Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

On Being Successful

“I think you need to break away from the group. Respect it but try to break away from it. Pick staff who have good experience but who are slightly renegade. I’m talking about local staff here. If you are going to come in and set up a company you need local staff. But, when you start hiring, hardly anyone is going to want to work for a foreign start-up. So in some ways you will need to pick people who are a little bit different out of necessity. Then you have to foster that. Don’t think that it is a bad thing, make it an encouraging, positive thing. Then, you need to draw from what is happening around you. In terms of product quality, Japanese products are 100%. They are beautiful. That is where Western companies can learn from Japan. They can take the quality standards, apply them to their own products, and innovate better.

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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