Business success comes from the head and the heart says Tairua author

07 Sep 2021

Tairua resident and businessman, Kiyoshi Suzaki, reckons business decisions should come from the heart as well as the brain, and he has written a book about it. 

The book, “Results from the Heart”, has been endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who writes in the foreword, “I agree with Kiyoshi that if we all learned to use the brain, but at the same time to listen to the heart, we could make our world a happier, more peaceful and successful place.”

As a business consultant, Japanese born Kiyoshi has promoted his philosophy worldwide through his writing and lectures. His publications have been translated into 12 languages and he shares many of his ideas via YouTube. He is currently developing a software program aimed at empowering people to identify their aspirations and talents, and work towards their goals in life. 

“Artificial intelligence is like meditation,” Kiyoshi says. “It synthesises and brings clarity. And by incorporating AI in the software project I’m working on, I aim to help people achieve clarity about themselves and their personalities. I want to help them be sincere and truthful about themselves, then chart their findings and work towards continuous improvement. 

“We are living in a turbulent environment. I want people to feel empowered and able to adjust their behaviour towards reaching their goal. Of course, this takes willpower and they may need to dig deeper into themselves to find the inspiration to follow it through. I also believe that our imagination can be powerful in helping us achieve if we first explore and imagine what we want.”

The martial arts enthusiast sits cross-legged with ease as he explains the rationale behind his book. “I believe that to find meaning and purpose at work we must use our brain, but also listen to our heart,” he says. 

Results from the Heart offers questions that determine how much our brain is actually engaged with our heart. It demonstrates that in a larger workplace, instead of feeling like robots, the job of each worker can be endowed with a deeper meaning if people see themselves as president of their own area of responsibility. This can bring increased morale and increased productivity.

Kiyoshi - known to friends as Kio - grew up in a traditional Japanese family with rules and expectations. But as an adventurous young man, he felt restricted by tradition and longed to follow a different path. An engineer by trade, he eventually left Japan, travelled to America, studied at Stanford University and started a business. 

It was while lecturing during the mid-80s that Kiyoshi developed the idea of increasing efficiency through mini companies within organisations, where workers are empowered to self-manage. He began writing books and lecturing on his business philosophies. He believes people may have abilities that are not being acknowledged or used by employers and sees this as a waste of talent.

A deep-thinking kind of guy, he mixes his curiosity for life with a stillness that may come from the influence of meditation and Zen. About 25 years ago he visited New Zealand, loved it and decided to return. Now he has a home on Tairua’s Mount Paku where he can relax in his hammock and enjoy the expansive views of offshore islands and the Pacific.

A tall man with an easy smile, the 73-year-old has an inquisitive nature and enjoys meeting people - including through hitchhiking. “Whenever such occasion arises, I love the possibilities this brings. The people I meet are so interesting,” he smiles. 

The word “interesting” crops up a lot in Kiyoshi’s conversations. Close to home there is a narrow path leading down to the sea, and this is where he loves to dive and fish. He also enjoys painting and has an eclectic mix of styles decorating the walls of his home. A few are traditional Japanese, some are portraits and others of nature. He is currently working on a large painting of the ocean and what lies beneath.

Pictured: Author, Kiyoshi Suzaki, at home in Tairua.