Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

Intensive Client Servicing

“The client servicing process in Japan is incredibly intensive. The guys sometimes come into the office after lunch because they’ve been working through to 10 or 11 at night. And our experience is not really that extreme, I think. The client will be on the phone to them constantly the whole day about details, stuff, just to have a chat, you know. Compared to this my experience of clients back home was economical, like ‘here’s what we are going to do, I’ll come back when it’s done’ – and they would accept what you have done because they are paying for you as an expert to do that. Here though, everyone has to have their fingers in everything – and that is intensive. Also, the margins are low so I think that the only person who has the opportunity to be creative in the company is me. But while I think that to some degree I am more inclined to be creative as part of my personality, I just don’t know that if you gave people the opportunity to be creative that they would be……especially if you’re coming from a culture like this where people seek direction.”

This post is part of a series of excerpts from interviews with foreign executives in Japan, focusing on creativity. Excerpts have been edited for confidentiality.
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