In 2002, only two years after joining Nintendo as a game programmer, Satoru Iwata was entrusted with the highest office of the company. His arrival in the presidency ushered in a period of rapid innovation and growth, though fraught with challenges (and a couple of bumps in the road).
We picked five basic teachings of the former CEO of Nintendo, who recently died of cancer victim.
Get involved in all processes
One of the most memorable qualities of his interest Iwata was involved in every process of creation and development of video games. And, as he showed, a good leader is not limited to issue orders from his office.
Iwata, a renowned computer engineer, was also a gamer fan, so was well aware of the products of his company. He began his career at Nintendo as a programmer, and being named CEO, continued to develop games in person . Popular series of Pokémon were the result of their creativity and work.
Shortly before his death, he said in an interview with Time magazine: “My experience in the field of technology helps me a lot, because it means that engineers can not fool me.”
If you fail, correct the course
In 2001 he was released a gaming console Nintendo happened to 64: the GameCube. Although it sold 22.6 million units worldwide, he did not reach the expected success. In addition, it was quickly displaced by the Xbox, the video game competition.
Iwata, who had just taken command of the company- knew he had to act quickly to reverse the damage. He had a triple challenge ahead: to develop an innovative, user-friendly console and affordable. He had to regain lost ground.
That is how the engineers developed Nintendo Wii, which became the most successful video game industry. Released in 2006, Wii outperformed its competitors in terms of sales and earned record profits for the company.
Your main success? The Wii Remote, a control light, friendly and able to detect movements in three dimensional plane miniature control.
Adapt to the environment (and, preferably, do not delay too)
Often, Iwata was criticized for reacting slowly to market trends. For many years, the company president was reluctant to develop free or low-cost smartphones and other mobile games.
However, this resistance soon vanished: Iwata had to admit it was time for Nintendo to move into new areas. “The world is changing, and any company that does not adapt to the change disappear, “he said.
In March this year Iwata revealed the company plans to partner with a Japanese mobile gaming company. The idea? Develop games for smartphones based on the popular Nintendo characters.
Some critics claim that Nintendo reacted slowly to the industry trends. But others believe that finding ways to pivot a company properly is not something that happens from one day to the morning.
Stay close to your customers
Iwata was a genius of public relations. With its playful, refreshing and spontaneous personality, he became a beloved and respected leader in the community videogamers. In 2011 he participated in the launch of a video series called Nintendo Direct, in which personally revealed some big surprises of the company. Also, he used to surprise their fans by appearing disguised as a lively character in public presentations.
Furthermore, the former chief executive of Nintendo created the Iwata Asks series, in which the team interviewed some game developers, offering fans a look at its history and anecdotes.
But Iwata also understood the importance of hearing the negative reviews of their customers.When fans responded negatively to any idea, quickly changed strategy. As it happened recently with a Nintendo DS which generated negative reviews on a technology expo: immediately, Iwata tweeted a message in which he thanked his fans their comments and promised to meet their expectations.
This year came to rumors that Nintendo would lose large sums light. This was due to several factors, including poor sales of some new products like the new versions of Wii and 3DS, as well as the fall of the yen against the dollar.
In this situation, investors were not at all happy, and many speculated that the work of Iwata could be at risk . As part of its strategy to tackle the crisis, the manager quickly accepted public responsibility for the setbacks of the company.
But not only that: it announced it would cut his salary in half for five months and be deprived of some bonds to search compensate the damage. “I feel responsible for damaging the trust of our customers, we have significantly impacted the financial forecast that annual dividends have been lower than expected … With these reductions we seek to show a sincere attitude we accept our responsibility. It is our duty to recover our financial performance and Nintendo bring back to a leading position in the market. ”
Many CEO could do nothing wrong to assume this responsibility and humility lesson … right?