Steven's Blog

Conversation with Barilla Japan CEO

I conducted an onstage conversation with Barilla Japan CEO, Antony Strianese.

Here are my takeaways.

  • You can fire your distributor, and not only live to tell about it, but achieve a thriving business growing at a double-digit rate in short order if you do it right.
  • Ninety-percent of the gloom and doom predictions of your staff—we’ll be blacklisted, customers will flee from us, etc.—never happens. The ten percent that does is overwhelmed by the positive benefits so as not to matter.
  • You cannot keep staff who believe your vision will certainly fail. They will make it happen.
  • There is no fundamental difference between the way the market works in Japan and anywhere else in the world where Barilla is successful—and that includes most of the world. What works outside of Japan also works in Japan.
  • Exceptional employees who are growth-oriented, have an entrepreneurial spirit, and are willing to take on reasonable business risk in order for success to exist everywhere, including Japan. They may be hard to find, as exceptional people are exceptional in Japan and everywhere else in the world.
  • Japanese culture and Italian culture are eighty-percent the same. Each has appreciation for refined and sublime aesthetic, a love for fine food, many distinct regional cuisines, a high value placed on family, and a hierarchical society. The differences are superficial—love of baseball rather than soccer, for example, but even that is not completely true!

And finally,

Value in business is universal, whether in Japan, Italy or anywhere else. Click To Tweet


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