Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony “Akio Morita” was an innovator of high quality electronics, selling billions in revenue around the world. Akio Morita’s business strength was in his ability to understand both Western and Eastern cultures and combine the best of both worlds to globalize Sony as a household name.
In 1966, Morita wrote a book called Gakureki Muyō Ron, which means “Never Mind School Records“, where Akio stresses that school records are not important to success or one’s business skills.
So what skills are important for achieving success? Akio Morita shares his advice for breaking down barriers in the business world.
Akio Morita’s Success Advice
Why Akio Morita Believes Sony Succeeded:
1. “I established the rule that once we hire an employee, his schools records are a matter of the past, and are no longer used to evaluate his work or decide on his promotion.”
2. “My solution to the problem of unleashing creativity is always to set up a target.”
3. “I believe one of the reasons we went through such a remarkable growth period was that we had this atmosphere of free discussion. A company will get nowhere if all of the thinking is left to management.”
4. “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.”
5. “The company must not throw money away on huge bonuses for executives or other frivolities but must share its fate with the workers.”
Akio Morita’s Business Advice:
1. “Advertising and promotion alone will not sustain a bad product or a product that is not right for the times.”
2. “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.”
3. “I believe people work for satisfaction. 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.”
4. “There is no secret ingredient or hidden formula responsible for the success of the best Japanese companies.”
5. “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.”
On Being Humble:
If you go through life convinced that your way is always best, all the new ideas in the world will pass you by.
Thoughts On Innovation:
Carefully watch how people live, get an intuitive sense as to what they might want and then go with it. Don’t do market research. I knew we needed a weapon to break through to the U.S. market, and it had to be something different, something that nobody else was making.
Do’s & Don’ts:
Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. But make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.
Thoughts On Success:
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.
Akio Morita’s Final Years
On November 25, 1994, Morita stepped down as Sony chairman after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while playing tennis. He was succeeded by Norio Ohga, who had joined the company in the 1950s after sending Akio Morita a letter denouncing the poor quality of the company’s tape recorders. Instead of taking offense, Akio saw a talent in Norio and decided to hire him for his honesty and keen eye for improvement.
On October 3, 1999, Morita died of pneumonia at the age of 78.
Although Akio is no longer with us, his story and his knowledge of transforming the business world still lives on.