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How to Balance Careers and Caregiving in Japan – Event Report

Another conference I’ve attended several times in the last 19 years is the biannual FEW Japan Careers Strategies Seminar. 2 years ago I presented about Online Personal Branding drawing on my experience in marketing and recruitment. This year for the 20th CSS I moderated a panel on “How to Balance Careers and Caregiving in Japan”.

Originally, I was asked to moderate a panel for “Working Mothers”. However, I’m a huge advocate of getting to 50/50 when it comes to balancing careers and caregiving so I set about finding a working father to join the panel. I am grateful to all the people who recommended potential male panelists who are taking an active role in raising their children as part of a dual income family!

Photo Credit: The very talented TopTia

On the day, we represented a broad cross-section of industries, backgrounds and family situations, showing that there are many ways to manage your family and career. We had an active dialogue with the audience in an intimate setting. The panel covered diverse topics from which values drive our priorities to practical hacks that enable us to lead from those values. By telling our personal stories, we hoped to inspire other people to think outside the box.

Main Takeaways

1. Ask for the help you need at work

It’s more expensive for most employers to replace an experience team member than it is to accommodate your needs. Use your internal network to get the support you need, even (especially?!) when it has never been done before. Persevere and be open to different solutions

2. Know what is important to you

Mindful decisions and conversations about priorities with your key stakeholders (partner, employer, children) are essential. Weekly meetings, project management style whiteboards, shared calendars and a financial plan are ways these parents bring their business savvy to their home.

3. Outsource, automate or compromise

Non-iron shirts, automatic toilets, AI in the home, online groceries, no washing on a weekday, cleaning help and other creative hacks will help you to focus on priorities.

 

Recommended Reading

A great resource to consider the benefits to all stakeholders of dual income families is “Getting to 50/50: How Working Parents Can Have It All” . A good mix of statistics, anecdotes and practical ideas.


Sharing Points of You® at the Japan WIN Conference 2018

The Japan WIN conference has a special place in my heart. In 2016 I joined at a special rate for “women in transition” as I was moving from 12 years in a corporate role to begin working on my calling, my ikigai, to use my energy and passion to help people create and communicate change as part of diverse teams. It was at the event at the Shangri-la that I handed out my new meishi for the first time and as I delivered my self intro to over 100 people it can be fair to say that was a large amount of “fake it ’til you make it” tempered with a hefty dose of “imposter syndrome”.

When I realized that the speaker enrollment was open for the 2018 conference I decided that it was time to give back to the conference. thanks to my client testimonials I was selected as a workshop speaker and delivered a session “Rethinking your Strength: Shifting from Capability to Energy”.

Ever since I came upon Marcus Buckingham’s concept that “Strengths aren’t what you are good at. Strengths are what make you feel strong” during a Lean In Circle, I’ve been passionate about the power of doing what gives you energy. I also believe that we have more control about bringing this into our daily life than we may think.

In the 90 minute workshop, participants used cards from Points of You® The Coaching Game, Punctum and Faces to create their “Strengths Photo Album”. As always Points of You® delivered some “unexpected but precise” insights most commonly in hearing others describe their albums – a real view into the blind spot of the Johari Window.

My favourite comment from a participant was “I felt as if the scales had fallen from my eyes”. I have to say that for this to be achieved in 90 minutes makes me so happy as a facilitator and really impressed by how openly the delegates shared their hopes and dreams with others.

There were many great female role models at this event speaking with passion about their chosen topic and as always the Japan WIN conference was a great way to expand a network of like-minded people.

I was happy to see Steven Haynes back at the conference this year. I’m sure its the first time IBM Japan’s Conference  room has had a 100 person conga line!

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Contact me if you would like to offer the “Rethinking your Strength: Shifting from Capability to Energy” workshop in your organization.

Hope to see you at the next Japan WIN Conference!

 

3 tips to help working mums after childcare leave

The first signs of cherry blossoms are here which also heralds the start of a new fiscal and school year in Japan. Working mothers around the country are getting ready to enroll their children in daycare and return to work.

Here are 3 simple tips that managers can implement today to make the transition smooth for you, your employee and your business.

