Feature Interview

September 2015

Arc Communications' External Directors: 10 Years, Looking Back and Forward

How to Support Arc's Growth as an External Director

Ohsato: Lastly, could you point out several future challenges for Arc?

Mase: You are the type of person who, by nature, likes field work and enjoys nothing more than successfully completing a customer's project. However, you recently started bringing up themes such as "establishing a corporate structure," "transfer of authority" and "transparency" to board meetings, so I feel we can see Arc's evolution from a venture into the next stage. The impending challenge would be building an organization where operations can be carried out without you directly supervising every single detail.

Shinbori: Indeed, that is the top issue at hand at Arc. However, although it may sound paradoxical, I think that an analog quality is also required in management. For example, the level of commitment or warmth of the president, I think companies that convey this analog feeling are the ones that survive. Sowing the seeds of the next business and rearing them while keeping Ms. Ohsato's personal touch seems to be the best option.

Ohsato: Up until now I was rather often advised against venturing into new endeavors, but it looks like I finally received the external directors' authorization to try something new. (Laughs)

Matsuzaki: Your corporate culture is still a young one, so I feel that possibilities will broaden even further over the next ten years. Moreover, with this increasing potential, it will become crucial for you, Ms. Ohsato, to clearly define your vision. Whether you would rather pursue growth in the current direction, or whether you feel the necessity to chase new growth potentials in other fields.

Mase: Whichever strategy you opt for, it will also become important not to adhere too closely to past assets and know-how.

Shinbori: John D. Krumboltz, a professor at Stanford University, has published a career theory called "planned happenstance." It theorizes that very few plan their success from a young age, and that 80% of people make a success out of a profession they came across by chance. In other words, even when you are concentrating your strength on something that is right before your eyes, you have to be prepared to jump on the bandwagon if what comes next is better. I sense that it is our role to also give you advice so that you will not let good opportunities pass you by.

Ohsato: Indeed. Please give me a push when the time is right for me to take on a new challenge. Until now, the new services I launched were based on actual projects with our customers, but my interactions with customers in business will decrease if I entrust our staff with the whole sales aspect. So, I would like to broaden our sphere of activity to new fields in order for me to continue getting new ideas on a regular basis.

Matsuzaki: There are ways to find inspiration even from a distance. So it will be essential to efficiently organize your time once you entrust the existing business to your staff.

Shinbori: In the sense of bringing fresh perspectives to the job, I think that prompting change in a business is one of our roles as external directors. I also have experience working in companies with completely different cultures, so I would also like to engage in setting up a new corporate culture in the future.

Mase: Also, I think we have entered a new phase when it comes to what is expected of us as external directors. It seems that we are shifting to a stance where we are required to bring in new opinions based on our knowledge of the marketplace and Arc's track record, as opposed to our added value being limited to giving an outsider's look. I'm thrilled by the challenges we will be facing from now on as external directors.

Ohsato: I'm also thrilled the new possibilities we see appearing every year, and I count on you for continuing to help us as Arc follows its growth curve. If you all carry on objectively evaluating us from a customer's perspective while affectionately watching over us, I know we will be able to work without complacency toward increasing our customers' satisfaction. Also, please keep on supervising me so that, despite my many interests, I don't stray too far away from our main business and never idle in the face of growth. (Laughs)
Thank you very much.