Kopp, Managing Principal of Japan Intercultural Consulting
you are new to a Japanese company or have been there for a while, I bet
that you have been puzzled and bewildered by some of the procedures and
practices you have experienced.
the Japanese workplace is unlike any other you have worked for in the
have concluded our telesummit Succeeding
in a Japanese Company and it was a great
success! Thanks very much to all who participated.
If you missed any or all of the interviews and wished you hadn’t, not
to worry! You can purchase the complete Audio
Collection and you will have access to every interview in a
downloadable MP3 Format so you can benefit from the valuable
information and strategies from our experts at your convenience.
in a Japanese Company Audio Collection
we answer questions
newly employed such as:
cover topics for people who have been at a Japanese
company for a long time:
do I communicate with my Japanese colleagues?
does my Japanese supervisor, and/or Japanese executive expect from me?
is the appropriate way to act in meetings and social situations?
do I deal with the language barrier, and all the other communications
don't I get much feedback, and how can I get more?
can I get my job done, in this environment that works completely
differently than others I have been in before?
to get things done in the Japanese company environment.
to build relationships with people at the parent company.
everyday interaction situations, like presentations and meetings, and
how to make those more successful.
just the beginning!
Here's a story about
someone who overcame the same challenges you might be facing right
Jason is an
engineer who joined a Japanese firm. At 32 years
old he had 8 years of experience under his belt.
previous job at an American company, he received excellent
feedback from his supervisors and coworkers and always received stellar
was assigned to work for a Japanese supervisor at his new
company he very quickly began to worry that his boss
was unhappy with his work.
covered the design mockups that Jason
made with corrections and comments in red ink, and never seemed
satisfied with anything he did.
to lose confidence and, for the first time, he began to
worry that he would lose his job.
tried asking his friends and former colleagues for help, but
understood what the problem was or what Jason was going
attended a JIC seminar “Working
Effectively with Japanese” and
gained a new perspective on his supervisor's behavior that
completely changed how he viewed the situation.
that insight and the tools and secrets he needed to succeed,
he was able to turn things around 180 degrees.
Jason now thrives
at his Japanese owned company.
So what does Jason know that you
I'm Rochelle Kopp, the founder and Managing
Principal of Japan Intercultural Consulting, an international training
and consulting firm focused on Japanese business.
first-hand how difficult it is to fit into a Japanese company
when you've had no prior training on the complex world of
go into a job at a Japanese company thinking that because the
office is in your country, the company culture will be similar to
companies you have worked for in the past.
not realistic to expect the Japanese to just drop their
culture and operating style when they go to a different
country. Would you be able to stop being who you are if you
went to Japan?
shouldn’t have to change, they should” is really not
conducive to fitting in and being able to work effectively.
Japanese have to adapt to the country they are now in –
but you also need to adapt as an employee working for a
Succeeding at a Japanese Company
brought together some of our firm's top experts on...
with Your Japanese Boss
and Influencing Decision
Makers in Your Japanese Company
Part of the Team in Your
Building with Japanese --
in Person and From Afar
Interfacing with the Parent
Company in Japan
Influence of Cultural Differences
on Business Processes and How to Improve Your Performance
- How to Keep
Japanese From Falling
Asleep in Your Presentation
- How to Give
and Receive Feedback with
Relationship Building with
External and Internal Japanese Customers
- How to
Avoid Meeting Madness in Your
- Same Words,
Different Meanings --
Effective Communication with Japanese
- Getting on
the Same Page in Your
inside information and insights that will send you up the
learning curve fast and
give you the edge you deserve.
Collection features experts who have been there, and who are
highly skilled in helping non-Japanese work more effectively in
learn from them will enable you to significantly increase
what's really happening
in your organization.
finally understand why your coworkers and boss act the way
they do. You will be able to make sense of the rules no one
told you about and learn some simple adjustments you can make that will
transform how your boss and co-workers see you.
