51 Keys to Becoming a Reliable Subordinate

by Matsuo Iwata


253 pages / May 2013 / 1,400 yen (w/o tax)

A former CEO of The Body Shop and Starbucks talks about how to become the kind of subordinate that people in higher positions want to support.


This is the long-awaited sequel to the bestseller 51 Keys to Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow by author Matsuo Iwata.

“I find it hard to get along with my boss.”
“I don’t really know how to communicate or discuss issues with my boss.”
“I want to handle my boss well and work smoothly.”

Some people are faced with these concerns.
Of course, there was a period when even Mr. Iwata was a subordinate before he became the CEO at The Body Shop and Starbucks.
How did he approach his work and training while he was in a lower position?
Also, as a person in a senior position or as a businessman, what kind of subordinates was he glad to have?
Using two perspectives from his experience both as a subordinate and as an executive who had subordinates, the author presents 51 points that describe the ideal subordinate to whom you can say, “I’ll leave it to you.”

From the table of contents

Chapter One: A subordinate doesn’t have to be obedient
Chapter Two: A subordinate does more than he’s asked to
Chapter Three: A subordinate doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect
Chapter Four: A subordinate doesn’t need to overreach or strain
Chapter Five: A subordinate can control his boss
Chapter Six: A subordinate should read and study a lot
Chapter Seven: A subordinate should first improve himself as a person

From the editor

I’m very happy that 51 Keys to Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow became a bestseller. This time, I wanted Mr. Iwata to talk about how to be the ideal subordinate-and that’s how this book came about.
Of course, Mr. Iwata was a subordinate at some point. I imagine he was uncompromising and had to overcome many obstacles. How did the young Mr. Iwata interact with his superiors and build his career to eventually become the CEO of The Body Shop and Starbucks?
Even for me as the youngest employee at my workplace, these thoughts and methods are extremely useful. I recommend this book to everyone who answers to someone at work.


Matsuo Iwata

Matsuo Iwata was born in 1958. After graduating from the Osaka University School of Economics, he started working for Nissan. He gained wide experience in production, quality control, purchasing, and sales before enrolling at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He then went on to work for the international consulting company Gemini Consulting Japan and then for Japan Coca-Cola in Japan as an executive, prior to becoming CEO of the video game company Atlus and turning it around after it had suffered three consecutive periods of fiscal loss. He also worked at Takara as managing director and then became the CEO of The Body Shop.in Japan.
Under his leadership, the number of Body Shop outlets increased from 107 to 175, and sales rose from 6.7 billion yen to 14 billion yen. Later as CEO of Starbucks Japan, he adopted the slogan “A brand that will shine on in 100 years” and further improved performance. In 2010, sales reached an all-time high of 101.6 billion yen. His achievements were recognized when he was named one of the 100 Most Inspirational Alumni from the 37,000 graduates of the UCLA Business School-a distinction that only four Japanese have achieved.
Mr. Iwata is currently training the next generation of leaders through Leadership Consulting. His book 51 Keys to Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow (Sunmark) is a bestseller with over 300,000 copies sold. He has also written Mission: The Former Starbucks CEO’s Thoughts on Work (Ascom), The 31 Things I Said to Employees As Starbucks CEO (Chukei), and 55 Things to Consider Before You Quit (Keizaikai) among others.