(Honda Car Prototype)
Honda Soichiro (1906 – 1991) is the founder of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. He made Honda, as all of you know it, such a giant motor company not only in Japan, but also in the world, all by himself! What do you think why I said, “all by himself”? He was an extremely ingenious artisan. Besides, he was born in Meiji era (1868 – 1912). It is said in Japan that Meiji men are very stubborn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meiji_period). Honda totally ran one-man business. He was so strict with employees who didn’t do their best that he hit them with ash trays or wrenches when he was not happy with their jobs. Literally Honda bossed it all the way.
(Emperor Meiji – One of the Most Respected Emperors in Japan)
On the other hand, Honda was very compassionate on most occasions, understanding what was going on in his company and trying to come up with some creative ideas to help his employees out when the company was in adversity, which was admired by all his employees. Based on those experiences, a Japanese Henry Ford authored a lot of self-help books like Matsushita Konosuke (Founder of Panasonic) did.
Honda was born to a blacksmith family. No wonder he was so dexterous. However, he was not educated enough for his entire life, which hindered him from progress as an engineer. Also, there were innumerable major conflicts between a super stubborn and one-man boss and his elite white-collar engineers. This one-man boss never listened to his engineers when they tried to explain things to him. Honda did whatever he believed was right anyway, which frustrated those elite group inside Honda Motors.
Finally Fujisawa Takeo, Honda’s CFO, persuaded the Big Boss to retire from his company, saying, “Are you a Company President or a technical expert (NOT engineer, which requires education)?” Since Fujisawa was his right hand, Honda Soichiro listened to him and stepped down. Without his retirement at that time, Honda Motor Co., Lted would have gone out of business, according to the Honda executives in those days.
(On His Honda)
Nobody is perfect. Honda Soichiro was far away from perfection regarding his personality. Still, he had such a strong passion for “mechanics” that his dream came true – Honda Empire!
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