review process that is driven by KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
  • An organisation’s core set of values that define how business should be conducted

More importantly, I would think, is that these are not just management fads, but processes that are embraced holistically and completely by everyone in the organisation. Implemented correctly, this can prove to be extremely useful in driving effective communication and serve as the North Star that drives all action within the organisation.

I am a strong believer in the power of operating frameworks, having experienced first hand the role it can play in building powerful and lasting organisation culture. Every organisation, big or small, well established or just starting up, can benefit immensely from following the Shikumi principle.

What are your thoughts on this? Please comment below!

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