Have a drawer to store the bitterness temporarily

Following the last post, I want to share an episode from the same book, ”Hospitality note while working at Ritz Carton”, with you. Today’s article is “Put your distress in a drawer for some while”.


People sometimes cannot get willing to receive complaints and troubles directly, though they fully understand that dealing with them squarely makes them tougher and better. It would be rather discourtesy if we serve customers with negative feeling that cannot be dispelled.


So how will employees change their mind when they have to serve customers just after receiving tough complaints that cannot be properly digested? Here is a small tip for that. First, imagine a closet with ten drawers. After receiving harsh complaints or claims, listening to them, and coping with them, put them in a drawer temporarily. Personally I cope with troubles that way since I have no time to be lost in bitterness. Facing a constant stream of jobs, I need to put their analysis in a back burner, and put tasks that should be done right now in a front burner.


If I have enough time to attempt a careful analysis of the problems, it is better to think them deeply right there and take immediate measures to prevent them again. But the reality is that we have no time to think them deeply just after the happening. So I prepare the closet to store problems. This doesn’t mean to avoid responsibility and escape from reality by a long shot. But this is a rest place only when I feel bitterness deeply.


By the way, this way of dealing with the distress is not his original but Bill Clinton’s. It seems that Mr. Clinton thinks of files, not drawers, as a place to store the bitterness. Mr. Takano slightly tweaks the original metaphor.


We encounter back-to-back problems daily since we do business or we are alive. Once I got some troubles, I often couldn’t do other important tasks since the troubles stuck on my mind all the time and disturbed my other jobs. The above lines on the book hit my mind.


After reading the article, I have handled the bitterness in this way. It worked very well for me. I think that this is a very good example to avoid to waste a great deal of time, even if it is a small change.


Great leaders are to bring out people’s potentials, not teach them

On the heels of the last two articles, I would like to share a part of book, ”Hospitality note while working at Ritz Carton”, with you this time, too.


Today, here is a quotation, titled as “A great leader is not a great teacher, but a great master who develop others’ potentials.”


Though the word, “coaching”, is just getting common in the field of human resource development in Japanese companies, Ritz Carton has tapped into the technique of coaching at daily job operation since 1990 at least. I don’t have any qualification of coaching, but I received some coaching from my boss and then coached my subordinates. It was very natural to give/receive some coaching in our company. 


I think about the concept of education through coaching. There are two types of education: teaching and bringing out. Teaching is what Japanese teachers do. They give some knowledge to learners. But while staying in U.S., I felt that education is not teaching but bringing out. I think that educators are to try to develop others’ full potentials. Great leaders are great educators at this point.


I have recently personal study sessions for young business people. During the sessions, I have in mind that I try to be a master of expanding others’ potentials, not just giving some information to them.


As often said, people are unlikely to change themselves by teaching. Instead, they are willing to take actions to change themselves after finding out the new world or concept by learning, feeling that they can do what they want, and getting strong desire to make it happen.


Just providing knowledge that has already known and experienced cannot change people. Instead, urging people to find out their own potential to take action is really meaningful. I came to think that people should be educated this way when holding study session.


It is more fun for me to bring out others’ potential than give others some knowledge since I can see them changing.


Use your body and mind to improve yourself

In the previous article, I quote an episode from a book written by Noboru Takano, ex CEO of Ritz Carton Tokyo Branch. The article shows that Hiroshi and Takashi, working at a same hotel, have spent the same period there and that Takashi has been eager to enhance their own value as a professional by using his body and mind, unlike Hiroshi who just have kept doing his tasks by using only body. The following is the rest of the episode.


Hiroshi have spent three years at hotel in performing his responsibility only as a conveyer. On the other hand, Takashi have done his jobs for the same term, gaining a lot of knowledge of foods, getting a certificate of a wine expert, and thinking how well he can advise foods and wines for customers.


Only people who put thoughts into practice after thinking what they should do to improve themselves can get to refine their sensitivity more. The important thing here is that a growth won’t come out before around three years. Before three years, both of them seem the same level of hotel persons. But Takashi who keeps making efforts step by step will grow up as a professional through the job of a waiter. We would need ten years to know the obvious difference of improvement between Hiroshi and Takashi. It would be too late for Hiroshi to realize the difference with Takashi ten years later, moaning that he should work hard like Hiroshi.


Probably Takashi confirms that a series of efforts make him change little by little, though its change hardly appears. He thinks that the continuous efforts will unveil the growth in the future and that the growth will be evaluated. This thought urges him to make further efforts. The notion can be gained by only people who make them change by using their body and mind.


Hiroshi uses only his body to execute his tasks. Since he doesn’t fully use his mind, he never experiences the satisfying growth and gets his confidence that would be gained by his growth at work. So he cannot want to grow the seed of confidence. He doesn’t know that his attitude toward work greatly has influence on his future career. Now Hiroshi and Takashi rank at the same level but Hiroshi is way left behind Takashi on the attitude toward business.


