A company I know has a stated value of innovation that it parades out in front employees on a regular basis, but rarely, if ever, do any staff or managers innovate anything—including staff in research and development!
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 →
Many companies are struggling to find the qualified people they need, so they resort to retaining the people they have whether qualified or not. They fight to eliminate or at least reduce rates of attrition when it is increased attrition that can do the business the most good. Retention of the best is all that matters.
Recently, the head of a large business unit of a major international company here in Japan told me that the company’s rate of attrition is of no particular concern to him, even though it is higher than industry average.
It is only aversion to reasonable business risk that is a problem. When a business leader complains of excessive risk aversion in his staff, the underlying concerns are frequently personal. Continue reading →
Nationality and national culture are not granular enough to explain behavior. There is no “Japanese mindset.”
I have traveled to more than twenty countries, and lived outside my native United States for almost my entire adult life. I speak Japanese and French fluently, and just enough Italian, German, and Mandarin Chinese to get myself into trouble. When I put my mind to it, I can even fake Spanish—and people understand me! I have worked with and known people from all over the world. Yet, I have never known any single person who could be described as typical of the country from which they come, because it is not nationality that really matters.
Japan-fatigue is real and can be fatal to your success and career. Don’t try to explain how Japan is different to executives in your head office. While such conversations are great for dinner parties, talks with students, and war stories with friends, unless executives in your head office are interested in Japanology as a hobby, it’s best to leave Japanology to academics. Executives will find discussions only frustrating and tedious.