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 Last week, I had a chance to attend the meeting to discuss qualifications of the leader who can develop and implement strategy of the firm in the changing environment. Other members than myself were all top management of the companies.  I want to introduce two comments made.

 – Leader should have a strong will to win.

– Leader should have customer-orientation. I learned the true meaning of “customer-0rientation” when assigned to the customer service department overseas.  I realized the importance of finding the reasons why our users dropped us.

 I thought the first comment reflected the reality of global competition today. It was quite convincing as it was made by the leader of the company which faces glolbal competition everyday.  As the accelerating ICT progress is driving the common rules of global competition, regardless of the physical location, the competition has become increasingly keen and intense. This comment shows how tough the leaders of the companies need to be to survive and prosper the competition.

 When I go overseas, I often feel that Japan, though it is the second largest economy in the world, is so isolated and insulated from the rest of the world, and from the reality of the global competition. If we stay in “closed and isolated Japan,” we will lose the touch and feel for the reality of today’s world and global competition.

 Going overseas has a long way toward making us feel the pulse of the world. Information is also available in abundance through the internet and other means. It is much easier than before for us to be exposed to the news and knowledge accumulated in the world, express  our view, and collaborate/compete with the rest of the world in the positive sense of the term.

 I found the second comment related to customer orientation insightful and relevant today.  Despite the lip service for “customer orientation”, it is quite difficult to interact with angry customers, deal with their complaints and solve their problems.  It is often advocated that we need to find why we lost our customers, but it is difficult to practice what we preach.  In particular, if we explore the real causes and reasons behind the dissastified customers and/or departure of our customers, and do something about it over the long run, it is quite challenging. It is simple, but needs to be done.

  The emphasis the business leader placed on the actual experience of his also caught my attention, as I have increasingly been convinced the importance of experience, in addition to the knowledge. It was pointed out at the panel at Global Innovation Ecosystem 2007 held at the end of June. http://www.gies2007.com

 Learning something and applying that is different. I have many experiences in which I cannot apply what I learn or I know to the real situation. Watching somebody else do it looks so easy, and yet it is difficult for me to do it myself.  Sometimes I find myself overly optimistic and underestimate the time required to accomplish some task.

 For developing and implementing business strategy, there are many textbooks, and courses available. We can learn concepts and frameworks , but applying them to the real situation to solve the problem is a completely different matter. Experience of actually applying them and trying various ways to reach the conclusion will increase our  application know-how and accumulated base.  
In the process, we are bound to make many mistakes, and that is the natural way of learning by doing.

 If we try nothing new or apply no new knowledge, we will never fail. But not failing without even trying will make our life so dull. Try and experiment is the approach I myself try to practice. How we learn from both success and failure is the way to go.

 I respect those who have actually tried and have achieved some, regardless of their profession. I learn so much from those who have tried.

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