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Effective leaders follow the principle of ‘Unlearn-Apply-Learn’: Furuhashi Takeyuki

28 JULY, 2021: In his address at the Tatsujin or Expert Talk series hosted by the Mizuho-India Japan Study Centre at IIM Bangalore, on July 23rd, business consultant and JICA expert Furuhashi Takeyuki spoke of the need to transform self before transforming company. Sharing what he termed as “leadership secrets for improving manufacturing competitiveness”, he listed a few qualities that leaders must develop in order to improve competitiveness of their firms and create customer-supplier win-win for business growth.

Watch video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58BiA_HJ-ew

Pointing out that the principle of ‘Unlearn-Apply-Learn’ is the core of transformation strategy,  Furuhashi Takeyuki opined that it is no secret that a strong leadership strategy can make the difference between a successful firm and one that fails. “Leaders must evaluate themselves against what they do in the context of what transformational leadership embodies. For example, effective leaders unlearn, insist on management by facts, and then demonstrate to others by doing it themselves. Earlier, leaders only monitored and reviewed. But visionary leaders demonstrate and then focus on working together as a team,” he explained. 

According to Takeyuki san, an effective leader calls for opinions, gathers ideas and makes sure that everyone on the team and in the value chain feels included, heard, and valued. “This approach helps to build a win-win relationship with customers and suppliers,” he added.

Manufacturing & the paradigm shift

“Thanks to trade globalization, the manufacturing industry is continually striving to improve performance. Uncertainty in demand and supply and increased competition necessitate the presence of an effective leadership to integrate the company's internal and external resources to improve performance. The ability of a corporation to exchange information with external partners can help it to function better. Addressing changes in the market requires a paradigm shift in management systems. While the old paradigm focussed on planned production, in the new paradigm, on-demand production is the focal point. Leaders need to jump into the end-customer market to see the demand and understand the customer behaviour and match their needs,” he said.

With new rules and new players, technological and societal advancements are changing how firms behave and function in a market. Things move quickly. Business leaders, whether in service-based or project-based industries, must learn and adapt quickly and develop new tools for strategy, innovation, cultural transformation, leadership, and organizational design to meet these demands, he said.