 

Read more about working mothers in Japan

What it feels like to return to work after maternity leave – a message for managers

Retaining Working Mothers in Japan

 

Got high potential women in your organization that you want to support?

Rethinking Strengths: Career Planning Workshop for Women

#IWD2018 #heforshe Tokyo – event report

#heforshe2018

 

You have to love an event that begins with a video of PicoTaro singing about Gender Equal Peaceful World.

With a focus on mindset change, March 8th’s #heforshe event for International Women’s Day hosted by PWC, Unilever and Bunkyo Ward brought many different ideas together.

Below are a few of the highlights  – my translations may not be word for word but the essence is correct, I believe.

Akie Abe, gave some unscheduled opening comments. Whilst Mrs. Abe is well know for her active support of her husband’s approach to Womenomics, her use of 家内 (“her indoors”?) to describe her role always rubs me up the wrong way!

Marin Minamiya shared her views on the power of a positive personal mindset and encouraged positive self talk.

I loved her single minded determination and hope that we can all find some of her strength when we find ourselves facing naysayers. For example when she said that she could not get the money for her expedition, she spent time writing to hundreds of sponsors until she was successful.

The 1st panel focused on so-called Japanese “ojisan” (middle aged men). The speakers had some refreshing views and ways to support institutional and individual mindset change. However, I came away with a sense that Yagi Yosuke’s comment about the importance of action over mindset change is the key. In the 2nd panel, a simple example of how to change perceptions gave me hope. Creating gender equality does not always require complex organizational wide changes, just simple every day actions can make a huge difference.

The final panel focused on unconscious bias. The complex audience reactions to the same photograph showed clearly how we all have blindspots and that we need humility and self-awareness to overcome them. To get your organization thinking about those blindspots, take a look at the Creating Inclusion with Appreciative Inquiry programmes (日本語)(English). Naoshi Takatsu of IMD also shared doom interesting data about transactional and transformational leadership. Women on average have stronger competencies in transformational leadership skills so organizatiions need to shift their thinking on what leadership looks like in the 21st Century.

Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, gave the closing comments. He highlighted the economic, financial and social impreatives of gender equality. Mr. Polman shared the need to think about how to bring gender equality into your value chain. What are you doing at every level of your business to be #heforshe and bring about gender parity in the world?

 

How did you mark International Women’s Day this year? What will you do to reverse the slowing trend of gender parity and help Japan to rise up from the currently pitiful global ranking of 114th?

 

Interviews and Appraisals with Points of You (R)

Looking for a new way to engage with your team members around your core values or key competencies in annual reviews?

Want to get beyond canned responses in behavioral interviews?

Using Points of You (R) The Coaching Game, you will be able to connect with your counterpart at a deeper level. You can drill down on interviewees’ key competencies in an engaging way. Whilst some behavioral interviews can feel very rehearsed (“Tell me about a time when you…”), using the Points of You (R) cards enables you to observe a more natural response as well as to see how the interviewee responds to new ideas.

In an appraisal scenario, this process will give your employee an opportunity to talk about the competencies or values in a new way. One of the key concepts of Points of You (R) is to break patterns. The process below will help you to connect with your team member in a different way and make the appraisal meaningful from the perspective of developing your professional relationship.

As part of my CSR activities, I was invited to be a part of the British School in Tokyo and Mums in Business Classroom to Boardroom Initiative for the second year running. You can see the layouts the interviewees created below. It was fascinating to see how the two young men were able to share very honest and open personal stories of struggle and achievement through this tool.

Process Flow

Tool: Punctum Points of You (R)
Punctum cards were used as they do not have topics assigned so it is easier to connect to the specific competency discussed. They are also more

Objective: An interview/ discussion about competencies that would not be filled with canned answers, that could not fully be prepared for. The ability to “dance in the moment” to be flexible and adaptable to new situations is an essential competency in any organization.

Process:
1. List up your corporate values, competencies. Ask participant to choose from the competencies. In this case we had 30 minutes so we covered 3 of 5 competencies.

