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The Way to Successful Leadership
You can translate this book’s title – “Business-Dō” – into “The Dao of Business.”
Need anything more?
Who Should Read “Business-Dō”? And Why?
If you want to be successful in your business, read this book.
It offers 10 principles you’ll certainly want to follow.
And 78 more as a bonus.
About Hiroshi Mikitani
Hiroshi Mikitani is a Japanese billionaire businessman.
He is the founder and CEO of Rakuten, Inc., the president of Crimson Group, and a board member of Lyft.
He is also the chairman of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and the football club Vissel Kobe.
He is worth $4 billion.
“Business-Dō PDF Summary”
In case you didn’t know by now, Hiroshi Mikitani is one of the 500 richest people in the world, worth around 4 billion dollars – most of it earned via Rakuten, Inc., the largest e-commerce company in Japan.
22 years later, Rakuten is one of the largest Internet companies in terms of revenue in the world, earning more than, say, Groupon or Airbnb!
So, in a nutshell, Mikitani – affectively nicknamed “Mickey” while at Harvard – knows his stuff.
And in “Business-Dō,” he shares the 88 signposts of his “dō,” which is the Japanese translation of the far more famous “dao,” a Chinese word for “route,” “way,” “path” or “road.”
Speaking of paths, Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani has pretty straightforward advice on what the nature of your own should be:
It’s not impossible to overtake others on the same route, but it’s extremely difficult. In order to overtake your rivals, it’s better to seek out a new path.
Now that you’ve got that straightened out, it’s time that you move on to the “Business-Dō” principles!
As we said above, there are 88 of them, but ten represent the core of Mikitani’s philosophy.
We’ll look at the other 78 in our “Key Lessons” section.
Here are the 10 core principles:
#1. All concepts are relative
If you choose to seek out a new path, there will always be many people around you telling you day in day out that you shouldn’t do it.
That’s because most people are conventional; in fact, that’s the very definition of conventionality.
So, when there are thousands who tell you it cannot be done, do what a famous poem by Edgar Albert Guest advices, “just buckle in with a bit of a grin… and go to it!”
#2. Believe in the power of the moonshot
As Mikitani says:
NASA made it to the moon because the moon was the goal. It wasn’t simply the result of gradual technical improvements.
In other words, you can achieve the impossible.
Because the minute you set it as a goal – it becomes possible.
#3. Learn the difference between a group and a team
We know it’s a cliché, but, then again, there’s a reason why it’s a cliché.
No business has ever succeeded because of an individual, no matter how exceptional; they all owe their success to a collection of human beings.
#4. Think about your mindset, skills, and knowledge
Daydreaming is not enough. You need to start working hard to achieve it. And the process doesn’t end with 10,000 hours of practice.
In fact, you should try acquiring new skills as long as you live.
#5. Question yourself
#6. A brand is a flag
A reputation can either make or break your company.
In other words, people will like to work with your company if they like working with you; and vice versa.
So, build a reputation in accordance with your purpose and values.
Your employers and customers will recognize this.
#7. The Internet transformation continues
Sometimes, you’ll make a mistake.
As Elsa sang – let it go!
There’s no point in looking back. The past is past – and the future awaits you.
And even though you can’t predict it, you can certainly do something to make the most of it, to synchronize some circumstances with your wants and needs
#8. The Internet will curate the world’s knowledge and data, but the human touch will stay be key
No matter what you do, don’t forget to add some human touch to it.
Providing it not only differentiates you from your competition, but it also gets you closer to your customers.
#9. Taking action leads to deeper thinking
It’s important that you develop some bias for action. Because while theory is good, practice makes perfect.
Make a mistake once; you won’t repeat it the second time!
There’s a reason why “trial and error” is the fundamental method of problem-solving!
#10. Continuously improve by fraction; it’s the key to what others call “good luck”
The Japanese call it kaizen.
And it means improving continuously – slowly, but surely.
