Business books are ten a penny, with bookstores and online retailers pushing the new wave of business strategy from up-and-coming entrepreneurs and academics. There’s a new book on the market, however, which takes a more unusual and refreshing approach to dealing with people in business, etiquette and staffing situations. Kuniko Fujiyama’s “School and Business: Learning Essentials Through School Basics” makes the curious claim that most business basics can be learned from the essentials taught in Japanese elementary schools.
Formerly a Virgin Atlantic employee, Fujiyama is a Special Ambassador for Regional Creation of Kyushu Kirishima Ebino, Japan and popular staff trainer for Japanese banks. In this semi-biographical work, she uses her own experiences to give advice on how to conduct business in a respectful and Japanese-focused manner.
This book compiles and expands on excerpts from “Fujiyama School: Opening and Closing Assemblies” (Wani Press 2012) while drawing additional content from numerous corporate training seminars related to this particular topic. It’s ostensibly a guide to running a successful business viewed through the lens of Japanese traditions and philosophy. It could be considered ever so slightly kooky, in parts, due to sections titled “Preventing theft – a store’s environment can be determined by looking at the notices in the washroom” and “Do not apply pressure. Do not push back. Embrace your customers – consideration is the basis of service.” However, the underlying theme of “School and Business: Learning Essentials Through School Basics” is that business leaders should have humility and propriety and embrace the “servant leader” role, in which “an effective leader assumes the role of facilitator, attending to the organization so that it is primed to accomplish its goals.”
Fujiyama shows an understanding and usage of business strategy by flawlessly incorporating theories such as the “300:29:1” theory and the “fishbowl rule.” Additionally, she references Japanese popular culture, using the character of Mikawa from legendary anime “Sazae-san” as a role model for successful salespeople. It can be considered peculiar in parts — but Fujiyama’s wit, experience and underlying knowledge shine through to make this one of the more refreshing and innovative takes on contemporary business theory in recent years; and a must-read for both corporate novices and seasoned business professionals alike.
“School and Business: Learning Essentials Through School Basics” by Kuniko Fujiyama is available on Amazon Japan.