The only data you need are those needed for making a decision. Yet in my experience, much data reported to head offices are rarely needed or used. At one point an individual datum might have been important for some kind of decision which is why its collection was mandated. Years later though, few people can remember what important decision that was.
A highly successful Japanese CEO I know who had just taken a new role leading a deeply troubled company in Japan asked me, “What are the top three things I need to do to turn around a business?”
“There’s only one,” I told him. “You need to be brutally honest.”
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.
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.
Buy-in is nice to have in theory but in practice no prerequisite to act. The most successful leaders I know do not delay execution only to seek buy-in. Rather, they act first and use successful results in to get buy-in. After all, nothing is more powerfully persuasive in achieving buy-in than experiencing real success. Continue reading
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.
In a small Tokyo sales office of a Kansai-based company, the sales manager in charge habitually turns away sales people from other companies who call unannounced as a matter of course. It doesn’t matter what they have to offer or whom they would like to meet. He is uninterested. The office is small enough that when the sales manager sends a visitor packing, it is in full view of staff.
Yet when his own sales people make the same kind of calls on a prospect company, the sales manager expects that at least his sales people will be received, heard, and possibly connected with the right person who can judge for himself or herself if a longer conversation is warranted.
When it comes to identifying their own successor, Japan CEO’s whom I know often find themselves in exile in a land of no good options. Yet it does not have to be so.
What do I mean by “no good options?”