Mar 16, 2022

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Panasonic's Basic Business Philosophy as Practiced by Panasonic Leaders Around the World

Marking the first revision of Panasonic's Basic Business Philosophy (BBP), three leaders talk about how the philosophy has informed their work and management styles over the years.

The recent rise in awareness of the importance of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainability goals has signaled a universal positive intent to collectively face up to and tackle pressing societal challenges like the global climate change crisis. As a result, it has become more important than ever for companies to define their purpose and identify their contributions to society, which are being increasingly scrutinized by all of their stakeholders. Established by founder Konosuke Matsushita in 1930s, Panasonic's Basic Business Philosophy has formed the backbone of the company's purpose for over 60 years. With the goal of realizing an ideal society, the seven principles remind everyone working at Panasonic that each of their daily work - through the business - contribute to the progress and development of society while conserving precious resources.

Renewing the Focus of the Basic Business Philosophy to Guide the Business Today

Yuki Kusumi, Group CEO of Panasonic, has revised the basic business philosophy for the first time in 60 years as the company transitions to a holding company in April 2022. He sees the absolute importance of key elements of the philosophy as guiding principles of the business and has strengthened the focus on particularly relevant themes to our current society, including sustainability, DEI, and eliminating inefficiencies, with a central emphasis on realizing the ideal society. As the founder, Konosuke believed that the company would be rewarded through unparalleled quality of work and societal contribution. CEO Kusumi also aims to raise the competitiveness of the Group by focusing on the Basic Business Philosophy and reflecting this in the daily activities of every Group employee.

Three Panasonic leaders, who have all lived by the Basic Business Philosophy and consistently implemented it in their work and management styles, share their thoughts on its applicability in business management today. Notably, all three leaders have mentioned turning to the Basic Business Philosophy when coming up with new ideas and solutions.

Megan Myungwon Lee, Chairwoman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America

Photo: Megan Myungwon Lee, Chairwoman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America

"The Basic Business Philosophy not only defines the core values of Panasonic, but also the culture of our company. With values such as humility and gratitude enshrined as part of the seven management principles, it is not hard to see why we have great people working here. I believe that employees and the business should grow together.

Investing in people and supporting entrepreneurial innovation in our businesses is what will make us more competitive. It reminds us to have a long-term focus and to look beyond short-term success and profit. I've often turned to the BPP philosophy when looking for new ideas to give me a different perspective and help me move forward - it gives our work a sense of purpose. From that we can make business decisions that are transformative and inherently contribute to a more sustainable future."

Manish Sharma, President and CEO of Panasonic India

Photo: Manish Sharma, President and CEO of Panasonic India

"Our founder Konosuke believed that in order to build a successful organization, you must first build a team and the right environment to support your people. Based on this we have built a culture where people come together with a common purpose to focus on the wellbeing of employees and organization sustainability. This ultimately leads to the creation of a vibrant organization that naturally extends to a greater sense of responsibility to the environment and to society. Personally, the Basic Business Philosophy has been a huge inspiration to how I work. When facing certain challenges, reading the Basic Business Philosophy has sparked ideas that led to solutions. Similarly, the 7 principles defined by Matsushita-san have played a key role in defining the very soul of Panasonic. They help determine our objectives, our approach to business activities, and the direction of our company. These guidelines serve as a compass, helping us set and maintain the right direction for our business. I like to think of these guidelines as the stone fortress that withstands everything and remains unchanged throughout the test of time. We have built the business in India based on the following three pillars - Localization, Empowerment and Rich Communication.

The recent revision by Kusumi-san has given the Basic Business Philosophy a unique perspective relevant to current times. Because we are a diverse group of people with different backgrounds and social upbringing, it may be that some had found it difficult to relate the philosophy to the work that we do now. By updating it, we have provided a new way of articulating the philosophy in a more modern context."

Johannes Spatz, President of Panasonic Industry Europe

Photo: Johannes Spatz, President of Panasonic Industry Europe

"The Basic Business Philosophy is as relevant today as it was when it was first published by our founder in the 30's. For me, the recent adaptation does not change the spirit of the philosophy, rather it is about showing how the principles could and should be applied to situations we face today and will face tomorrow.

An example of how present the Basic Business Philosophy still is today: I was referring to the seven principles in my speech at last year's Christmas event and with adaptability being one of the principles, I have called for consideration in how we have all adapted to the COVID situation. It was an emotional moment for the team as we reflected on how cooperating with each other, team spirit, and considering and contributing to society had been key experiences as well as important values for all of us in these challenging times. These are all qualities described in the Basic Business Philosophy."

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