Zentrepreneur: Get Out of the Way and Lead

Zentrepreneur: Get Out of the Way and Lead

by John J. Murphy
Zentrepreneur: Get Out of the Way and Lead

Zentrepreneur: Get Out of the Way and Lead

by John J. Murphy

Paperback(First Edition)

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"Let John Murphy be your guide through the mine fields that accompany any change effort." -Dr. Ken Blanchard, coauthor, The One Minute Manager

What happens when you integrate the art of positive thinking and the freedom of spiritual well-being with the business of getting desirable results?
  • You tap the extraordinary power and mystery of the Zentrepreneur
  • You overcome resistance to change
  • You see opportunities instead of problems
  • You transcend fear-based motivation and the illusion of control
  • You inspire limitless creativity and leading-edge innovation

    The world of business does not rest. The journey of innovation does not end. Competitive advantage is now all about who comes up with the solution first, often without the market even knowing there is a problem.

    John Murphy combines profound spiritual wisdom and emotional intelligence with intellectual capital and 30 years of practical business experience to demonstrate a new level of leadership. Resistance to change is a challenge every leader must face. Here is a book on how to overcome it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781601632869
Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
Publication date: 09/23/2013
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

John J. Murphy is an award-winning author, speaker, business consultant, and "zentrepreneur." Drawing on a diverse collection of experiences as a corporate director, collegiate quarterback, spiritual mystic, and management coach, John has appeared on more than 400 radio and television stations, and his work, has been featured in more than 50 newspapers nationwide. In 1988 he left corporate management to start his consulting company. He has now trained tens of thousands of people from dozens of countries. His clients include some of the world's leading organizations. John lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Read an Excerpt


What If?

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.

— Albert Einstein

In 1988, I got fired. The new owners of the company I was working for decided they no longer needed me after an acquisition in 1986. It was a mutual agreement. I had essentially eliminated my job. It was time to move on. The timing wasn't all that great. I had very little savings, and my wife was pregnant with our second child. I remember thinking to myself, "What should I do now? What direction do I go in?" Then I had an idea. What if I start a consulting company? What if I transition from my former job as a corporate executive to a small business owner? What would that be like? What value might that add? Why do it? Why not do it? What are the risks? What are the rewards? Who might be able to help me? How would I do it? When would I do it? Where are the constraints? What could I learn from the experience? What could I contribute to the world by doing so? How does this idea feel to me? Is it something I dream about? Do I feel passion? The questions went on and on.

If I have learned anything over the many years I now have invested in business management and consulting, it is that there is no scarcity of ideas. We are surrounded by creativity, enthusiasm, expansion, and growth. All we have to do is look for them. It is human nature, fueled by our spiritual nature. We are meant to grow — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. There is really no stopping this. It is the way of the world. It is the Tao, the "great current" of life. Resistance to what is natural is a fast and easy way to experience stress, exhaustion, anxiety, and accelerated physical aging.

I believe there is a zentrepreneur in all of us. We all have ideas, and we all like to see them manifest into something positive. So what holds us back? Is it that no one asks us for our ideas? Is it that we choose not to share them? Is it that people do not listen to us when we do share them? What is it? Why is it that so many ideas remain just that: ideas. How can business leaders break through these limiting barriers to tap the creative power of their teams? Think about how many ideas might be lost in your organization because there is no easy and effective way to channel them into action.

One of the methods I use to capture good ideas and turn them into great results is called kaizen. This is a Japanese word that comes from two words, kai and zen, which essentially translate into "good change." We use kaizen events to accelerate good change. Typically, these events last about three to five days with a mission of making change during the event, not planning it for some other time. A team is generally commissioned and trained a few weeks ahead of time, and preliminary data is then collected, mapped, and displayed. During the event, the targeted process is analyzed, and improvement ideas are identified, tested, and implemented. These are positive, proactive, high energy, or zenergy, events with great results as the norm. It is a very practical, efficient, and effective method for applying zentreprenuership and positive change in any culture. Kaizen events are significantly different from traditional meetings where people sit around and talk about changes without anything actually getting done. They are an immediate demonstration of culture change.

After facilitating hundreds of kaizen events over the years, one thing has become clear: no two events are exactly alike. Every event has variables, including the participants, need, scope, circumstances, data, constraints, resistance, energy levels, leadership capability, support, and dozens of other factors. Therefore, we have to learn to play with the hand we are dealt to get the results we desire. The key to running a successful event is to clarify the team mission, purpose, and expectations. From there, we have to listen, empathize, and trust one another.

Some of the easiest kaizen events to understand and run involve workplace organization. In other words, consider how much time can be wasted searching for things if they are not exactly where we want them and not ready for use when we need them. This can apply to a maintenance shop, an operating room, a kitchen, a laboratory, an office, a laptop, a closet, or any other environment. Now imagine a surgeon searching for a clean scalpel or a pit crew looking for a wrench while people are waiting and in need. Not being ready is not being productive.

