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Konosuke Matsushita on Human Development

3. Training on the Front Lines

Recently I suggested that an employee go to work at one of our dealers, since to achieve great things, you need to know what the world is really like.

To wage war successfully, a solder must know everything there is to know about his weapons.

So, too, in business.

I told the dealer, “This man is destined to be a great employee, so please train him thoroughly...starting from the ground up.”

About three months later I received an enthusiastic letter from the employee saying he was amazed at how hard the dealer worked to sell his merchandise.

He expressed his gratitude for the invaluable training.

And he went on to say how he should not take anything for granted and had learned what the real world was like, such as what the customers say when you are trying to sell them merchandise.

From that letter, I felt that the employee had really learned something.

I felt that after several years of this kind of training, if the employee was appointed sales manager, the plans he prepared would all be a complete success.

They would all be applauded by our dealers.

But that is not always true of plans drawn up without first-hand knowledge of the effort that goes into selling.

Dealers may grudgingly accept those plans because they have been doing business with Matsushita for so long.

But they will not be happy with such plans, and the plans will certainly fall short of complete success.

That is why I feel such training on the front lines is so valuable.

But it is impossible to train every one of our employees in this way.

Nonetheless, to cultivate promising personnel, I try to send out as many as possible who want to go.

It is those people upon whom the future of Matsushita Electric will depend.

They are the ones who can formulate plans with a chance of great success.

If it were possible, I would gladly give every employee an opportunity to receive such training.

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