Jan 05, 2024

Corporate News / Feature Story


Group CEO New Year Message to Employees: “UNLOCK” Your Potential and Take On New Challenges

Panasonic Group CEO Yuki Kusumi delivered his New Year’s message to employees on January 5, 2024. After a two-year period during which each business focused on strengthening its competitiveness, the Group is now shifting gears to enter a growth stage, accelerating its transformation as it continues to pursue the realization of an “ideal society with both material and spiritual affluence.” In this message, Kusumi conveys his thoughts about making 2024 a year of growth—for the organization and for each employee. He references founder Konosuke Matsushita’s warning about dilution of the Basic Business Philosophy (BBP), and explains why putting the philosophy into practice while avoiding outdated rules and preconceived notions is critical to the Group’s growth.

Happy New Year to everyone in the Panasonic Group.

Panasonic would like to offer its deepest condolences to the families of those that lost their lives as a result of the 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake that occurred in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan on January 1 and extend its heartfelt sympathies to everybody else who has been affected by the disaster. We pray for the continued safety of everyone in affected areas and hope for a swift recovery.

Many of you have probably resolved to take up new challenges in the coming year. Make sure they are based on a solid foundation that emphasizes health, safety, and compliance. Every workplace should endeavor to be accident free, so always put safety first.

This year, I’m here again at the Panasonic Museum to reaffirm founder Konosuke Matsushita’s goal of “an ideal society with both material and spiritual affluence.” This concept of “material and spiritual affluence” is our Group’s mission. At the first commemoration ceremony of the company’s founding in 1932, the founder stated: “True happiness can be achieved when spiritual peace of mind is combined with a limitless supply of material goods. This must be the true mission of our company.” He went on to establish the PHP Institute in 1946, and the Matsushita Institute of Government & Management in 1979, and their charters also include this concept. Achieving “material and spiritual affluence” truly was his life-long mission.
We have a speech from the management policy meeting in 1982, where our founder shared a strong sense of crisis with top management and employees.

Today, thanks to your efforts, our company continues to prosper. As you know, Matsushita Electric has a Basic Business Philosophy. If we follow this BBP, we will be able to avoid serious failures.

However, despite reiterating its importance, I believe that top management have a poor understanding of the BBP, and the result has been a series of failures.


Hundreds and thousands of people have poured their heart and soul into keeping the spirit of tradition alive for the sake of Japan’s prosperity. Times may change, but the truth endures. That we must continue to revitalize the spirit of Matsushita’s traditions goes without saying. But we must never criticize the underlying spirit. 


Matsushita must continue to grow and evolve. So who is stopping us from doing this? Surprisingly, the answer may be us. I believe that the responsibility lies not with employees, but with management.

(Excerpt from 1982 management policy meeting)

“We are the ones who have neglected the BBP and held back growth.” In this case, “we” refers to management, but in any case, it was a clear warning that the BBP was being neglected. After the founder passed away in 1989, I believe that adherence to the BBP weakened even further.

Management never intended this to happen. As business conditions deteriorated, each organization made achieving their profit and sales plans the top priority when they should have focused on becoming more competitive. Or, with an eye to avoiding similar failures, they tied themselves up with rules and regulations and eventually became reluctant to take on new challenges. I believe this is why we have failed to fully achieve autonomous management over the past 30 years.

Recently, we significantly updated the BBP for the first time in 60 years to encourage everyone to apply it to everything they do.
At Panasonic, each of us is expected to approach their work like an entrepreneur. We must have a sense of “Ownership” as defined in the Panasonic Leadership Principles (PLP). In other words, we are expected to cultivate a sense of responsibility that allows us to leverage our abilities to find a better approach, the courage to implement it, and the dedication to achieve outstanding results.

This is quite different from following a rule or process and doing it exactly as described. That’s not work—that’s a task. Work is an activity that is more efficient and produces greater value, even if it means making changes to rules and processes. This is the essence of ownership, and this is how we work at Panasonic.
I want you to break away from old-fashioned rules and approaches and “UNLOCK” your individual potential and innate abilities. My goal is to change this company so that you can devote yourself to taking on new challenges.

I decided that “Kei” would be my “Kanji of the Year” for 2024. I had a hard time finding a character with a meaning similar to the English word “UNLOCK,” but “Kei” means “to open, to open up” as well as “enlightenment.” To enlighten others, we ourselves must have a pretty good understanding. “Kei” can also mean “dawn.”

Let’s eliminate work that doesn’t create customer value. Let’s digitize routine tasks. Let’s focus on value creation. If we can do this, then we will be able to maximize our individual potential. Let’s make this a year of “personal growth” and “business growth.” I have high expectations that each and every one of you will exercise your autonomy and responsibility.

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