Dear Members, Advisers and Friends,
As mentioned in last week’s newsletter, please find the first DN Master Class event outlined below. Invitation only.
One invitee told me he thought this event was aimed at new arrivals in Tokyo. That is not my intention. Deepening CEO relationships and gaining trust with Japan Inc is difficult – however long you have been in Japan, and I believe we have an unusually good speaker on the topic (DN member Ishigaki san).
Master Class (location details below)
DN Master Classes are practical business topics introduced by an acknowledged “Master”. They take place in a confidential setting of 5-9 CEOs. They comprise 20-25 minutes of opening commentary followed by a discussion in a private room over excellent food.
As ever, they focus on CEOs sharing their best and worst experiences with other CEOs.
For our first Master Class, we will hear from MUMSS executive director Ishigaki Yumesaku, who will talk on how to foster trust with your Japanese stakeholders.
Speaker profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yumesaku-ishigaki-44003746/
Foreigners in Japan, even for a long time, will be painfully aware that Japanese can be reluctant to give trust beyond small, tight networks. Indeed, foreigners can work and live alongside Japanese for years and still know absolutely nothing about their inner lives. While mistrust to foreigners is especially acute, Japanese are also very cautious about getting close to other Japanese.
For the foreign CEO, used to extrovert Chinese, southern Europeans, Latin Americans or Americans, Tokyo can be a frustrating place to build a local network. Dinner parties, visits to each others’ homes, and spouses and children socializing are not part of the social landscape. Home and work are kept separate.
Foreign executives suddenly realize that cultivating relationships in Japan is rather more time consuming and demanding than they bargained for.
At that point, they may withdraw to the comfort zone of the Tokyo American Club or other expat organizations.
This temptation should be avoided at all cost, however.
It is clear that should your company go through a scandal or crisis, being able to resolve tension by appealing to trusted and powerful allies can be fundamental both to the survival of the business, and to the CEO’s career.
But how do you go about building such crucial relationships?
Ishigaki san will provide background on how Japanese network, who they trust, how that trust can be gained, and how it can be suddenly lost.
An elite executives at one of Japan’s most traditional companies, he has also worked in London and now oversees key operations of one of the most famous JVs in Japan, between Mitsubishi UFJ and Morgan Stanley.
From this vantage point, Ishigaki san has been able to observe closely the interaction of Western and Japanese executives, and will share his thoughts of what underpins a long-term, successful business relationship.
Ishigaki san’s own experience is a good example. Were it not for a $9 billion equity investment in Morgan Stanley at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, Morgan Stanley might have ceased to exist. Fortunately for MS, they had gained the trust of their Japanese partner over many years, and lived to fight another day.
Anybody CEO ambitious to grow (and protect) their business in this demanding market should attend.
Time: December 11, 12-1.30pm
Location: Italian restaurant Arva, private dining room, Aman Hotel, Otemachi.
Cost: 6,000 for members and 8,000 for non-members.