Incentive Pay Doesn’t Work

If I offered you more money for results, would you change anything that you are doing now?

I have asked this very question to numerous successful CEOs, and invariably the answer is no. I suspect yours is as well.

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The Secret to Persuasive Strategy

All senior level executives and managers are asked to develop and present a strategy, whether global strategy, regional strategy, or simply strategy for a team or department they oversee. Many managers create long slide presentations with lots of data to justify why their strategy is right. However, the most persuasive managers talk about all the reasons their strategy might be wrong. Continue reading

2018 Predictions

I love making predictions, so here is my list of ten predictions for 2018.

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Market Entry Manifesto

Last week, a reporter from The Telegraph in the UK contacted me for my views on the challenges of market entry in Japan.

My market entry manifesto is below:

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Japan, Rotten to the Core? No.

When you hear of malfeasance in American companies like Equifax, Wells Fargo, Valeant, Countrywide Financial and Washington Mutual of subprime mortgage crisis infamy, and even Enron, no one questions whether or not something is rotten in the whole of American corporate culture.

So, why should we think differently when it comes to corporate malfeasance in Japan?

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Big Consequences of Tolerating Small Infractions

Illicit and unethical behavior should never be tolerated, even if the impact is small. For example, if a manager is padding company expenses for personal gain, you really have no choice but to fire the manager, even if it is for less than a few hundred dollars per year. That can be a hard decision to make when the manager’s performance is high, such as a top salesperson, but it is the right decision.

It is a matter of judgement and leadership of the manager rather than a cost-benefit analysis of the infraction.

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Using R&D to Make a Sale is like Eating Your Young

I often see sales people offer highly valuable expert services from an R&D division to a customer for free in order to make a product sale, even when the customer would likely have been happy to pay.

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Kickstarter and Pebble Watch Success: Could this Work in Japan?

Some months back I spent around one hundred dollars for a watch that I had never seen, that did not yet exist, to be made and delivered by a bunch of people I had never heard of. Sound crazy? Well, I wasn’t alone. Over 69,000 people decided to do the same thing. That is the story of the Pebble smartwatch for which over $10 million dollars was raised through Kickstarter crowd funding, a record amount. (I read that the original funding target had been $100,000!)

I received my Pebble last week, and I have to say I think it is a beautiful product, and very cool with its connectivity with my iPhone. I also feel good to be one of the many people that helped bring this product to market. Pebble and Kickstarter have changed the rules about bringing cool consumer products to market.


Japanese electronics have lost much of their cool over last two decades. Japanese giants like Sony, Sharp, and Panasonic have fallen from grace. However, I don’t think the Japanese have lost their sense of cool or extraordinary ability to innovate. Maybe Kickstarter-type crowdfunding and people like the upstarts at Pebble are precisely what Japan needs to revive its moribund electronics industry. The Japanese already have a cultural penchant for pulling together in large numbers to achieve something great. The Kickstarter model seems like it might be a natural fit for Japan.

The only questions may be whether Japan Inc. will tolerate such brash and unchoreographed business practices, and will the government permit such unusual financing methods. Who can say? All I know is I would be happy to kick in ¥10,000 to help bring a cool Japanese smartwatch to market, particularly if I could get one of the first models. Wouldn’t you?