2. Pick 3 cards (as relevant to the number of competencies), face up, to link with the chose competencies. In my example 2 cards represent competencies that are strengths, 1 represents an area which might hold you back. Notice which cards are rejected, where do the participants eyes hover, how easy is it for them to choose?

3. Ask the participant where they would like to start. Empower them to lead the discussion. You will be able to see how they structure information and how they present themselves. What can they see in the picture? How does it connect with the competency and their experience? Repeat for all cards.

4. At the end of the cards, ask the participant what insight about themselves they have gained. How can they turn that insight into action?

5. Your feedback
In an interview, you can then offer your observations. How do these competencies show up in your organization.
If this is an appraisal situation, you can offer your observations as well as clarifying what resources they might need and how you can support. What action can you commit to so you can support your employee?

 


 

To find out more about how you can use Points of You (R) in your talent development, change management and diversity and inclusion programmes, contact me to arrange a trial session for a small group to see the tool in action.

What is Points of You (R)?

It’s a powerful tool for self-discovery, team building and leadership development, as well as at social gatherings and corporate settings. Played individually, one-on-one, by small and large groups, it can be easily adapted to every audience, objective and theme. And it’s fun!

Glimpses of Mindfulness – Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs Circle – February 2018 Event Report

A sign of an engaging meeting where I am full engaged in the present moment  – a complete absence of event photos!

Ann- Katrin Van Schie, Lean In Japan Entrepreneur Circle member, and Holistic Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor from At Ease, led 4 other members online via Zoom and face to face at Smart Partners K.K.‘s offices in Kinshicho. I managed to grab a selfie of the Tokyo attendees as we left!

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We worked on simple ways to bring glimpses of calm into our day, to find special moments to reset. These are as simple as grinding your own coffee, to focusing on belly breathing, facial massage, use of aroma, using an app like Headspace and so on.

The Circle also discussed the TED Talk “How to Make Stress Your Friend”. The most surprising takeaway from the video was that stress can be seen as a sign of your body rising to the upcoming challenge. Your heightened adrenaline and awareness is your body adjusting to the situation. With this in mind how can you embrace stress as a positive?

Did you also know that stress releases oxytocin? I know! Isn’t that our happiness hormone? Mind blown! That is why we feel the need to connect with loved ones when we are stressed. Having a support group like a Lean In Circle has been a huge help for me to feel connected as a solo business owner. Who is in your support network?

Many thanks to Ann-Katrin for helping us to create ease in our busy entrepreneurial lives!


Are you an English-speaking  female Entrepreneur in Japan?

If you are an English-speaking, Japan-based female entrepreneur who would like to grow your business, apply online at Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs Circle.

Meetings are held monthly, online on weekday mornings with occasional  hybrid face to face/virtual meet ups in Tokyo.

Upcoming Events

2018 – 3/20, 4/19, 5/23, 6,21 (F2F), 7/17

 

Practice Patience Judo – Lean In Tokyo Girls on Fire February 2018 – Event Report

“Patience Judo”? What on earth is that?

In her book, Drop the Ball, Tiffany Dufu talks about its importance when you start to delegate tasks to others.

“We quickly grow impatient when things on our to-do list aren’t done the way we think they should be done.”

She shared the research that when men were asked to do the dishes by their partner, 30% “did it wrong” and 25% were never asked again!

Being able to create space for you to do the work that only you can do, requires you to let go of some control. It’s hard but necessary.

Personally, my challenge for delegation is not just about quality, but also about having things done on my time-frame. I recently created a holding list, “Waiting for DH”, for tasks around the  house which my husband is responsible for. I’ve given myself permission not to worry about them anymore!

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At the February 2018 Tokyo Girls on Fire Lean In Circle, 10 professional women from Australia, China, Columbia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, UK and US, shared our life hacks to get more of our goals achieved, rather than just ticking off items on our to-do lists.

It requires taking a good hard look at what you can do. Last year the Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs Circle covered the same material (Read the Event Report here). The main difference with this circle was really focusing on outsourcing and the need to train team members to be able to take on more responsibility.

We also celebrated a promotion, a first trip to global HQ, successful job change, Professional certification and a new baby. It’s always inspiring to see how much these women are achieving in their careers.

