Social responsibility of creating a company

I ran into one of my favorite major company executive at a train station today. Our exchange was brief, but what he said blew my mind.

Exec: “How many people do you have in your company now?”

Me: “Oh, it’s not like that! I work as an independent contractor on project basis now.”

Exec: “What?! No! Person with great ability should form a company to provide jobs for others!”

I usually give him hard time, especially at public conferences asking him hard questions. This time, he paid me back for them all, and more.

Social responsibility. I’ve never even dreamed about my role in that context. I know it’s not unique to Japanese society, since there is shining example such as what Howard Schultz did with Starbucks. I thought my range of social responsibility ended at providing for my family, raising kids who will make contributions to the society.

This conversation reminded me of what another major company executive I admire said to me a few years ago.

“People with great ability can take care of themselves. What we need to do is take care of those people who depends on us to provide jobs.”

2 thoughts on “Social responsibility of creating a company”

  1. Well, so when do we see you hiring some new folk? Need to mark my calendar 🙂

    I agree with the general sentiment but I think People with Ability (an expression that sounds about as right as people with disabilities) ought to consider the repercussions of hiring other people, whether the business is sustainable, and such.

    Recently saw the movie “In Good Company“, which raises some interesting questions that may be relevant.

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  2. Thank you for the comment and introduction to the movie, Shashank!

    What do you mean by the repercussions? Indeed, one ought to be very careful when hiring other people. But making the business sustainable is up to the team, to do whatever needed to make it sustainable. And I think that is mainly the leader’s job to nurture that within the team, and also to constantly seek wisdom from people who succeeded in starting up and growing a company.

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