The World Needs Tri-Sector Leadership!

To be honest, I’m always reluctant to adopt contemporary western business and political thoughts and concepts without any reflection, as almost all the Japanese tend to do so. Especially when they are “imported” to Japan, they have usually become old-fashioned where they had originated.

However, as far as the newly invented concept “Tri-Sector Leadership”, I’m very excited to find it in the current issue of the “Harvard Business Review”. You may now wonder what it is. So, let’s take a look at what the originators say as below:

The critical challenges society faces — such as water scarcity, access to education, and the rising cost of healthcare —  increasingly require the business, government and nonprofit sectors to work together to create lasting solutions. But this is only possible if the senior executives of our leading institutions are what Dominic Barton, Worldwide Managing Director of McKinsey & Company, refers to as “tri-sector athletes” —  leaders able to engage and collaborate across all three sectors.

There are so many challenges in the world we have to address immediately, while they have become more and more complicated due to the complexity of the modern world. In order to tackle them effectively, all the resources in three sectors, that is to say, “government”, “business” and “civil society” must be combined and used. The tri-sector leadership is capable of doing so effectively thanks to its personal background. Such a leadership is defined to have the following characteristics:

Balanced motivations. A desire to create public value no matter where they work, combining their motivations to wield influence (often in government), have social impact (often in nonprofits) and generate wealth (often in business)

Transferable skills. A set of distinctive skills valued across sectors, such as quantitative analytics, strategic planning and stakeholder management

Contextual intelligence. A deep empathy of the differences within and between sectors, especially those of language, culture and key performance indicators

Integrated networks. A set of relationships across sectors to draw on when advancing their careers, building top teams, or convening decision-makers on a particular issue

Prepared mind. A willingness to pursue an unconventional career that zigzags across sectors, and the financial readiness to take potential pay cuts from time to time

Intellectual thread. Holistic subject matter expertise on a particular tri-sector issue by understanding it from the perspective of each sector

When I left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2005 after having served for 12 years as a (rather successful) career diplomat, everybody whom I encountered asked me the same question: “Why did you quit such an eminent job?” Whenever asked so, I always replied as follows:

“Well, I’ve been somehow feeling a wind which continues to push me forward. To react on it correctly, I must try to be as free as possible, I suppose.”

Of course, nobody understood it and believed me (at least in Japan). Instead, many people suspected I would have run for a election of the National Diet, as other former young bureaucrats did at that time.

Sincerely, I didn’t have any ambition to become a politician. During my career in Kasumigaseki, or the Japanese democracy, I’ve fully understood politicians can never do what they really want, except for prime minisiter. To become prime minister, we must overcome lots of hardships in Nagatacho, or the Japanese domestic political scenes, for nearly 30 years. Within 30 years, the world will change so drastically that our own readiness to make it better will easily have become decayed. From the beginning of my new voyage, I just wanted to do the right thing and make Japan and the rest of the world peaceful and prosperous. That is not compatible with a Japanese traditional ambition in the domestic politics, I firmly believe.

After having acted as entrepreneur, CEO, author and trainer of human resource management for 9 years, I can now speak three different languages: In Kasumigaseki and Nagatacho, I can behave appropriately as a former diplomat, while all the bureaucrats and politicians will listen to what I’m telling. To business leaders, I speak in a totally different language, so that they can understand how I want to make the world better. Last but not least, I always enjoy communications with the civil society through social media (This weblog in English is one of my projects in this regard), while it recognizes me as author.  Based on that, I’ve been gradually trying to tackle bigger issues as before, such as tritiated water from the first nuclear reactor in Fukushima.

Now I finally understand what I am. I’ve been seeking the Japanese style of tri-sector leadership. To combat current global uncertainty, the world really needs cross-border network of such a leadership. At first, I’ll begin to make a platform where Japanese tri-sector leaders can get together for the better world in the future. They should be world-class “Ryoma Sakamoto” in the 21st century.


It seems one of the critical moments in the Japan bubble will come next week: My closest alliance partner, Mr. “HKD”, sent me the latest results of his statistical analysis on the Nikkei 225 index as below:

20140117    -1    16553.73    over 806.53
20140120    -1    16707.93    over 973.47
*20140121    -1    16204.12    over 469.66
*20140122    -1    16099.6     over 365.14
20140123    -1    16409.3      over 74.84
20140124    -1    16119.55    over 385.09
20140127    -1    16152.87    over 418.41
*20140128    1    15631.31    over -103.15
20140129    -1    15978.26    under 243.8
20140130    -1    15905.91    over 171.45
20140131    -1    15891.09    over 156.63
20140203    -1    15889.56    over 155.1
20140204    -1    15888.03    over 153.57
20140205    -1    15886.45    over 151.99

My adaptive unconscious says the Japanese stock market will sharply go up from around January 21 but fall suddenly within a week. After that, the human kind will step into the unknown world with a complexy of combined risks all over the world.

Be careful and stay tuned…

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