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President’s Message
Newsletter "SEI WORLD" Vol.450

Masayoshi Matsumoto President & CEO

Preventing Bad Money from Driving Out Good

A little while ago, the memoirs of the former professional baseball player Sadaharu Oh were serialized in a column of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper. I’m sure that some of you have read them. Although he was a superstar until his retirement, he experienced many difficulties after he became a team manager. After leaving his position as the manager of the Yomiuri Giants, he became the manager of the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (currently SoftBank Hawks). For his first few years as manager of the Hawks, the team floundered near the bottom of the league. One day, a group of supporters surrounded the team bus and threw eggs at the bus.

Mr. Oh says that the team’s biggest problem in those days was that they were used to being defeated and had a loser’s mindset. Since the team had been out of the pennant race for many years, the team must have lost its sharpness. He finally began to feel that things were going well toward revitalization of the team about two years later, when one generation of players gave way to another. The number of players on the roster, including both the first and second strings, was only 60 to 70. This episode made me feel that even in such a small organization, once a loser’s mindset is ingrained in the organization, it takes some time to change the attitudes of those concerned and infuse fresh blood in order to reverse the downward trend.

An organization consists of those who share a certain purpose or intention. To maintain a high level of morale among the members of the organization over a long time, a motivation coming from inside of them, or “spontaneous motivation,” is necessary. If their motivation weakens, as the saying “Bad money drives out good” warns us, they tend to take the easy way out. As a result, they become so used to a comfortable environment which can be described as a “lukewarm culture” that they don’t realize that a crisis is sneaking up on them. I often hear about such cases.

Nevertheless, it’s easier said than done. Despite the grandiose title of this article, there is, of course, no magic wand which will provide an organization with “spontaneous motivation.” I feel that, accordingly, the leader of an organization has no choice but to try to identify the on-site situation steadily based on the principle of the three “actuals,” and secure close communication with the other members. At the same time, when making decisions, the leader must stay calm and must ensure that we remain sharp. Actually, this is what I always tell myself to keep in mind.

Masayoshi Matsumoto President & CEO

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