Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

The Purpose of Meetings

“The purpose of meetings is intrinsically different in Japan. Westerners go to meetings to brainstorm, discuss, and hammer things out and decide things. Japanese go to meetings to confirm what has already been agreed, and I think a lot of foreigners never figure that out. So as a manager it’s absolutely critical that you get that you don’t go to meetings to decide or discuss – you’ve got to do that outside. Anybody who misses that is not going to get the most out of their team. You have to provide a safe environment where people can experiment where people won’t be embarrassed. Then you can start getting the idea flow.”

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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