Embracing Nemawashi by Yasushi Okue
Misunderstandings caused by different communication styles often lead to lost business opportunities for westerners trying to do business in Japan.
In fact, the biggest mistake one can make in a Japanese corporate setting Is to expect an immediate response after making a business proposal in a meeting.
@Yasushi Okue, who has extensive experience launching overseas-based IT services in Japan as well as expanding businesses after a number of years of flat growth, advises people to embrace Nemawashi instead.
It is a Japanese term and refers to an informal process of quietly laying the foundation for some proposed change or project, by talking to key stakeholders beforehand, gathering support and feedback.
Nemawashi is considered an important element in any major change before any formal steps are taken, and successful nemawashi enables changes to be carried out with the consent of all sides.
It is an opportunity to introduce the proposal to them individually, gauge their reaction and receive inputs that can be valuable down the line.
In Japan, high-ranking people expect to be let in on new proposals prior to an official meeting. If they find out about something for the first time during the meeting, they will feel that they have been ignored, and they may reject it for that reason alone.