Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

Slow Moving

“Well I guess the biggest negative factor is that people don’t in general move as swiftly in the decision making process in Japan when compared to a lot of other places around the world. Even if you look at it from an historical/military perspective for example, in terms of military strategy or political decision making processes things have always moved very slowly. There is that classical consensus building kind of thing. Compare this to the environment where I grew up, where you kinda just go for it and if you make a mistake you apologize for it afterwards or clean it up along the way. Here, everybody tends to want to make everything perfect first and then move forward together.
That’s a great thing from a manufacturing point of view, especially if you are spending millions of dollars tuning up a factory line or something but in a creative environment where so much depends on experimenting with ideas then you have to be able to move forward quickly.”

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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