Origami and Management Similarity

As a young boy, I used to eagerly watch my favourite weekly Television programme, Origami by Robert Harbin.  Prior to each week’s show, I would collect used calendar papers and cut them into square pieces to be used when watching the show.  During the show, Robert would introduce an Origami model, for instance a paper crane, and gave a step-step view of how to fold that model.  Sometimes, I would draw pictures on my jottle book that would help me recall the steps.  This grew into a hobby over the years and through books and the appropriate websites, I gained a wider appreciation for Origami.

There are many forms of Origami.  I am particularly fascinated with the ones that only uses a piece of paper without cutting or pasting.  The form of Origami that I enjoy  is created only through folding, unfolding and refolding. Some models require special crafted paper materials to create the desired effect.  The paper can start from a square (most common), triangle or rectangle shape.  Origami is an art form that expresses creativity.  An origami model is designed from the perspective of how its creator envisioned the model to be.

People Management can be seen as an art similar to origami. For instance, influencing and developing  as equivalent to Folding;  correcting and engaging as equivalent to Unfolding; motivating and empowering as equivalent to Refolding.  There is no one way of managing although there may be several best practices and techniques that one can follow.  However, it requires adapting the appropriate approach that will work best in an individual (analogous to type and shape of paper).  It starts with what the manager sees in an individual and how he will serve the needs of the organization. The manager formulates the steps he will take to bring that individual to the desired state.  Along the way, he may have to change certain plans for that individual and adapt accordingly (as in unfolding and refolding).

In my subsequent postings, I will include some origami models and share some management insights.


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