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
New methods can appear threatening to some managers who have never had to change in order to be successful.
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.
There is no percentage in tentativeness. Success in strategic change belongs only to those who step into the fray. My recent visit to Hanoi reminded me of this, and below I explain why.
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.
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.
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.