Revolutionary business guru Kazuo Inamori is proving that one of the core principles of business school is overrated. He believes that the main focus should be on employees instead of only on shareholders. His innovative approach to business has been nothing short of eye opening, having founded 2 multi billion dollar companies and rescuing another. According to him his inspiring list of business feats is due to putting his workers first so that they are more productive and proud to work for the company. This has gone over well with his employees but has created a tenuous relationship between his maverick ideals and his stockholders.
Kazuo Inamori is no stranger to overcoming adversity, he quickly rose through the ranks by implementing his unique work ethics that he developed while being a Buddhist monk. Whether you agree or disagree with his methods one thing is certain; the man is a money making genius. 5 decades ago he founded the legendary electronics powerhouse Kyocera Corp. & went on to create the $64 billion phone carrier currently known as KDDI Corp. After that he single handedly rescued Japan Airlines Co. from its shocking 2010 bankruptcy. This was an exceptionally bold move since he had no experience in the airline industry. But by implementing his values within a year he managed to miraculously lead the company out of bankruptcy. So how has such a humble man been able to accomplish this degree of entrepreneurial acrobatics? The answer is simple; inspire your workers to work harder.
“If you want eggs, take care of the hen,” Inamori said in an interview on Oct. 23. “If you bully or kill the hen, it’s not going to work.”
His secret is the implementation of his genius “Amoeba Management” system, a remarkably efficient and powerful way of managing employees. Inamori says that the first step is to completely transform his employees’ mentality. To accomplish this he made a bold statement to his workers when he took on the CEO role of Japan Airlines Co. without pay. He diligently wrote & gave a small book outlining his philosophies to each employee. The core message of the book showed that the company was dedicated to nourishing the personal growth of their employees. It also showcased a series of Buddhist-inspired principles that showed the workers how to live better lives by being humble and always doing the right thing. In Japan people are fiercely loyal to their companies and this seemingly selfless gesture fueled their passion for the company and made them work harder to allow the company to succeed. This allowed his “amoeba management” system of dividing staff into small units that make their own plans and track hourly efficiency through an innovative accounting system that much more efficient. This explosion in productivity allowed the company to function on one third less of the workforce, getting rid of 16,000 employees.
Looking at the statistics there really isn’t any valid way to argue with Inamori’s wildly successful business tactic. Studies have shown that when you inspire your employees to share your passion for the company they are willing to work harder. When properly managed this leads to a bonanza of productivity that allows a company to get better results with a fraction of the amount of workers. Who would have thought that a Buddhist monk would have what it takes to create 3 powerful companies in such a cutthroat business environment?