Steven's Blog

Market Entry Manifesto

Last week, a reporter from The Telegraph in the UK contacted me for my views on the challenges of market entry in Japan.

My market entry manifesto is below:

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Identify Cause. Never Presume.

The CEO of a well-known US company in Japan contacted me recently to ask whether I thought flatter organizational structures are better than more hierarchical ones. He learned that vital information from the ranks was not getting to him fast enough and thought that a flatter structure might resolve the problem. He was, in fact, asking the wrong question, because his question presumes cause is organizational structure, whereas it might not be.

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Mitsubishi vs. Japanese Culture

In light of the recent Mitsubishi scandal, Bloomberg invited me back to discuss Japanese corporate culture and whether or not Japan is to blame for the recent scandal.

You can watch our discussion in the video above.

If you’d prefer to read this interview, the following transcript has been provided by Bloomberg:

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Conversation with Barilla Japan CEO

I conducted an onstage conversation with Barilla Japan CEO, Antony Strianese.

Here are my takeaways.

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Culture Change Manifesto

I define culture as norms of behaviors based on shared beliefs. When a leader says he or she wants to change the culture of his or her company, the ultimate goal is always to change norms of behaviors.

If I want to understand the culture of a company, all I need to do is observe which behaviors are encouraged and rewarded, which are discouraged and penalized, and which are the behaviors to which people are indifferent. I can understand the beliefs that drive those behaviors by asking questions.

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Conversation with Nihon Michelin CEO

On October 19th, I conducted an on-stage conversation with Nihon Michelin CEO, Paul Perriniaux, at the Tokyo American Club for the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and the French Chamber of Commerce.

Here are a few of my takeaways.

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It’s Never Because “This is Japan”

Address real root cause, and you can accelerate change in your business. Blame your ailments on Japan, and you will remain permanently stuck.

It’s up to you.

What is it about Japan that makes companies as they are? Below are a few statements from a company manager, many of which you might find familiar in your own experience in Japan.

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Conversation with BMW Japan CEO

On September 22nd, I conducted an on-stage conversation with BMW Group Japan CEO Peter Kronschnabl. This event, co-hosted by the American and German Chambers of Commerce, was attended by over one-hundred people on the fifty-first floor of Tokyo’s posh Roppongi Hills Club.

While this event was off-the-record, I enumerate nine of my personal takeaways below from the conversation with the insightful, innovative and consummate international business leader, Peter Kronschnabl.

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