Japan has been a major global player for decades now and, although much of the attention has been on China of late, Japanese international investments and interests remain substantial. Japan is desperately trying to re-fashion its corporate structures to adapt to the changing demands of the twenty-first century – and many of the battles currently being played out have their origins in the deeply entrenched cultural attitudes which largely shaped the post-war Japanese economic miracle.
Global Business Culture has a rich history in helping clients navigate the complex cultural landscape which underpins Japanese corporate life, and which is notoriously difficult to understand from a distance. We have delivered Japan cultural awareness training programmes to clients across multiple sectors and in all parts of the world.
Our clients have a variety of interests in Japan and the programmes we deliver are designed to meet those differing interests. Typical clients tend to have Japan-focused interests in the following areas:
This category represents by far the biggest constituency of clients who request our services on Japan-related issues. Typically, these clients have two main interests in terms of their relationship with the head office:
Firstly, we work with senior leadership within Japan-owned subsidiaries who wrestle with the issue of how they can successfully influence at the head office level. Often these local executives feel that their views are ignored in Japan and that they are, as a result, often asked to implement strategy which they feel inappropriate in their home market. We work with these leaders to help them understand key business drivers in Japan more clearly and then use that understanding to persuade and influence more effectively in Tokyo.
Secondly, we work with local employees in Japanese subsidiaries who are charged with working with Japanese colleagues on a day-to-day basis but who often struggle to understand the mindset of those Japanese colleagues. Greater cultural understanding in this area can lead to more effective collaboration and better communication.
Japan is well-developed, affluent economy and therefore potentially a great market in which to offer your goods and services. Many clients have taken this opportunity and developed their own operations in Japan only to come up against significant cultural challenges which have proved difficult to overcome.
We help those clients understand the cultural challenges they face and then work with them to develop strategies for moving forward. We find these challenges impact on both the client side and on the internal side – in fact the two are often closely linked in a Japan context.
Japan is not necessarily seen as a centre of supply chain operations, but many companies have key supplier relationships with Japanese partners and contacts. As an economy which produces best-in-breed products across a number of sectors, this is not surprising. These Japanese partners are often business-critical, and our clients come to us to gain a better understanding of their Japanese contacts in an effort to deepen existing relationships and develop new ones.
In order to help our clients navigate the incredibly complex cultural landscape of Japan we have developed several Japan-specific cultural awareness training programmes.
These programmes seek to help senior leaders in local subsidiaries of Japanese companies persuade and influence more effectively in a Japan context. We do this by showing how an understanding of Japanese expectations and an adaptation in approach designed to meet those expectations can reap unexpected results.
These intensely practically-focused Japan cultural awareness training programmes are designed to help people who work with colleagues in Japan to better understand the key drivers and expectations of the people they interface with in Japan. The course looks at some key Japanese business concepts and links them to the type of day-to-day issues which can significantly impact on cross-border efficiencies.
Communication with Japan can be difficult. English language levels are often patchy at best and, coupled with that, we are confronted with the complex communications patterns deeply embedded in both Japanese culture and language. These practical, short programmes are designed to help people improve their ability to understand and be understood when working with Japanese contacts.
We feel we can help you improve your ability to interface effectively with contacts in Japan – if you would like to discuss this issue further please contact us.