Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'Nemawashi' & Toyota via AP today

"Japanese presidents are team leaders who coordinate everyone's views and care intensely about peer opinion because confrontation must be avoided, she told The Associated Press.

This nation has a special phrase to describe such behind-the-scenes consensus-building, ''nemawashi,'' which translates as ''laying the groundwork.'' Neglecting nemawashi is considered a foolish and sure way to walk into failure.

Nemawashi is bureaucratic and time-consuming, but once a decision is made, everyone is on the same page, and action proceeds quickly without infighting.

'A Japanese company president has to seek consensus through patient meetings, gentle and shrewd nemawashi, and all sorts of very subtle backroom dealings and such,' says Roland Kelts, lecturer at the University of Tokyo. 'It's a much greater, more sophisticated and complex balancing act.''' --By Yuri Kageyama LINK

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