I have talked with Kyuichiro Horinouchi, the CEO of SeikatsuSoko. In the interview, he said that what people did five years ago makes what they are now.


For sure, I have confirmed that what I am now is created by what I did five years ago after reflecting on myself. Furthermore, I’m made of what I have done for 5 or 10 years. It is now that makes your 10 years later: It depend on choices of each moment whether you would feel regrettable after you find much inferior to rivals ten years later or you would feel satisfied with what you will be ten years later.


What distinguishes professionals from workers?

I read a book, titled as “Hospitality note while working at Ritz Carton”, by Noboru Takano, ex CEO of Ritz Carton Tokyo Branch. Actually I knew what he had written in it before I started to read it, since I had talked with him. But every time I flipped through pages, my heart was aching. (See the previous article why my heart was so ached.)


I read through it, looking back upon my own deeds and weak points. Now I want to share an impressive part of the book with you. The following is its part, titled as “You will never become professional if you are satisfied with just a worker.”


It is rather easy to perform jobs in hotels once you learn a train of tasks, since many tasks there are quite simple. I take waiters’ job as an example.


Hiroshi and Takashi are assigned to a restaurant in a hotel. They learn how to take orders from customers, serve water for them, relay orders to kitchen, convey plates to them. After mastering these tasks, they are able to do tasks as a “conveyer”. Hiroshi has spent three years, doing these tasks only as a conveyer. Takashi have also done the jobs for the same period as Hiroshi, but he has earned a lot of knowledge of foods, got a certificate of wine expert, and thought how well he can advise foods and wines for customers.


These lines made me feel bitter. The gist of it is whether or not they think about jobs deeply. Without any thoughts and special attention, we will be able to execute what we are required to do only. Hiroshi does his jobs using only his body. But Takashi uses body and mind. Takashi keeps absorbing knowledge related to work daily, making the most of his capability he has, and proposing the better value to customers. This is what the work is all about. He must be very tired after working everyday since he seems to pay much attention to customers.


People who add more values than expected at work is not only a worker but the one who stand at the entrance leading to the world of professional.


Have mentors for reflecting ourselves

You may have mentors who are much respected and greatly impact your life. Fortunately, I have many mentors and one of them is Noboru Takano, the ex-CEO of Ritz Carton of Tokyo Branch.


I highly admire his delicate attention to others. He pays attention and is kind to all of others around him. I also respect his humanity as well as a great hotel person. When I meet and talk with him, I often cannot help reflecting upon myself since exposure to his good personality highlights the ugly side of my mind. Actually I feel painful in my mind in a good sense.


When I read his book, “Hospitality note while working at Ritz Carton”, I feel the same when meeting him. On reading, I often stop reading since I feel too agonizing to keep reading. Turning every page reminds me of what I have forgot and makes me find out what I lack. The book points out what I really lack and so I get to have a pain in my mind.


Thinking this case, I will never change my nature unless I feel some pain in my mind. Only one or two times of agony may not be able to change myself. Only constant agony would urge me to change myself. So meeting such people like him and reading books like his are precious and thankful opportunities to keep me improving.


Such opportunities are also the ones that warn my overconfidence. For sure, five minutes talk with mentor may dramatically change our action or undergo our personal paradigm shift. At the same time, I make much of meeting people who are kind enough to give me chances to reflect myself.


How to have motivation for making the best use of time

Our daily lives are apt to be occupied with tons of small tasks. We’ll fail to make time to do what you really want, unless we can tap into small pieces of time that resides between different actions.


The first thing to use our time more effectively is to know what we want/do and what we fear clearly. People move only when they have strong desire or strong fear. With the emotions, we won’t waste even a small piece of time.


Well, what urges us to get a strong will to make the most use of our time? Personally I make it a rule to do the following two things consciously. The one is to search role models. The other is to know what I am, do, will be and will do all about precisely and objectively. In other words, it is to learn from history and world across time and space.


To find mentors, it is better to meet and see them actually, thinking that you want to spend your life like them. By seeing the models actually, not thinking the model in mind vaguely, we can come to grasp what is actually the best world for us through our eyes and think that we can climb up at the stage where is ideal for us if we will try to do harder. Fully exposure to the mentors drives us to make our desire come true. Of course, it is better to touch the models by reading books, but it is best to know them by meeting them actually.


The other important thing is the recognition of our own current situation by learning from history and the world across time and space, asking for strong fear of what we are now. The more we learn from history, we get to know that the rise and fall have reached us in turns and unpredictable things often happen to us. Only after understanding the big flow of time and world, we can pinpoint where we are now and where we will go as an individual or a company. Once we know the current situation precisely, we cannot feel safe even if we are on the roll. So the understanding of ourselves in perspective becomes a driver for us to move forward.


The two things strengthen our wills to sweep away wasted time in our lives and enhance our motivation to make the most use of our small time between jobs or tasks.


