“What is our Why?”, “What is our style?”, “Who are we anyway?”
These were some of the questions the founder and some other people in Akatsuki asked them in the winter season in Tokyo in February 2016. It was still cold but the plum blooming was just about to start, and so was a great idea to emerge.
For the Japan based game company Akatsuki, corporate culture and values are essential but when Takumi Onoh and the company founder Genki Shiota and some other people talked about it at a meeting in 2016, they felt that there was a missing link in their existing culture. The company had a mission-vision statement in some PowerPoint slides, but this could not give answers to the questions “Why are we existing” and “What is our higher purpose in society”. So, they discussed how this could be improved and came up with the idea to collect the company identity more comprehensive in the form of a book.
Akatsuki no Kotonoha (Akatsuki’s style)
The goal was to give a more clear picture to their employees about what the “アカツキらしさ” (Akatsuki’s style) means. Having the company values, jargon and story be captured in something tangible, a physical book, rather than just in an easy to forget PowerPoint felt much more powerful to them.The idea for the “アカツキのコトノハ” (Akatsuki’s word) book was born. 。
Without knowing, they began to create a so called culture book, which became quite popular in recent years, especially through the famous Zappos Culture book. It is such a great leadership practice, that it is also included in the Mangement 3.0 toolbox.
But easier said than done.
To publish a book is not a quick project and the first deadlines could not be met. It took almost one year until the core-team held the first version of THEIR book with great pride in their hands.
However, the book did not feel compete yet, it needed some more input from the employees as it should be also a representation of them. So, they made a big workshop with all 300 employees to collect more concrete ideas about the Akatsuki culture.
Those inputs have then be included in the second version of the book, which I will examine carefully in my next blog post.
I think to have such a book instead of values only is a great tool to strengthen the corporate culture and it makes it much easier for newcomers to join the company. Everybody can easily get a good idea what is the company’s identity and how someone can fit in.