By jimgris on Jan 24, 2009
Great quote. If I could only do more of this not doing I'd be much better off. I think too much. I do too much. And that's not an effective long term strategy.
I find most conversations about "leadership" little more than
meaningless chit-chat. A waste of time. Talk is
cheap. Just ignore it. Action speaks clearly. With that in mind, watch
this CNN clip of Japan Airlines CEO Haruka Nishimatsu's attempt to
manage his company through tough times -- Evolving Excellence: $20 Billion Company CEO ... Takes the Bus. (Video: here, here,)
What do you think? I've watched the darn thing a dozen times. I can't get enough. It's an inspiration. Yet, it's so stupidly simple. And it speaks quite clearly about this guy's priorities and those of his company. Can you imagine in your wildest dreams business, labor, and political leaders in modern America following this reality of leadership? Yah, I doubt it too.
Now, some of this is cultural in that
the distribution of wealth in Japan is not nearly as insane as it is in
the United States, and the so-called "talent" market in Japan is
nothing like it is in the West as well. The Japanese think very differently
about individual talent and its value in relation to an overall
organization. It's difficult to explain, but I see it everywhere around
here. And I can see both good and bad in it as well. So, I'm not saying that the Japanese know best in all cases. They don't. Neither do we, actually, but we tend to not recognize that. But I do find it remarkable that this story in
Japan is really not a big deal at all. Should it be? Regardless of the obvious
cultural differences, the United States may be forced to make some
cultural changes like these in the near future. It will be fascinating
to see how the country deals with it. Is all that "talent" worth all that
cash? If it is, so be it. I'm all for paying for the best. But if not, can we finally recognize it,
please? Can this be any more obvious now? So far the solution is simply
to raid the pockets of us regular people to save all the experts and
billionaires with a never ending series of bailouts. How long that will
last who knows. I suspect not for very long before people get really
pissed, but what do I know. I'm nobody. I have no power. I'm not
special in that system, and don't think for a minute that that doesn't
get me very down at times. I know, I know ... Obama is going to save
us. Right. Got it.
Oh, and by the way, when I travel throughout Asia for Sun, Japan Airlines is always an option for obvious reasons. They fly there a lot. And I generally choose based on times and prices, etc -- just like everyone else (well, everyone else who flies 3rd class, I mean). So, do you think knowing that JAL's CEO is taking the freaking bus to work hanging on to the damn strap like I do and making less money than his pilots will affect my decision to choose an airline? You can absolutely count on it. Never mind that the service on JAL (and most Asian airlines) is vastly superior to every single American and European carrier in the air, I'm talking this guy's plane because he's talking the bus. Period. And Nishimatsu didn't initiate this no-frills style of management when the U.S. fell off the financial cliff a few months ago. Nope. He started a couple of years ago. Anyway, I gotta calm down. Here are some related links talking about this issue. Good stuff. All worth a read if you are just a regular working stiff trying to figure out how to retire and put your kid through college.
One of the things many Japanese are famous for is taking the long
view. It's enough to drive the average westerner insane. But anyway. On
OpenSolaris, very early on learned to embrace a long term perspective,
and that came from dealing with many engineers at Sun who hold long
term views of technology. So, I wonder, what happens if we just plod
along, if we just keep improving OpenSolaris incrementally over time,
if we keep learning from those who have gone before. I wonder what that
perspective buys us?
Japan set for radical reform of markets: "There is a lot that is good in there," said a representative for a foreign bank. "It's not the end of the story. They need to keep doing more to globalise Tokyo as a financial centre." -- Financial Times
Encouraging more industries in Tokyo to think and act globally is a good idea for Japan. Many of Japan`s companies are global, sure, but the pervading attitude around the place is most certainly not global. I find China far more open to the west from a business perspective (and it ain`t even close). And many people agree. That`s why this set of reforms has been released by the government. Of course, they could call the guys at Toyota and Honda for a little advice. I`m serious.
Toyota sees bright future as world number one -- "Toyota has been careful not to gloat about its success in the United States, fearing a protectionist backlash of the type seen when Japanese automakers first seriously penetrated the market in the 1980s." -- AFP
I think this is a good marketing strategy, but with Toyota it`s more than that. The company is more focused on being profitable, building great cars, and carefully expanding into emerging global markets (China, Brazil, Russia) then they are on beating the competition. They know what comes first.
Together, the elements of TPS form the basis for a system of business process management that allows Toyota to continuously look for ways to optimize its operations and put thought into action. Sounds simple, but it requires a basic cultural change in an organization, and that, according to Gary Convis, can be the most difficult challenge. Convis, chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, oversees the company's manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Ky.By the way, after his promotion, this guy Convis moved his office from the administrative building to the factory floor. The chairman. On the factory floor.
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