Authority Isn’t Empowerment

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

veronica prat van thiel and steven bleistein

Conversation with Cartier Japan CEO Veronica Prat Van Thiel

On December 12th, I conducted an onstage conversation with Cartier Japan CEO Veronica Prat Van Thiel at the Roppongi Hills Club in Tokyo co-hosted by the American and French chambers of commerce in Japan. We had a full house, and lots of great questions from the audience.

This was an off-the-record event. Below are my personal takeaways.

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gender diversity

The Acumen of Gender Diversity

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.

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meeting and productivity steven bleistein

Work Less and Boost Productivity

If you want to increase productivity in your business, work less not more. A division of Microsoft Japan reduced the work week from five days to four, closing the office Fridays for everyone, and found productivity jumped forty percent! Yes, that’s right. Microsoft in Japan—not Microsoft in the United States or elsewhere. If Microsoft Japan can boost productivity in this way, so can you in your business.

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Make your own era

Make Your Own Era

The passing of an era in a company is often so subtle as to create an illusion of inertia, like the pushback from the jetway of a passenger jet that is only discernible by looking out the window but otherwise goes unfelt. Such changes in era are only remarked when someone asks, “Were we always like this?”

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Throw Your Lot in

Throw Your Lot in

On the morning of March 11, 2011, I picked out a tie, checked myself in the mirror, and then left the house to go to Tokyo without knowing that I would never again leave that house the same way. It was only hours later that the massive 3/11 earthquake struck Japan and its deadly tsunami ensued.

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No Settlement for Augmented Reality

No Settlement for Augmented Reality

A machine is no ersatz for real, human engagement. A virtual reality is never better than the real thing. A recent visit to Paris reminded me of these truths.

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