The issue

As so often with overseas subsidiaries acquired by Japanese companies, the acquired company is left alone for the first few years. The senior executives in the subsidiary enjoy the autonomy, but worry about the lack of direction or strategy, and this drift was beginning to be felt by the employees too.

Who is going to drive globalization forward once the Japan headquarters executive who led the acquisition retires? Who therefore do we need to approach with our proposals for a new vision?

Is it acceptable for us to make a proposal for a new vision for the company or should we wait for direction from Japan headquarters?

To what extent does the new vision have to include the mission statements coming from Japan headquarters?

Rudlin Consulting’s involvement, and the outcomes
The key was to find out who the likely allies in Japan would be and try to get an insight into their views on the future strategic direction of the company. Rudlin Consulting interviewed half a dozen top executives in Japanese to identify those who were likely to be leading further globalization for the company and their personal opinions on what the next steps should be.

It turned out, as it often does, that Japan headquarters were also waiting for the overseas subsidiary to make a proposal about the future direction and globalization strategy for the company. But it was crucial to show that the processes for developing a proposal for a new vision were collectively reached – that all the stakeholders, in Japan and in the various overseas subsidiaries, had contributed. But this also needed an external, objective facilitator. Rudlin Consulting introduced the company to a leading global brand consultancy, who interviewed the stakeholders and developed a new vision statement, which was approved by all the executives.

Rudlin Consulting also interviewed other key members of the wider corporate group in Japan and provided various background documents from those companies and from the Japanese business media to explain the history of the group’s values and ethos.

Case study 3 – getting honest feedback from Japan

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