bushido code of the smurai

Culture-First Philosophy: What We Can Learn From Bushido Code

The term culture is used throughout organizations far and wide. However, it is important to squarely define not only what the culture of a company encompasses but also how it is deployed within an organization.

Company culture can be defined as the shared set of goals, values and practices that characterize an organization. Upon defining what the culture of our organization looks like, we must ask ourselves how important we deem the existence of culture within our organization to be and what methods we will utilize to establish said culture. By this regard, a culture-first organization is one method by which you might incorporate culture into an organization.  

culture-first philosophy is based on the premise that culture is the heart or foundation of our organization. In fact, most leaders within culture-first organizations hold the belief that without culture there is no organization to be a part of; for without foundation there can be no structure. Many of the elements that make up a culture-first philosophy are based on relational values such as compassion, respect, and loyalty.  

In a similar respect, the eight codes of the Bushido were built upon a foundation of community and oneness. This Code of the Samurai, encompasses what it meant to be a Samurai, or “one who serves.” The positive effects of the application of the values embodied by the Bushido Code on a company are both observable and measurable.  

What did the Samurai embody? What did they stand for? 

The Samurai were devoted to protecting their communities and families throughout many centuries of Japanese history. More than their physical strength and reputation, the Samurai embodied intense pride and commitment to protecting Japanese values.  

While their role evolved, their commitment to their values continued to define how they lived their lives. The eight Codes of the Samurai served to guide the Samurai on his journey. Modern Japanese values and culture continue to honor the basis that the Bushido Codes were founded on. 

1. Justice 

Justice, also referred to as Rectitude, is one of the strongest guides for the Samurai. 

“Rectitude is one’s power to decide upon a course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering.” For example, to die when to die is right, to strike when to strike is right.

“Rectitude is the bone that gives firmness and stature.” Without bones the head cannot rest on top of the spine, nor hands move, nor feet stand. So, without Rectitude neither talent nor learning can make the human frame into a Samurai.

Culture First:  

Justice and Rectitude inspire our words and actions on the daily. We maintain that our words and values are the key to our success in an ever-evolving age. Our word and culture are our product just as our state-of-the-art integrated platform for small to medium-sized wealth and asset managers is. At 5150, we believe in providing traditionally overlooked managers access to investment and fund solutions they have ordinarily struggled to achieve. 

2. Courage 

Courage is practiced in partnership with Justice. The Code of the Samurai notes that courage is best practiced with the knowledge of what is right. 

Courage is best defined as “doing what is right… and doing it not, argues a lack of courage.”  

Culture First:  

Courage is executed through the lens of understanding what is right. Without this knowledge and prudence, a Samurai cannot be truly courageous in his actions. In the modern age, courage is not simply defined as being brave, the Code of the Samurai inspires us to act sensibly in the face of the unknown.  

3. Compassion 

Compassion, also called benevolence, is considering the innate goodness of people. For the Samurai, they understand the goodness of people and use it to protect this aspect of humanity. 

“The brave warrior keeps apart the ear that might listen to the warbler’s song.” 

Culture First:  

It is often said that with great power comes great responsibility. Business is increasingly motivated by gain, so it is important to remember the people that our values and services impact. Magnanimity is the virtue of being great of mind and heart, and we believe that our success comes from the considerate pairing of our intellect and emotion.  

At 5150, we value the Bushido Code of Compassion as a pillar for how we treat our team, our partners, and especially our clients. 

4. Respect 

Respect and politeness are in support and benevolence for all. Everyone deserves the fundamental code of respect. 

“Politeness should be the expression of a benevolent regard for the feelings of others; it’s a poor virtue if it’s motivated only by a fear of offending good taste. In its highest form Politeness approaches love.” 

Culture First:  

Many organizations are undermined by the ego of the individual. At 5150, we work as a team to support the individual experiences and needs of our clients. We understand the Bushido Code of respect and compassion in regard to doing what’s right for our team, network, and clients. We personalize our support for small to medium-sized wealth and asset managers by creating an atmosphere of respect and consideration as we work towards the goal of transitioning into fund raising in the digital age. 

5. Sincerity 

Sincerity, or integrity, means commitment to one’s words with their actions. 

“Sincerity is the end and beginning of all things; without Sincerity there would be nothing.” 

Culture First:  

The promise to serve clients, teammates, and the global network is central to the success of a modern business. At 5150, we are committed to honoring our words with our actions. We believe that our truth is best demonstrated through the relationships we build with our team, clients, and network in the increasingly digital financial services industry.  

While we offer a streamlined approach to fund raising through our integrated platform, our commitment to maintaining the sincerity of our words is fundamental to our values. 

6. Honor (名誉 meiyo

The Samurai believed honor to be as crucial as one’s name. The support and steadfast commitment to the Code of the Samurai fosters the honor and essence of a Samurai. 

“It must be admitted that very few attained this sublime height of magnanimity, patience, and forgiveness. It was a great pity that nothing clear and general was expressed as to what constitutes Honor; only a few enlightened minds being aware that it ‘from no condition rises.’” 

Culture First:  

Compassion and respect for a business’ goals and community is central to creating its honor. 5150 is committed to supporting its ‘people-first’ vision of providing an integrated digital platform for small to medium-sized wealth and asset managers. 

7. Loyalty 

The Samurai, who considered themselves men of service, were loyal to those to whom they were indebted. Their honor inspired them to maintain commitment and Loyalty to themselves, their families, and their communities. 

“It is only in the code of chivalrous honor that Loyalty assumes paramount importance.” 

Culture First:  

Like the Samurai, we believe that business must remain loyal to its values and its communities. Our best product for small to medium-sized wealth and asset managers comes from our commitment to them in service and values. We deliver an integrated digital platform with personalized and relationship-driven strategies. 

8. Self-Control 

The Samurai believed in the importance of maintaining steadfast commitment to follow the Codes they lived by. Even when faced with challenge or danger, self-control was critical to life and career. 

“The discipline of fortitude on the one hand, inculcating endurance without a groan, and the teaching of politeness on the other, requiring us not to mar the pleasure or serenity of another by manifestations of our own sorrow or pain, combined to engender a stoical turn of mind, and eventually to confirm it into a national trait of apparent stoicism. 

Culture First:  

Challenges present themselves every day as the world adapts to an increasingly digital age. At 5150, we have embraced the challenges that small to medium-sized wealth and asset managers encounter against larger competitors in fund raising and marketing.  

We have developed personalized strategies to promote access and speed in the digital marketing industry. We believe in teamwork and loyalty to anticipate, solve, and develop strategies to counteract the challenges met by small to medium-sized wealth and asset managers. 

Conclusion 

The shareholder first mentality, originally introduced by economist Milton Friedman in the 1970s, is a theory centered on the belief that shareholder performance is the only real responsibility held by a business.  

Friedman stated, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game.”   

This philosophy, widely embraced by many in investment banking, corporate leadership, and the private equity communities has permeated and bastardized corporate America, leading to a driven cultural framework based on short term results for companies— companies no longer act as family to their employees.  

With leadership so focused on short term results, job insecurity, employment instability, and anxiety have risen for persons within the workforce. These workplace characteristics then transfer to the home and impair working class American families resulting in even more instability for generations to come. The solution for these disparities begins with reformatting the structure of corporate America.  

How we treat our workforce matters and as business leaders, the change starts with us. The adoption of a culture-first philosophy within company structure can lead to long term corporate and societal success. It is important to recognize that our responsibilities as leaders to our teams are much more important than what is currently considered optimal output.  

A great team can always turn average ideas into something great, while average teams can easily ruin a great idea.  

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