While I sometimes hear CEOs complain about their lack of authority in a matrix organization, the most successful CEOs I know never do. They have all mastered the matrix, wield tremendous authority, and influence their own and the business’s advantage despite the ambiguities inherent to a matrix organization. If you are the CEO of a Japanese operation of a global company, work within a matrix organization, and you feel your authority is stymied, think again. You just might have far more power and authority than you realize, if you know how to wield these right.
If you want to achieve dramatic change in mindset and behavior, the fastest way is through provocation. By provocation, I mean deliberately evoking a visceral emotional response in others. There is nothing wrong with provocation if you do it right. It’s just that, as a leader, you ought to be provocative, but never a provocateur—the two are not the same.
On February 5th, I conducted an on-stage conversation with LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy Japan President, Norbert Leuret, for both the American and French Chambers of Commerce at the Tokyo American Club. Here are my takeaways from that conversation.
The most successful expat CEOs in Japan I know never adapt their leadership style to their company’s culture. They adapt their company’s culture to their leadership style, and there is no reason you cannot do the same in your company in Japan.
Some have argued the reason for Carlos Ghosn’s legal trouble is for having pushed change too hard—that he crossed some kind of Japanese nationalistic redline in wanting to merge Nissan and Renault, giving the French company control over the Japanese entity. Had Ghosn been more conservative in his actions, they reason, he would not be in the predicament in which he finds himself. This narrative, however, is disingenuous.
All strategic plans are perfect on paper in a theoretical static world. However, no strategic plan ever survives confrontation with the ever-changing realities of business and your perception of them. A robust strategy is one that can adapt rapidly to change in the environment as well as to change in your understanding of that environment. Below are three behaviors and practices for robust strategy common to my most successful clients.
The scarcest resource in a business today is not talent, money, or technical ability, but rather independent thought and the courage to act on it.
As 2018 comes to a close, I foresee three trends based on my experience with clients. Here are business trends to keep an eye on in 2019.