2020-03-23 Issue 139 – Fundamental Behavior 12 – Seek improvement in everything

March 23, 2020 YKK

Seek improvement

The picture above reminds me of my hobby – trail running. What it takes to be an Ultrarunner is whether you can “challenge yourself to take that one extra step,” which is my favorite part of this week’s Fundamental Behavior! When running up a hill, sometimes you want to slow down to walk or even stop to take a rest. However, I enjoy having a constant battle against myself to keep “taking an extra step” during the race.

In 2015, when I started in YKK USA, I was given a chance to represent the Global Marketing Group to create key strategies to accomplish billions of pieces of growth in slide fastener sales. With the support of my team members in GMG USA, EMEA and Hong Kong, we came up with eight strategies.

These eight strategies were all something that everyone who worked for the export processing business for the fastening division wished to have. There are always reasons for not having basic tools in need. Everyone agreed that we needed them, but once discussion started, agreement could not be reached due to conflict of interest. It was a huge challenge for me to coordinate among the stakeholders and strike the best balance not to hurt their existing benefit while getting what was needed.

After working on these projects for several years, some of them were achieved in one way or other, while the rest are unfortunately still struggling. Here are some of my takeaways from this valuable experience.

  • It’s important to have an in-depth understanding of the whole organization, and the dynamics inside and between departments.
  • Identifying the key influencers in a relevant department (not necessarily heads of depts.) and getting them on board is the key.
  • Find out whether similar projects failed in the past and if yes, why, so you won’t repeat the same.
  • Effective communication – Don’t compromise in key areas. Don’t upset anyone, as it will slow down or downgrade the quality of the project.
  • Always stay positive and maintain a high energy level to keep leading the projects.
  • Always take advice from others. Be a good listener and that will create better access to extra info.
  • Above all, always be an improvement seeker! That will feed you with extra knowledge and experience in every area of your work. That will also make people wanting to listen and cooperate with you more. If you are comfortable in status quo, people would only want to do minimum for you.

I made so many mistakes and I regret that I could have and should have done much more. Although we can never be perfect, it is possible to achieve our best by pushing ourselves. So, I want to challenge myself to keep looking for areas to seek improvement in everything I do in my work. Just like I hate to regret I could have run 1 minute faster in the race.

Writing this made me want to challenge myself physically! I have just registered for two trail running races. Let’s see how many extra steps I can take to run up the hill like the man in the picture!!

Let’s keep our energy level high and push push push..!

Tucker Asano
Senior Director, Global Marketing Group
YKK USA

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