Chauvinism in Disguise

Once when I made an offer on buying a house in Japan, the owner initially accepted, and then immediately rejected my offer after learning I was not Japanese. For me, such experiences are by far the exception and not the norm. Nonetheless chauvinism, racism, and xenophobia exist in Japan just as anywhere else, and while outrage might be justified, I have rarely found outrage helpful. Chauvinism often masks a deeper concern. What is presumed conventional wisdom is often chauvinism in disguise.

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Business meeting with salespeople

Motivation is Overrated

When a CEO asks me how to better motivate his or her employees to change, the focus is on the wrong thing. Motivation can get a person started, but only discipline can see him or her through to an outcome.

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Empathy Trumps Projection

Empathy Trumps Projection

Projection and empathy are not the same thing, but they are often confused. Empathy is the ability to understand how someone is thinking, whereas projection is presuming a person thinks like you. Be careful not to project when it is empathy that you intend. Continue reading


Business man walking inside building.

Change First, Culture Later

If you are a leader seeking rapid change in your company, forget about culture. Culture will take care of itself. Focus on new ways of doing things. The genesis of a new culture results from a change in behavior, not the other way around. Change the way people do things. Culture change follows as a result.

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Businessmen negotiating

Be Unreasonable

Strategy is about creating the future, not predicting it. You develop strategy by starting with a bold vision of the business in the future and working backwards, not by an understanding of the present business and working forward. The latter merely entices you to compromise your vision. It is only the former that can take you where you want to go.

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Business person reading book

The Best Educate Themselves

“I am reading every book by Peter Drucker I can get my hands on.” That’s what Tsukuba International School Principal, Shaney Crawford, said to me nearly nine years ago. Never before, nor since, has any salaried manager or company CEO ever told me anything even remotely similar even though this is precisely the type of self-education that most ought to be doing. When Shaney Crawford asked me to serve on the school’s board, I immediately agreed.

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Business people in a meeting discussing development

Blindsided by Business Development

It is not uncommon for a CEO not to know exactly how his or her sales and business development people routinely behave in front of real customers and prospects without observing them in action. I recently learned of how one CEO was blindsided when he did just that.

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Problem with Engagement Surveys

Problem with Engagement Surveys

Engagement surveys mask both organizational dysfunction and organizational health. If you are using their results to make decisions, you are at risk of making the wrong ones.

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