He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

April Fool’s Day is fast-catching up on Japan. The April 2, 2015 edition of Japan Times reports that many companies took part to humor their customers on April Fool’s Day by “offering eye-catching products and services that in some cases appeared to meet a credulous audience.”

Staff writer Magdalena Osumi says “corporate websites glowed with too-good-to-be-true offers of everything from luxury cars installed with rice cookers to speedy delivery of magazines by drone.

“April Fools’ Day hoaxes are rare in Japan, but foreign companies — and increasingly domestic ones — are happy to take part.

“On Wednesday, Audi Japan K.K. said its latest model Audi 8 luxury sedan would come equipped with state-of-the-art technology: a rice cooker.”

Here’s the link to that story

Photo credits: The Japan Times and Audi Japan K.K.

Visual Management

One basic management approach is worth a thousand expert opinion.

If there’s anything that the Philippine National Police should do to improve its image, and without spending much money in the process is simply to require its police force to emulate the Japanese “ritsuban” (stand guard) system. Here’s the link to Alice Gordenker article “Police who stand with big sticks” in the March 20, 2015 issue of Japan Times

Ritsuban is a good example of police visibility. A police officer need not leave his post to be observant of whatever is not right. It is equivalent to Taiichi Ohno’s “hansei” (reflection) where junior engineers were required to stand inside a chalk circle in a factory during the early years of Toyota. Both approaches are proactive in character and intended as a solution looking for problems to solve.

Why copy the Japanese? Why not? The Japanese police is an active participant to Japan’s justice system that continue to maintain a high 99.7% conviction rate, according to Wikipedia.

The only trouble with Ritsuban is that Filipino police officers may be exposing themselves to potential harm from malevolent characters if they are not extra careful and observant.

Photo credit: Japan Times

People management

A manager is one who thinks he knows about management than the workers who do the job.

A traffic enforcer stopped a speeding car at the intersection of a busy location. The driver was a priest. Putting away his citation book, the cop said: “Father, I’ve to tell you there’s a Protestant cop at the next light.

In the same vein, I would often caution people managers in my popular seminar on “Superior Supervision” to reflect on their management style to heed W. Edwards Deming’s (1900-1993) admonition that “80% of all problems can be blamed to Management, and only 20% can be traced to the Workers.” This is usually strengthened by Peter Drucker’s (1909-2005) claim that “what we know in management is usually on how to make the work of people difficult” or words to that effect. It’s easy to understand Deming and Drucker if we know PLOC (planning, leading, organizing, controlling) under Management 101.

Fortunately, I lot of these managers listened to my advice. They were able to change their management style after learning more about themselves and the situation where they’re in. But does self-knowledge generally improve managerial behavior? You only have to reflect on the morale of the workers to find out. One barometer is the attrition rate.

People management

Sometimes, it takes several years to learn the obvious, basic things.

Recently, I was asked by one BusinessWorld reader: “What makes lousy workers lousy?”

My answer was: “If you see a turtle on top of a car in your garage, you know it had help from someone in getting there. The same thing can happen in people management. If you, as a manager don’t help your workers do their job, your four fingers will point the blame to you, and you will be in trouble.

Here’s the link to my Feb 6-7, 2015 “In the Workplace” column

Image source:

Truth in advertising

To build trust, offer transparency as the first condition of the relationship…

…and make it happen. Since 2000, I worked hard at shaping my customers’ trust in our management seminars using the traditional email marketing. While some of my competitors may be tempted to stretch the truth in trying to reach out to customers, I clinged much on honesty and transparency to build and maintain continued trust with my target market. If one is unhappy, I’m always ready to return his/her money without a condition.

Image source:

financial management

To test your character, spend other people’s money and pretend you’ll not be audited.

My daughter Rachel, when she was about four years old knew the value of money and the responsibility of keeping it safe. I remember when she asked me money to buy something at a neighborhood store with our helper in tow.

“Papa, may I have five pesos?” I felt a bit generous at the time, when at that age, Rachel can read the alphabet and give correct answers to basic arithmetic.

I offered her P50, but Rachel refused it. She said something like this: “Papa, please. I don’t want P50. I only want five pesos.”

Image source:

Good governance

The best time to cut costs is when you’ve lots of money.

Otherwise, it will be too late. I’m commenting on a Reuters report that Lufthansa is asking its airline employees to do “more savings.” In its Feb. 6, 2015 report, it was reported that more savings are needed “to prevent tough competition on fares and rising external costs.” Here’s the link to the article

Germany’s Lufthansa is not unique. Many people and organizations are happy reaping their cash bonanza in good times, only to stumble as soon as it gets dried up. So what’s the lesson? Do cost-cutting in good and bad times. That’s a sure win for everyone — labor and management alike.

That’s why I’m crazy doing Kaizen as it is a universal and powerful management strategy for everyone.

Image credit: