I was asked by President Ikemoto to contribute to the articles on the homepage written by clients that present their “beliefs.” Persuaded by his abilities as a conversationalist and skillful listener, as well as his knack for putting others at ease, before I knew it I had agreed.
It has been about 10 years since I met President Ikemoto. Looking at this request as an opportunity, I will share the beliefs that I value each day.
I value opportunity.
It is opportunity that brings people together.
The mysteriousness of opportunity cannot be created by the human hand.
I heard about the Yagyu family precept from the head of a corporate client.
The precept goes like this:
Those young in wisdom don’t hear opportunity knocking.
Those maturing in wisdom hear opportunity knocking, but don’t open the door.
Those fully grown in wisdom make the most of opportunity.
I have been presented many opportunities in my life. My encounter with the former president and founder of our company was invaluable. He believed in me, a 30 year old of little accomplishment, and put me in charge of the Hokuriku area in March 1972. That was a major turning point in my life.
I felt that improving business performance was the only way to repay the kindness, and I threw myself into my work night and day, making the rounds, and visiting clients to spur business.
I found opportunities with many of the individuals I met during that time, and business increased at the Hokuriku Sub-branch, which had been facing closure. It moved up in status to sales office, and then branch office.
Opportunities will not arise unless others find you likeable. I thought that if I gave everything I had to accomplish what I believed in without cutting corners, then others would come to like me. Gradually, the number of clients grew along with business.
I am deeply grateful for the experiences I gained, the many individuals I met, and the opportunities I encountered during this period–all of which strengthened my sales abilities and helped me develop.
Naturally, opportunities involving manufacturers and clients were important, but I also believe that the opportunities I encountered within my company were crucial. Valuing the opportunities I had with my seniors and colleagues enabled me to receive significant support within my company, and has resulted in my working for some 40 years without great mishap.
I think that creating opportunities within one’s own company is important for building trusting relationships between superior and subordinate.
I tell company employees, “I want you to become people who understand others’ difficulty.”
Some superiors are good talkers, but can’t do anything themselves and leave the work to their subordinates. However, subordinates will never show loyalty to such people.
Subordinates can sense whether their superiors are speaking from their own well-earned experience or simply mouthing something they’ve heard. Moreover, those who practice what they preach understand the difficulty of what they ask. If superiors are to empathize with their subordinates and understand their struggles, then subordinates should strive to face issues head on and tackle work not just with their heads, but with strenuous action.
In life, you will encounter many opportunities with the people you meet, both inside and outside the office. Not hearing opportunity knocking, or not opening the door is an incredible waste.
My greatest life treasure has been practicing the art of “making the most of opportunity” and creating opportunity from my many encounters.