Friday, April 15, 2011

Ad Men Learn From The Ways of The Samurai

It was a seemingly normal day at a quiet and remote resort in Melaka, but for 21 corporate warriors from the advertising industry, it was war. They were taken back to ancient Japan in the 1400s, and put into the shoes of brave samurais. Divided into two great armies, the samurais engaged in intense battle. They faced a series of one-on-one contests. The atmosphere was thick with chaos and calamity. The samurais carried their values into the fight, holding onto their honour and integrity in a test to see if they would strengthen and shine, or weaken and crack.

This was the unique experience of the 21 Creative and Media Agency Heads, Seniors and Corporate Leaders who attended The Samurai Game® in February 2011 at Philea Resort and Spa, Melaka. When their battle ended, their learnings began. The game was a mirror into which participants could discover their inner greatness.

The seven warriors of McCann Erickson wield their bokkens in the face of ‘kiki’ meaning ‘crisis’

Different people gained different learnings. In fact, for all the times that The Samurai Game® has been conducted since it was first invented in 1977, there has never been two identical games. Lance Giroux gives us his explanation “The learnings would be different for everybody depending on where they are in life.

“Once a participant leaves the training room, he may feel an entire spectrum of emotions.” he said. “You might feel love, or anger, or sadness... But instead of denying those feelings, participants should use it as a door and walk through it and ask, ‘what message does this feeling have for me?’”

“It is an intense program to re-boot your system. Helps you get in touch with yourself and gives a unique perspective to handle situations in life.”
Ranganathan Somanathan, CEO of Starcom Media Vest Group & Optimedia, Malaysia and President of MSA faces an intense battle with Janet Lee, Director & Trainer of 95% The Advertising Academy

“The game is a tool for one to get a deeper understanding of ‘who you are’ versus ‘who you think you are.’”
Lance Giroux, President of Allied Ronin LeadershipTraining & Consultant and Master Trainer of The Samurai Game®

While The Samurai Game® has clearly been a success among the participants, it also marks the beginning of an exciting and new journey for Shahnaz, who is now the first in Malaysia and the 43rd in the world, to be certified as an official facilitator for The Samurai Game®

“What made me want to conduct this training for others is because I saw the value that it can create for individuals, regardless of what level he or she is at. The realisations are profound and will gradually unfold over time. For some people, this can be very enriching as they develop a deeper appreciation of life.” Shahnaz adds when asked why he wanted to spread the game as a trainer. He also adds that unlike most trainings, The Samurai Game® does not involve trainers who guide the participants stepby- step. Instead, the participants take the learnings from themselves.

“The Samurai Game is a unique leadership experience basedon establishing personal principles, integrity and a very special perspective of how you can make decisions from both a personalmand professional capacity. It is deep and plays on your mind long after you’ve left the game”
Tony Savarimuthu, CEO of McCann Worldgroup and President of 4As Malaysia recommends that all senior staff and key people should go through The Samurai Game®

One meeting, one chance - Janet, Dean, Andrew, Shahnaz and Tony stand side-by-side with the kanji words ‘ichigo ichie’ meaning ‘one meeting, one chance.’

So what does the future hold now for The Samurai Game®? “We will begin to offer it as a custom-designed training for companies and associations. I hope that it will spread to as many Malaysians and other people around the world. I believe in the cause, and I believe in the training. It will definitely create a lot of value for everyone.” Shahnaz said.

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