As you listen to
these interviews you'll hear from the experts how to:
- Work with a
- Become part
of the team in a Japanese
- Deal with
- Give and
with the parent company in
- Show proper
and influence decision makers
Consultant, Japan Intercultural Consulting, N. California
Interface with the Parent Company in Japan
Colby is a 19-year veteran of Sony
Electronics in the U.S.,
finishing his career there as Vice President of Human
Resources. He was responsible for HR support for all of the
company's business units and organizations throughout the U.S. as well
International Human Resources, Diversity and Compliance. His
experience has given him deep insight into how cultural differences
affect organizations operating globally, and how individuals can
increase their effectiveness inside of global organizations.
At Japan Intercultural Consulting, he has been focused on assisting our
clients with matters related to post-merger integration, executive team
development and retreat facilitation, strategy building and leadership
challenge for non-Japanese working at Japanese companies'
overseas subsidiaries is how to develop a positive and productive
rapport. This becomes particularly important as one moves up
in the company and takes on roles of increasing responsibility. In this
session, Jim will discuss how to interface with the parent company in
Japan in a way that generates the desired results. How to
deal with frequent rotations, typical parent company expectations for
interactions, understanding the hierarchy and decision-making process
at the head office, and handling information requests will be covered.
During Jim's call you will discover...
most important success factors for
people at overseas subsidiaries of Japanese firms in dealing with the
to figure out who is doing what when
it's not written down
to decipher the hidden hierarchy at
the head office along with the decision-making process
to build relationships with people at
the parent company
unspoken yet key
expectations the parent
company has for employees of overseas subsidiaries
looks at the
subsidiaries as being “child companies.” How do you overcome this
contact at the head office just got
transferred... what do you do?
characteristics of budgeting and
reporting in Japanese organizations you need to watch out for
head office is continually asking you
for more information – are you doing something wrong?
a Japanese expatriate controlling
all interaction with the parent company and you feel excluded from the
communication loop. What do you do?
Consultant, Japan Intercultural Consulting, Tokyo
with a Japanese Boss
Kawasaki had a
career at the Tokyo-based
multinational glass manufacturer NSG Group, where he held a variety of
international posts. He spent 14 years in the U.S., including
serving as President of NSG's manufacturing plant in
Kentucky. He also served as head of the company's
Asian business unit. At the company at the time of its
purchase of the British company Pilkington, Tak was also involved in
post-merger integration activities. He brings an insider's
view of how Japanese companies operate and make decisions. At
Japan Intercultural Consulting, he has been focused on providing
training for Japanese who are managing non-Japanese staff, and for
local hires of Japanese companies particularly in Asia.
An important factor for succeeding in a Japanese company is a good
relationship with one's supervisor, which can be challenging when there
is a cultural gap. In this session, Tak will share his
insights about the expectations that Japanese managers have of their
subordinates, and how non-Japanese working for Japanese firms can
develop strong relationships with their supervisors. How to
draw out and interpret performance feedback, how to ask for support for
career development, and how to handle negotiations concerning salary
and working conditions will be covered.
Tak's call you will discover...
key expectations Japanese managers
have of their subordinates
best way to develop a good working
relationship with a Japanese supervisor
to deal with a Japanese manager who
persists in "micromanagement"
to do when your Japanese manager
withholds all feedback and leaves you in the dark
- The Ho-Ren-So technique
communication between manager and subordinate that is taught to new
Japan, and that Japanese expect you to automatically know
supervisors typically don't
provide career development advice and support – here's how to get it
to ask a Japanese supervisor for
better salary or working conditions
to immediately work more effectively
with a Japanese boss
Consultant, Japan Intercultural Consulting, S. California
Relationship Building with
Japanese -- in Person and From Afar
Andrew Bender began his career
at JAFCO, Japan's largest
venture capital company. Later he worked in development,
production, and acquisitions of filmed entertainment for Fujisankei
Communications in Los Angeles. He also headed up U.S.
operations for a Japanese-owned animation and computer graphics
house. Andy offers insightful perspectives on how
non-Japanese employees and managers at all levels can address the
"people" side of business with the Japanese. Since joining
Japan Intercultural Consulting in 2001, Andrew has counseled clients in
industries as diverse as manufacturing, management consulting, and
Relationship-building is critical when working with Japanese, whether
they are people within your own company, or at customers or
suppliers. In this session, Andy will discuss the most
efficient and effective way to build relationships with Japanese, both
when you're in person and when you're at a distance. What
Japanese most value in relationships, how to handle social occasions,
gift-giving, and holiday cards and other correspondence will be covered.
