01: What time do you like to be at your desk?
I have no desk. I have no office, either. My workplace is wherever information is available. I hold meetings while on the move, in my car.
02: Where’s the best place to prepare for leadership, an MBA school or on the job?
You can’t groom a leader in a classroom or a meeting room. The only way is through actual on-the-ground experience.
03: Describe your management style
I don’t give directions or issue orders. I don’t like to work that way. I don’t think anyone wants to be ordered around. Only you know what makes you happy. That’s why freedom – to decide on your own, to fail –is so important.
04: Are tough decisions best taken by one person?
The role of management is to make decisions. I tend to decide things on the spot. Putting off important decisions is a problem.
05: Do you want to be liked or respected?
A person in this line of work has to be likeable.
06: What does your support team look like?
I prefer staff who are individualistic.
07: What technology do you carry on a trip?
iPad 2, iPhone, laptop. But a sketchpad and pen are more important for jotting things down.
08: Do you read management books?
I write books. I don’t read them. [Masuda has written five books.]
09: Run in the morning? Wine with lunch? Socialise with your team after work?
I hold meetings at lunchtime. I run in the evenings. Nights are my most important business hours. My real work starts after I leave the company offices. It’s when I meet with business partners. I also socialise with employees at barbecue parties or at my vacation home in Karuizawa.
10: What would your key management advice be?
Don’t listen to what customers tell you. Instead think about how to work in the interests of customers.