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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

What leadership lessons can we learn from Kyocera/JAL for creating affordable integrative medicine

Updated: Apr 25, 2022


I recently heard from an integrative medicine leader that "getting the culture right would result in financial sustainability." I replied that "not getting the culture right (collaborative, energetic, committed - "bitten by the mission") the results would be average and an average integrative medicine units fail over time. So getting culture right is necessary for success but that alone is not sufficient to guarantee successful outcome.

I shared with that leaders, in my view, what we needed was Inamori's Amoeba Management. Mr. Inamori as chair of Kyocera implemented Amoeba Management where every employee plays a major role and voluntarily participates in managing the unit resulting in "management by all." This style of leadership and management saved both Kyocera and Japan Air Lines and allowed for successful turnaround.

I used his principles when I created Georgia Integrative Medicine.

We used a flat-latticed strategy to check the senior leaders - especially myself as the founder/owner/director. The idea was that the person who has the most prior probability of being right should be supported. We also instilled that there was "non-mission critical" position. Everyone's mission was critical to success of the overall mission.

Also, we divided out operation so that every operation had an opportunity to produce revenue - so the front desk team would be able to generate income by the sale of professional grade supplements. Of course, I would make the initial recommendation but the subsequent sales were dependent on front desk team's motivation. By showing clearly their profit/loss, I found that everyone likes winning over losing. We did not have economic incentive or disincentive. This is a key feature of Amoeba Management - there are no non-mission-critical units. Every unit's economical value and their model of profit/loss would be made clear.

We have entered the age of automation; go to pharmacy, supermarkets, and warehouses. All offer robot-AI assisted self-check out. I am actively exploring technology explosion so that we can implement technologies to lessen repetitive work (still mission critical). This way, when we have an opportunity to hire our first employee, he/she can focus on mission critical tasks that only person can/should be able to excel.

While I am preparing to launch several integrative medicine/functional medicine clinics - they all serve the same theme - alternative medical solutions. One unit will focus on sustainability. The other unit will focus on insurance engagement (access to the clinic). The other will focus on creating what looks like a "miracle." I have had some success of helping people with infertility, chronic pain, and patients with cancer (not curing cancer but providing supportive treatments so that they would minimal pain and maximum energy and enhancing natural immune system). Each candidate would have to be evaluated for potential success - if I feel the window of opportunity is too narrow, disease too advanced, and candidates lack the will power or too weak (spirit is willing but body is tired) I will need to defer engagement so that I can focus on someone I am most likely to help.

Yoon Hang Kim MD

Integrative Medicine Leader, Author, Consultant

San Antonio, TX

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