Spring and new fiscal year greetings 2024 from Japan Intercultural Consulting

In Japan, April 1st is the start of the fiscal year for companies, and the start of the school year for both children and college students. Coinciding with the cherry blossoms, it’s a time of new beginnings. A fresh start feeling, akin to that of the start of the year.

This sense of turning a new leaf is particularly strong in Tokyo this year, where cold weather delayed the start of the cherry blossoms. Up until last Friday morning, it was rainy and chilly. Then suddenly around lunchtime the sky cleared and the temperature rose, just in time for everyone to enjoy hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties over the weekend. With this dramatic change in the weather, spring has truly sprung.

In this fresh mood, wanted to reach out to everyone with my long overdue New Year’s letter. Normally I write it at the beginning of January, but I had my hands full with projects due at the end of the year, and then a flood of new requests from clients. Finally catching my breath for a moment as several projects wrapped up in March at the close of the fiscal year.

A major theme in Japan Intercultural Consulting’s work for 2024 is centered on leadership and management skills. With things getting back to normal as the pandemic seems firmly behind us, companies are taking stock of their employees’ skills and looking to shore them up where needed and position their organizations for future growth.

As a result of this focus, we continue to see a lot of interest in our Servant Leadership seminar which offers a fresh paradigm for how to relate to team members, and our Leadership Challenge seminar which incorporates the Leadership Practices Inventory 360 degree evaluation. As with all our seminars, these are offered in both English and Japanese.

To further add to our leadership-related offerings, I’m pleased to announce that Japan Intercultural Consulting is partnering with the Singapore-based startup OnLoop to bring their game-changing support tool for managers to the Japanese market, including localizing it into Japanese.

OnLoop has pioneered the concept of Collaborative Team Development, a framework that enables people managers to manage teams more effectively. They have created an app that supports managers on an ongoing basis in applying this framework. The app uses generative AI to make giving feedback and tracking progress on goals much more efficient and targeted, freeing up managers’ time and increasing their effectiveness.

We will be holding seminars in June where you can learn about Collaborative Team Development and how to use the app to support your team members in doing their best work. Please let me know if you want to be the first to be notified of further details.

We also continue to see a high interest in our teambuilding sessions, as many companies are focused on strengthening team relationships. A return to higher levels of business travel and more expatriate assignments is also driving requests for our cross-cultural seminars, including Effective Business Trips to Japan and pre-departure sessions for those moving abroad. Many of our clients are also gathering more in person, both regionally and bringing global team members to Japan, and we have been supporting them with our bilingual and bicultural teambuilding facilitation.

We are also excited to continue our firm’s geographic expansion, with Mohita Modgill joining us as India Representative and Nina Michels-Kim joining us in Switzerland. We are also delighted to welcome Midori Maki Larrieu, Ucheol RyuNoriko Sato, and Naomichi Terazaki to our team in Japan.

Outside of work, I continue to advocate for the preservation of Jingu Gaien, a historical green space in the center of Tokyo that is threatened by development. The petition I started now has over 231,000 signatures, and I was named Change.org Japan’s Changemaker of the Year for 2023.

Thanks much to our clients, partners and friends who have been so supportive, both in 2023 and so far this year. Wishing you a joyful and productive start to the new fiscal year, and looking forward to continuing to support you in 2024.