Monday, April 12, 2010
Uniqlo Management Theory
The chairman of Fast Retailing, the power behind the Uniqlo Clothing stores throughout Japan and the world, Yanai Tadashi has written a book called "Forget Your Successes in a Day," about the way that he runs his company: never becoming self satisfied. I mention chairman Yanai's philosophy in cultural psychology classes.
The cultural psychologist, Steven Heine has two interlinked theories about why the Japanese are more likely to engage in self-criticism (rather than pumping up their self-esteem).
1) The Japanese don't care so much about being there (because they are not "entity theorists) as getting there (becuase they are incremental theorists). Hence they don't mind forgetting their current success, an concentrating on their failiures for the purpose of continued self improvement.
2) The Japanese don't care much about being great as being loved. Being "successful" is just an ego trip. But making customers and employees happy, that is what success is really about. So they forget their successes and concentrate on their failiures because love, friendship and social relations is what life is really about.
I have another theory why Japanese do no mind cricising themselves, because if they do it linguistically, words are like is water off a ducks back. If they were to loose face however, to imagine themselves, visually, in a negative light then it is painful.
Generally speaking Western psychologists would be inclined to claim that Yanai's philosophy is very unhealthy and likely to lead to depression (Taylor and Brown). Zelligman, the former head of the American Association of Psychology and founder of "Positive Psychology" encourages passing the buck, blaming others, negating the contributions of others and the effect of chance, and doing pretty much anything to get a buzz out of ones successes.
Here is a man showing that remembering ones successes can work too.
And not all Western Psychologists recommend high self esteem, particularly "Sociemeter Theory" by Rory Baumeister and friends.
This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.