Ep 14: Pioneering radical and open management in Japan – with Kozo Takei

kozo takei from diamondmediaLet’s just fantasize for a minute. Imagine a company where employees are not employees, but simply members. A company where everybody is treated as equals, no manager-subordinate relationship. A company where trust and freedom are the main values, where members are free to choose their work conditions: how they work, where they work, what time they want to work. A company where they are allowed to decide their own title and salary. Well, this is not fantasy, this is the beauty of open management. And this is how my guest, Kozo Takei is running his company.

Kozo has a very peculiar story. He first kicked off his career as a Hip hop artist selling records in Japan. He then started a first company, but as the business didn’t go well, he hit the bottom and went through dark times. That experience led him to really understand the fundamental values in running a business. He decided to rebound and apply the lessons he learned into a new venture.

Today, his company Diamond Media is trying to revolutionize the way the Real Estate industry is operating. That sector is still highly inefficient and Kozo’s company is trying to disrupt it by making it simple for all parties (buyers, sellers, real estate agencies, property management etc.) to interact and exchange information.

Kozo is a humanist. He gives great importance to others’ feelings and wants to lead by example. His open management style may be disturbing for many, but the rewards far exceed the drawbacks. The main benefit of his radical management, he says, is to have happy employees at work. And in time of economic uncertainty, this is priceless. Overall, I really hope this episode will open your mind on what’s really possible in the workplace.

Question(s):  (reply in the comments)

  • What would be the #1 thing you would like to change in the workplace?
  • You have a startup? What do you think of open management for your own company?

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Show notes

  • (2:29) Introduction of Kozo
  • (3:55) How Diamond Media wants to simplify the Real Estate industry
  • (10:45) Starting as a Hip Hop artist
  • (14:23) Business is not for money
  • (16:24) How to recover when you’re at the bottom
  • (18:59) Diamondism – Radically open management
  • (24:04) Main benefits of open management
  • (26:29) Struggles of being open
  • (28:53) How to change Japan’s management practices
  • (34:42) Management advice for startups
  • (37:53) Quick fire-questions

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