What are the most important challenges a business leader faces?
What are some of the challenges that business leaders face in today’s global economy? Joe Taylor, CEO of Panasonic explains that the single biggest challenge he’s had to face is being a non-Japanese person in a 100 year old Japanese corporation. He adds that Panasonic knows that to last another 100 years, they must diversify and become a global country.
Some of the specific challenges for Joe are the language barrier as well as not having the 30 year relationship with his colleagues that they have with each other. Both Joe and his Japanese colleagues are still working through the cultural differences to be more effective. Taylor then discusses his first few months as CEO. Over the first 100 days he visited all of their major customers, regional sales offices, and manufacturing sites across North America to see and hear for himself what was going on.
Traditionally, Japanese executives would have a number of people travelling with them. Joe decided to travel alone, which was not liked by their sales organization. This taught Joe that a CEO needs ‘aggressive patience’ – You need to be able to listen, but you need to be able to act upon it quickly. Joe then talks about a heavy travel schedule being not only mentally, but physically demanding, and he tries to spend as much time with family as possible to recharge. He then explains that Panasonic doesn’t have a corporate jet and that he travels just like anyone else, he just does more of it.
Find out more about what Joe Taylor has learned about facing the new global economy in this week’s video interview.