The weather seems to be much cooler upon entering September. It is a relief that we have overcome the double torture of sultriness and electric power shortage this summer without much trouble.Only four months are left of this year. September is an important month in which we must put spurs to achieving this year’s business goals and put in a great deal of time to establish next year’s business plans as well. Considering the recent circumstances of management, the world economy, which seemed as if it were improving as the European financial crisis died down, is expected to head for tough times again due to the increasing possibility of financial crisis in China as well as the emerging countries such as India, Brazil, and Indonesia.
As such, we never know how the business environment will change. Crisis is like a wave; it does not calm down after surging, but is actually followed by another. If you are not prepared, you will be swept away by the waves no matter how strong you are.
We hold up an umbrella when it rains. If we do not have an umbrella, we will put anything over our head that will keep off the rain. If there is nothing that falls into our hands, we have no choice but to get soaked. We cannot help it, but there is something we must learn from this: realize that we did not have an umbrella on the rainy day because we did not prepare for the rain on a sunny day, and get ready. As there are sunny days as well as rainy days in life, there are good days as well as bad days. But many people tend to forget about rainy days if sunny days continue for a while.
Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of Manchester United who recently retired, is a legend that achieved 38 victories for 27 years. He was a rigorous manager who prepared for the next match the day after the victory party. He did not hesitate to make biting remarks and remove even the best players of the team if they fall into idleness, keeping the players alert in competition at all times.
The players who worked with him, even the star players, always had a sense of crisis that they might fall behind in the competition. They were forced to make their utmost efforts in boosting their performance. This resulted in 38 victories. Likewise, we need to make constant efforts to improve our inadequacies with ‘aspiration’ to always develop ourselves and not settle for the present. Even if we are doing well right now, it does not guarantee our future victory in the competition. In a change of circumstances, what we lacked may result in failure.
We must attempt ‘innovation’ to fundamentally change everything beyond improvement in order to achieve growth. The No. 1 Most Innovative Company of 2013 named by Fast Company was the world-renowned sports brand‘Nike.’ Nike figured out that the young generation considers Nike as their ‘father’s generation’ brand (that is, too old-fashioned for them), and reviewed their business back from the beginning. Now Nike is making efforts to create a whole new concept of sports equipment in convergence with IT and develop completely new and innovative products. A representative case would be the development of lightweight sneakers made up of thread, breaking the social convention that ‘sports shows must be in leather.’
In the current business environment, companies that had once been the leaders of innovation like Kodak, Sony or Nokia also face difficulties or even go bankrupt if they become stagnant. Nike, which has already secured the top position in the world, is actively taking the initiative in developing new paths rather than taking a convenient and safe path. This is because they are well aware that they will be stagnant and fall behind without innovation.
We also have made our utmost efforts to find new growth engines by carrying out diverse projects for a long time. We must constantly improve our inadequacies to do a better job in our ongoing projects. Moreover, we must actively develop new projects and products, and take the initiative in innovating our business processes and organizational culture to make them more efficient and productive. This will enable our company to overcome any crisis that may occur and achieve continuous growth. I look forward to your active efforts to accomplish this.