They Finally Listened

by | Jun 7, 1998 | Listening

Charles Farkas and Philippe De Backer, in their book, “Maximum Leadership,” relate the story of a young college graduate who, forty years ago, joined a Japanese company as a clerk in a small department. He applied himself faithfully, and went one step further. He often contacted corporate headquarters to point out deficiencies in the organization – and offered suggestions for correcting them.

For ten years his ideas were rarely acknowledged, and never acted upon. Then, one day as he was leaving work, he was stopped by an executive from corporate headquarters who had tracked him down. A few minutes later he was ushered into the president’s office – a place he had never been. In that meeting he was informed that one of his suggestions was about to be implemented. The president expected it to save an entire division from bankruptcy. A few months later, it did!

The story doesn’t conclude there. The young clerk eventually became chairman of the firm that once ignored his phone calls and notes. Because of his leadership, the culture of the organization has changed. Today, individuals who challenge the status quo are encouraged, even celebrated. The enterprising company is Canon – the multi-billion dollar maker of cameras, copiers, printers and fax machines.

Thanks to Neil Eskelin


They Finally Listened