While many factors are important when considering world-class corporations, there a few that stand out. Factors, such as these, positively impact the growth of a world-class organization:
Delighted employees, customers, and vendors;
Operational excellence; and
Sense of ownership.
But prior to outlining the most important factor, the meaning of a world-class organization must be defined. Depending on the person’s subjective opinion, the media, textbooks, etc., the definition will change. However, world-class organizations are those that strive on a daily basis to make a positive impact on the lives of others, no matter how large. As such, the most important factor in order to become a world-class organization is the company’s leadership, as demonstrated by Google, Wantedly, and Kyocera.
Sergey Brin & Larry Page of Google
Before I began working at Google, I was drawn to a few of its outstanding elements: its mission, its treatment of its employees, and its outstanding success. All three of these elements were a result of its leadership. Had it not been for the top leadership, Google may have just been another technology company in Silicon Valley.
If you're changing the world, you're working on important things. You're excited to get up in the morning. Larry Page, CEO of Google
Through its meticulous hiring practices and employee referrals, Google ensured that it only hired those who were not only drawn by the mission, but also lived and breathed the mission. In essence, Google found those who were Googley, or empathetic — those who treated each and every human being with respect, regardless of position, power, or quirky personalities.
For example, candidates from top universities with impressive extracurricular achievements were not hired, because they treated the cafeteria staff or janitors disrespectfully. After all, Google did not and does not want to hire arrogant people, as it does not suit its company culture and mission.
In addition, every single person who was hired at Google had to be approved by the founders. Through such meticulous hiring practices and careful screening of every Google employee, the company was able to become a world-class organization.
Akiko Naka of Wantedly
Similarly, Akiko Naka of Wantedly has led the company to its current success due to her outstanding leadership and vision. Instead of focusing on salary requirements and benefits, Akiko Naka decided to take her company in a completely different direction. Although an ambitious and risky venture, she began a social, recruiting website that sought to match people with their passions, visions, and goals.
And while naysayers told her the idea would not work, Akiko kept on pursuing her vision. After all, no recruiting websites at the time focused on helping people find a role that matched their life goals. And the company has become extremely successful. More and more people are joining the website to search for an ideal career, and an increasing number of companies are advertising the types of projects they offer, unique company features, and selling points. But all of this is due to Akiko’s hard work and determination to make her company vision a reality.
As an extremely PR-friendly entrepreneur, who also happens to be part of the small population of Japanese female entrepreneurs, Akiko has also drummed up an incredible amount of media attention for her company. Simultaneously, the company is excelling and expanding to new markets. Due to her outstanding leadership, she has brought Wantedly into the forefront of thriving world-class organizations.
Kazuo Inamori of Kyocera
Another world-class organization driven by its exceptional leadership is Kyocera. Founded by the Japanese business legend, Kazuo Inamori, the small company grew to become one of Japan’s most important contributors to society. What makes the company standout is Inamori’s philosophy.
He is a truly compassionate and caring individual, who worked tirelessly to make his dreams a reality, surmounting countless odds such as poor health, bankruptcy, and employees on strike, etc. And yet, he persevered against all these challenges, helping his company become a globally recognized one.
Some may even consider his leadership as that of a savant. Besides having a museum in Kyocera to promote the company’s various products, the company’s mission, and Kazuo Inamori’s philosophy, Inamori has also become well known for his amoeba management style and 12 Management Principles, which are outlined below.
Clearly state the purpose and mission of your business.
Set specific goals.
Keep a passionate desire in your heart.
Strive harder than anyone else.
Maximize revenues and minimize expenses.
Pricing is management.
Success is determined by willpower.
Possess a fighting spirit.
Face every challenge with courage; be fair and never deceive others.
Always be creative in your work.
Be kind and sincere.
Always be cheerful and positive; hold great dreams and hopes in the pureness of your heart.
These principles formed the crux of his business ideals and company mission. Through personally training his direct reports to act with these 12 principles in mind, Inamori was able to positively impact his entire company all the way down to the lowest-level employees. In this manner, he built a lasting legacy. Due to his reputation and fame, Inamori even completely turned around a bankrupt JAL airline company into a successful corporation at the age of 78.
All three companies have become world-class organizations, because of its outstanding leadership. Without top-quality, charismatic, and driven founders, none of these companies would have reached this realm of success. Google, Kyocera, and Wantedly are all excellent examples of world-class organizations, driven by vision-based founders with important missions for society.