Follow Jennifer Shinkai Coaching on Facebook for up-coming event information.


 

Are you an English-speaking professional woman in Tokyo? Request to join our circle or follow Jennifer Shinkai Coaching on Facebook for up-coming event information.

2017/18 Meeting Dates
Generally held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, 7pm to 9pm at Dale Carnegie Japan. Meetings are free unless otherwise stated.

2018 3/28, 4/18, 5/16, 6/20, 7/18

Would you like to join an English Speaking Lean In Circle in Japan?

Request to join the Lean In Japan Creating Change Chapter and we will set up a call to decide which circle is best for your needs.

 

Creating Inclusive Meetings with AI

Are you searching for ways to harness the innovative ideas of your diverse workforce?
Are you looking for an interactive workshop to mark International Women’s Day and increase collaboration across functions?
Would you like your team to experience a positive approach to solutions that allows different voices to be heard?

While many organizations in Japan are making efforts to increase diversity in terms of gender in the workforce, many companies feel that they are not able to truly leverage the unique views of the women they are hiring. The focus on the “what” and “who” of diversity, now needs to shift to the “how” of inclusion.

WinBE (Women In Business Empowerment) is a collective of three Japan-based
facilitators who are passionate about Diversity and Inclusion. In the month of March we want to help your company find more ways to harness the diverse perspectives of your women to inspire innovation.

What’s the workshop about?

In this three hour workshop, 10-100 of your employees can connect across divisions,hierarchies, gender and nationality. Using the Appreciative Inquiry approach they will create an Inclusive Meeting framework prototype that is unique to your organization.

Appreciative Inquiry is an asset-based approach to solutions that opens up your team to new ideas and perspectives. Workshop participants will discover how your organization can utilize existing strengths to develop further diversity and inclusion.

The workshop output will be a prototype design of ways that your organization can run meetings where innovation can be fostered. Meetings give voices to the diversity of thought, backgrounds and perspective. These meetings represent a different way to approach ideas and will move away from the status quo. As a follow-up activity, teams can implement in their work groups as a pilot program.

Who should attend?

The program is designed to be flexible in terms of number of participants with a minimum size of 10 and maximum size of 100. The facilitators can deliver in English and Japanese so can support an international audience. The workshop can be run across functions to increase collaboration and internal networking

Why March?

March is a busy time in many corporate calendars in Japan ahead of a new financial year as well as preparing for new graduate onboarding in April.
However, March also brings many different times when we think about women and their role in Japanese society.

We start with Hina Matsuri on March 3 rd where we pray for the growth and happiness of young girls. On March 8th , we celebrate International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is #pressforprogress.And then on March 14th, there is White Day, where we repay the giri chocolates received a month before.

WinBE would like to leverage on this awareness. Instead of marshmallows and cookies, help your organization to empower your female employees to drive growth and innovation by creating meetings where multiple voices can be heard.

We are currently taking reservations for a limited number of workshops in March,
please contact Jennifer Shinkai for more information in English or Hiroko Shinoda for more information in Japanese.

About WinBE (Women in Business Empowerment)


WinBE is a collective of three Japan-based facilitators, Setsu Suzuki, Hiroko Shinoda and Jennifer Shinkai, who came together after meeting at the 2017 Global Summit of Women. As a trusted third party, we work with organizations in Japan to develop workplaces where high-potential female leaders can drive business results and contribute to innovation across products and solutions. With our backgrounds in coaching and global leadership development, we co-create solutions with our clients to develop inclusive workplaces.

We are currently taking reservations for a limited number of workshops in March,
please contact Jennifer Shinkai for more information in English or Hiroko Shinoda
for more information in Japanese.

