On February 9th, I conducted an on-stage conversation with Godiva CEO Jérôme Chouchan in front of a packed house at the Tokyo American Club. This was the sixth in a series of conversations I conduct with CEOs of note in Japan. Jérôme has just published a book in Japanese on how he doubled Godiva Japan sales in five years entitled Target. The book is available on Amazon Japan.
Jérôme, who is an aficionado of Kyudo, Japanese archery, takes the aphorisms of the martial art and applies them to business. For example, while in Western archery competitions, a competitor is scored merely on his ability to hit the target, in Kyudo, a competitor must not only hit the target but is also judged on having proper form, which is known as seisha hicchu (正射必中).
Hitting the target despite form is not considered a win, as such success cannot be repeated consistently or sustained into the future. How many companies do you know that put only emphasis on hitting immediate targets as opposed to proper form? Is a business really successful when in order to hit a quarterly target, its leader invests in things like improving the capabilities of people, advertising and marketing, innovation and R&D, business trips to expand into new markets, upkeep of equipment, and maintaining a comfortable work environment?
Like in Kyudo, once one is distracted by focusing on hitting a target, he loses form and misses. Focus on form without regard to the target, and you hit it natural. Such is one of the secrets to the Success of Godiva. Why not make it one of yours?