Jose Thomas

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Wednesday 16th November, 2011



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I have just returned from an extensive tour of Japan, the first foreign country I visited in my life. I have written in my previous blogs about my early Japanese experiences. It was at the age of 17 that I first visited Tokyo, searching for opportunities. I made several trips to that country and learned quite a bit of their culture, character and their way of doing business. The large conglomerates like Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Mitsui were a great deal of inspiration to me; just looking at these great companies!

Japan is a country that is known for constantly adapting itself and readily changing itself. After the major disaster post the Second World War and the Hiroshima bombing, the Japanese virtually had to re-build their nation. I fell in love with Japan in my early days simply because I liked their industrious attitude and their pride in what they did. Leave alone their inventions look at the way they revolutionized the automobile industry in the world. Most of you know what the Japanese manufacture, don’t you?

Towards the early 90’s due to the new opportunities that I found in the U.S., I started to reduce my business in Japan and thus my travel to Japan almost came to a stop. I always remember what I learned from the Japanese: their discipline and the respect they had for one another. In whatever I did, I always tried to emulate the Japanese, especially when it came to my focus and closing deals. They drove me quite a bit and I got this doze of Japanese spirit right in my early days. With the combination of my experience in Japan clubbed with my American exposure, I have picked up qualities that have shaped me and built my character to what it is now.

India in my eyes has not been able to come close to the qualities that are characteristic of the Japanese. These are essentially three qualities: Commitment, Respect and Discipline. And I have noticed this across the board right from High School to colleges and even after college. This is very evident in their work place as well. Many of us follow some style where we forget the basic principle of what we need. Things are taken so casually these days. To say the word `Sorry’ is like no one’s business.

I believe in living a responsible life, especially being a businessman and keeping the character of a businessman, which some times has been difficult with the current scenario of corruption and bribery in India. What does character mean? Can an honest businessman do unethical things? In today’s world, can one do business successfully and come out clean? I doubt it. In spite of all this, I still survive and continue to survive. I want to attribute this to my past experiences with the Japanese from where I learned the killer instinct of `DO OR DIE’.

Today, especially in India where I live mostly, the new generation parents have enough of wealth that they tend to be very supportive of their children and in the bargain the children do not get a chance to create their own concepts of life. The parents are so hard working and provide for all their needs, some times even giving the children much more than what they require. In the bargain what happens is, we are robbing them of a chance of becoming motivated and the end up being dependent on their parents. Are we preparing our children for life? Life can be harsh sometimes. Are we conditioning them to handle life without parental support? This is a big question. Loving your children does not mean that you should not prepare them for the harsh realities of life.

Look at the world economy. Two Prime Ministers (in Greece & Italy) have forcefully resigned in the last two weeks, fiscal deficits of various nations have hit all time highs, negative growth, trade imbalances and so on. Seven billion people in the world and this is all going to be a challenge for tomorrow, where only the fittest and the best will survive. I always have this in the back of my mind. And by the way, I too have children.

On my recent trip to Japan I was fortunate enough, rather my children were fortunate to travel with me, where they were quite taken by surprise to see the veracity of the stories I used to tell them about Japan and that the Japanese were actually very true and pin point accurate. I am confident that they have learnt something in the seven days that we spent together in Japan. It becomes one’s responsibility to share what we learn with our next generation. Every one may not be in a position to take their children to Japan, but what I mean is that we can all start conditioning our children for tomorrow and ready them to be well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead of them and all of us.

The world is going to be a very difficult place to live in and it is our responsibility to guide our children in the right direction so that our future generations will have a fighting chance. Gone will be the days when mediocrity was the norm. There will certainly not be any room for complacency and inefficiency. I truly believe that the three qualities that I have mentioned before (and I am repeating myself) Commitment, Respect and Discipline will be the key to our future survival. Everything else will emanate from these qualities.

I want to sum up by encouraging you to keep fighting and to strive towards being successful. If you can work your way towards being exemplary in your chosen field and remember to stay focused and sharp, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals.

Stay tuned for more…..

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Responses to
 Nikhil says:
Dear Mr. JT, You are absolutely right about the Japanese, but are us Indians; way too behind when it comes to the 3 qualities you mentioned?? I feel the younger gen. entrepreneurs (that includes me ) of our country are indeed competitive against the Japanese or any other (No offense meant against established like you sir....). But we are left with only two options either keep our ideas, professionalism and policies with our self and keep waiting for the ideal client/opportunity who in turn understands the same or just move along the flow of current work culture which prevails in the local market...but anyways as you mentioned, we still keep fighting...:)
 Subramanian S says:
Dear Mr.JT Sir, I have read your blog on Japanese three qualities Commitment,respect and discipline. I have also read some books about japanese culture, way of life and so on. I admired when I read about Japan venturing into steel business when they do not have any mines in their country. The only thing which is impossible to them is 'IMPOSSIBLE". I too at times sigh and annoy what is wrong with us Indians with such big natural resources and huge population still called us devolping country and not developed country. Now I am totally inspired by your desire, aspirations and hunger for achievements and little proud to be assoicated with you now better late than never. Tks and regds
 V.G.Ravindranath says:
Dear JT The three qualities you mentioned sure help young Indians like us to reconstruct the new INDIA.
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