“Hō-Ren-Sō” (報・連・相) is a term used in Japanese business culture, constructed from the abbreviation of the words “Hōkoku” (to report), “Renraku” (to inform) and “Sōdan” (to consult). The concept has become wide spread in Japan after Tomiji Yamazaki‘s book “Strengthen your company with Ho-Ren-So” published in 1982.
Traditionally, “Hokoku” is applied as reporting to a manager on a process or result of business. The decisions are made by an organization as a whole and managers have responsibility of resolving the problems. Therefore, a subordinate must report everything to their superiors immediately and exactly. “Renraku” means to inform and notify of the facts. The facts and decisions must be communicated quickly to the relevant parties without opinions and guesses, Without this it is not possible to control the organization. The last component of Horenso, “Sodan” means to consult or discuss. Rather than a top-down approach on matters by the managers, the subordinates should consult with their managers and ask for their advice or opinion regularly.
The Happiest Company to Work For!
While Horenso took Japanese business scene by the storm, a company called Mirai Industries took a radically different path. The company implements 100 principles in managing their business. One of the key principles is “No Horenso!”. The company is called the “The Happiest Company to Work For” by the productivity guru Norman Bodek.
Norman Bodek visited the company during one of his trips to Japan in 2014 and found out that this company with no HR department, no sales quotas, no overtime work, was a successful business listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange with half-a-billion market capitalisation. The company has never made a loss and never laid off people in the past 50 years, despite the economic downturns and crisis in the world economy. The company counts more than 1200 employees. They have the longest paid vacations in Japan and the shortest working hours with all employees being full-time. The company takes all their employees to an overseas trip. Mirai is listed in the top 20 companies in Japan for obtaining new patents.
Intrigued by this, Bodek approached company’s CEO Akio Yamada to understand the secrets of their success. The answer was “No Horenso!“, referring to the popular management philosophy. Horenso is also the Japanese word for “Spinach”.
Indeed the employees of Mirai Industries, do not need to get permissions from their superiors to do new things. They also do not need to inform their managers when they decide on new things and they do not consult others.
So how do they become one of the most successful and sustainable businesses in Japan?
How are they able to get things done without supervision? How are they able to create an environment where everyone is happy, no one is judged or scolded for making mistakes? And most importantly for the leaders, how are they still able to make their shareholders happy?
Join us for the workgroup on “No Horenso!”