In a recent survey Glisby & Associates asked more than 100 Japanese managers working in large-scale Japanese-European M&As about their experiences of business meetings with their European counterparts. These managers expressed considerable frustration about ineffective meetings they had attended, but for substantially different reasons than their European colleagues.

Reoccurring statements included: ‘European partners try to make hasty and sudden decisions during meetings’. ‘No surprises, please!’. ‘We need preparation and understanding’. To the question of how to improve meeting efficiency no fewer than 85% of all the Japanese surveyed replied with more or less the exact same three words: jizen-jumbi, jizen-tsuuchi, jizen-rikai. Roughly translated, the Japanese managers were asking for (1) in-advance groundwork (2) in-advance reporting, and (3) in-advance (mutual) understanding. These three words crystallise the Japanese business approach with its marked emphasis on leaving nothing to chance.

Japanese managers see themselves as trying diligently to understand foreigners and to make allowance for their idiosyncrasies in Japanese eyes. There is a knack to learning how to accommodate their frustrations and putting interpersonal communication on a sound footing. This know-how we deliver in our workshops.