When I joined Nikkiso in 2000, it was a humble company that had technological strength and potential for growth. There was a strong sense of stagnation in the office. My four years working in the Medical Division where I gained a solid sense of Nikkiso’s strengths as a manufacturer served to instill a certain confidence in changing management policies after assuming the position of president.
In 2006, a full-scale midterm management plan was adopted in the company for the first time. Rather than building up immediately reachable goals to gradually create an image of the overall picture, this midterm plan dared to set forth lofty goals to strive toward and the vision of a challenging future. Employees are continually asked what needs to be done now to bring that to fruition. At the start of the midterm plan the employees did not undertake in earnest, the aim for sales of 100 billion yen and an overseas sales ratio of 50%, which has nearly achieved. This year (2013) marks the company’s 60th anniversary, and we are embarking on the 3rd midterm plan. We have approached a time when we must see concrete results from overseas business development implemented through prior investment, and the employees also seem to have gradually gained confidence and self-awareness.
How much can we grow as a company? Crucial to the judgments I make as manager is whether there are employees seriously confronting the issues at hand, and if so, how many? Who are they, and can they fully utilize talents and opportunities? At meetings, business plans are prepared that contain numerous materials, data, and detailed estimations. We would be in trouble without them, but–sorry to say to those who created them–they are really just for reference. There is the market, there are customers, and there are rivals, but in the end our success depends on our capabilities and whether employees diligently face challenges.
The weekend is ostensibly to relieve the stress of work, though devoting time to golf often leads to more stress. Golf can be played on most days whether rainy or windy, but requires the best you can bring to the game at that time and place, plus your knowledge, experience, tools, a deep pocket, and intuition. Though it is played for health, when I was young I learned the British lesson that “manners mean not making others feel uncomfortable,” yet I still experience many rounds that prompt me to toward introspection.
Our predecessors said “we must leave the golf course in better condition than when we came.” It means not only taking care with normal behavior, such as leveling the bunker and caring for the lawn without fail, but it also means considering what you can contribute to the sport of golf to leave it in better condition than when you came and when you started the sport. Your actions create the foundation of golf’s attraction and make it stronger while spreading its spirit.
There are many commonalities between work and golf. If you do either reluctantly, you will never improve. What is required is an environment rich in opportunities to gain experience (or the effort to create opportunities), and the extra effort to succeed. In addition, if you are a manager, you must recognize your responsibility lies not only in the “now” of the company, but also the “future.” Employees must of course safeguard the manners of the job and the manners of society, and each employee’s sense of fulfillment, job satisfaction, and feeling of accomplishment becomes life’s dream and passion. That is the driving force behind a company’s growth and the source of customer satisfaction. I hope we will strive to become just such a company.