In a typical kaizen event aiming at workplace organization, we begin by defining and measuring the current state. How are things done now? How are we organized? What do we really need? How are we using what we need? Map the process and populate the map with undisputable facts and data. Record the process on video if it will help clarify things. Follow operators through the process to see how they do whatever it is they do. If they are cooks in a restaurant, how do they go about preparing meals? If they are maintenance technicians, how do they go about servicing the equipment? Where is time being wasted? What are the inefficient activities or sequences? Establish a baseline of measures and frustrations.

The kaizen team usually spends three to four weeks prior to the event collecting this data and preparing to display it in a meaningful, impactful way. We then begin the three- to five-day kaizen event by using this data to align all team members and the leadership team with a clear summary of the current state. Normally, this provokes some very interesting dialogue between the baseline team and the leadership team who comes in each day for a 30- to 60-minute briefing. Do we really do it that way? Does it really take that long? Do we really have that much re-work?

Once we have consensus on the current state, we analyze why things are the way they are. Why do we do it that way? Why do we take that long? Why do we have that much re-work? This analysis leads us to the root causes, the level at which we want to solve the problem. This is how we sustain the improvements. If we truly get to the root cause, the symptoms should go away and not come back. In a workplace organization kaizen event, the root causes are often related to flawed assumptions leading to flawed policy, procedure, process design, and organization. To correct this, we might have to rearrange the work flow, relocate the material and equipment, and change certain policies and procedures. If we were doing this in your kitchen, laundry room, or tool shop, where are the best places to locate the tools you need to do the job in the most productive, user-friendly manner?

When teams get together to evaluate a current state situation that is wasteful and frustrating, it is exciting to see how they open up to change. Kaizen events are not something we do to people. We do them with people. We involve the users of the process, listening to them and asking for their input and experiences. We guide them through the analysis and collectively search for better alternatives. We tap their creativity and innovate together, trying the ideas, and testing them for risks and results. And when we have found a better way — quickly — we adopt it and institutionalize the new change as evidence that we walk our talk. We draft the new policy or procedure, and we get it signed in the event, not weeks later. We train everyone on the new way, and monitor it for effectiveness. We follow up with additional kaizen events to make the process even better. These kaizen events are all done in the spirit of continuous improvement, so we are never really finished. We just continue to make things better and better as new ideas surface and opportunities present themselves.

One example of this zenergy comes from a kaizen event with a client in Canada in 2010. The executive sponsor of the project opened the event with a few words to clarify expectations, offer support, and reiterate a sense of urgency. He was setting the tone for action. He was looking for a way to proactively collect some good ideas and quickly turn them into great results. This was a project aiming to correct a dysfunctional master planning and scheduling system, resulting in unacceptable customer service levels, poor use of assets, and millions of dollars in backorders and lost sales. My role was to provide realtime training, guidance, and kaizen facilitation.

Following the executive sponsor's comments, the project leader asked the team how we would handle any differences of opinion that prevented us from reaching consensus on designing and implementing a better way. This project leader also happened to be the manager in charge of the planning and scheduling departments. Clearly, he wanted the last say in any matter of dispute. This was "his baby" and he was a bit defensive because the data suggested it was quite "ugly." The team responded to his question by kicking around several ideas ranging from voting to autocracy. It seemed obvious to me that the team was already demonstrating some fear, insecurity, and distrust in the consensus decision-making process. I could only smile. This is quite common at the start of most kaizen events. The average team gets nervous.

After a few minutes of struggle with this question, the executive sponsor caught my smile and suggested that I might have something to say. All eyes turned toward me, and the room became quiet. I allowed the silence to sink in for a moment, and then I simply asked if we had any geniuses on the team. At first, a few people snickered, perhaps thinking I was kidding. Then there was an awkward silence. So, I repeated my question, "Seriously, do we have any geniuses on the team?" I scanned the faces around the large conference table, finally pausing at the team leader. No one said a word. At that point, I suggested that because we had no geniuses on the team, we agree to go with the genius of the team, a disciplined process that I would facilitate. I also challenged the team to remember that I said this because by the end of day two, we would return to the subject to see if we were fully aligned and in true consensus. This challenge meant we had to pull together quickly and put aside our personal agendas. It also put pressure on me to do my job.

Whenever we see high-performance teams "in flow," we witness grace, harmony, and power in action, the yin and yang of the Tao. We see what is referred to in Taoism as wu wei, or effortless manifestation. We observe genuine alignment, pure harmony, and authentic synergy. Personal agendas take a back seat, and the fearful ego thought system is transcended to a new, heightened sense of awareness and realization. We are all one! We are all in this together. The all too common "me-opic" perspective ("What's in it for me?") is replaced with "we-opic" vision and intent ("What's in it for we?"). The power of unity reveals itself to us and we feel awakened, alive, and empowered. We experience a connectedness to one another, a collective mind and a heightened sense of consciousness. We gain courage, openness, empathy, compassion, and intuitive guidance. Worries and stresses melt away. Fear and doubts dissolve. Ideas flow and creativity expands. Time seems to stand still. Think of this like a symphony orchestra made up of many diverse functional areas now all playing as one. There is pure harmony. The zenergy and synergy are extraordinary.

