Leaders March 2017

Spring into action

Fresh perspectives

Looking up from my computer and glancing out of the office window, I can see the first buds and blossoms on the trees, and sense a hop in the step of the many office workers walking along the busy Tokyo streets below. Spring is here, and as the Japanese phrase mizu nurumu (water is warming) so beautifully describes, the mind awakens and thoughts turn to new prospects and the rewards of a new and warmer season.

New leaders
Indeed, spring is a time for new beginnings. The nomination deadline for a place on the 2017–18 British Chamber of Commerce in Japan Executive Committee is 16 March. All nominee pledges can be viewed on the BCCJ website, and between 27 March and 12 April, members will be asked to vote anonymously in an online poll for their preferred candidates in advance of our Annual General Meeting on 20 April. I am excited about the election of an executive committee that can continue to bring fresh perspectives, new motivation and innovative ideas to our expanding organisation.

A change for the better
Winds of change can feel unsettling, but they are also a breath of fresh air. In February, the Japanese government and business lobby group Keidanren launched Premium Friday, a campaign calling on workers to leave the office at around 3pm on the last Friday of each month. The reform aims to boost consumption and curb long working hours. As a strong advocate of work practices that support a work–life balance, the BCCJ encourages members to follow suit.

Think differently and be mindful
Japan’s Statistics Bureau published some interesting figures this month, announcing that 3mn Japanese workers switched jobs in 2016. Increasingly, mid-career, full-time professionals over the age of 45 are changing jobs.

As several BCCJ events have recently highlighted, the labour shortage in Japan, the demand for global expertise, as well as new trends are contributing to this change. Choosing the right approach to adaptation and growth can have a significant impact on your business.

At a recent BCCJ event on global leadership, participants’ attention was drawn to the importance of “mindfulness” in business. An effective leader was defined as one who sees success as making a positive difference in the lives of their colleagues, organisations, families and society as a whole. Outstanding global leaders, it was agreed, stay curious, welcome multiple perspectives and are prepared to adjust their behaviour.

Looking forward
In anticipation of the new fiscal year, the BCCJ is curious, eager to embrace change and committed to evolving in line with BCCJ member needs. In the spirit of progress, be sure to join us for our special event coming up on 6 April, when we welcome Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike. She will speak to members about her vision for the capital in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and her objectives to forge a more equal, accessible, international and inclusive city.