Akio Morita

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Akio Morita (26 January, 1921 in Tokoname, Aichi, Japan – 3 October, 1999 in Tokyo) was a co-founder of Sony Corporation.

Made in Japan, autobiography, 5 January, 1987 Sourced

  • "There is no secret ingredient or hidden formula responsible for the success of the best Japanese companies." (Page 130, line 1)
  • The most important mission for a Japanese manager is to develop a healthy relationship with his employees, to create a familylike feeling within the corporation, a feeling that employees and managers share the same fate." (Page 130, line 4)
  • "The effect of three things - the new laws, the revision of the tax system, and the elimination of the zaibatsu conglomerates - was to make Japan an egalitarian society for the first time." (Page 135, line 3)
  • "'There is a major difference between you and me,' I told him. 'Yes, I am rich. But you are wealthy. And that is why you can buy such (expensive) jewelry (for your wife) and why I cannot.'" (Page 136, line 3)
  • "The concept of lifetime employment arose when Japanese managers and employees both realized that they had much in common and that they had to make some long-range plans." (Page 137, line 32)
  • "What we in industry learned in dealing with people is that people do not work just for money and that if you are trying to motivate, money is not the most effective tool." (Page 138, line 34)
  • "The investor and the employee are in the same position, but sometimes the employee is more important, because he will be there a long time whereas an investor will often get in and out on a whim in order to make a profit." (Page 143, line 12)
  • "We want to keep the company healthy and its employees happy, and we want to keep them on the job and productive." (Page 144, line 9)
  • "...I established the rule that once we hire an employee, his school records are a matter of the past and are no longer used to evaluate his work or decide on his promotion." (Page 145, line 40)
  • "I believe one of the reasons we went through such a remarkable growth period was that we had this atmosphere of free discussion." (Page 146, line 16)
  • "I have always made it a point to know our employees, to visit every facility of our company, and to try to meet and know every single employee." (Page 148, line 9)
  • "A company will get nowhere if all of the thinking is left to management." (Page 149, line 1)
  • "The important thing in my view is not to pin the blame for a mistake on somebody, but rather to find out what caused the mistake." (Page 149, line 39)
  • "In all my years in business I can recall very few people I have wanted to fire for making mistakes." (Page 151, line 7)
  • "...the remarkable thing about management is that a manager can go on for years making mistakes that nobody is aware of, which means that management can be a kind of a con job." (Page 154, line 17)
  • "Of course we have to make a profit, but we have to make a profit over the long haul, not just the short term, and that means we must keep investing in research and development - it has run consistently about 6 percent of sales at Sony - and in service." (Page 156, line 31)
  • "To gain profit is important, but you must invest to build up assets that you can cash in in the future." (Page 157, line 8)
  • "...if you are nothing but profit-conscious, you cannot see the opportunities ahead." (Page 157, line 31)
  • "Advertising and promotion alone will not sustain a bad product or a product that is not right for the times. (Page 158, line 29)
  • "Once you have a staff of prepared, intelligent, and energetic people, the next step is to motivate them to be creative." (Page 160, line 31)
  • "We all learn by imitating, as children, as students, as novices in the world of business. And then we grow up and learn to blend our innate abilities with the rules or principles we have learned." (Page 161, line 5)
  • "We made a completely new kind of transistor (the NPN BJT), and in our development work, our researcher, Leo Esaki, demonstrated the electron tunneling effect, which led to the development of the tunnel diode for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize seventeen years later, after he had joined IBM." (Page 162, line 19)
  • "...the key factor in industry is creativity. I said there are three creativities: creativity in technology, in product planning, and in marketing. To have any one of these without the others is self defeating in business." (Page 163, line 18)
  • "From a management standpoint, it is very important to know how to unleash people's inborn creativity. My concept is that anybody has creative ability, but very few people know how to use it." (Page 164, line 33)
  • "My solution to the problem of unleashing creativity is always to set up a target. The best example of this was the Apollo project in the United States." (Page 164, line 37)
  • "The "patron saint" of Japanese quality control, ironically, is an American named W. Edwards Deming, who was virtually unknown in his own country until his ideas of quality control began to make such a big impact on Japanese companies." (Page 165, line 26)
  • "(Japanese) Government believes that if you have a big laboratory with all the latest equipment and good funding it will automatically lead to creativity. It doesn't work that way." (Page 166, line 12)
  • "Management of an industrial company must be giving targets to the engineers constantly; that may be the most important job management has in dealing with its engineers." (Page 168, line 18)
  • "Only with these three kinds of creativity - technology, product planning, and marketing - can the public receive the benefit of a new technology.
  • "...without an organisation that can work together, sometimes over a very long period, it's difficult to see new projects to fruition." (Page 170, line 5)
  • "While the United States has been busy creating lawyers, we have been busier creating engineers." '(Page 173, line 41)
  • "...if you have so many lawyers, they have to find business, which sometimes they have to create. Sometimes nonsensical lawsuits are generated by lawyers. In this country (the United States) everybody sues everybody." (Page 174, line 39)
  • "I often say to my assistants, "Never trust anybody," but what I mean is that you should never trust someone else to do a job exactly the way you would want it done." (Page 175, line 9)
  • "In the United States businessmen often do not trust their colleagues. If you trust your colleague today, he may be your competitor tomorrow, because people frequently move from one company to another."(Page 175, line 16)
  • "I have had my difficulties with the American legal system, and so I feel qualified to talk about it." (Page 175, line 31)
  • "The American system of management, in my opinion, also relies too much on outsiders to help make business decisions., and this is because of the insecurity that American decision makers feel in their jobs, as compared with most top Japanese corporate executives." (Page 178, line 33)
  • "...the differences between U.S. and Japanese companies go beyond the cultural."(Page 179, line 35)
  • "Amenities are not of great concern to management in Japan."(Page 181, line 31)
  • "We want everybody to have the best facilities in which to work, but we do not believe in posh and impressive private offices. (Page 182, line 18)
  • "Japanese attitudes toward work seem to be critically different from American attitudes." (Page 184, line 10)
  • "..I believe it is a big mistake to think that money is the only way to compensate a person for his work. People need money, but they also want to be happy in their work and proud of it." (Page 186, line 21)
  • "I believe people work for satisfaction." (Page 186, line 38)
  • "...the company must not throw money away on huge bonuses for executives or other frivolities but must share its fate with the workers." (Page 187, line 3)
  • "You can be totally rational with a machine. But if you work with people, sometimes logic often has to take a backseat to understanding." (Page 202, line9)

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