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TARGET: Business Wisdom from the Ancient Japanese Martial Art of Kyudo

By Jérôme Chouchan

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In the current flood of books from entrepreneurial “gurus,” Jérôme Chouchan's decades of evolving business and Kyudo practice reflect genuine hard-earned wisdom like moonlight on calm water.

The “secret” to success in business, writes the author (President, Godiva Japan), lies in the principle “Right shooting always results in a hit.” As Jérôme Chouchan learned, and shares in careful detail, cultivating the spirit and wisdom of traditional Japanese archery—Kyudo, “the Way of the Bow”—can greatly assist the modern business-person’s navigation through today’s explosive environment. An amalgam of Zen, Shintoism, and Confucianism, Kyudo continues to influence daily life and culture in Japan. One doesn’t need to worry or even think about hitting the target, concludes Chouchan, but instead focus energy and will-power on a suitable mindset and form. Unlike brutal attack against anything profit-adverse, this morale-boosting respect for customers, employees, and product is reliably sustainable.

Mindful and frank about his own stress and occasional doubt, the author explores Kyudo’s translation into specific business practices. With customer as target, company as archer, product as arrow, and resources as bow, “right shooting” can be understood as facing your inner self, performing according to traditional rules the art’s gestures, and expressing this to the outside world. Once learned, real meaning can be found; work rises from drudgery into enjoyment via a renewed sense of responsibility. Opportunities arise to reflect and grow as a person—not merely a gear grinding in the machine of compulsive commerce.

Consistently practical, Chouchan fuses the realities of work with personal idealism and non-dogmatic spirituality to recognize, and demonstrably achieve, goals deeper than (but including) sales. Godiva products, once perceived in Japan solely as “aspirational,” under the author’s watch, expansion of outlets and frequent boots-on-the-ground interaction, became accessible and friendly. As should be obvious (but rarely is practiced), “Questioning and listening is simple, and can reveal profound insights.”

Paradoxical to Western ears is the idea that even a direct hit—bull’s-eye—can be a failure because companies struggling only for profit are bound to make a few random scores. Without using proper form and intentionality, though, the success cannot be sustained due to its reckless operation. Essentially, TARGET demonstrates two timeless truths: simplicity is the last thing found; no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Can you imagine a business environment driven by genuine customer—and employee—care? Jérôme Chouchan shows that possibility is not science fiction.

In the current flood of books from entrepreneurial “gurus,” Jérôme Chouchan’s decades of evolving business and Kyudo practice reflect genuine hard-earned wisdom like moonlight on calm water.

~William Grabowski for IndieReader

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