Speaking

Steve speaks at international conferences and meetings, and coporate and non-profit organization events in both English and Japanese. I have given keynotes and speeches at the Risk Management Association of Australia, NTT Data, Nomura Research Institute, IBM Japan, and Kidpower in the United States. Some of my talk titles are below.


The Art of Miscommunication in International Business: Japanese “Art of the Stomach (腹芸)” and American Straight Talk

The way Japanese people and Americans naturally use language in communication is based on entirely opposite values. Even Japanese who speak English and Americans who speak Japanese who express perfectly in the foreign language what they intended to say in their native tongue risk not only misunderstanding, but may also cause offense, and appear deceptive or untrustworthy. In business, this can be disastrous. This talk explains this phenomenon, its cultural and historic origins, and how to avoid the traps of international miscommunication.

Forget about Top-Down and Bottom-Up: Typical Japanese Approaches are Middle-Out

Japanese managers think of top-down and bottom-up strategy in terms of who is driving the boat: the leader as opposed to the staff. The reality is that most Japanese companies are in fact middle-out. At the same time, many managers misunderstand these terms. Top-down/bottom-up refers to whether strategy is built down from a vision of what a company wants to become, or built up from what it is currently, not about who is driving. I look at Japanese approaches to strategy, and talk about realities, myths, and misconceptions. I discuss causes for failure in execution and talk about what can be done to achieve success.

It’s No Longer Think Global Act Local: Today We must Think Local but Act Global

As many Japanese companies seek to go international as an avenue for growth, they look for ways of blending of the foreign market. This may actually be the opposite of what is required for success. It is often the the “Japaneseness” of a business that makes it successful abroad.  look at some success and failure stories and talk about what companies can do to be successful in international business.

Lost at Sea and Rescued by the French Marines: Lessons for Life and Business

I talk about a harrowing experience on the Mediterranean with my good German friend and bromance partner Dietmar. Yes, we were ultimately picked up by the French Marines after leaving the Port of Marseille for a three hour cruise. This tale is a cross among Gilligan’s Island, Dead Calm, and the French Connection II.

Other Titles:

Raising Bilingual Multinational Kids: What I have Learned About Global Mindset from My Five-Year-Old

Tall Poppies and Nails that Stick Up: How to Thrive While Being Different in Different Cultures

Why Success in Consulting and Success in Academia Require Doing Exactly Opposite Things

Why your R&D Scientific Researcher is Potentially Your Best Weapon in Understanding Markets Despite His Reticence about Business

Treasuring you Failures: They Are Your Greatest Asset

The Mirror Images of Strategy Execution and Risk Management: What Each Field Can Learn From the Other

The Fallacy of Strategic Planning: How to Avoid the Trap