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Messages from "Economic Trend", July 2007

Do not be scared to correct your own errors

Chairman of the Board of Councillors, Nippon Keidanren
Adviser to the Board, Toshiba Corporation

The way to success in planning lies in gathering as much information as possible, analyzing it and considering the results, forecasting future prospects, and deciding the best policy. That said, we often face situations where we do not have much time to devote to discussing the issue, or where we have to make extremely important decisions with only limited information.

However much you may excel at planning, you have to recognize that your efforts will be wasted if you spend too much time in analysis and make a mistimed decision. We have to recognize that there are times when a rough and ready decision is more appropriate and give it our seal of approval.

From the very beginning, a decision made without self confidence is completely out of the question. Once you have made your decision, reflect on it with an appropriate sense of modesty. Remember that it is essential to confirm the results of the decision, to make any changes that need to be made in response to changing circumstances; and also be aware that there is no project of any kind that is sure to achieve continuous success. There will probably be times when adjustments have to be made. The important thing is that you yourself made the decision responsibly, and if you notice a mistake you must hope to have the confidence to make drastic change. Do not act with a concern for your reputation, or I think you will be surprised by how many times you sink into the quagmire of failure.

The "Analects of Confucius" say "Not to mend a fault is to be at fault," and "A scoundrel glosses over his mistakes," and explains that kind of error in many passages. I have always believed the old Chinese proverb "Do not be scared to correct your own errors."

To execute business successfully as a manager, the important thing is to always think about the future, to think about the meaning of the plan itself, and constantly try to see things from a fresh perspective.

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