In the theological sense, metanoia occurs when a person examines their life and decides to turn away from sin and towards God.
Often times, the Greek word metanoia is translated as repent. In the New Testament, for example, we read:
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15, emphasis added).
Those close to me know I like to tie all facets of my life together. For example, I attempt to teach my kids lean and six sigma principles, and continuous improvement never ends for me no matter the time of day.
So, as I think about metanoia, I see tremendous parallels between an individual’s spiritual transformation and the transformation many business leaders must go through as they move towards a lean and/or six sigma manner of thinking.
Much like a sinful man or woman must acknowledge, and be sorry for, the sins of their past, the business leader must also acknowledge their past mistakes and failings. The Japanese call this examination of conscious hansei.
Sincerity a Must
Once these mistakes are recognized the business leader must commit to making things better. But this commitment must be sincere.
Much like the man who goes through a so-called spiritual conversion with thousands of others at an emotional revival event… only to resume his affair with his mistress the following weekend… a business leader looking to implement the latest management fad for short term kudos is not experiencing metanoia of any kind.
But when a person sincerely seeks change – spiritually or professionally – powerful things can result (I speak from experience on both fronts).
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