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The Japanese build business by building relationships and this takes time. The pre-requisite is trust for the japanese. Thereafter they will stand by you, regardless if your financial position is declining, or expected to get decline or if you are unable to meet a time or quality commitment. During such situations it is advisable to inform your Japanese counterpart, even if the partnership is at a critical stage. However this is not true for the Indians.

It’s very difficult to inspire trust with Japanese in the early stages, due to huge differences in work culture and behavioral patterns. They reach meetings early, understand traffic conditions and every other possible delays and account for them. If someone reach late, they will receive them politely, smile and bow. Japanese take decisions by consensus i.e. agreement among a group of people. They are not comfortable with managers who make a public display of authority, or a directorial management style which believes in “if a nail sticks out, hammer it in”. Indians are more tend to be inspired by stars and strong leaders unlike the Japanese.

The Japanese never contradict each other, or their boss, in public. They present a homogenous front to their seniors. But we are freer to put forth the differing point of view as we are the argumentative Indians. They are extremely courteous, whereas Indians tend to get aggressive in tone and manner, often interrupting and getting repetitive. Their reaction to the best of the proposals and animated talk, is an expressionless nod, a gentle tilt of the head and a soft “hmmmm”. They are basically robotic.

Japanese do not understand our point of view on recruitment, gut feel decisions and entrepreneurial zest. They often get frustrated when meetings scheduled for 30 minutes conclude in three hours and without concrete decisions. Especially at the project stage, which in India is definitely demanding on co-ordination for timely completion of milestones, due to poor skill sets and support infrastructure. “So much discussion and no decision” they say in exasperation. 

Japanese co-workers often hang out as a group after work. While it is not necessarily required, it is socially expected to a certain degree. Plus, it can be a helpful way to forge strong relationships and work your way up the ladder. Whereas Indians only party with their colleagues on social occasions.

Japanese workplaces are more formal compared to India workplaces. Japanese workers never call each other by their first names at work. 
Most businessmen, called “salarymen” in Japan, wear gray, navy, or black suits and are always wearing ties, even in the summer. Career women wear the exact same outfit: a white button-down shirt with a navy or black blazer and a matching skirt, pantyhose, and black kitten heels with their hair tied back in a ponytail.

The Japanese way, in my opinion, is beyond the esoterics of management and business philosophy jargon. It is typically based on unchanging fundamental percepts.

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