Step by step, you’ll get to where you want to be.
Key Lessons from “Business-Dō”
1. Improve and Develop (Lessons #11-#26)
2. It’s All About Relationships (Lessons #27-#40)
3. Get Your Organization Moving (Lessons #41-#56)
4. Win Every Battle (Lessons #57-#80)
5. Nurture a Global Mindset (Lessons #81-#88)
Improve and Develop (Lessons #11-#26)
#11. Push yourself to the limit – the way an athlete does.
#12. Combine intuition and creativity with logic and rationality.
#13. Write your obituary.
#14. Practice seeing yourself as others see you.
#15. Never stop learning. Ever.
#16. Many small successes = one big success.
#17. Be and stay curious.
#18. Find a partner and play some intellectual “catch” with him/her.
#19. Set clear goals.
#20. Information comes from everywhere: be attentive.
#21. Don’t rationalize your behavior as others do.
#22. Set measurable goals – and check your progress.
#23. Aim to understand the framework.
#24. Set new goals – once you reach the old ones.
#25. Fix your weaknesses – once you identify them.
#26. Exercise, both physically and mentally.
It’s All About Relationships (Lessons #27-#40)
#27. Always add value.
#28. Put yourself in other people’s shoes.
#29. Discover the whys of your ideas and actions.
#30. Risk – but don’t gamble.
#31. Seek out the best practices.
#32. When someone disagrees with you – listen!
#33. Co-opetition = competition and/or cooperation
#35. Develop win-win relationships.
#36. Move fast.
#37. Report, contact, and consult.
#38. Analyze from every angle.
#39. Be an entrepreneur all the way – know as much as you can!
#40. Be courageous!
Get Your Organization Moving (Lessons #41-#56)
#41. You need KPIs – because numbers give clarity.
#42. Allocate resources carefully.
#43. Lead by teaching.
#44. Save time by removing 90% of your meetings (see #49).
#45. Encourage competition – but only if it is healthy.
#46. Celebrate your successes with your employees!
#47. Be efficient: seek out barriers (“bottlenecks”) and remove them!
#48. Create your own turning point: reinvent ahead!
#49. Meet with your team briefly every morning to set goals and direction.
#50. Think like a manager.
#51. See what works and scale it.
#52. Earn trust with your employees.
#53. Establish symbolic rituals.
#54. Combine pressure and excitement.
#55. Velocity and agility are not the same.
#56. Improve transparency by dividing teams into small groups.
Win Every Battle (Lessons #57-#80)
#57. Plan for the future.
#58. Hypothesize and then test, learn, and repeat.
#59. Get things done.
#60. Examine things from every angle.
#61. Keep your eyes on what lies ahead.
#63. Lean operations generate innovation and growth.
#64. Think about both vertical and horizontal competition.
#65. Follow the Mikitani curve: add extra 0.5% when you think you’ve done your best.
#66. Identify your mission.
#67. Don’t do something.
#69. Master the timeline.
#70. Pay attention to the details.
#71. Fail forward.
#72. Examine data and find trends and patterns.
#73. Think about value chains.
#74. Match your competitors – and then make one more step forward.
#75. No business is special.
#76. Use all your assets – and, thus, boost your profits!
#77. Strategize, but execute as well.
#78. Don’t follow: find your own path.
#79. Cut costs.
#80. Create shikumi.
Nurture a Global Mindset (Lessons #81-#88)
#82. Cross borders.
#83. Seek firsthand information.
#84. Think global: The Internet will eliminate national borders.
#85. Learn from the world’s best practices.
#86. Thinking globally results in local success as well.
#87. Thoroughly and humbly analyze past successes.
#88. Even if you don’t get there first, it’s never too late to start and do it better!
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Our Critical Review
To be honest, we expected a lot more: “Business-Dō” is just too repetitive beyond its 10 core principles.
But its author is a billionaire – so who are we to judge?