アプリシエイティブ・インクワイアリー(価値を認める手法)を使って組織の価値を見つける

国際女性デー(3/8)にちなんで、3月に女性の多様な意見を組織活性に活かす方法を体験しませんか!ダイバーシティ戦略を進めているが、まだまだ女性の意見を活かしきれていない。義務感でやっている、他人事のようにぎこちない。といった声は多く聞かれます。

そこで、私達WinBEがご提案するのは、一人ひとりに隠れている価値や意見を引き出し、違った意見をどうやって融合していくかをとことん追求していきます。まず個人の価値を見つけ、それらを組織の価値として見つけ出していく過程に、チームの対話が生まれ、アイディアがどんどん湧いてきます。何より自分ごととして実感するので、それを自分の職場に持ち帰り、真のダイバーシティの実践として結びついていきます。

今回は3時間のワークショップで、その醍醐味を味わえます。

実地規模  : 1つの企業・団体から10人以上100人まで

  • 対象者   : 性別・役職関係なく参加できます
  • 時 期   : 国際女性デー(3/8)のある3月
  • 期待できる効果:
    • 自分の価値に気づく
    • チームの価値に気づく
    •  異なる意見を受け止め、新しいアイディアを思いつく
    • 自律的な行動に結びつく

※参加される企業の目的に合わせて効果は変わります。

  • 主催者   : WinBE

WinBEは、3人のファシリテーター、鈴木世津、ジェニファー新開、篠田寛子で構成されたチームです。大変能力の高い女性リーダーがビジネスの現場で成果を出し、革新を産み出すことに貢献できるよう第三者ならではの客観的な立場でサポートします。コーチングやグローバル・リーダーシップという手法を用いながら、ダイバーシティ&インクルージョンを実現する職場を実現するためにクライアントとともにその解決策を共に創りあげます。

●申し込み締め切り:2018/2/28

●ご連絡先

英語でのコンタクトは、jennifer@jennifershinkai.com まで。

日本語でのコンタクトは、  creo.coach@gmail.com まで。

Don’t accept the default – Lean In Tokyo GOF November 2017 Event Report

10 Lean In Tokyo Girls on Fire Circle members from Australia, Columbia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the US and the UK met in November 2017 to get in touch with their creative sides with Adam Grant’s TED Talk, “The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers” as the launching point of our discussion.

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With Lean In members from financial services, government institutions, luxury, legal and even a current university student, many people didn’t feel they had much chance to be creative on a daily basis. However, it became clear that we don’t need to be in a traditional “creative” role to be original thinkers. Indeed, many of us bring original solutions to our businesses every day.

A Points of You Ice breaker got us all talking about creativity and thinking about what opportunities we have to be creative at work. We shared our ideas on how to break out of some status quo situations by using creative doubt and pitched our ideas to each other.

Key Takeaways

“What you call procrastinating, I call thinking”

Allowing your idea to marinate a little is not always a bad thing. Just make sure you are not hiding by designing at the whiteboard!

“You don’t need to be first, but you do need to be better”

There is a lot of hype about hustle and first on the market advantage but Grant mentions examples of successful ideas that weren’t necessarily first but were an improvement on existing solutions. This iterative improvement is something that seems to be in the business DNA in Japan. Get someone else to take the risk, push the envelope and then kaizen it to perfection!

 

“People who achieve the most are also the ones who fail the most”

It was interesting to discuss this as mostly foreign women working in Japan. Sometimes we feel we can take more risks than our Japanese colleagues due to our “outsider” status. However, this can also make it difficult to build the social capital around an idea to get it to take root in an organization.

Don’t accept the default

In Grant’s TED talk he highlighted the most original thinkers are those who use Chrome or Firefox? Why? Because they don’t accept the default – they ask questions and go to an extra effort to find and then install the best solution. Wonderful example of questioning the status quo! What “straight out of the box defaults” have you accepted?

Why shouldn’t people support your idea?

Acknowledging the potential downsides up front can clear people’s negative thoughts out of the way and leave them more open to your solution.

 


 

Are you an English-speaking professional woman in Tokyo? Request to join our circle or follow Jennifer Shinkai Coaching on Facebook for up-coming event information.

2017/18 Meeting Dates
Generally held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month  7pm to 9pm at Dale Carnegie Japan. Meetings are free unless otherwise stated.

2018 1/17, 2/21, 3/21, 4/18, 5/16, 6/20, 7/18

Would you like to join an English Speaking Lean In Circle in Japan?

Request to join the Lean In Japan Creating Change Chapter and we will set up a call to decide which circle is best for your needs.