GP2.0 Interview #1
Your initials: SZ
Industry: Educational publishing and consulting
Role: Managing Director
Where are you based? Victoria, BC, Canada
Languages spoken: English, Japanese, some French, some Chinese
Years working in global roles: 35
1. Please briefly describe your role and the company culture you work in.
Have done educational and publishing consulting in 5 or 6 mainly Asian countries and continue to do so. Company is small, personal, and mainly works off relationships both among people of my same nationality as well as others.
2. What communication challenges do you face the most when working in global business environments?
Different expectations about communication. How often, how quickly one responds, level of personal commitment.
3. Please describe a time when communication was particularly challenging and what resulted. (Good or bad)
Suddenly stopped hearing from a key Japanese client. Asked questions but got no reply. Did favors but got no appreciation. Wanted an answer but knew I should be patient. Waited and waited. Feared the worst. Finally got them in person and found out that they were just ridiculously busy. A question of expectations on both sides.
4. What advice can you give to Japanese who work in global environments?
To be more confident, to be more pro-active, to become more aware of others’ behavior than your own.
5. What advice can you give to non-Japanese who work with Japanese?
To value silence more. To be more respectful. To be less aggressive. To be more forgiving of rules and hierarchy.