Two motivations to make time

We tend to find ourselves in wasting a small piece of time. But, at the same time, we are likely to say that we are busy and that have no time to do something. For example, we waste time by searching staffs, sending email, operating cell phones or other gadgets, watching TV, and doing Internet surfing.


As wrote in the last article, our daily lives will be improved by doing these small tasks effectively. If you do things which don’t need, stop doing them. When you do small tasks which should be done, like brushing teeth, shaving, and organizing staffs, it is better to do multitasking in order not to tap into time effectively.


The important thing to try to make more effective use of time is how we are motivated to do so. If we feel the importance of saving time and spend time effectively, we will want to spend time as effective as possible. Without strong motivation, we are not willing to tap into time effectively with some enthusiasm. Then, what is the source of the motivation? I think that strong desire and fears are what drives us to use time effectively.


First, strong desire is the enthusiasm for what we will have or do. With the desire, we naturally come to think that we want to trim waste time in our daily lives.


Next, strong fear is the notion that we will fall into a bad situation if we keep doing things as what we do now and that we should avoid this situation. Because people fear that they fall into a state of the bad situation or that they lose something, then they want to have time to take measures to avoid them.


Having the two emotions mixed up in your mind is the key to have the strong hunger for time. I think it is important to have both of them with good balance. So how can we stir up the two emotions? The good answer for the question is an important key to eliminate waste time successfully.


(to be continued)


How to make time for reading

A lot of small things undermine our own time unnoticed. Imagine how much time you spend doing small things in your daily life. For example, it may be to look for stuffs, send emails, operate cell-phone, watch TV, netsurf, do something in respond with a request from others, cope with small troubles, buy daily things, and others.


I have been thinking that some of them are a waste of time. If I can do without doing them, I stop doing. But if cannot, I do whatever it takes to do multitasking.


For example, since I feel that it is wasteful to use each five minutes of just only brushing teeth in the morning and at night, I have toothbrush at right hand and a book at left hand during the brushing. I can tap into 10 minutes to read books in the course of brushing. To read books more comfortably, I use electric toothbrush because it is easier to brush. On the shelf of washing stand, a variety of books are prepared so that I can pick up to feeling and avoid missing an opportunities to read books when I’m not willing to read so much. I arrange the best environment to read books even during a short time and even in the wrong mood.


In this way, I can use 10 minutes to read books daily during the routine and it means I can get 300 minutes, 5 hours, to read books monthly during the daily duty. It sums up 60 hours in a year, meaning 2 days and 12 hours. Perhaps you hope you have a whole day to focus on reading books. But it is not difficult to make such time in total to read books by making the most use of our daily routines. As well as brushing, we must waste time doing routine tasks that would be made the better use of.


So, we are likely to waste our time unnoticed little by little. A small thing that takes trivial time is the main factor that steals time from us. I think that it is important to make the most use of the small things to create time.


A tip for better learning from books

Here is a better way to learn from books effectively. If you are acquainted with authors you read, you can make the content of his/her book flow into your mind as soon as you open it. The best way to get to know the writers is to meet them directly. Having dinner with them or drink with them are best. But exchanging some words with them is also good. Seeing them or listening to them directly at some lecture is also nice.


Anyway, if we read books after talking with or seeing or listening to the authors directly, we can get the content totally different from usual. If I meet them before, I feel that a succession of words printed on the paper is not just codes or symbols with some peculiar meanings but the lively texts that the author directly talks to me, though I don’t know why I feel so.


In other words, I think it is important to meet the authors directly in order to learn from books with some feeling of vibrance. The direct meeting with authors makes it possible for us to have the more effective way of learning enhanced by the vibrance. So if you ask for opportunities to see authors that you would like to learn from, the meeting will greatly improve the effectiveness of learning.


But what is the better option when the writers have already passed away? In this case, I buy all of their books and read them by time-line. Following the track of their thought in series means following their lives. So I can feel the authors more closely.


Just for your information, this is what I do for learning effectively from books.


Think about business in customer-oriented way

Through the last three articles, I kept writing that hints for starting business are infinite since our desires are innumerable. So a gap between desire and supply will never be filled completely and so seeds for new business will never disappear.


With the notion, it is inevitable to understand the nature of human beings in order to gain success in business. It is helpful to think what human beings are all about. In the last article, I pointed out that looking into the change of the time carefully might bring about a big opportunity of business. There is also a gap of time between a sign of change and the change that have widely occurred. Many case studies show that businessperson who can grasp the change of time and fill the gap can be successful in business. This can be translated into an arbitrage of time lag.


When it comes to business, we tend to focus on thinking about what product should be developed and what kind of service should be provided. But we will vainly improve our service or product, unless customers want them from the bottom of their hearts.


It is important to grasp what people really want. To know this, ask ourselves what kind of products/services we are willing to pay for. We are inclined to forget to think products/services from the customer’s side and only see them from the developer’s side, though we fully understand the importance of customer-oriented attitude. Personally I often fall into trying to develop services from a producer’s point of view and so I’m always careful for avoiding this attitude. See the world from customer’s side and you’ll get many hints for business.


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