�Amoeba Management� Guru�s Compelling Story
Japan Airlines has picked one of its country�s most revered
entrepreneurs as new CEO, to lead its restructuring. Kazuo Inamori,
78, is well known in Japan for a rags-to-riches story that includes
the founding of two blue-chip Japanese companies: electronics
component maker Kyocera Corporation, and telecommunications carrier
Inamori broke the mold of the typical Japanese salaried-man, when
upon retirement at 65 he became a Zen Buddhist monk. An author of
eleven books about his life and executive experience, Inamori
champions a management philosophy that blends religious teachings (Respect
The Divine And Love People) with business clich�s (Maximize
Revenues And Minimize Expenses).
He advocates a management philosophy known as �amoeba management,� a
method of dividing the company into small, self-contained units all
working toward common goals. Each �amoeba� (unit) makes its own
plans and must be fiscally self-sustaining with definable revenue.
What makes Inamori�s story so compelling in Japanese business
circles, is that he managed to be successful without many of the
connections and family ties that helped many of Japan�s postwar
entrepreneurs. He was born into poverty; his family home and his
father�s printing shop were destroyed in World War II air raids. In
that year, at 13, he contracted tuberculosis, which was considered a
death sentence at the time.
Inamori ranks 28th on Forbes� �40 Richest Japanese� list,
with an estimated net worth of $920 million.