For some years now, executives from British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) member firms have confided that their star performers are women, and working mothers. This is due, they say, to their female employees’ heightened awareness of time management, leading to increased productivity. Put simply, they get more done.
Indeed, since returning to work after maternity leave and challenged by the prospect of keeping active and meaningful relations with our more than 200 member firms, I’ve found myself becoming brutally efficient.
With an eye on the clock and an unwavering focus on outcomes rather than activity, my inbox is tackled two or three times a day; all meetings and calls have clear agendas, shared in advance; and aisatsu (greetings), while very important, are given 15 minutes in the diary.
All of this, of course, means that we have more time to meet member firms and find out what you need and want from the chamber.
No time to waste
Delivering four BCCJ events over a 30-hour period, as we did at the start of October, was undoubtedly an efficacious way to reconnect with, and gain feedback from, a number of members.
Providing plentiful opportunities for personal growth and development, our events diary from September into October covered topical themes such as: diversity on boards, the future of work and the gig economy, building resilience in your organisation, exiting the European Union and the complexities of investor stewardship.
In our Just for Fun category were a sparkling wine tasting at Berry Bros. & Rudd Limited, with Scotch eggs provided by the Swan & Lion;
and an evening at the residence of the ambassador of Ireland to Japan, with free-flowing Guinness. There is, of course, always time for nomunication.
To bring new skills and perspectives to the BCCJ, we always enjoy creating deeper partnerships with stakeholders in our community.
Meetings over the past month with senior people from the Japan External Trade Organization and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry have sparked ideas for co-hosting events that support British and Japanese entrepreneurs and create a more collegiate—rather than competitive—business environment for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Working with young professionals from the Global Agenda Seminar as an extra-curricular project, we have identified ways in which the BCCJ can maximise the reach and impact of our communications. As a result, over the next few weeks members will be invited to participate in activities that boost the value of their membership and demonstrate commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The upshot will be that we can welcome to our events more diverse audiences—particularly young professionals, women and non-Brits—providing an even more effective platform for networking that employs different formats across a variety of time slots.
Samata-san and I very much look forward to working with our new membership and marketing coordinator, Sam Maddicott, who starts later this month. Within three weeks of joining our tiny team, Sam will be helping us stage the largest event in the BCCJ’s 69-year history, welcoming more than 300 guests to the 10th annual British Business Awards.
While time is our scarcest resource, we hope you can take a few moments to welcome Sam to the buzzing world of the chamber.