Andy's call you will discover...
business relationships are absolutely crucial in Japanese business
qualities Japanese value most in relationships
- Key things
to know about building relationships with Japanese in person
- How to
properly socialize with Japanese and avoid common missteps
- How to
foster excellent long distance relationships with Japanese at the head
to handle correspondence and holiday cards with Japanese
- What you
need to know about gift-giving in building relationships with Japanese
|Sarah Fremerman Aptilon
Consultant, Japan Intercultural Consulting, Kansas
Words, Different Meanings -- Effective Communication with Japanese
offers a unique
Early in her career, she spent seven years living and working at a
Buddhist monastery in Kyoto, where she presented lectures, workshops,
and study groups, and participated in daily business
operations. Since joining Japan Intercultural Consulting,
Sarah has worked closely with the Mexican operations of Japanese firms,
particularly in the automotive, auto parts, and electronics industry.
Now back in her hometown of Kansas City, Sarah conducts trainings and
team buildings for Japanese firms in English, Spanish, and Japanese.
Communication is one of the key challenges to non-Japanese doing
business with Japanese individuals and organizations. In this session,
Sarah will share techniques for deciphering often-subtle Japanese
communication, and ensuring that your communication is not off-putting
to Japanese. The discussion will cover directness of
communication, attitudes towards conflict and disagreement, correctly
interpreting non-verbal communication, and how to draw information out
of Japanese and resolve ambiguity.
Sarah's call you will discover...
whammy" that can derail your career if you're not prepared
indirect communication in Japanese culture
you need to
non-verbal communication styles
effectively with Japanese colleagues who seldom verbalize their thoughts
more than one meaning and could get you into trouble
to discover what
indirect Japanese person is thinking
to tone down
communication style when speaking with Japanese colleagues
to help Japanese
colleagues who are
struggling with your language
to become a
characteristics of the Japanese language that affect how Japanese
communicate in English or other languages
- Do Japan and Latin
notable aspects of communication style?
Consultant, Japan Intercultural Consulting, New York
Meeting Madness in a Japanese Company
is a veteran consultant
U.S. operations of Japanese
firms on matters concerning human resource management, having worked
for Buck Consultants, Towers Perrin, and Marsh USA. Having
lived in Japan for over a decade, he is fluent in Japanese, and also
served as Manager of Towers Perrin's Tokyo International Consulting
Office for several years. At Japan
Intercultural Consulting, Michael continues his work in advising
Japanese firms on human resource management issues as well as matters
of cross-cultural communication.
Meetings are one the things that tend to be most frustrating for the
non-Japanese employees of Japanese organizations. There are
so many of them, and they don't always feel very productive.
In this conversation, Michael will address the different assumptions
that Japanese and non-Japanese tend to bring to meetings, and how this
can lead to misunderstandings and marathon conversations. How
to plan the timing, topics, and approach to meetings to improve
efficiency and effectiveness will be discussed.
Michael's call you will discover...
Japanese organizations have so many meetings and how to cope
- Ways you
might reduce the number of meetings
surprisingly different expectations that Japanese and many non-Japanese
tend to have about meetings
- How does
the Japanese sense of formality affect the way meetings are conducted?
for non-Japanese to successfully manage this formality difference
- Why direct
disagreement, debate, being challenging or playing devil's advocate can
cause you an immediate loss of face, and what to do instead
Japanese decision-making differs greatly from other cultures
- What is
expected of you when a decision needs to be made (it's not what you're
- How the
language barrier affects meetings
- How to make
meeting content more accessible despite the language barrier
- When and
how to successfully use a translator
Representative, Japan Intercultural Consulting, U.K.
