Business Tips: Empathy to Others Is the Key to Survival in Business


The business world is a battlefield where wolves are killing each other?

In the movie “Wolf of Wall Street,” Jordan Belfort sounded off “I’ve been telling you guys not to take no for an answer, to keep pushing, to not hang up the phone ‘˜til you get what you want.” In the movie “The Founder,” Dick McDonald regretted making a business partnership with Ray Kroc, saying “There’s a wolf in the hen house.” The business world is a battlefield where wolves are ruthlessly killing each other. Many people would think like that. At least, I did. When I worked at the Ministry of Finance, what unfolded right before my eyes was exactly that. One mistake can lead to the end of a career. The mistakes of others taste like honey.

IT giants are not wolves

As naturally imagining the same dramas would happen in Silicon Valley, I was surprised by a book written by Stanford University online high school principal (who is Japanese, by the way). According to him, many IT giants in Silicon Valley, like Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft), and Mike Krieger (ex-CTO of Instagram) unanimously said “What is most important to survive in the business world is empathy to others.”

The entrance of our Australian dealer shop in Melbourne. It was just before opening. Even the sign board was not put on the wall.

The king of empathy in Australia

While expanding our business to the international markets, I’ve been meeting many business owners in many countries. Indeed, as the book said, they are way far from greedy wolves. The one who has most impressed me is the owner of our Australian dealer. When we first met, he was still in the middle of his 30’s (almost the same age as me) and just started up his furniture-retailing business. I imagined entrepreneurs would be very hungry, but he was surprisingly different from such a general image. He was (is even now, of course) really modest, humble, and empathetic.

After the first meeting with him, our president, expressing a little concern about his inexperience in luxury furniture business, said to me “I think it must be fun to grow together with him.” They seemed to have empathy to each other (between entrepreneurs). As more than five years have already passed since then, the Australian dealer is now one of our main pillars in the international markets. This month, he relocated and opened a shop on Swan Street in Melbourne. Please visit the shopt to check our products and to see him to confirm what I said is correct if you go to Melbourne.

Photo Credit:

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.