Published On: Sat, Nov 28th, 2015

The Buddhist Priest Who Became a Billionaire

The Buddhist Priest Who Became a Billionaire.

The Buddhist Priest Who Became a Billionaire

The Buddhist Priest Who Became a Billionaire

This 83-year-old billionaire Buddhist priest is right, one of the business world’s mot important lessons is pretty much wrong.

The way the normal business world works by focusing on shareholders? Management guru, entrepreneur and Buddhist priest Kazuo Inamori says forget it. You should be spending your time making your staff happy instead.

Inamori has been using this philosophy to help establish a $64 billion phone carrier known now as KDDI Corp, help to rescue Japan Airlines Company from its 2010 bankruptcy and even create the electronic giant Kyocera Corp. more than five decades ago.

Overlooking the temples and hills of the ancient capital of Kyoto sits Kyocera’s headquarters, Inamori continually expresses doubts about the way western capitalism works.

The views that Kazuo Inamori stands as a strong reminder that many bastions of the Japanese business world do not buy into the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to force companies into being more devoted to shareholders.

On Oct, 23 Inamori said in an interview that, “If you want eggs, take care of the hen. If you bully or kill the hen, it’s not going to work.”

The weight of Inamori’s view is great due to his overwhelming success in the business world. Kyocera and KDDI have a combined market value of around $82 billion. Back in 2010 Inamori was named the chief executive of Japan Airlines, he was 77 at the time and had no experience in the industry of air travel. Over the next year, he was able to return the carrier to profit and pull the airline out of bankruptcy, and in 2012 he was able to relist it on the Tokyo stock exchange.

Changing Mentalities

As Inamori tell us, the secret was to simply change his employees’ mentality about work. After taking the mantle of CEO without pay, he then took to printing a small book for each one of his staff members about his philosophies, which declared that the company was now devoted to their growth.

He also went on to explain that the social significance of the work they did was outlined in Buddhist-inspired principles for how employees should live, such as doing the right thing and being humble. With these new views, it helped the workers can a new sense of pride and were ready to work harder for its success.

Amoeba Management

This new doctrine by Inamori gained huge traction, in part because the typical line between one’s work and personal life tends to be more blurred in Japan than in the United States. But not all of Inamori’s tactics are on a spiritual level. Inamori’s “amoeba management’ system implemented splitting the staff into often small units that come up with their own plans and track the hourly efficiency using an original accounting system. His turnaround of the airline company also roughly cut a third of the workforce which was about 16,000 people.

“Company leaders should seek to make all their employees happy, both materially and intellectually,” Inamori said. “That’s their purpose. It shouldn’t be to work for shareholders.”

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