Globally-minded Japanese: Expand your Horizons throughout Asia!

A call for greater engagement on the front lines of business

A year ago, I predicted a “revolution in the overseas offices of Japanese companies throughout Asia.” I said that Japanese companies across Asia would stop following the instructions and approvals of their headquarters in Japan, and start insisting and acting based on their own decisions and strategies that only people on the ground in Asia can come up with.  

Unfortunately, my prediction from a year ago has so far not yet come to fruition. In order to break through the status quo and initiate a revolution, Japanese companies need more and more bold and proactive people ready to face big challenges and implement big changes on the front line of their markets.

While being based in Singapore and Thailand, I work throughout Asia and observe these three key trends:

     1. Passion 
     2. Collaboration
     3. Opportunities

Asian youth are passionate about contributing to their societies, improving their countries and Asia as a whole. They may have what is close to the Japanese concept of kokorozashi, translated as a personal mission to drive changes in societies. This concept is familiar to many Japanese, and a focal point of the GLOBIS MBA curriculum as well. These youth understand the importance of collaboration, and as such as are collaborating together to maximize the effects of their individual efforts. They are keen to develop their own skills, not the least of which is learning new languages. They are sensitive to opportunities that pass by, and do not hesitate to meet new people to expand their network. They have dreams and ideas. For them, everything is an opportunity.

Come, you who are ready to stretch your limits in such an open world!

Are you tired of working in a mature market like Japan, in a strict and bureaucratic atmosphere in a Japanese headquarters? Are you willing to step out into a bigger field and accomplish wilder dreams? Asia beyond Japan has many challenges and opportunities. It gives you networks. Asia is the most diverse place in the world. I can’t wait to see more Japanese people enjoy living and working to their full limit in such an environment. This part of Asia is seeking more people from Japan who want to challenge themselves.

Here are three requests I would like to make to corporate leaders in Japan:

1. Visit your overseas offices in Asia. Participate in their business meetings and feel for yourself what it is like on the front line of your operations and customers.
2.  Talk with Asian youth. Learn about the collaboration between companies and students. Listen to their goals and what they are studying in order to achieve them.
3. Observe the collaboration among industries, academia and government that is taking place throughout Asia. Feel the dynamic heartbeat of this part of Asia.

Experience this, and send more vibrant and energetic workers to be stationed and engaged throughout Asia!

A version of this article in Japanese is here.

Toru Takahashi serves as the representative director of Singapore-based GLOBIS Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., a GLOBIS subsidiary providing human resources development and organizational change services to the Asian region. He lectures on topics such as Global Perspectives and Globalization Strategy in GLOBIS University’s MBA program (both in English and Japanese). Additionally, as a corporate training instructor, he leads seminars on a range of topics, including establishing corporate strategy/philosophy during overseas expansion, strategy formulation, problem-solving, and leadership related to the localization of overseas sites. Mr. Takahashi also serves as the representative director of GLOBIS Thailand Co. Ltd, and has contributed to writing a GLOBIS MBA Management Book.

Prior to joining GLOBIS, after graduating from university, Mr. Takahashi was employed by Marubeni Corporation. At Marubeni, he was primarily involved in developing overseas businesses with machinery manufacturers. During a seven-year overseas deployment, he participated in infrastructure development projects in Iran and was subsequently engaged in a wider range of businesses at Marubeni’s regional headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in Belgium. His duties there included launching business projects, providing management support, and financing invested companies and business partners in those regions. Mr. Takahashi graduated from Sophia University with a degree in economics and took part in the Stanford Executive Program (SEP) at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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