As the eleventh most-populated country in the world, Japan is a very formidable, unique country with a rich history in a number of regards. Being a “country of islands” (with the five (5) main islands being Hokkaido, Honshu (the “mainland”), Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa) puts Japan as part of the Ring of Fire in the Pacific Ocean while also significantly-limiting as to where people can live and/or work (almost 75% of Japan is mountainous). Japan is made up of forty-seven (47) Prefectures and eight (8) Regions. The 18th and 19th centuries brought the Industrial Revolution and, in the eighty (80) years post World War II, Japan has grown to have the third largest GDP in the world. While there is a tremendous geographical spread in Japan, Cities and businesses are joined together by one of the best transportation infrastructures in the world (including Japan’s famous Bullet Trains). Given the very deeply-rooted, nationalistic DNA in Japan, it is critical for business people to understand, respect, and, quite often, admire the cultural aspects of doing business in Japan. Maccabeus understands and respects those differences having worked directly in Japan for over thirty (30) years. In AutoMobility, for example, Maccabeus has participated in meetings and projects at various Japanese OEM and Supplier Companies in Japan; including with Toyota (Toyota City & Nagoya), Mazda (Hiroshima), Subaru (Tokyo), and Diahatus (Osaka) – among many others. We’ve also worked with most Automotive OEM’s in the region; including Honda, Infiniti, Isuzu, Lexus, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota (as well as most of the international OEM’s and their corresponding Suppliers doing business in Japan).
Part of what makes Japan so unique is the common cultural thread that runs throughout the various Cities, Regions, and Prefectures. While there are differences, they are minimal and there is a strong national foundation “uniting” them all. Thus, doing business in each is very similar whether one is working in Tokyo (the capital of Japan), Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Fukuoka, Kobe, or Kyoto. These cultural similarities (with minor differences) are critical for Companies and Clients to both consider and understand when they are hiring external Executive Talent – regardless of where a Company and/or Client are located from a headquarters’s perspective – including the added geographical factor and how that relates both to the overall Company’s, Client’s, and Executive’s cultural make-up.
Culture, Culture, Culture
Realtors and related real estate investors will regularly talk about the most important decision for making an real estate investment is “location, location, location”. At Maccabeus, we say executive recruiting comes down to three (3) words, as well – “culture, culture, culture”. Specifically, the culture of the Company (or the client), the Executive, and the City, Region, Prefecture, etc.
Again, while there are some differences in how to recruit City by City and Region by Region and Prefecture by Prefecture, the corresponding Japanese culture and heritage is very consistent. So, as a result, International Recruiting Firms and expatriated Executives need to have a profound respect for and understanding of the Japanese culture (and how that translates into doing business in Japan). And without understanding the culture aspects of doing business in Japan in the various Cities, Regions, and Prefectures, even the best “functional” Executive Recruiters will get it “wrong”.
Understanding all of these recruiting complexities is absolutely critical in Executive search. At Maccabeus, we understand the Japanese City, Prefecture, and Regional similarities and differences and how to apply those unique qualities across the cultural aspects of both Companies (Clients) and Executives (and their Families). We have recruited across the broad spectrum that is Japan. We know the cultural differences between the Japanese and international Corporations and their corresponding Executive make-up. And we know the differences not just from an Executive Recruitment Firm’s perspective, but also as Executives who have considered relocations and/or new career challenges directly for ourselves and our Families. While we have counseled hundreds of Executives to not take an opportunity based on their concerns around cultural differences (based on location and/or the company), our Partners and Staff have also declined offers ourselves as Industry Executives – opportunities that just weren’t the right “fit” for either ourselves and/or our Families. We get it.
Finding the right Executives takes a tenacity to see through the surface of experiences and to look into the intangibles behind who a leader really is as a person. To get to know the companies, clients, Executives, Families, etc. behind the search project. Maccabeus LLC is committed to and has a strong track record of recruiting and placing Executives across a diverse landscape of industries and locations.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you and your Board.
“The most deadly poison of our time is indifference.”St. Maximilian Kolbe