Leaders February 2016

The power of trust

Building cooperation and understanding

Trust is an essential element in the fabric of society. In business, consider the impact of a poor product review, a complaint on social media, a case of discrimination or a strike. In politics and the media, a scandal can bring leaders to their knees and leave the population reeling.

What does the future hold, then, for a country in which only 41% of its population has trust in four key institutions: government; business; non-profit and non-government organisations; and the media? Unfortunately, according to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, that is the case for Japan. Discover the fascinating key findings for the country and what they mean for firms.

Diversity and inclusion

Ahead of the 1 April introduction of the Promotion of Women’s Career Activities Act—requiring large firms to produce an action plan on addressing their workplace gender disparities—BCCJ ACUMEN explores its possible impact.

The population may not be very confident about this new step in the Womenomics agenda, given that the government has revised down to 7% its own 30% target for the ratio of women to be in leadership positions by 2020. Nevertheless, even though it is unlikely to be an end in itself, the law is expected by some to ignite a positive movement for change.

Defence alliances

The past two years have seen dramatic moves to strengthen and deepen the solid relationship between the UK and Japan in the areas of security and stability.

Increased collaboration has been undertaken across a wide variety of areas, including participation in high-level meetings and the development of new staff posts, as well as the delivery of operations, training exercises and events. This year also looks set to be a significant one for the defence sector.

Engaging the audience

Our entrepreneur article this month introduces Richard Morgan, a craftsman based near Tokyo. Attributing his success to making the impossible possible, his positive attitude and willingness to go the extra mile have drawn attention and are a great lesson for businesses.

Meanwhile, in our spotlight on members of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Adam Touhig of GKN Driveline Japan Ltd. shares his firm’s secrets of success. Not surprisingly, among them is the ability to understand and adapt to cultural differences, working with them rather than against them.

I’m a Scientist Get Me Out of Here, an online programme for schools in the UK, is evidence that, for an idea to be positively received, delivery is as important as content.

Keith Franklin of the British Embassy Tokyo took part in the programme, designed to boost pupils’ interest in science-related careers. According to a study, the pupils who participated showed a marked level of engagement.

As in all relationships, it is clear that understanding, respect and collaboration are top values in business.