Of course, to experience this kind of flow of power and grace, there are many barriers to overcome and limiting beliefs to release. We cannot tap this infinite field of possibilities if we are afraid or in a state of apathy, denial, or resistance. We have to detach from the habitual, autopilot mind and think outside our mental boxes. We have to delete the negative programs and limiting memes of the mind. We have to empty our bowl. We have to open our receptors. We have to let go to let flow.

Zenergy is ineffable. It is difficult to describe with words. Like the words grace, love, joy, forgiveness, and compassion, it must be experienced to be understood. People describe it in different ways, but the only way to know zenergy is to feel zenergy. Think of it as a divine energy field, a cosmic soup surrounding, connecting, and penetrating us. It is within us and we are within it. It is sacred intent. It is life force. It is Source energy. To tap zenergy, we must lead from the heart and soul, fearlessly and without doubt. The intellect, while critically important to effective leadership, will not show us — or anyone else — true Spirit. We must go deeper, to the level where people "get the chills."

Zenergy is fluid and dynamic, with no beginning and no end. It is always present, a frequency or vibration that plays continuously — even if we are not tuned into it. Think of it like soulful music playing on a continuous radio station. It is present whether we are listening to it or not. It is constant and effortless in its manifestation. We are not inspired and creative by trying to be inspired and creative. Rather, we are inspired and creative when we let go of our resistance and align with the higher vibration of zenergy, inspiration, and creativity. This is our core spiritual essence, beneath and beyond the ego thought system that we are conditioned with from birth.

The ego thought system is a universal, fear-based way of thinking that is dualistic, comparative, competitive, and divisive. It is common for human beings to buy into this thought system, something we often refer to as someone's "ego." The ego thought system thinks the same way no matter who thinks it. It is not that we have a personal ego; rather, we have a connection to one, universal way of thinking that denies us of understanding our true, authentic, Spiritual self. The ego thought system gives us a false identity and feeds us with fear and an addiction to drama. It takes courage and wisdom to let go of this way of thinking and see the world differently.

To access our spiritual essence, we must release ego thinking — disempowering thoughts such as apathy, greed, selfishness, pride, anger, guilt, insecurity, and fear. There is no pretending to be in Spirit, as it requires honesty and integrity to flow. One cannot pretend to be honest. One cannot fake integrity. One cannot fool universal grace. When we witness zenergy, it is not unusual to feel a sense of awe, a sense of reverence, perhaps even physical vibration and tingles. This is a connection with Spirit, a moment of inspiration and revelation. Sage leaders and zentrepreneurs understand that by being "in Spirit," we connect with the Spirit in others. This is a soul-to-soul relationship, a link that transcends time and space. It is infinite, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It is what brings out the best in all of us, inspires us, and truly defines us as authentic leaders.

People in leadership positions all over the world frequently comment to me on how challenging it is to sustain change and lead true, genuine cultural transformations. "People resist change," they tell me, disclosing a flawed and very disempowering assumption and excuse. The zentrepreneur disagrees. People are actually designed for change — physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally. As Heraclitus once said, "Nothing endures but change." As human beings, we are in a constant state of change. Our bodies replenish the 50-trillion-plus cells within us about every four years. We change our minds, clothes, diets, and lifestyles. We sleep, awaken, grow, adapt, learn, expand, age, laugh, and cry. We are continuously changing at the physical, mental, and emotional levels as we make our way through life. These changes are natural and effortless. They just happen. Thoughts come and go organically. Hunger, aches, feelings, moods, temptations — all these come and go. This is human and natural. Life force is effortless. A tree does not have to try to grow; a rose does not have to work hard to blossom. They are meant to grow and blossom.

At a spiritual level, all of life is in perfect harmony and balance, beyond most human awareness, perception, and comprehension. This is divine power and grace, the perfect yin-yang nature of the universe. When we know, experience, and appreciate authentic power and grace, we allow ourselves to be more effective leaders, because we are aligning with a much greater source of knowledge than our limited, independent minds. Our very presence brings light and energy to people in darkness and doubt. We use contrast to our advantage. We see the context of the content, the big picture. We become a breath of fresh air, a symbol of hope, optimism, and positive energy. With zenergy and grace, all things seem possible. Miracles become the norm, because we see them happening all the time. We are living the miracles.


Excerpted from "Zentrepreneur"
by .
Copyright © 2013 John J. Murphy.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword 15

Introduction 19

1 What If? 27

2 Why? 51

3 Why Not? 73

4 Who? 93

5 How? 113

6 When? 137

7 Yeah, But… 161

8 So What! 185

9 Now What? 197

Conclusion 217

Notes 229

Index 231

About the Author 239

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