One of Akio Morita’s mottos was “don’t be afraid to fail”. If you are afraid and don’t take on challenges in a determined manner, then you will never progress. He habitually advised his employees to pursue the road they though best because even if they failed they will without doubt have learned something. However, he also advised not to make the same mistake twice.
There was a time when Akio often used the phrase ‘chop and change’. He often stated that ‘chop and change is one kind of progress. If we never changed, things would be no different from Emperor Jinmu’s time (said to be Japan’s first Emperor).’ It was his philosophy that through ‘chop and change’ even a mistake can lead to progress, and after this point in time the regular morning meetings (common in Japanese companies) because unusual.
Perhaps a reflection of Akio’s own spirit, an employee’s position, post, and job description at Sony, even the organizational structure itself, frequently changed at a pace unthinkable at most companies.
Toshio Ozawa, Chairman of Sony Music Entertainment tells a story of when he was in the General Affairs Department. “I had some spare time so I thought it would be useful to have an organizational map. Although I wasn’t asked, I went ahead and made this map of Sony’s organizational structure, and when I’d finished I handed it to my superior. However, I was told that on seeing it Mr. Morita had got mad and asked why it had been made? ‘What any one person was doing at any location at any one time could change in a moment. A map like this is meaningless…our company’s motto is ‘chop and change’’ he had said.
I had entered Sony from a more traditional ‘zaibatsu’ style company where rules and organization were strictly set, and I learned through this experience about Sony’s own business culture.”
Akio’s secretary and staff say that when they were accompanying him on a business trip abroad, the original schedule has little meaning. He would choose the best course of action depending on the situation on the ground after he arrived. Even if scheduled to return on separate flights, they might end up working together on the same flight if needed. Alternatively, they may have been scheduled on the same flight, but when called somewhere else, Akio might add another county to his business trip itinerary. Whatever day, and by whatever means he was originally scheduled to return, it really didn’t mean much.
From:The Sayings of Akio Morita, published by Sony Magazines.