Alchemy of a Leader: Combining Western and Japanese Management Skills to Transform Your Company

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Wiley, Mar 22, 1994 - Business & Economics - 251 pages
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Alchemy of a Leader A great challenge—and an even greater opportunity—awaits managers. Like the alchemist who transforms something common into something special, today’s business leaders now have the power, says John Rehfeld, to create in our workplaces an entirely new business culture, one that combines and transforms the best of both Western and Japanese management styles. First as vice president and general manager at Toshiba, where he helped build the lap-top business from zero to $350 million in annual sales in less than a decade, and more recently as president of Seiko Instruments USA, John Rehfeld discovered how to improve Western management style by combining it with some of the most successful techniques he learned from the Japanese. In Alchemy of a Leader he shares these insights, presenting literally dozens of specific, effective practices that can be applied right away by managers and entrepreneurs in every industry who are seeking to compete more effectively. The result is a synthesis that’s neither totally Western nor Japanese but uniquely suited for today’s global business world. In Alchemy of a Leader you will learn:
  • How to utilize kaizen (the quest for continuous improvement)—one of the most powerful management tools you will ever encounter—and how to adapt it to Western companies
  • Why you should abandon your annual cycle and adopt a six-month planning and budgeting cycle
  • How to use aggressive patience to move the decision process along
  • Permanent entrepreneurialism: How to make the "start-up mode" permanent by continually refining and communicating the mission of your organization to employees, customers, and the community
  • How to use strategic silence as a way to enhance communication
  • … and much more
One of the first books written by a Western manager with extensive experience as a senior executive in a Japanese company, Alchemy of a Leader provides a unique cross-cultural learning experience. Like other people, managers in today’s business world are products of their own culture. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in today’s globally competitive and interdependent business world, culture-bound management skills are no longer good enough. Today’s manager needs to be an alchemist, combining business methods and knowledge from many cultures and transforming them into new skills needed to compete in the new business world. Alchemy of a Leader shows how to do this in a pragmatic and entertaining style.

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Alchemy of a leader: combining Western and Japanese management skills to transform your company

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In his introduction Rehfeld notes that "there is no one best way to manage.'' In an era of "hot buttons,'' it is refreshing to find a dispassionate account of which management techniques work, which ... Read full review

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About the author (1994)

About the author Described in a Wall Street Journal profile as "a trailblazer among American executives of companies fathered in Japan," JOHN E. REHFELD is the President and CEO of ETAK, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. He has also held positions as president of Seiko Instruments USA and, prior to that, as vice president and general manager of Toshiba America. He has also served at other leading global companies such as IBM, ITT, International Data, and Arthur D. Little. He lives in San Clemente, California.

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