hot executive

hot executive

“The nail that sticks up gets hammered down,” is a common refrain in Japanese business. So it is pleasing to report the success of a business leader who breaks the mould. Young, dynamic and clever, Kosaku Shima is not afraid to push aside old conservatives. He disdains corporate politics and promotes people based on merit rather than seniority. He can make mistakes, but he is wildly popular among Japan’s “salarymen” and, in June, he was given the top job at one of the country’s biggest firms. Mr Shima has only one serious shortcoming: he is not a real person, but a manga cartoon character. For many critics of Japan, that says it all. In the real world, few in business say what they think because “it might disrupt the harmony or be seen as immodest”; and most rely on consensus to make decisions. The result is a culture with little risk-taking or initiative, in which decisions are made slowly, if at all.

Kosaku Shima is an inspiration. Japan would be transformed if more learned to emulate him.

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