Monday, November 8, 2010

Hansei

Jill Knapp, a Delware native who provides training and consulting services for IT departments around the country, explains Hansei.  Hansei means self reflection in Japanese.

"Hansei" is one of the cornerstones of Japanese behavior and culture, and it's something we don't really do in America, mostly because we don't have a word in English for it.

"Hansei" is the act of being considerate, and understanding how your actions impact those around you... but it's more than that. People having loud conversations while walking past your bedroom window at 2AM do not hansei. People waiting to get to the front of the fast-food line before figuring out their order do not hansei. It's more than not being an idiot; it's reflecting on yourself and growing from that reflection. It's hard to explain, but explain it, I will! Oh yes!




I think the key point is that hansei is not about being sorry or declaring fault but rather acknowledging the other person's feelings or inconvenience.  It is about facing those uncomfortable truths.  Stop making excuses and accept responsibility.  As we already know people make mistakes. Be considerate to those around you.  Reflection is learning and learning is essential for improvement.

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2 comments:

  1. "Hansei means self reflection in Japanese.

    'Hansei' is one of the cornerstones of Japanese behavior and culture, and it's something we don't really do in America, mostly because we don't have a word in English for it."

    I'm curious as to how you draw the conclusion that Americans do not self-reflect, and even more curiously, you declare that the reason Americans do not self-reflect is because we do not have a word for it?!

    I think that one of the biggest mistakes that leansters make is that they insult the intelligence of everybody around them by making declarations such as (paraphrasing) "Americans do not self-reflect like the Japanese because there is not an equivalent word in English." That is absurd, to put it bluntly.

    So, I won't complain any further. Instead, here is a counterpoint for you to consider. I suggest to you that if you were to ask some five whys, you may find that many people do in fact reflect - but perhaps they are not encouraged by their environment or their leaders to ACT on their reflections.

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  2. Bryan, I am not the one in the video of course and don't necessarily share all the same views. I don't susbcribe to stereo-typing groups and certainly believe everyone wants to do a good job every day. I saw this video and thought it was worth sharing as there are a couple key points to help others understand Hansei.

    I think your counterpoint (which I agree to) shows that many people and organizations don't know what Hansei is or how to make their efforts effective.

    I can also say that some concepts are lost in translation. Not in language but in actual application. Hansei for me is one of those.

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