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CEO in the news

Mr Uniqlo's 5 tips for management success

Tadashi Yanai on lessons he has learned from building the fashion empire

Uniqlo chief Tadashi Yanai speaks to The Nikkei at Fast Retailing headquarters in Ariake, Tokyo. (Photo by Rie Ishii)

During a lengthy interview with The Nikkei, Tadashi Yanai, the man behind the Uniqlo brand, revealed his five guides to management success. Clue: his lessons are quite different from what you might normally read in a business book.

1. Discover your "inner megalomaniac"

Being a real entrepreneur means thinking big. Yanai's company's slogan is: "Changing clothes. Changing conventional wisdom. Change the world."

2.Get up early

Yanai rises before dawn -- between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m -- and is in the office by 6:45. He makes a habit of leaving the office early -- between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. This way, he believes, a chief executive has more time to think.

3.Working hard is not enough by itself 

Without knowing the destination, people end up going in circles. Yanai, 68, says management should be like reading a book backwards from the last page.

4.Read books about successful entrepreneurs

Yanai's favourites are biographies of Panasonic founder Konosuke Matsushita and Honda Motor  founder Soichiro Honda. He also recommends "Managing", written by the legendary Harold Geneen who ran the wildly successful (and now defunct) US conglomerate ITT. 

5.Don't worry about becoming a yen billionaire

Yanai believes money is a hopeless reason for wanting to get to the top of business. He thinks too many of his Japanese peers becoming diverted by Mammon. 

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