PRESIDENT editorial department has a unique culture that has continued over the years from the day PRESIDENT was launched back in 1963. Though never inked on paper, this culture has been inherited by steadily accumulating year after year within each of our editors striving to serve PRESIDENT readers, like fallen leaves forming muck that silently fertilizes land.
Let me share the essence of this culture with which I have lived by my entire career. Firstly, we endeavor originality, never settling for rehashes. Secondly, we question the validity of common beliefs and place value on reality. And thirdly, we are ultimately particular about the words we use and uncompromisingly pursue the best expressions.
There is an unforgettable interview.
Just after being promoted to chief editor, I worked on a feature on “the moment of decision making” and interviewed many top managers on their course of thinking when making a critical decision that would influence the future course of their companies. One day I visited Masao Ogura who was then serving as director of Yamato Welfare Foundation after retiring from front line management at Yamato Transport to interview him on how he ventured his company into the “takkyubin” (express home delivery service) business. Many books and articles had been written by and on Ogura, and his professional life was already well known. It was more than possible to wrap up a quick interview and round up an article based on existing material. However, just as the one hour interview was about to end, a new and touching episode started to flow from him.
“I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anyone. I went on tea-fasting back when every single member of the board was against going into the “takkyubin” business. It was tough times when the company was on the verge of going belly up and I vowed not to sip a drop of tea until the day the company is back to making profits. So I’d visit clients and say “thank you” when tea is served but let it sit untouched.”
He went on dispassionately as if it were any daily conversation but I was fascinated by his story.
“The first day was horrible. We only handled 11 parcels. The first month ended delivering only 9,000 parcels. It made me feel desolate, but I continued to tell my people to “Put maximum priority on service. Hang on to it and I know the takkyubin business will get off the ground”. Five years later a report came up in a meeting stating Yamato had handled 3.34 million parcels that year matching the volume delivered by National Railways Parcels. We were flying high. I picked up the cup in front of me and quietly sipped the green tea. We had reached the break-even point. I will never forget the taste of the tea that day”.
This episode vividly conveyed to me how the deep inner minds of business leaders are beyond the imagination of us and how solid faith and determination are essential.
The world is facing a once in a century time of critical change. Conventional rules of economics are becoming irrelevant making many people uneasy of the uncertain outlook. Yet, however the world may evolve, unwavering aspirations held by business executives will be always valued with universal recognition.
PRESIDENT editorial team seeks to accomplish the following:
(1) To navigate business people so they can work with courage and confidence.
(2) To indicate philosophies and directions towards which to work and live in order to venture out into this new era.
(3) To present the essence of matters by keenly picking up new changes and leads into the next generation.
We edit PRESIDENT with such sense of mission wishing to guide business leaders to a higher caliber. Our ultimate goal is to have innovators creating new generations and leaders who anchor in the turbulently changing orders of the day to find the right direction to emerge from our readers.
To this end, PRESIDENT will continue to produce pages that delve close to the essence of business executives’ challenges and problems and to back up their daily decision making. Everyday, each and all of our editors question ourselves whether the theme is original, whether the content parallels reality, and whether there is no compromise in the depiction and expression. We believe the fruits of this process will be articles brushed up to perfection filled with surprises and discoveries. We would like to ask for your continued support for PRESIDENT magazine.