February 02, 2009

Interview with Kenichi Ohmae – Part 2– On developing Core Competencies

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From (Taiwan Business Weekly). Translated by Kang Louis Fan 02/02/09. All right reserved.  

The three key skills of Generation Y : Communication, Seeking answer, Global perspective

Q: If we don’t respond immediately to the external environment, then how do we prepare ourselves for the upcoming economic winter?

A: First, Cash is King. Second, now is not the time to change jobs. Invest in yourself; especially carefully examine what you know of the information in front of you, building your own unique view of the world. For example, did you know because US is no longer the powerhouse it used to be, China is also experiencing change but not because of the financial storm but China is redefining its role in the world after the Olympics

My advice for the Taiwan Generation Y is simple. Invest in yourself, so that you can become a strong leader in any nation and situation. Don’t limit your scope to Taiwan.

Q: What kinds of competitive skills are required?

A: Three key skills. First, language and communication skills. Not only language, but the ability to understand others. For example, you could forcibly say “Finish all these readings by Wednesday!” You could also say “Do me a favour, please return these notes back to me by Friday, is that alright?” It’s the same thing, but communicated in different way. In multi-cultural, regulation and situations, having the ability to communicate is everything. Because everybody has a different opinion, so you must be able to organise these opinions, execute, and deliver your goal. This is the only skill you need to develop in the business world.

Second, when you have a problem, you must find the facts, and let the facts talk. Before you confirm the causes, don’t try to do anything. Analyse the root cause of the matter, find the real solution to the problem. This is the golden skill: not relying solely on a single source of information, the skill to find the real answer is the true skill. Sometimes to have insight into a problem you must try to escape from your current company position.

After your acquired the first two skills, the third skills is to know what is going on in the world. Let yourself form your unique perspective on the world events. This third skill is vitally important, because it can shape your career plans and future plans, understand what you really want to do with your life.

Even now I choose a country every year, studies it. Last year it was Romania, now it’s Russia, next year will be Indonesia.

Q: But we must consciously learn to solve problems?

A: Yes, not just read books or magazine. You need a theme. Search on the internet or travel to the locations, then your will have a unique understanding, have your own perspective on world events is very important.

Also, you might find yourself lacking one or two skills, or wanting to develop three skills. Like in addition to Chinese, English and Japanese, you may feel you need another language. But you must have the third skill (Understand the world). Because business opportunities is always out there, if everybody look for opportunities in the same area, there will be none left. Because by then all the rich, the speedy, and the strongest have already exploited it. Later entrants must explore outside the current realms. Because to know these business opportunities, you must make some assumptions. Luckily, now you can also search on the internet, without travelling there necessarily.

Q: International Labour Organisation published in 2009 there will be 2 billion people out of work. For the unemployed, what advice do you give them?

A: You start again. Don’t worry about starting from scratch. Isn’t there an old saying, “don’t cry over a bottle of spilled milk” Because it’s already spilled. If you got laid off, then face it. Relax; you have work hard for most of your life. Now is the time to take a break. You won’t die of hunger and besides, you are free.

Being unemployed is the best time to learn, it is more scary to work for company that will go bust next year

This is a good time to learn. In Japan, if you get laid off you go take classes. In Japan there is a “Hello, Work” program. Many of my friends went to professional training centre. Learn to become a carpenter, sew carpet, learn computer, and continue to work for a company that will go bust is what worry me even more.

Q: So you are optimistic about the problem we are facing?

A: In my life experience, worrying cannot solve anything. But when I try to improve but still it doesn’t help, I worry too. But in my experience, worry does not solve problem, you must do something.

Until now, you have a good fighting spirit. You can always rise from a fall, right? If you stop fighting, stop raising yourself to the next level. You’re finished. If you want to have control of your own life, your must continue to challenge and improve yourself.


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