Business Leader:

Success Stories

30 Lessons from Konosuke Matsushita

Corporate Management Personnel Management Customer Value Creation

 

 Vadim Kotelnikov personal logo Vadim Kotelnikov, Founder, Business e-Coach

 

"Anything worth doing is worth 1000%"
~
Konosuke Matsushita, Founder of Panafonic

Kaizen - Japanese Strategy for Continuous Improvement Team Culture Konosuke Matsushita Ten3 BUSINESS e-COACH: Why, What, and How The Tao of Business Success 30 Lessonf from Konosuke Matsushita: Corporate Management, Personnel Management, Customer Value Creation Matsushita's 7 Core Principles of Management Philosophy Konosuke Matsushita: 7 Core Principles of Management Philosophy of Panasonic

30 Lessons from Konosuke Matsushita

Corporate Management

  1. Love your job if you wish to do it well

  2. Do what commons sense dictates

  3. Follow the laws of nature

  4. A leader should have a vision

  5. Dreams should be shared

  6. Management is perpetual creation

  7. Don't assume that something is “impossible"

  8. Transparent management fosters growth

  9. Employ "Dam Management" to ensure steady growth

  10. Bad times have their bright side  >>>

Personnel Management

  1. People before products

  2. An employee is a “client"

  3. People are diamonds in the rough

  4. Provide direction and moral support

  5. Focus on people's strengths

  6. Trust your employees

  7. Consulting is better than ordering

  8. Keep a firm grip on loose reins

  9. Your subordinates are superior to you in various ways

  10. Be realistic about people

Creating Customer Value

  1. The mission of the company is to enrich society

  2. Company’s vision must be driven by the aspirations of its customers

  3. In the long run, the public opinion is right

  4. Don’t sell customers goods that they are attracted to; sell them goods that will benefit them

  5. Treat your products like your children

  6. Any waste will increase the price of the product

  7. Stick to fair prices

  8. After-sales service is more important than assistance before sales; it is through such service that one gets permanent customers

  9. Use complaints to strengthen ties with your customer

  10. To be out-of-stock is due to carelessness; if this happens, apologize to your customers, and deliver the goods as soon as you can

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 Corporate Management

Follow the Laws of Nature

Obey the laws of nature: this is the very core of Konosuke Matsushita’s business philosophy. Successful business is ordinary, normal business, selling at a price that allows a fair margin or profit, collecting payment on time, and so on. Clever strategies and careful calculations may be important, but simple universal laws must always be observed.

Do What Common Sense Dictates

If there is a formula for business success, Matsushita felt, it is operating in this straightforward, down-to-earth way, as simply and sensibly as opening an umbrella in the rain.

Management Is Perpetual Creation

For Konosuke Matsushita, business was a creative activity; it was a process of producing something valuable out of nothing. You start with an idea for an enterprise. Then you hammer out a basic plan, raise the necessary capital, and put together the necessary facilities and equipment. Finally, you hire employees, develop a line of products, manufacture them, thereby making a contribution to society. Moreover, each area of management has its own mode of operation, and anyone hoping to succeed in business must be able to adapt those modes quickly to the constantly changing social and economic environment.

 

Don't Assume That Something Is “Impossible“

"We speak of the shortcomings of the purely intellectual approach, but this refers to our wariness of half-baked theories that can prevent us from proceeding to a practical solution,” said Matsushita. “If necessity is the mother of invention, then simple, unaffected determination is its father. Even when everyone around you say it's impossible, if you step back and rethink your task in the simplest possible terms, free of the noise of over-erudite and preconceived notions, often the solutions will come to you, out of the blue, so to speak."

Positive Thinking: 5 Benefits

Dam Management

Various economic factors can inhibit corporate growth. Konosuke Matsushita believed, however, that continued progress is possible with the right approach, such as by employing what he called the "dam method" of management. Matsushita's dam management offered a way to keep an enterprise on an even keel in times of unexpected changes in business conditions, and included useful techniques for achieving the goal of maintaining steady growth at all times. It is essential to create a strong internal structure capable of surviving the economic crises that might lie ahead. A business can maintain steady growth, and protect itself against changes in the external environment, by erecting a dam and reservoir in every part of its management, such as an "equipment dam" and a "capital dam" that provide insurance for stable growth.

Bad Times Have Their Bright Side

Konosuke Matsushita had an idiosyncratic view of the meaning of good times. During prosperous times," he would say, "you move along at a gallop; in times of recession, you saunter at a leisurely pace. When you're galloping, you haven't got time to look around you, so you don't notice any problem. But when your pace slackens, you can see everything in all directions, and if you notice something wrong you have time to fit it."

