Q: Could you say something to managers, especially young managers, during these turbulent times?
"I do think the state of the world is very difficult. But these challenges are not faced by one person alone. To put it differently, you can't expect things to go well for yourself only. You need to be resolved to take your lumps along with everyone else. That attitude often results in things going better than expected. When people collaborate, they come up with ways to cope naturally.
It's one kind of inspiration. You have to have something like that, you need to learn it firsthand. If you do, you don't need to have the inspiration or the judgment of a genius. If you use common sense, I believe that's enough, speaking from my own experience. In fact, the correct path is often quite simple. […] I'm now in my eighties, but I'm simply doing my best, in my own way, to move forward against the storm. I neither run away nor hide from the rain. You young executives have much more energy than I do. Let's join hands and move forward together. If we get wet, we get wet, that's how I see it."
Q: What is the knack for achieving a breakthrough when you find yourself blocked and unable to move forward?
"When you find yourself in that situation, drop all of your preconceptions and return to the basics, and examine them once again. Managers must always act in good faith. You may or may not be articulate, but I think one should always speak from the heart in each instance. […] When you have a sincere attitude, you'll always be persuasive, even if what you say today is very different from what you said yesterday. […] If you speak in a calculated way, I don't think you can be a real manager."
Q: You said that passion is fundamental to management. But passion is a momentary condition. How can it become a driving force for management?
"With passion, you learn to look ahead, and your passion inspires others to work diligently. No matter how clever you may be, if your management lacks passion, you can't motivate the people around you. They won't work to the same end. Channeling people's hearts and minds also depends on whether or not you have passion. Passion is the major determinant. People won't follow you because you work hard and you're an expert. Instead, they're impressed by your passion, and convinced to follow you."
A series of articles in Three Billion (Japanese only) from January through December 1976 (age 81)