Omoiyari -- Dealing
with External and Internal Japanese Customers
up partly in Japan and partly in
the U.K., Pernille worked for
nearly a decade at Mitsubishi Corporation both in London and Tokyo, and
at Fujitsu in the U.K. for three years. Pernille is an expert
on the communication challenges faced when Japanese and people from
other countries work closely together, and has a particular interest in
the topic of customer service. At Japan Intercultural
Consulting, Pernille heads up our European operations and conducts
seminars for both Japanese and European audiences on cross-cultural
communication, team building, and post-merger integration.
The old saying goes that "The customer is king" but Japanese have an
alternative version: "The customer is God." And indeed, that
well captures how Japanese customers, both internal and external,
expect to be treated. This means that satisfying those
customers can be exceedingly tricky. In this interview,
Pernille will share what Japanese customers most want, and the best
ways to provide it. The art of omoiyari --
customer needs before they are verbalized -- will be analyzed and
examples of how to do it provided. You'll come away from this
conversation with some great ideas to keep your Japanese customers
Pernille's call you will discover...
Japanese customers are famous for being difficult to satisfy, and what
makes them so fussy and particular
different approach to use when trying to win business from a Japanese
customer, as opposed to a western customer
- The best
way to establish your credentials with Japanese businesspeople
- How to
choose the main client contact for the customer
- What to
keep in mind about negotiations with Japanese customers
- The best
way to ensure smooth communication with a Japanese customer
is and why you must know it
- How to deal
with unreasonable demands from a Japanese customer
- You've made
a mistake or there's a problem, and now your Japanese customer is
upset. What should you do?
Japanese expect in terms of customer service
differences between dealing with internal and external
customers and how best to deal with each
Japan Intercultural Consulting, Germany
of Cultural Differences on Business Processes -- How to Improve
lived in Japan for seven
where she worked as a marketing
consultant for Dentsu and other Japanese companies. Since returning to
Europe she has worked as consultant, trainer and coach with more than
forty companies, joint ventures and M&As in different
industries (automotive, electronics, manufacturing, pharmaceutical,
consumer products, etc.) and countries (Germany, Netherlands, Belgium,
Austria, China and Japan). Claudia specifically focuses on the question
of how cultural backgrounds influence a company's performance system
and helps cross-cultural teams to improve and align their processes
Teamwork is never simple even within the same culture, and when people
from different cultures work together on teams, things can become even
more complicated. It's easy to blame "miscommunication" for
all problems, but Claudia will help us become aware of how unexamined
differences in business practices are often at the root of the
challenges that teams experience. We'll cover things that
companies need to address in order to increase the performance of
multicultural teams, and important assumptions about business practices
that Japanese bring to the team environment.
Claudia's call you will discover...
is key but it's not enough when improving performance. Here's what else
you need to know and do
other than communication that can lead to problems when people of
different cultural backgrounds work together
Japanese methods of getting work done differ from those used in other
- Beware –
what might look like a communication problem can actually be something
- How deep
differences in the approach to business processes can be used to
Japan Intercultural Consulting, Tokyo
-- Receiving from and Giving to Japanese
began her career at Chase
Bank in Tokyo, where she
worked for over 10 years and served as the Global Coordinator of a
global team and facilitated the communication among team members
(including Japanese, other Asians, North Americans and Europeans) on
international projects. Yuko then moved to Silicon Valley
where she lived for over ten years providing communication training and
executive coaching for the employees of multinational
companies. Yuko joined Japan Intercultural Consulting upon
her return to Japan in 2009, and works with our clients as a
facilitator and a coach. Using her career experiences
spanning the Pacific, she provides insights on how to overcome common
cultural challenges with grace and ease.
Non-Japanese who work for Japanese firms often are concerned about a
lack of feedback -- both positive and negative. Why do
Japanese supervisors give so little feedback? And what can an
employee do in order to get the information they need in order to know
how well they are doing their job? Yuko will discuss the
cultural background of how Japanese approach feedback, why Japanese
tend to be reluctant to give positive feedback, the meaning behind
detailed "corrections" from Japanese, and what to do if you are in a
situation where you need to give feedback to someone Japanese.
