Why your Japan revenue is half of what it should be
Last night we held the second BSP QBR for 2012. Among our guests were the regional VP’s for several leading global tech vendors. The theme was tightly focussed around our recent whitepaper about Japan. There were a lot of laughs as our guests shared their stories about how they have learned the hard way in trying to get it right in Japan. The key message that dominated the theme though, was that authentic relationships with staff, customers and partners are critical to any foreigner being able to exert any influence over their Japan business.
Japanese culture is undoubtedly different to the homogenous US culture that runs through the global vendor community. Underlying the differences though, are the common themes of human decency, friendship, loyalty trust and respect. The rules of the game in Japan are different, but once you learn to play “Japan rules”, life and business results improve.
“Thank you for sharing Johan’s report which is well thought thru’ and written. I agree with his points. The biggest challenge in Japan is – legacy – in one word. The legacy system, mindset and people/leadership/culture. Legacy coupled with no growth/stagnation makes it very difficult and expensive to make any breakthrough’ for new comers. Japan market has a lot of unique requirements. This is partly environmental (less of space, earthquakes, language, etc) and partly attempts to build market-barriers in the past (different standards, etc). Therefore, Johan is right about the company needs to make a unique differentiator to breakthrough’. It needs $ and time to make long-lasting success. As there is no growth, any gain would come from market share gain which can be expensive if one is impatient. The expat/local leadership needs to be able to communicate and execute a strategy for Japan for a global company.”
Senior VP | Over 22 years’ experience Asia Pacific & Japan
“Good summary of many issues I/ we’ve been living in for years. Had it forwarded to be several friends from outside Japan, so you’re doing something right with your promotional activities!”
Japan veteran executive with over 20 years’ experience
“Hi Johan, great paper. Can you also apply the strategies you suggest for already established companies in Japan? Since these already have an organization structure how can you revitalize them?”
Johan Uittenbogaard: “( …) Fundamentally changing organization is no different in Japan. What I do hear from non-Japanese stakeholders is that it is often “painstakingly slow” in Japan. Apart from a number of things I mentioned in this whitepaper, the fact that there are very few HR leaders able to work at a strategic HR level doesn’t help either. An interesting idea though for my next paper! (I think we can agree that revitalization is an ever bigger issue within most of large Japanese enterprises. )
Read more relevant technology news about Japan here:
“IDC Japan released its forecasts of Japan’s domestic IT spending from 2012 to 2016 on July 11.(…): http://www.idcjapan.co.jp/Press/Current/20120711Apr.html
“Survey: 76% of companies say business conditions improving (…)”: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/business/AJ201206180069