New Year's greetings! We look forward to your goodwill in 2017.
The following is a beginning-of-the-year speech for 2017 given by President Yasuyuki Gotoh at the New Year celebration held this morning.
Happy New Year to everyone! 2017 is the Year of Rooster. The rooster or bird is an animal that informs us of the time. In the Chinese Zodiac, the rooster ("tori") represents taking in ("torikomu") of things, and is considered a sign of good luck for business. I visited the local Inage-Sengen Shrine on New Year's Day to pray for the growth of JNC Group's business and for the safety operation in our plants. This year is the second year of our new middle-term management plan, which is a vitally important year for JNC. I sincerely hope that this year will be a turning point for the significant progress of our company.
During the 6 days off, it was relatively warm in weather and comfortable and I hope everyone fared well. Today, in place of a formal speech, I would like to talk about a novel I came across.
I was at a local bookstore over the holidays and saw a book titled "Shigatsu ni Nareba Kanojo Wa (April Come She Will)" (Bungeishunju) stacked near the entrance of the store. I instantly recalled a song with the same title by Simon & Garfunkel that was used in an old movie, and ended up purchasing the book. The author of this book is a young man named Genki Kawamura, who is also the producer of the animated film "Kimi no Na Wa. (Your Name)" which reportedly made about 20 billion yen at the box office last year. This author was inspired by the song "April Come She Will" by Simon & Garfunkel, and wrote a novel based on this song.
I expected this book to be a romantic novel for easy-reading, but the story had such a deep impact that I would have stopped reading had it not been for the episode between the main character and the sister of his fiancée. This novel contains intensive discussions on love, views on life and death and many words that deeply reflect the philosophy of life, which I believe the author wanted to expresses in the form of a novel. Unfortunately there is not enough time today to talk about the summary of the book, however, this novel is interspersed with words that make one think.
In this novel, the author questions what is necessary to "understand the atmosphere of the times." In the world of human interactions, for example, also in romantic relationships, the interests of both partners must equally overlap in order to attain a goal. The author describes this timing in the human world to be a mere instant, and makes a comparison using the impressive expression "solar eclipse."
It may sound a bit far-fetched, but I think this concept can be applied to our business. I have taken many opportunities to assert that our future business must be based on "the point of view of the customer" and in "closer proximity to the customer." The relation between the supplier and the customer, in some sense, may be similar to the relationship between romantic partners. In the world of intense competition, the chances of two companies with identical interests and values encountering one another are extremely slim.
As I stated at the beginning of the year 2016, the most important factor in performing our job is the "ability to perceive business opportunities." In order to fulfill our job, we must have the ability to perceive the opportunity when two companies (partners) come in contact with one another, and achieving such an ability requires persistent efforts. To achieve the goal of our middle-term management plan, the standard keywords "SST (*)" to be shared by all employees were created and introduced in our company newsletter and so forth. The first of these keywords is represented by "S." The ability to perceive business opportunities is expressed by the keyword "Sensing" and is introduced here.
If you get a chance, I suggest reading this book. It may not be an easy task, but I think something may be gained from making observations from various perspectives and different standpoints.
(*) "SST" Action guidelines
Sensing: Ability to sense business opportunities
Seizing: Ability to seize business opportunities and use existing resources, routines and knowledge in various applications and design them
Transforming: Ability to rearrange and transform existing resources and organizations both inside and outside the company in order to establish a new competitive advantage