IR InformationManagement Interview
Tokyo Century places priority on providing working environments that encourage diverse personnel to thrive and has adopted a flat organizational structure that is conducive to career development. Managing Executive Officer Mahoko Hara has gained a wealth of experience from her extensive career in global markets. Here, she shares her views on the strengths of our human resources, diversity and organizational revitalization, which provide a competitive edge for Tokyo Century.
Individuals with diverse backgrounds thrive at Tokyo Century, which attracts professionals in finance and trading, as well as aviation and energy, with experience of doing business in Asia.
One of our strengths lies in the way new ideas are born every day from the interaction of diverse, highly specialized personnel with distinct perspectives. Versatile thinking and unconventional ideas that take advantage of our flexible business environment are crucial to creating viable businesses that can meet the broad array of contemporary needs.
While we have experienced rapid growth in our global businesses centered on partnerships with leading overseas companies, we still have a long way to go in the development of personnel who can negotiate on equal terms in a global setting. I want our younger employees to engage in a variety of projects and gain ample experience during their overseas assignments to become professionals who thrive in the global market.
To gain an equal footing in the global market, we must broaden the scope of our personal skills, which include being able to engage in incisive, wide-ranging topics of conversation and demonstrating significant cultural experience in addition to having broad insight beyond the knowledge required in business.
We must therefore expand our perspectives and take an interest in various pursuits, keeping our antennas alert as we go about our business each day.
Tokyo Century is developing viable businesses in alliances with partner companies. The primary key to success is building relationships of trust. Prior to agreeing on an alliance or capital investment, we must follow the crucial process of engaging in repeated discussions until both sides are satisfied with the strategy and mission. Moreover, the vision must be shared not only among top management but also at the working level. I believe that the emphasis on communication in our organizational culture is behind Tokyo Century Group’s many successful partnerships.
Overseas companies in particular have commended Tokyo Century for its prompt decision making. We seek to maintain agility at the management level while simultaneously delegating a certain degree of authority to accelerate our decision making.
A relaxed environment that facilitates daily communication is also important. Tokyo Century’s flat organization allows even first-year employees to speak directly with managers. We are fostering an environment that accelerates communication by eliminating elaborate meetings insofar as possible and actively discussing issues via e-mail.
I have the impression that many overseas businesspersons work even harder than the Japanese while at the same time placing greater value on their family and private lives. Perhaps they are benefiting from workstyles and organizational cultures that enable them to balance work and private life.
To bring out the best performance from all employees, Tokyo Century needs to learn from all kinds of initiatives to further enhance its programs for supporting flexible workstyles that cater to individual lifestyles.
We also recognize promoting women’s careers as a key issue. Since women tend to miss out on work for certain periods of time due to childbirth and parenting, we should offer women the opportunity to set high goals and take on various challenges before they experience those life events. By deciding on their career paths at an early stage, they can fully demonstrate their abilities and expand their fields of business.
Initiatives on diversity lean toward numerical targets such as increasing the number of female managers or actively hiring foreign staff. However, it is important to recognize the reason why companies should respect diversity. Instead of promoting diversity to meet numerical targets, we should consider the roles played by employees with various backgrounds and how they can contribute to the company and society. Having done so, we must discuss ways to provide comfortable working environments for everyone. That is what promoting diversity means, and I believe this will lead to sustainable growth for Tokyo Century.
Managing Executive Officer
President, Specialty Finance Business Development Unit
Deputy President, Specialty Finance Business Unit I
Deputy President, International Business Unit II
Mahoko Hara handled a variety of duties including structured finance and securitization at banks and a securities company before joining Tokyo Century in 2011. Since that time, she has been on the frontlines of the global market, leading projects such as the acquisition of a leasing company in the U.S. and alliance and acquisition of membership interest in a leading U.S.-based commercial aircraft lessor.