I’m Luciano Garagna, the sensei of this dojo.
With the term sensei (先生), the Japanese indicate those who teach on the basis of the wisdom that comes from age and experience: the literal meaning of the two original characters was in fact ‘born first’ (alas).
My focus is on management training, executive coaching, project and change management.
I am a founding member (1996) of the first Italian section of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and chaired the Italian translation commitee of 3 editions of the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge).
As a consultant I have worked all over Europe, the Middle East and North America – these were great opportunities to meet different people, see the world and learn a lot of things.
Over the years and with the development of technology, I began to appreciate the possibility of staying a little longer in Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, where I was born and where I still live.
Together with my friend Ben Johnson, I wrote Eva, a story of love and team working.
In oriental martial arts, the dojo (道場) is the place (jo) where one goes to learn through study, practice and meditation, so as to progress along the path (do) that leads to harmony with the whole. When enter this area, students leave all worries outside and focus their mind only on the study of their own discipline.
There are many ways that lead to the goal, and they are not represented only by martial arts: think for example of the cha-do, the way of tea. Everyone can follow the path that suits them best.
From my long passion for aikido came the idea of creating an environment where you can study, practice and reflect on the discipline of management. A place where, respecting the Japanese tradition, the sensei demonstrates a lot and explains little, because it favors the transfer of tacit knowledge, rather than the explicit one.
I’ve also adopted this approach for my first online course, Stakeholder Management for Project Managers, where the students are asked to apply the concepts to one of their real projects.
To learn what I explain in 30 short videos (an hour in total), I expect students to invest a few weeks to complete 10 assignments, possibly together with their sponsor and team.
All in all, a very reasonable time investment, considering that some studies suggest that to become a master in any profession you need to practice 10.000 hours, which roughly translates into 10 years of apprenticeship.
Practicing the art
The goal of the dojo is to encourage the development of management skills: in fact, the reality is that today we are all managers, in the sense of people who find themselves managing complex situations and projects, both individually and together with other people.
The techniques we practice are the same ones that I have studied in recent decades together with my clients. Obviously we will give space to those methods and approaches that have proven to be most effective, resulting in visible changes in the behavior and results obtained by the managers who have applied them correctly.
The Way of the leader
The term leader originates from the Indo-European root leit, which means whoever goes on and crosses the threshold of death first.
Walking along the Path of the Leader means taking the initiative to explore little-known paths.
The practice that takes place inside the dojo is referred to with the term keiko, used only for martial arts, which literally means reflecting on the wisdom of ten generations.
Basically, while training is aimed at achieving a goal, for example running a marathon, doing keiko instead means becoming part of a process that began long before us, where the journey (the Way) is much more important of the goal.