“The Harada Method – The Spirit of Self Reliance” was written by Takashi Harada and Norman Bodek in order to teach people how to be effective leaders and managers. It provides helpful information on how to motivate others, gives reasons and methods on how to help others develop and pursue goals, and allows people to determine how they are progressing on their own. This book sets out a very precise way to do this, which includes identifying a goal, determining the reason behind this goal and why success will be advantageous, in addition to determining why past attempts have failed or succeeded. The book specifies that the way to achieve success is to figure out 64 tasks or steps that are needed to achieve an individual goal and that 10 of these tasks should be selected at the beginning of the process. It also recommends that we add 10 new routines to our daily habits, keep a journal to track our progress, and seek a mentor for help and advice.
The main purpose of this book is how to foster the development of an effective and an efficient team based on an individual’s leadership. I believe that while team dynamics and the work ethic of the individual are important factors in running a successful business, good leaders are typically able to build upon the skills that good employees currently have or motivate mediocre employees to perform well. This book provides steps that will allow managers from all walks of life to achieve this. The concept of the book itself is interesting because Norman Bodek was inspired by the low cost of labor in third world countries like China and India, and wanted to find ways to compete with these nations according to the standards of our country. The Harada Method could be used in the lean manufacturing industry in combination with current methods to increase productivity and ensure accuracy. The book emphasized overall improvement in the workplace and especially focuses on the issue of self-reliance; if an employee becomes truly self-reliant, they will be an invaluable asset to their company.
One of the themes of the book is that “Virtually everyone can be successful in life”. I agree with this statement; people who work hard will eventually succeed in their efforts. I like that the book gives a clear definition of this success and how it provides steps on how any individual could achieve this success. According to Harada and Bodek, success is usually due to careful planning. If one is able to identify the steps they need to take before they start a project, they will inherently be more organized and the project will most likely go according to plan. If one finds that they did not achieve their project goal, all they have to do is analyze their situation so they can improve for the next time. This revision would involve an altered task list, and may require even more revisions, but ultimately, the goal will be achieved. In these situations, it’s important to not give up; the Harada Method allows room for error and allows mistakes as long as they are recognized and corrected. An effective manager or leader will admit when they are wrong and make changes that will benefit their whole team.
The Harada Method is also popular for emphasizing self-reliance, which in other words is defined as the ability to “stand on your own two feet”. This concept recognizes that it isn’t always easy to select a goal, but it is important to feel comfortable with this to ensure progress. In addition to simply developing the goal, it is important to make others understand why the goal was selected; this is important as well because a group’s opinions about the goal can make or break it. Therefore, it is essential to write out a step by step plan to ensure that the whole team knows why a goal is being pursued and how it will be done. This also gives the group opportunity to ask questions about steps that they may not understand or allow them to offer input; employee input is valuable in many cases and they may provide advice that will allow for the job to be completed more quickly. You will be able to trust your employees to make the proper decisions for your company if you keep them involved, motivated, and clearly explain what you expect from them.
One of the remaining values that the book emphasizes is “respect for people”. When you show an employee that you truly care about how they perform, that you are willing to guide them, and that you value their work, they will be likely to excel at their job. As a result, they will be more likely to take responsibility of their own individual goals, and find ways to improve their ability to work.
Overall, I think that “The Harada Method – The Spirit of Self Reliance” is a good tool for employers and managers to more effectively run their companies and pursuits. Although everyone knows that they must determine goals to be able to move forward with their ambitions, it isn’t always easy to determine which goals will be the most effective in addition to which ones should be prioritized. Writing a list of 64 tasks per goal allows you to really think about what you’re doing any how to achieve it. Although you likely had a general idea of your plan before starting, this really forces you to sit down and think of the odds and ends that may not be so obvious. Once this information is on paper, it is more organized and likely to succeed. I believe that the revision process, the analysis of what worked and what didn’t work, is as equally important as determining the initial goals and tasks. This is the step that really teaches you what is feasible and what isn’t, and will allow you to develop an effective plan more quickly for the next time. The ability to select goals, develop plans, and revise all ties in to self-reliance; when you are able to complete these three aims on your own and recognize all the errors, you have truly become self-reliant and effectively applied the Harada Method.
Harada, Takashi, Bodek, Norman. (2012). Harada Method: The Spirit of Self Reliance. Vancover, WA: PCS Press.