May 19, 2022

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Reggie Fils-Aimé remembers the touching advice he received from late Satoru Iwata

Reggie Fils-Aimé remembers the touching advice he received from late Satoru Iwata
picture: nintendo

This week saw the launch of Disable the game, from the Bronx to the top of Nintendo Written by Reggie Fils-Aimé, it’s a book on business leadership from the former Nintendo Chief of America that offers plenty of interesting insights. While he is eclectic and meticulous about the details he provides about Nintendo’s operations, one feature that develops well in the book is the evolving relationship between Fils-Aimé and late Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata.

Iwata-san was highly respected, of course, in 2021 Iwata asks the book It’s worth seeking out first-hand insights from his career. In the case of Fils-Aimé, we see the impact that Iwata-san had on his approach to work, and indeed to life more broadly. It is clear that a strong friendship formed, as shown in the very poignant early sections that outline visits to see Iwata-san when he was ill and recovering in the hospital, for example.

Perhaps one notable section is the guidance Iwata-san provided to help NoA executives work more effectively and in harmony with his colleagues in Kyoto. Fils-Aimé had already built a very successful career in corporate America, yet he was encouraged to change his approach to combine his skills with a more subtle touch.

At first, Iwata-san addressed her similarities to “outsiders” who only joined Nintendo in the 2000s, and encouraged more listening when dealing with employees, saying the following:

“We have a unique challenge to understand and maintain company culture while also moving the company forward. I want you to really listen to all of our employees. I want you to really try to understand their point of view before you start pushing your ideas. You are so powerful. Our people, even NCL employees, want to please you.” …and you have very good ideas. But you will not always be right. Please be sure to consider other people’s perspectives.”

It was a deep conversation. He continued, “I have to do this too. I’m trying to push Nintendo in a new way. However, Mr. Miyamoto and others have been part of the company for a very long time. I need to make sure they’re with me as we go on this journey.”

I felt at the conclusion of this dinner that we had moved from a manager/subordinate or mentor/protector relationship, to one of friendship. I’d like to incorporate his vision into all of my future work at Nintendo and beyond.

Although the book identifies occasions when there may be disagreements, it is clear that there is a strong mutual respect that emphasized the relationship. This, undoubtedly, helped to achieve a number of successes in their years of work together.

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Reggie close up
Photo: Nintendo Life / Zion Grassl

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