YKK Stories

Fundamental Behavior 6 – Lead by Example

February 5, 2021
Author: YKK
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Lead by Example

I am excited for this opportunity to talk about this week’s Fundamental Behavior and I hope you will be excited too to get your week going.

Why am I excited? It is because of the possibility of this Fundamental Behavior – if we all really make a point to practice “Lead by Example” this week, what a great week we will all have! This Fundamental Behavior will have an immediate and enormous impact on us all.

In first reading this week’s Fundamental Behavior, the words LEAD, COACH, TEACH, MENTOR pop out, and one may think, “Hey this Fundamental Behavior is not for me. I am not a leader, I am not a manager, I don’t need to teach coach others, so I can skip this one.” Just in case there was someone out there who may have thought in this way, let me explain why it is that we all need to lead by example.

First, it says right here in our YKK’s Cycle of Goodness philosophy, “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others.” So, for us individuals to prosper, we must render benefit to others, and what better way to benefit others than coaching, guiding and being the example for our fellow co-workers?

Second, our ultimate goal as a company and as the YKK Group is to “benefit society,” and by society we mean our customers, employees, and society. So, our actions must create value not just for our customers and society in general, but our actions must also provide value to the employees, to our fellow co-workers. Again, what better way than to provide value to others by leading by example?

Third, “YKK is a forest organization.” These are the words of our founder, Tadao Yoshida, and this is the Shinrin concept (“Shirin” is Japanese for forest) that Mr. Yoshida had envisioned. He wanted YKK to be like a forest-like structure where everyone would act as managers and think what they (you) can do to make the company better and not a pyramid-like top down structure. Naturally in a forest there are many kinds of trees, and when we respect each individual who makes up the forest and join hands to work together, the forest (company) grows to become strong. So no matter what position we may be at YKK or what part of our career we are in, we can make a difference, and we can all lead by example to continue to build a stronger forest.

Lastly, I would like to close with the following thoughts. I truly believe that in working at YKK, we do benefit the society in so many ways around the world. Knowing that fact makes it that much more fun and interesting to work at YKK. I have met countless people who work with the YKK spirit and who gave me guidance and direction. Just to name a few: Robert Stamps, I first saw you in the “This is YKK” introductory video, where you were talking about the Cycle of Goodness, your work in R&D developing products to benefit our customers, and about how this in return benefits YKK and its employees on down to the communities that we are in. I did not understand the Cycle of Goodness at first, but you gave me clarity and taught me the fun part of developing relationships and educating our customers. Thank you for leading by example. Toni Maney and Jeff Joel, I sit near you and I always hear you talking to our customers. We can get tied to the YKK ways, meaning that we know too much about how things work and may not work, and sometimes customers ask for the impossible, but instead of pushing YKK ways, you are always focused on the customers’ needs. You always remind me that in our business, we have customers waiting/counting on our products and services and that we must continue to deliver value by meeting customers’ needs. Thank you for leading by example.

Kei Yonemori
Sales Administration Senior Manager
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.