Japan Management Consulting: What you should know.

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Japan Management Consulting is different from the rest of the world. That is why to be successful in Japan; it is critical to use professional management consultants. Leadership and management principles in Japan are highly correlated with religion. Confucianism and Buddhism were imported from China from the 7h century onward. The philosophical principles of these religions shaped most of the social organization as well as business principles.

In Japan, the family and the group are crucial elements. Individuality will dissolve to the benefit of the Group, and any achievement will be more global than individualistic. Respect for the aged people is critical. One example of this devotion of old ones and ancestors is that September 15 is traditionally a day off and is called “Keirō no Hi” or “Respect for the Aged Day.” The concepts of Harmony and of “Face” are critical. During a negotiation, making somebody loses its “Face” is a sure way for irremediably damaging future relationships.

Management in Japan is highly related to the concepts of respecting the superiors, considering that the team is more important than its parts and that successes are collective and not individual. When dealing with Japanese companies, Trust is more critical than attorneys. Westerns companies tend to rely on detailed contracts. In Japan, you conduct business with a friend, and a contract is often much lighter than its American and European counterparts. As an example, a typical contract of employment is just 1 or 2 pages long. The position, salary, and a few other practical details will be mentioned. The relationship between the company and the employee will is governed by reciprocal trust. Major consulting firms will try to westernize the business relationship and frame a robust legal framework. As Hashi Consulting Japan, we believe that “when in Rome, do as the Romans” and always consider your business counterparts as partners and not as potential rivals. In Japan, there 20 times fewer attorneys per person than in the US. There is a good reason for that: Trust! Management Consulting in Japan should rely on these principles as well.

Japanese employees do somehow compete within their companies, but as emphasized by Arthur M. Whitehill, “The Japanese way to compete is through teamwork.” In western companies, the decision process is most of the time from top to bottom. In Japan, the decisions are often initiated by middle managers, a bottom-up process known as “Ringi,” with the Board or CEO having the final say. All the management layers in between will also have their say and will have to approve the idea. It explains why negotiation with Japanese companies takes time, but ultimately, all of the components involved will agree. It will dramatically reinforce the strength of collaboration. As a management consulting company specialized in cross-border deals, the goal of HASHI Consulting is to provide our clients with the best practices to conduct long term and mutually fruitful partnerships with Japan companies or distributors.

When dealing with Japanese employees, it is essential to be regarded as a mentor and not as a censor. In line with the concept of “not losing face,” advises should be provided and blames avoided. The CEO of a Japanese is ultimately responsible for the quality of its subordinates, and he is the one that will help them grow and become better. For Japanese, the ultimate motivation is to feel proud of the company they work for and of the quality of the products or services they provide to consumers. Management consulting services in Japan should convey these principles forward. The cultural differences must also be considered to avoid creating issues that can easily be avoided.

Japan is the third-largest economy in the World and has tremendous potential. A satisfied customer will be faithful to the brand for a long time. It goes the same way with a Japanese company partnering with a Western one.



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