Yuko's call you will discover...
Japanese supervisors and co-workers aren't giving you feedback – here's
what to do
Japanese supervisor is giving you feedback in the form of many minor
negative comments, and it doesn't seem all that helpful. Why is she
doing this and what should you do?
Japanese supervisor hasn't given you one piece of positive feedback,
ever. Is your job in jeopardy?
- Your boss
might be giving you constructive feedback and you don't even know it.
Here's how to tell
- You want to
give feedback (positive or negative) to a Japanese coworker. Careful!
Here's what you need to know and the words you can (sometimes) use
- How to
improve your relationship with a Japanese supervisor or Japanese
Japan Intercultural Consulting, New Jersey
to Keep Japanese From Falling Asleep in Your Presentation
began her career with
firms including Toppan Moore
Systems and Itochu International, where she gained exposure to various
aspects of the global operations of Japanese firms. Michiko
has been a consultant and coach since 1998, focusing on cross-cultural
communication training for both American and Japanese participants, and
coaching to help clients become better leaders and communicators across
culture. She also has experience coaching executives involved
in M&A and other organizational transformations. She
brings this deep experience and insight to bear for Japan Intercultural
Presentations are a key part of life in a Japanese company, both
internally and also when interacting with Japanese clients. They are
also one of the venues where non-Japanese employees are most likely to
interact with a wider group of people within the company, including
more senior ones. When presenting to Japanese, it's important
to keep in mind Japanese cultural preferences about presentation of
information, as well as the need to address the language
barrier. We'll discuss with Michiko how to prepare for a
presentation to Japanese, what your PowerPoint deck should contain and
what it should look like, how to manage the flow of the presentation,
and how to read the reactions of Japanese participants.
Michiko's call you will discover...
non-Japanese complain about Japanese falling asleep in presentations or
meetings. Are you really that boring, or is something else
Japanese love to see in a presentation
difference between a Japanese and an American PowerPoint presentation
- How and
when to properly use graphical elements
- Watch out –
Can your presentation to be too slick-looking for Japanese tastes?
difference in the type and quantity of information Japanese want in a
- How a
Japanese presentation differs from an American one in the order of
topics and flow
pet peeves about how Americans give presentations that you need to know
- When you
get few questions and little discussion after your presentation, what
does it mean? And how should you get feedback on how it was received?
- Should you
send presentation materials to Japanese before the presentation, or not?
tips on how to make your presentation to Japanese hugely successful
Japan Intercultural Consulting, Tokyo
Part of the Team in a Japanese Workplace
Adam Komisarof is a veteran
interculturalist based in Tokyo.
One of his key interests is in how non-Japanese living in Japan can
effectively integrate into Japanese workplaces and develop strong
working relationships with their Japanese colleagues. He's
published two books on this topic, On the Front Lines of Forging a
Global Society: Japanese and American Coworkers in Japan
and At Home
Abroad: The Contemporary Western Experience in
Japan. He's also active in conducting
workshops for both Japanese and non-Japanese participants, and provides
unique insights to our clients at Japan Intercultural Consulting.
Feeling left out of the team in your Japanese
workplace? That's a common sentiment of non-Japanese employees
firms. Japanese culture is group oriented, so teams become
very cohesive. Which is a good thing, if you know how to
integrate yourself into the group -- and can leave you feeling out of
the loop if you don't. In this session we will be discussing
with Adam how to integrate successfully into a Japanese workplace,
without losing your identity in the process. We'll discuss strategies
for participation in group activities, how to be viewed as a reliable
team member, and whether it's important to be able to speak Japanese
Adam's call you will discover...
- Why it's so
hard to break into a Japanese workplace, and how to finally become a
member of the team
- The most
successful acculturation strategies non-Japanese have used in
Japan to fit in
- Examples of
non-Japanese who have successfully integrated into Japanese work teams
and how they did it
- What if you
don't speak Japanese – must you learn the language or are there other
methods of fitting in with Japanese workers who speak your language?
