Deepening Your Humanity by Accumulating Experiences and Learning From History Can Be Useful for Management (Part 2 of 3)
World Teacher's Message No. 301

The Question:

Could you give us some hints to convince a person who thinks he is always right and cannot accept the advice from the people around him that he is under negative spiritual influence?

Excerpt from Q & A session during the lecture, “The Principles of Negative Spiritual Influence” given at the Special Lecture Hall on December 1, 2018.


In the last issue, I talked about how anyone could face the limit of ability.

Quite some time ago, I watched an NHK documentary called “A Century of Images” and I remember it made me shudder to see how Hitler behaved at his mountain villa when he was suffering more losses than wins during World War II.

He was fine when he was winning the war, but when he started to lose, he confined himself in his villa with his secretaries. He was easily annoyed when the secretaries changed their hair style or clothes. They had to buy ten or twenty changes of the same clothes so they could keep wearing the same outfits and the same hairstyle every day so as not to get on their boss’s nerves.

I assume that he went to his mountain villa to relax or to ponder. He was gradually going crazy as he continued to suffer more loses than wins. Watching this, I saw how humans change when situations turn against them.


If You Have Too Much Pride, You Don’t Know Your Limit

When Hitler was in his prime, he assembled a gathering of one million people with flags and a bonfire. In a college political science class, I learned that people get really excited when they see a bonfire at night. While people are admiring the fire, the presenter shows up a few minutes later to the podium. This will make one million people get excited and intoxicated.

However, watching Hitler act up as he was losing the war, I hate to admit that it made me shiver.

I was giving lectures at Tokyo Dome at that time. Tokyo dome can only hold 50,000 people, so it would not make a huge impact on conveying the Truth.

One of the executives at that time said, “Master, there are now domes all over Japan. We should connect all the domes via satellite. If that happens, 200,000 people can attend your lecture at once.”

After watching the footage of Hitler, I thought that if an audience becomes too big, it could be dangerous.

At that time, about 5 years had passed since I started Happy Science. I had to do practical things such as designing and building many kinds of facilities as well as managing our finances. I remember that I often had to adjust the size of my lectures.

You will surely hit a ceiling at some point, but your pride is so big that you don’t know how high your ceiling is.

There are things that you can’t achieve now, but can achieve in ten or twenty years. However, there are many people who can’t accept that there are things they can’t get done right at that moment. They get really mad at deniers who say, “You can’t do that”.


People Who Can’t Listen to Others Should Try to Study Classic Literature

People who want to decide and execute everything by themselves might get upset and say “It’s none of your business!” when others try to give them advice.

People like that need to study. What they need to study is classic literature. It is important to understand history well.

China now adopts a communist dictatorship and doesn’t listen to other people. If you read their classic literature, you will know that they used to value the idea of admonition, that is, subordinates were allowed to advise their boss. You will come to know how much they valued admonition through their classic literature.

During wars, strategists make plans A, B, C and more. If only the boss thinks of the strategies, there is a chance that he makes a mistake or doesn’t come up with a great plan. It is better to collect various opinions from others. In war councils, it is important to create an atmosphere where people can exchange and discuss their opinions freely.

In such councils, strategists can freely discuss their opinions and they don’t have to take final responsibility. When there are plans A, B, C and D on the table, the boss has to make the final call and choose which plan to take. If he decides on plan A, others have to withdraw their opinions and follow their boss’s decision to go with Plan A. Everyone has to agree on executing Plan A and the boss will take full responsibility on the outcome.

Everyone is allowed to say their opinions, but the boss needs to listen to other’s opinion too. The boss needs to know every possibility including his enemy’s surprise attacks. He or she might lose the fight if he only thinks about how to attack the enemy. In this sense, war involves intellectual games and intuition.

Generally speaking, an intelligent person who studied textbooks on strategies may win by following the textbook. However, that is not always the case if your opponent is a genius. You won’t know the outcome unless you actually confront your opponent.

That said, an intelligent person who is one step below genius level should study what happens in history. They say, “what happens twice will happen three times” and “history will repeat itself”. If you carefully observe how a country falls, it is oftentimes that the leader doesn’t accept other’s admonition.


One Needs to Know That Different Talents Are Required for “Creation” and “Maintenance”

Also, it is often taught that founding a company is not the same as maintaining it.

When it comes to “creation”, one needs to be bold and courageous to proceed, even when facing errors. However, when it comes to “maintenance”, it’s a different scenario. The way of thinking is different for “maintenance” and different talents may be needed.

Unconventional talent is desirable for “creation” but on the contrary, a strong
protector is needed for “maintenance”.

If you don’t study these things from history, you may fail to look at yourself objectively or make the right call when other people tell you various opinions and advice.

Therefore, if you have a higher position, or if you are a promising young star in an organization, it is better to learn what causes failure and success from history.

It is also necessary to read biographies of modern-day CEOs. These management giants share stories about their failures. You can learn from their mistakes.


Passing on a Company’s Past Failures Is in Fact Necessary to Protect the Company

There are many managers who wipe past failures from their memory and don’t pass them on once they become successful. When the company becomes a big entity, the CEO doesn’t want to talk about his past failures because he’s afraid that people with great talent who joined the company later might look down on him. Instead, he pretends that his company has been profitable from the beginning and has always been successful.

However, it is sad if employees don’t know their company’s history. Although it is hard to educate them on lessons from the company’s past failures, it is better to let them know because tough times might come around again.

When Matsushita Electric Industrial became Panasonic, company executives at that time wanted to erase the myth of Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of the company, because a lot of his ideas got in the way of implementing the modern western style management that Panasonic aimed for. For example, the founder thought it was wrong to fire employees. He wrote things like, “do not fire employees even during a time of recession”, “make products only in the morning, then everyone goes outside to sell the products in the afternoon”, or “do not hold inventories”. This hindered the leaders of Panasonic from firing employees. That is the reason why they wanted to erase the founder’s myth. Panasonic’s performance had a V-shaped recovery, but they faced some difficulties when experienced, long-term engineers left the company.


A Person Who Is in His 80’s Can Rebuild the Company if He Is Highly Capable

When Mr. Kazuo Inamori was asked to rebuild JAL or Japan Airlines, he was close to 80 years-old, similar in age to my mother. He took on this task at the age of 79 and continued until he was 81 or 82.

Generally speaking, it is too much for an 80-year-old person to run a company with tens of thousands of employees. Mr. Inamori declined the offer at first saying, “I am a fan of ANA, or All Nippon Airways. I don’t like JAL, so I don’t use them”. However, JAL kept asking him so he accepted their offer with no rewards.

People around him warned that if he fails, he will tarnish his twilight years, or that it will ruin his legacy of KYOSERA which he created and built to become a billion-dollar company or Daini-Denden Inc., which he also created to challenge NTT.

A person who can accomplish one thing can accomplish other things too. I have to say Mr. Inamori was very capable. It could have been a blood bath when you have to reduce personnel from 50,000 to 30,000 people. The company wanted an outsider to do this kind of job.

Mr. Inamori taught the employees to have a “customer mind”. People belittled him for his specialty was ceramics at first. However, he turned the company around and made a V-shaped recovery. JAL is flying their planes to this day, so I would say he did an outstanding job.

Deepening Your Humanity by Accumulating Experiences and Learning From History Can Be Useful for Management (Part 2 of 3)
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