The most important step, the first one, is, in 1999 the company did not have any vision, any sense of destination, any sense of purpose. We had to establish a simple vision shared for the future. The second important point is the fact that you’re going to have to keep your eyes on people’s motivation, particularly when they have some difficult things to do, and we had a lot of difficult things to do. We had to close plants, reduce head count, unwind cross shareholding, sell assets, at the same time investing in a lot of products for the future. It was not easy, but it was very important to explain why we had to do this and where we were going. But this is not sufficient, because if you have a good vision and you explain what are the action plans, people will not believe you unless you come with very strong commitments, and we made commitments. I made a personal commitment, saying that if the company was not profitable — the first year of the plan — I would be resigning, and with me all the members of the executive committee. We said also that if the debt was not cut by half in three years we would also be resigning. So we gave three very strong commitments, and we put our head on the table, saying “There will be no other plan. That’s it.” And if there was another plan for Nissan, it would not be carried by us.
Finally, you have to deliver results, because the vision is good, motivation of people is good, your commitment is important, but if you don’t have results no leadership will ever last or be accepted. So you have to come with amazing results that people believe were not possible, and you have to come with them as soon as possible.
So if you follow these four steps — which obviously are easy on the paper and much more difficult in reality — and you do them in a way which is transparent, honest, truthful, that nobody thinks that you’re playing with them or you’re manipulating them, then the bottom line is that you establish confidence, the trust, the credibility, the respect inside the company, and people will be willing to go the extra mile with you. They will be willing to face many challenges which would appear to other people as daunting, and they will be able to make commitments that for other people would be foolish.