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Nemawashi: Making business decisions the Japanese way.

In Western-style business leadership, the boss or the top team tends to make the crucial decisions, especially if they affect the way the organization runs.

After that, each of the department or division heads has the task of interpreting those decisions so that each employee is clear about their role in making things happen.

Unfortunately, when a management intervention requires significant changes to the way people down the line have to do their jobs, it’s frequently met with objections and even resistance.

The Japanese have addressed this challenge in the simple, elegant way of nemawashi, which means management by consensus.

Building consensus among the workforce sounds to Western ears like an enormously complex and time consuming practice.

Sure, it may take a little longer to generate majority agreement, but the payback is that when everyone supports the new direction, they combine and focus their energies more quickly and enthusiastically.

When employees know that their managers value their thoughts and ideas, loyalty and dedication increase in equal measure.

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