Morning mail ~ a tool to make "people born good" management style come true ~
There is an argument whether people are born good or evil. I am on the former side, and my dream is to create businesses based on "people born good" management style. "People born good" management style is: to believe in each person's self-motivation, self-disciplines, and give enough freedom and time to create whatever they want to, then good businesses would automatically be born.
In order to achieve this, I use a tool called 【朝メール】. By now I am very much convinced that it is an effective tool so I will describe what it is here. 【朝メール】, a direct translation of this would be "morning mail." It is a long email that contains information of each member's activities. It consists of daily reports from everyone, my comments on each report, good and bad news to be shared, schedules of each, and my daily essay.
I started this habit on the 19th of January 2004. It was when our business was very bad. e-Jan was founded in March 2000. Even after more than three years of serious hard work and a decent amount of money invested, none of the businesses were profitable. Our red ink accumulated to millions of dollars, and so did my personal deficits. I had believed that if I only prepared a working environment, a workforce, and some objectives, the business would start rolling automatically. I learned that was wrong the hard way.
In early January 2004, right before I started my morning mail habit, I took a whole week off and stayed in a remote place and went through a deep re-thinking process. I intuitively knew that there were ways to create "people born good" business management style, but something was missing.
After the re-thinking process, I deeply regretted some of the things I had not done properly: Not conveying enough of my personal thoughts, values, and messages to the people around me. Not paying enough attention to their work. Not expressing enough appreciation. Not apologizing for my mistakes.
In order to fix the problems, I thought the following things might help : To express my thoughts in a written format. To give comments to each member's daily work. To watch thoroughly what they do. To express appreciation and apologies immediately and regularly. On top of that, all of them should be done with a fresh mind in mornings. If I were to do the same at nights, I might end up expressing something very negative.
So I started issuing the newly-invented "morning mail" right away. It took about a year until people who disagree with my thoughts left the company. It took another year to get the business into black ink. Remained and newly joined members agreed with my values and shared the joys in successes. Constant "morning mail" is quite an effective tool to synchronize everyone's thoughts.
Since then, our business became very sound and strong. Our profit-over-revenue exceeded 30% each year, and our eight-year compounded annual growth exceeded 30%. On top of that, we were able to gain a cooperative and team oriented culture, and that itself re-strengthens the business.
Under a condition without control or feedback, the evil side of humans grows gradually, until they become selfish, disorganized, and lazy. Businesses cannot be conducted in such conditions. The tool simply gives better control and feedback. The only problem is that it used to take about half an hour of my time when I started, but now it takes over three hours every weekday morning to prepare and send. This is because of the significant increase in the number of people working in the company, from five to sixty.
As of now, I think we got much closer to my dream of establishing a profitable business based on a "people born good" management style. Now I can conclude that my failures were due to letting things just happen without control. I was charmed with an artistic way of thinking. But, unfortunately people are not only born good, but are actually a mix of good and evil.