When people described Akio, they often say he was ‘attentive to others’. In truth, although he climbed to the position of heading a large multi-national corporation, he still paid close attention to those around him, and I’ll introduce a number of examples where this was the case.
“When he appeared on the television program, “Sori wo Kataru” (The Prime Minister Speaks), the spotlight came to focus on Akio. When this happened, Akio turned to the Producer and advised him to focus it on the Prime Minister as, after all, the show is about the Prime Minister, not him. Usually, people wouldn’t notice such a thing and the Producer was really surprised.” (Masaaki Wakao, former Chairman of Sony).
Mr. Wakao also relates a story when, about a year before Sony released the VTR, Akio shared with an American film company ahead of time the potential that video would have for recording films in the future.
“He told them that when video becomes a reality, there will be an effect on motion picture companies and that as the announcement was about a year away, they should plan for the future. Akio cared about those small details and was incredibly fair in his way of thinking”.
“When I was in Singapore, he brought lots of presents for the ex-pats that were over there. If he overheard someone say they really missed instant ramen noodles, sure enough some would arrive. To receive such a gift from the boss was very moving, He was a man that clearly thought a lot about what makes people happy, and it wasn’t contrived, but quite natural. (Susumu Takano, current Trade Liaison for Sony)
There are many people that witnessed this attentiveness, but Nobuyuki Idei, former Sony Chairman, is one man that saw it up close, and he relates a story that convinced him that even as a regular businessman, Akio would have excelled.
“Even as a salaried worker, Akio would have done well, in fact he would certainly have excelled. Akio once taught me the seating order for foreign guests at a dinner, and it is that attentiveness and attention to deal that would have made him an excellent businessman, no matter what his duties were.”
There are wealth of such examples that prove this point.
From:The Sayings of Akio Morita, published by Sony Magazines.