Empowerment is like breathing. We all recognize its need but we’re rarely aware of it until something is wrong. Passivity in business is the most common symptom of lack of empowerment. Continue reading
Most global companies outside of Japan have targets for increasing numbers of women employees, particularly in management. And even in Japan where women are often given short shrift, more global companies now have such targets as well. However, the leaders of the most successful companies I know achieve their objective by doing things right that have nothing to do with women at all, and their businesses and all staff, both men and women, are better off as a result.
If you are the leader of a business in Japan or anywhere else, whether your business is subject to diversity targets or not, below is what I advise.
If you want traction for change among individuals in your organization, it is only when there are clear standards of performance or behavior, accountability to meet them, and support to help people succeed that a change can take hold. In my experience, a deficit in any one of these three will alter the way any change is treated and viewed, and will lose traction as a result.
An executive I was asked to coach told me how she was at wits end trying without success to get a manager on her staff in a significant role to work with an important segment of customers. She did her best to explain to the manager why working with this segment is important to the business and to coach the manager in how to go about working with such customers. The executive made herself available for advice should the manager get stuck and need help, and asked the manager about concerns that she might help address. The executive was doing all the right things time and time again—all to no avail. Her manager simply would not improve. Continue reading
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.
Do you want to strengthen your business’s performance, and grow your business fast? Below are my top five pieces of advice that often run most counter to conventional practices I observe in companies in Japan and elsewhere in the world. Continue reading
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.
I define conservatism as clinging to traditional practices with opposition to change and innovation out of principle. You fight conservatism in an organization through initiating bold action independently and dealing with the consequences, not by insisting others change first. It is the way a person acts that makes him or her conservative, and not necessarily the way he or she thinks.