One essayist ungrammatically called Japan "uniquely unique." Ungrammatical or not, it is perhaps accurate. In addition to jet lag following a 13+ hour flight from Boston to Tokyo, the intrigue of Japanese culture per se gripped me instantly. My wife, Susan, is a tapestry weaver, textile designer, and avid gardener, and this was her first trip to Japan. Soon we were off on a whirl of garden and temple tours. As luck would have it, the leaves were rapidly turning and the scarlet blanket of astounding Japanese maple leaves took our breath away time and again. Among the many stops, perhaps my favorite was the dry garden (15 perfectly placed stones amidst carefully swept gravel) at the Ryoanji Zen temple in Kyoto. Among other things, the Ryoanji garden is said to have been a major inspiration to Steve Jobs who, in general, was greatly influenced by Zen and Japanese culture. Though not particularly aesthetically well-tuned, I can nonetheless readily understand the garden's allure—I was mesmerized.
Following a glorious—and exhausting—10 days of touring and cultural absorption, we headed to Tyoko (more accurately, Chiba) for two days of seminar-giving on my part. The first day's audience was about 1,500 pumped up Japanese SME execs. Giant companies everywhere are staggering under the weight of accelerating change—Japan is no exception. And the future, I fervently believe, is universally in the hands of small and medium-sized enterprise. While Japan has been gripped by stagflation for two decades, the attitude among the entrepreneurs I crossed paths with could not have been more upbeat.
In any event, a terrific two days—the 2nd, a dawn-to-dusk seance with 100 senior entrepreneurial-firm execs, ensued—personally as well as professionally. Many thanks to my newfound colleagues in Japan for your hospitality and attention. I'd add that my hosts at Learningedge, Japan's largest business seminar organizer, are all pros of the first order!
You will find here the PowerPoint presentations for each of the two events:
16 Nov, Japan, Re-imagine Excellence: Innovate or Perish
17 Nov, Japan, Re-imagine Excellence: Talent, Value Added, and More