Fitting into foreign firms

The transition from one business culture to another can be trying at the best of times. From Japanese to Western, and in particular American, business culture changes can be dramatic. What, then, are the key points people need to consider, in order to make a successful transition? Pacifica Consultants provides the answers:

  1. Into the Fire: most Western companies expect even new recruits fresh from university, to arrive with somecapabilities. In extreme cases, little if any on-the-job training is provided and new employees are expected to adapt to their new positions and begin to make contributions very quickly. 
  2. No Sempai: one of the most profound differences between Japanese and Western firms is the lack of a Sempai-Kohai relationship. If a new employee is fortunate, one of his or her superiors may decide to play the Sempai role but this is by no means guaranteed. 
  3. Individual Responsibility: from the very beginning, employees of Western firms must take full personal and individual responsibility for their actions in the workplace. There is little opportunity given to hide incompetence.
  4. Results Oriented: although credit is given for making a full effort, in the end it is results that count. One cannot sit back and say, “well I tried hard but it didn’t quite result in a sale.” In the final analysis, employees are evaluated on results. 
  5. Pro-active: One must be pro-active in approach in order to be successful at a Western firm. Business opportunities must be created and acted upon. Successful foreign capital employees don’t wait to be told, they anticipate. Waiting won’t make the world come to you. 
  6. Team Player: individuals at Western firms and also evaluated on their ability to effectively function as a team player. Increasingly bonuses are at least partially evaluated on the performance of teams, units and even the company as a whole. One must strive to be a strong individual who contributes to the team. 
  7. Work Smarter, Not Longer: effective employees at Western firms work smarter and more efficiently than their competitors. Some Western executives truly believe that if one cannot finish his/her work within eight hours each day, there must be a real time efficiency problem. Staying late but working unproductively is not looked upon positively. 
  8. Just Do It: when a task needs to be completed in the workplace, effective employees in Western firms will ensure that it is just done. Questions about whose responsibility it was can be asked later.
  9. Effective Communication: Leading employees for Western firms must communicate in both spoken and written (increasingly E-mail) forms in at least two languages. In Japan today, Japanese and English are now mandatory, other leading languages, such as Mandarin, are major pluses. Effective communication doesn’t just mean knowledge of the language. It also implies precision in language, cultural understanding, and ensuring that communication is clearly and fully understood by colleagues, clients, and most importantly, customers
  10. Ambition: Setting Individual Goals: individual ambition is admired by Western executives and is, in fact, required for most positions. In order to be successful, one must consistently exhibit the desire to learn, contribute and be successful, both individually, and as a key member of the corporate team.

Pacifica Consultants provides both individual and group counseling and training in the above areas, and helps candidates to make the transition from culture to culture as smoothly as possible. Please register with us for more information today, and allow us to help you make a smooth transition tomorrow.