This is part III of the post on this exciting subject as; living in Japan certainly has changed my life and points of view even though it’s some seven years since I returned to the U.K. I relish the opportunity to live and work there again someday soon.

As things related to this move very slowly in Japan, I worked closely the Human Resources team to give them the benefit of my experience in workplace diversity training and to assist them in raising the awareness of Diversity amongst the management team and the employees. Of course we had to couple the implementation with the tightly integrated customer base of the other Japanese companies who were more traditional than the company for which I was working at the time and who had the traditional management structures of men, men and more men. This lead into the long some unnecessary meetings, drinking sessions and related activities which; were all part of the business structure and; had to be respected as we dealt with interpreting Diversity from the western perspective into the Japanese company culture and the necessary impact of the management, employees and also the customer base.

It has been a few years since I left the great country of Japan which will also have a special place in my heart. The lesson here for us all is that the implementation of Diversity must be coupled with and interpreted for local cultures and practices as we management folks seek to create inclusive workforces in today’s multi location organizations. This leaves open the challenge to us global managers and consultants who manage in cultures which are largely alien to ours.

Thaks for reading, get in touch if I can be of assitance to your or your organisation.

As I made the comparison between the differences between the workplace diversity landscape in Europe versus that in the United States and then began to draw the comparison between the picture of Diversity which I was looking at in Japan in comparison to anything I had ever experienced. Indeed, as I saw a time lag between implementation within Europe when compared to the United States and I saw time lag in Japan. However I could not even begin to focus on implementation but more on awareness and the path to implementation had not even been laid as yet.

With the management teams and decision makers being dominated by men largely set in their ways I saw many challenges up ahead. The first challenge was in educating the management team and workforce about Diversity, about the fact that their were different ways of doing things and also that men didn’t always have all the answers.

I was frequently surprised as I moved around the company I was working for at the time and; also in meeting other women from some of the other traditional Japanese companies professionally and socially how much talent was being laid to waste. I would meet women with degrees from universities here in the United Kingdom and also in the United States with excellent command of the English language who were working as secretaries. Even more surprising to me at the time was the fact that this was accepted and that they assumed and thought that that was they way that things were.

I will be ending this particular post with a couple more paragraphs in a few days time – thanks for reading and as always, let me know how I can be of assistance to you.
-Stephen C