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7 Questions on Leadership with Yuki Furuta

Name: Yuki Furuta

Title: CTO

Organisation: Happy Quality Co.

Location: Japan

Yuki Furuta is currently the CTO of Happy Quality, an agricultural startup, and previously worked as an engineer for a medical device company with expertise in process design and various process management for medical devices and pharmaceuticals, and is the leader of design thinking enlightenment in the company.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Yuki's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

It is all about taking action in the maximum benefit of the team, rather than yourself.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I believe that I have been passionate about something that I did not have to do, but if there was even the slightest interesting aspect, I would work on it passionately, which led to flexible thinking and as a result, a position as a leader.

In my research as a student, I did not get better results than anyone else, but I am sure that I put in more time than anyone else.

At my previous company, I was given the opportunity to participate in a new sales training program, which as an engineer might not have been originally necessary, and I focused on selling seriously and recorded top sales, I also had the opportunity to participate in a local competition that was not directly related to my work, and I took the self-imposed goal of becoming the first company to win a prize, which I actually did. I can remind myself of such a past.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Make some plans the day before. Most of the time it is not very precise due to various factors, but I believe it is important to be aware of what needs to be done.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

This is a natural change of mindset for me since I started high school away from my parents, living in a dormitory, and starting a situation where I did not know anyone or have any friends at first.

There have been many useful lessons at school and at work, and I have been impressed by some of them. But I think the most important lesson was when I started high school, and I was forced into a situation where nobody knew me or could rely on me.

At first, I was not very good at talking to people who were not close to me, and gatherings at dormitory life were very difficult for me. Naturally, I was also not good at public speaking. Forced into a situation that was potentially difficult for me, I became less uncomfortable and only gained confidence in communicating with others and speaking in front of others.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

That is Change by Design, Revised and Updated, Tim Brown.

I became interested in the idea of design thinking when I learned about it in my work for a medical device company and experienced the culture on a business trip to Silicon Valley. Rather than a clear method, I became aware of the flexibility to apply the idea of design to business, in other words, to be the kind of Design Thinkers described in the book, and found that this has had a very positive effect.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

If there is even the slightest aspect of motivation, it may be a good idea to act passionately anyway.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

This is when I had the opportunity to think and act on how to maximize interest and cause action for hundreds of people.

At that time, the result was an award within the company, but the process was important. I am sure that it was a great asset for me when I thoroughly discussed these two points with my colleagues and tried to come up with ideas and put them into practice: how to formulate a policy that would naturally motivate everyone and how to make it permeate the company.

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