- What “Going
Native” means and what Japanese think of you if you do it
- How to
integrate into a Japanese work team without losing your identity
- How to know
when to integrate into a Japanese work team and when to stay a
advice for non-Japanese who are trying to integrate into Japanese
workplaces - what works and what to avoid at all costs
Japan Intercultural Consulting, Tokyo
on the Same Page in a Japanese Company -- Why it is Important and How
to Do it
than two decades, Andrew
stories from Japan for the
Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and London's Independent
newspaper. Later he directed the Japan office of the Asia Foundation, a
San Francisco-based non-profit before moving on to manage and teach at
Stanford University's overseas studies program in Kyoto. He has also
held teaching positions at Japanese universities. As reporter,
administrator and university instructor, Andrew has had to reconcile
different ways of thinking and doing things. It is this experience that
Andrew brings with him to Japan Intercultural Consulting, where he
works with Japanese and non-Japanese audiences helping them to enhance
their understanding of each other.
So many of the challenges that non-Japanese working in Japanese
companies face have their root in the fact that not everyone is on the
same page -- they are working from a different set of assumptions, and
with different information. These all fall under the category
of what Japanese call joshiki
-- common sense. In this
session, Andrew will discuss how people in Japanese firms develop a
and how non-Japanese can learn it as well.
Topics to be covered include initiation rituals in Japanese firms, the
nemawashi consensus-building process, and Japanese etiquette
Andrew's call you will discover...
Japanese workers often seem to be on the same page while non-Japanese
workers can feel like they've been left out of the loop
- 4 ways to
stop feeling like and being an outsider and become part of a cohesive
- How to use nemawashi to
promote alignment and harmony
- How to use
PowerPoint in a joint effort with Japanese colleagues to get on the
same page with them
Japanese workers judge you based on your acquaintance with Japanese
customs and manners, and the 5 customs you must never break
you need to know about proper Japanese etiquette to become one of the
'family,' rather than the weird uncle or aunt ostracized to the kiddy
Principal, Japan Intercultural Consulting, N. California
and Influencing Decision Makers in a Japanese Company
Rochelle Kopp is founder and Managing
Principal of Japan
Intercultural Consulting, an international training and consulting firm
focused on Japanese business. She is a recognized authority on Japanese
culture and business practices, particularly Japanese communication
style and organizational behavior and decision-making in Japanese
firms. A veteran facilitator experienced in delivering training and
consulting to both Japanese and non-Japanese, Rochelle has a particular
specialty in facilitating cross-cultural team-buildings and other
programs for executives.
Rochelle gained firsthand experience of
Japanese corporate culture when she lived in Japan and worked at the
Tokyo headquarters of a major Japanese financial institution. Since
that time, as a consultant Rochelle has worked closely with numerous
Japanese companies of various sizes and in a wide variety of
industries, including many of Japan's most prominent firms. She brings
these first-hand insights into her seminars and consulting on Japanese
business culture, helping participants develop improved relationships
and avoid cultural misunderstandings.
Rochelle is the author of The Rice-Paper Ceiling: Breaking
Through Japanese Corporate Culture
and over twenty books in Japanese. She writes for various Japanese and
American publications, including regular columns for the Asahi Shimbun.
Rochelle's call you will discover...
key cultural factor that explains the way that Japanese companies make
is it in Japanese culture that makes Japanese so uncomfortable with risk
the decision-making process looks like in a Japanese firm
some of the challenges are that can come up when a Japanese
organization is going about its normal decision-making process, but
non-Japanese are involved in it
some of the strategies are that non-Japanese can use to influence the
decision-making in a Japanese organization
Combined, these experts have 354
experience working in and with
Stop wondering what your boss
is thinking and find out how to interpret
Learn a better approach to
planning and attending meetings with your
Japanese coworkers and avoid meeting madness.
Find out what it takes for a
non-Japanese to become and feel part of
the Japanese team.
Discover how decisions are made
at your Japanese company and how you
can add input and value.
to your success!