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THE Leadership Japan Series by Dale Carnegie Training Tokyo Japan

Aug 3, 2022

Covid-19 cases are skyrocketing every day.  Just when you thought we might be getting somewhere, the latest BA5 variant is spreading like wildfire.  For many businesses this will make no difference, but for many industries like mine, we are watching those numbers like hawks, praying they go down.  Why?  Because our buyers are making decisions not to buy, because of the danger factor of getting the virus.  If buyers reduce or stop buying, the next thing you have to worry about are cash flow prblems.  Can you make the rent and the salary bill every month?  These types of problems are like amoebas – they just keep multiplying.


Any hint of trouble in the business breeds fear in the staff.  Are we going to be okay?  Is this company going down?  Should I be the first rat to jump ship?  If you are not open with the numbers, then you run the risk of supposition, rumours and imaginations in overdrive.  You don’t tell them how bad it is, but they know things are bad and they presume they are actually a lot worse than they really are.  If you are transparent with the numbers, they have a clear view of the problem, but they still worry it is a huge problem and perhaps insurmountable.


We read these statements such as “it is lonely at the top”.  As the leader, who can you talk to?  The only words coming out of our mouth with our teams have to positive and confident.  The first sign of a lack of confidence and you could trigger the collapse of the whole edifice.  No matter how much you are hurting, they are not the audience for your fundamental, deep concerns about the business.


What about friends in business?  Certainly, this can include clients.  In fact, my policy is to make every client a friend if possible.  That is not always the case, but in general that is the type of relationship I want.  People like to do business with people they like and that includes those doing the selling, as well as the buying.  You cannot really share your woes with the client no matter how good a friend they are.  They are still the client and they have their own businesses to take care of. The prospect of you the supplier falling over would trigger them to seek more stable supply from somewhere else, regardless of how much they may like you personally.


What about your partner.  When you get home and start sharing all the stresses you are under, what is the impact on the family?  The partner is going to start worrying about the collapse of the family fortunes, what will happen to the house, what about the retirement years provisions?  The leader has to be careful with this messaging as well. There is a tension there between wanting to unburden to release some stress and creating additional burdens for yourself on the home front.


What about friends?  Do you in fact have any close friends?  You may be working so hard in the business, you actually don’t have any close friends, because you never have the time to invest in the relationship.  Assuming you do have some friends you can trust with this confidential information, does it help?  Apart from sympathy, they cannot do much.  They have their own problems in life and their own stresses.  Any advice they have is basic and you would have thought about it already.  Or they have advice which isn’t helpful because they cannot know your business well enough to make any difference.


What about a coach?  This can be a good idea.  One of the issues is the same as with friends, the coach won’t know your business well enough to understand the ramifications of what is going on.  They can help at a high level perhaps.  I am always dubious about so called “life coaches” who have done nothing in their lives?  The same goes with a lot of business coaches, who have achieved nothing in business?  Can a business coach sitting outside of Japan understand Japan well enough to be of any help?  It is a bit like that joke about the consultant borrowing your watch so that they can tell you the time.  The coach who doesn’t know Japan has to be educated by you first about the Japan situation in business.


Finding a business coach who knows about Japan and has sufficiently high level commercial experience to see things from the Presidential Suite point of view is a rare beast.  Active Presidents get it and get it perfectly, except they are too busy running their own shop to worry about coaching someone else.  This also presents a potential problem of because they are here, you are possibly opening up a conduit to the market to release things you don’t want publicised in the market.  How much can you really share?


It doesn’t sound great does it?  In reality the choices are few.  As leaders we have to harden up and find a way to push through.  The key is to be able to manage our stress.  If we know how to do that, then the release we seek can be found.  This could be journaling, meditation or exercise. Drugs and alcohol are creating a fresh set of problems and we already have enough troubles without adding to the pile.


Writing things down for whatever reason, does seem to help.  We can do it in four stages.  What are the problems I am facing?  Which of these many problems is one with the highest priority?  What are some things I can do about it?  Which one of these many solutions is the best choice to get to work on immediately.  It sounds so simple.  That is the genius of this method – it is so simple, but it really works.