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THE Leadership Japan Series by Dale Carnegie Training Tokyo Japan

Dec 6, 2017

The Leader Is The Mood Maker


When you are on the executive floor, the carpet is thick, the mood is quiet and the décor is sumptuous. It is a world removed from the scramble going on floors below. Maybe you are in your own President’s office, shielded from the fray outside the door. The further you place yourself away from the troops the harder it is to influence the mood of the team. Of course, you have direct reports overseeing the work and they too should be mood makers in their own right. There is something very powerful though when the boss is also the mood maker.


I visited President Nambu of Pasona a number of years ago, I was super impressed. To get to see him I had to walk past a large open plan workspace, in the center of which was a raised platform, which housed all the senior executives at their desks. I had to then walk on through the shokudo or cafeteria to get to Nambu san’s office. I was curious so I asked him about all these snakes and ladders to get to see him. He said he wanted the executives to be in an open plan environment and visible. He wanted people to see him too as he entered and exited his office, again to be visible. When you run such a huge company as he does, it is easy to become disconnected from the troops. He took physical steps to overcome that possibility.


We can’t be a mood maker in the machine if we hide ourselves away. Even if we are physically removed from the troops for whatever reason, we need to make an effort to be seen. Tom Peters and Bob Waterman chronicled the MBWA (Management By Wandering Around) philosophy in their book In Search Of Excellence. They were advocating that the leader leave their office and wander around to where the troops are and engage with them in their workspace. Find out what they are doing, how the team mood is and look for places to have influence.


In Japan, we have the chorei or morning get together. The Ritz Carlton has taken that idea to a great height. I spent a week on their course in Washington DC studying their management methods. They have a highly dispersed workforce scattered around the globe. So how do they wed the whole thing together so that the customer service philosophy is the same, no matter where you stay with them anywhere in the world? They have their principles of service and everyday, everywhere, at every shift they review the code. They make the code the mood maker.


They have a template to run the meeting and everyone takes their turn as the leader. The day I joined the morning meeting of the executive leadership team, the CEO was there and yet one of the lower ranked crew was taking the lead to run us all through the rituals. This was done everyday, so again the core philosophy was being driven by the top and was being supported with the high visibility of the CEO participating everyday he was in town.


I adopted this for the Shinsei Retail Bank when I was there and I came up with our banking version of core customer principles. We all took part including all the leaders. We did it in every branch location, exactly the same way, every morning. This was the leadership group leading the charge and everyone was aware of it.


In Dale Carnegie Training Japan we have the 30 Dale Carnegie human relations and 30 stress management principles as the core. The morning meeting is done everyday as long as two people are in the office – that is the rule. It is run by a different leader by turn, but always with me participating. We have an open plan arrangement so I can tap the mood of the team all day long. I also use the morning “Daily Dale” ritual to rev up the troops. I don’t pontificate everyday, because it loses its power but I try to do it quite regularly. No matter how I feel that day at work, I have to project energy, passion, commitment to the team. I have to infect them with your enthusiasm for the work. I have to keep reminding everyone of the WHY. I don’t believe we can ever over communicate the WHY to the team.


So get with the troops and infect them with your passion and commitment to the cause. If it is not a cause yet, then make it one. We have to be the key mood maker no matter what our particular mood may be on any given day. We must always be little Mr. or Ms Sunshine!

Engaged employees are self-motivated. The self-motivated are inspired. Inspired staff grow your business but are you inspiring them? We teach leaders and organisations how to inspire their people. Want to know how we do that? Contact me at


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About The Author

Dr. Greg Story: President, Dale Carnegie Training Japan

In the course of his career Dr. Greg Story has moved from the academic world, to consulting, investments, trade representation, international diplomacy, retail banking and people development. Growing up in Brisbane, Australia he never imagined he would have a Ph.D. in Japanese decision-making and become a 30 year veteran of Japan.


A committed lifelong learner, through his published articles in the American, British and European Chamber journals, his videos and podcasts “THE Leadership Japan Series”, "THE Sales Japan series", THE Presentations Japan Series", he is a thought leader in the four critical areas for business people: leadership, communication, sales and presentations. Dr. Story is a popular keynote speaker, executive coach and trainer.


Since 1971, he has been a disciple of traditional Shitoryu Karate and is currently a 6th Dan. Bunbu Ryodo (文武両道-both pen & sword) is his mantra and he applies martial art philosophies and strategies to business.