Entrepreneurial spirit stays the same

I was sorting the kids’ book shelf, and noticed one of my book, Matsushita Leadership, which I have really enjoyed reading about 5 years ago was buried underneath piles of other books, so I pulled it out and started reading randomly.

Treat the people you do business with as if they were a part of your family. Prosperity depends on how much understanding one receives from the people with whom one conducts business… After-sales service is more important than assistance before sales. It is through such service that one gets permanent customers… Don’t sell customers goods that they are attracted to, sell them goods that will benefit them… Any waste, even of a sheet of paper, will increase the price of a product by that much… To be out of stock is due to carelessness. If This happens, apologize to the customers, ask for their address, and tell them that you will deliver the goods immediately.

This, according to John P. Kotter, was what was developed during Matsushita’s first fifteen years in business from 1917 to 1932. Change “To be out of stock” with “To not be able to service”, as in call center or web access, then we are in 2004. It struck me that what Matsushita was doing back in early days of industrial Japan and what entrepreneurs are doing now as shown in The New Pioneers are the same. That is, be focused on people and contributing first.

It appears that any successful company starts out with such spirit. But with all comapneis, sooner or later the spirit inevitably become deluted when organization grow in size. We are finding that such spirit can not be sustained in its orginality, because we all have to experience it, live it to know it. The education system both the formal and later through company training focuses too much on knowing it by rote. It may seem efficient, but human behavior just is not efficient like that.

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