Personnel Management

An Employee Is A "Client"

Konosuke Matsushita avoided thinking in terms of labor versus management. He preferred to deal with his staff and employees as co-workers, in fact, as people whom he served. Matsushita called freely on his subordinates for advice, rarely interfered after delegating responsibilities to them.

People Are Diamonds in The Rough

Right from the very early days of the company, Konosuke Matsushita put immense effort into personnel training and development. "However much you rub it," he reflected later, "you can't make a diamond from an ordinary stone. But if you have a diamond in the rough, you can draw out its gleam with careful polishing. And depending on how you polish it and cut it, you can make it sparkle and shine in various different ways. People are just like uncut diamonds; they each have the potential for various kinds of brilliance, qualities which, if polished right, will shine radiantly. It is very important for personnel managers to have a proper grasp of this concept, and to attempt to draw out the special strengths of each employee."

Focus of People’s Strengths

Konosuke Matsushita used to say that, as a manager, focusing on people's shortcomings quickly gave him a headache. When you only look at weaknesses, every person you encounter appears inadequate in one way or another, and you end up vacillating about assigning anyone to the job or task you have at hand. Subordinates, too, are bound to be unhappy if all you ever notice is their failings. "I always tried," Matsushita said, "to notice people's strong points seven times out of 10 and their weaknesses the remaining three." By paying more attention to employees' strengths, he believed, he would be more likely to think of ways to put those strengths to good use. The important thing is to keep your assessment of others' strengths and weaknesses in proper proportion.

Keep a Firm Grip on Loose Reins

Though Matsushita easily delegated work and authority to others, he did not thereby abdicate responsibility for what was going on under him. He expected to receive reports about particular projects at appropriate intervals. Forced by chronic bronchial illness to rest for extended periods, Matsushita quite often summoned his subordinates to his bedside to report on the business, in response to which he would give new instructions or offer help in problems they were encountering. He called this keeping "a firm grip on loose reins"; it was Matsushita way of distributing authority and nurturing the talents of his staff.

 Creating Customer Value

Put the Customer First

As he built his company, Konosuke Matsushita never lost sight of the importance of putting the needs of his customers and the public first. Panasonic's vision of the digital future is driven by the needs and aspirations of its business customers and millions of consumers around the world who use their products every day. By sharing their customers’ dream to live a fuller life, Panasonic provides ways of working smarter and enjoying the rewards of technological advances.

Revenue Model

Treat Your Products Like Your Children

Konosuke Matsushita had extraordinary passion for both manufacturing and the products his company made. "The goods we make here every day," he would tell his employees, "are like children we raise with tender care. Selling them is like seeing those children grow up and go out into the world. It is only natural, then, that we should be concerned about how they are getting on in their lives, and so go and see for ourselves." Matsushita believed that maintaining this concern for what you produce is the first step toward building an ordinary supplier-client relationship into a stronger link based on mutual trust.

Complaints Strengthen Ties

Far from being an attack, a complaint should be treated as a valuable opportunity to strengthen ties. "Naturally I'm delighted when a buyer expresses compliments," Konosuke Matsushita would say, "but I'm just as pleased to get a letter of complaint." His reasoning was that if customers didn't bother to complain, that meant they had already decided not to buy any more products from your company. If, on the other hand, they expressed their dissatisfaction, even to the point of seriously considering going elsewhere for their needs, they were still interested. As long as you are sincere, treat their complaint with respect, and root out the cause of the problem. The relationship will become stronger for it.

People Before Products

Konosuke Matsushita kept saying, “We produce people, and we also produce electrical goods." He always believed that the measure of a company was the people who worked for it, that no enterprise could succeed if its employees did not grow as human beings, and that business, first and foremost, was about cultivating human potential. No matter how much capital, technology or equipment an enterprise boasts, it is bound to fail if its human resources are not developed. And Matsushita did not mean merely improving employees' technical know-how, management, or sales skills, though these are certainly part of the concept. For him, the true aim of personnel development was to cultivate individual self-reliance and responsibility, to guide employees to an understanding of the value and significance of their own work and of the obligation of the company to contribute to society.

 

 

References:

  1. Matsushita Leadership, John P. Kotter

  2. Velvet Glove, Iron Fist and 101 Other Dimensions of Leadership, Konosuke Matsushita

  3. Matsushita Perspective on Business, Panasonic HA Air-Conditioning (M) Sdn Bhd., Malaysia