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Steve Yamada

In 2008, Maypro won the Nutracon NutrAward with its ingredient, Oligonol. Behind the ingredient and the company's success is Steve Yamada, Maypro's CEO. Fi took a few minutes to find out a little more about Yamada and his hidden talent of dancing with the stars.

Fi: It may not be well known within the industry, but Fi heard that you are very light on your feet as a ballroom dancer. The premise of ballroom dancing is one person leads and the other follows. But to lead well, one must plan moves ahead of time and lead with the intent of demonstrating your partner's strengths. How do these principles apply to your leadership skills at Maypro?

Steve Yamada and his wife, Noriko, at Machu Picchu in PeruSY: Success in ballroom dancing requires athletic capability, stamina, and sensitivity to music and rhythm. It also requires hard work, the desire to always improve, passion and … good coaching. These are all important factors whether one is dancing or running a business. Like all the other sports, there are many basic principles of dance that must be learned before one can fully understand and fully execute a full-on routine. Even though understanding and practicing these basic principles can be boring for beginners, one has to master the basic principles before trying the fancy routines. Otherwise, they will never become a successful competitor.

Business is the same. We try to teach and train our staff to understand and execute basic principles of our international and nutrition business of raw materials and finished products. Unless they understand the basics, there will always be limitations for their achievements. It is not surprising to me that the basics of dance are the same for business.

Posture — When competing, judges watch only posture in the first round for one to five seconds to immediately eliminate lousy competitors. No matter what fancy steps they may try, if their posture is not good and not balanced, they will be eliminated very quickly.

Posture is important, since good body movement depends on harmonious movements of arms, legs and everything in between. In the case of business, the staff has to understand that they are a part of the whole organisation. Naturally, they have to do a good job as the person in charge of some specific section or department, but they also must work in harmony with other departments as part of a greater whole.

Movement — The judges also watch the movements. Dancers have to move sometimes in dynamic ways, sometimes in delicate subtle ways and sometimes in a way to impress the audience.

In the case of business, a company has to decide whether, for instance, if the economy is good, how to make a dynamic impact. Or if the economy is slow, whether to make subtle adjustments or find impressive ways to market, sell and promote to gain the most attention from the customers.

Leading and following — A leader must give clear directions to followers. But leaders have to understand the strong and weak points of the follower. And, the follower has to understand the strong and weak points of the leader. Otherwise, the couple will be out of sync.

Business is the same. The leaders should not expect too much from staffers who lack the skills necessary to do the job. They must also know when to challenge others to best utilize their talents and passions. Above all, each must co-operate to fill in the other's weaknesses and have a goal of success.

Know the competition and analyze the environment — What is the condition of the floor? Who are main opponents? Who are the judges? How much is the prize? What is the physical condition of yourself and your partner?

The list goes on. Business is the same. Are you competing against someone you can never beat? What does your customer value most … price, quality, shipment or services?? How much gross profit do you make?? Is your staff mentally and physically in good condition now, or do they need more practice?

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