What to change – Enhancing rationality
What to pass on – What you love about Yamaha/products
February 15, 2016
What needs to be kept
The reason I got a job at Yamaha was because I loved motorbikes in my student days. After joining the company, I found that many people here loved motorbikes and, by extension, loved Yamaha. As I gained experience with overseas assignments, I found many international colleagues who had the same passion for Yamaha that I did. The expression "Yamaha Family" was frequently used by local and Japanese staffers and management during my time in Europe. Of course, there was a necessity to foster unity among people from different EU countries, but I think this expression was also used to express comradeship among colleagues who shared a passion for Yamaha. As expected, colleagues whom I met in America and Asia also felt like they were members of the Yamaha Family.
Seeing this sense of unity and shared passion among colleagues, I was amazed by their drive to succeed when we had a common goal. This was because of their love of the product, their love of Yamaha, and their shared passion. These are things that I would not want to change.
What needs to be changed
As a motorcycle fanatic, I believe that making a bike I would truly want would result in a product that strikes a harmonious chord with other riders. However, this would be something like making a hobby motorcycle. While we are stronger than our global competitors, it is of utmost importance that we balance cost and performance, which is the wish of commuters who use bikes for everyday transportation. This is where rationality becomes more important than passion. Around the year 2000, our top management pronounced that our company was "strong in sensitivity but weak in rationality," pointing to the strength of our financial structure. I felt they were correct. But since then, have we enhanced our rationality? In my opinion, we have made considerable improvements, but there is still much to do from broad perspective. This same view has been expressed by company outsiders who have shared their perspectives in this newsletter.
When I was asked to write this article, I thought a lot about what I wanted to say, and realized that we still have so much to learn. It's possible that by enhancing Yamaha's rationality we could lose certain qualities that I identify with. Nevertheless, I believe that a passionate heart and a cool mind can coexist.