A statement on page two of Tomoaki Ota’s The New-Era Entrepreneurial Leader quickly differentiates his style from typical U.S. business leaders. “[T]he self is gathering good and bad moss throughout daily life,” writes the author, who equates “bad moss” with biases. Overcoming biases and practicing self-denial, he says, is the solution to many problems.
Tomoaki Ota is the president of Johoku Chemical Company, a large chemical manufacturer. During his leadership, Ota has doubled sales, achieving the company’s highest profits for six consecutive years.
Here, he explores the notion that people are judged in work and school against the performance of others, causing them to create psychological shields as a defense. True leaders, he cautions, must forget themselves. Moss must be removed, shields filtered.
Throughout the book, Ota sprinkles intriguing highlights of Eastern philosophies that run counter to the more aggressive strategies often appearing in American business guides. He warns that business leaders must not act as if they are better than employees and suggests that aspiring leaders start at the bottom of a company’s ladder to be aware of what that’s like, to be humble, and to learn to admit when they don’t know something.
This approach is refreshing, indeed. Unfortunately, the author’s writing style is problematic, often veering into stream of consciousness. For example, in just four pages, he bounces from these ideas: the need for employers to understand that family and self are more important to employees than the company; the importance of generating profits; how business leaders should avoid treating employees as personal belongings; the challenges of job reassignments; Abraham Maslow’s self-actualization theories. Readers are likely to find this style head spinning.
Ota is clearly an intelligent, successful businessman, and a more in-depth accounting of his philosophies and experiences would be helpful. More context about world events impacting his company would also be useful. Most importantly, though, a more organized, focused writing approach would greatly improve this offering.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.