Linked In for Entrepreneur – Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs Circle – July 2018 Event Report

Ah SNS! Which platform? How to optimize? What’s the best SNS for my business? Content marketing is essential as an entrepreneur and at the July 2018 LeanIn Japan Entrepreneurs Meeting we had a deep dive session hosted at LinkedIn Japan’s Tokyo HQ.

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Kaoru Jo and Sayuri Nishimoto from LinkedIn Japan showed us how much Linked In had changed. Whilst yes, of course, there is still a recruitment aspect to the platform, it is taking off as content network where entrepreneurs can build credibility and connections. 2 Million mostly bilingual members in Japan is a great niche to be part of.

It was also great to hear about the Women@LinkedIn initiative helping female professionals in Japan to extend their careers after childcare leave. Very much aligned with the work of the Lean In Japan Creating Change Chapter and the Diversity and Inclusion programmes I run as a facilitator to empower women to develop their careers in Japan.

Main Takeaways

1. Content Creates Connections

There is now 15X more content than job posts on the LinkedIn Feed. Use articles, bilingual posts and be active and helpful in groups to build your credibility. Find out your SSI to know how well your LinkedIn Profile is helping you to sell.

2. Lots of New Linked In Features

LinkedIn Video, Nearby feature and LinkedIn is perfect for networking in Japan. #hashtags also work really well on LinkedIn now!

3. Answer the Public

Not sure what to talk about? Be useful and find out what people want to know about your expert area

4. Check before you delete or accept

 

Most Circle members had received invitations that were completely “random” and sadly sometimes far from professionally appropriate. Before you accept or delete, think about (or even ask directly) what made this person reach out to me? How can we mutually support each other?


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

We’ll be taking a break for August but back on from September – date to be announced

 

Celebrate and Innovate

On June 29th, 2018, I’m celebrating the start of my third year in business as a Facilitator and Leadership Coach. I am extremely grateful to my family, community and clients for enabling me to bring so much energy to my work, to help so many individuals improve their own performance as leaders and professionals in Japan. I’m so lucky to have the trust and support of so many wonderful people.

Thank you!

I am intensely focused on working with groups within organisations, developing cross-functional communication and deeper understanding of diverse points of view. I love the passionate discussions, aha moments and feedback about the impact the training had on team performance and relationships.

What has changed in Year 2?

  • I’ve continued to expand my knowledge base – Professional Certified Coach with ICA, Points of You® Certified Trainer, Management 3.0 Fundamentals, Tara Mohr Playing Big Facilitators Course, BerkeleyX: GG101x The Science of Happiness. Constantly learning new ideas to help clients connect the dots.
  • Developed new collaborations with Japanese Facilitators including WinBE (Women In Business Empowerment), Points of You® Japan and fellow independent facilitators.
  • I’ve been able to take on some really interesting clients and projects. I’m really able to focus on work that I am passionate about rather than what pays the mortgage. What a gift!
  • I got hooked on Spartan Racing and completed another 2 races in Japan.

 

What trends have I noticed from corporate clients?

  • Increased desire to support employees through organizational change
  • Focus on creating cultures of open and healthy communication
  • Presenting and influencing others continues to be a highly sought after skillset
  • Maturing of the discussion from diversity as a single-issue gender model to addressing wider issues of inclusion in some clients
  • Developing innovation through inclusion of diverse thought

What can you expect from me in Year 3?

Themes for workshops and support will focus on:

  • Innovation through Inclusion
  • Developing Ikigai within your Organization
  • Resilience during Change
  • Connecting the Unconnected – people, ideas or companies

To support these outcomes, I’ll continue to offer presentation skills, cross-cultural training and Points of You® Practitioner Training. My focus is on developing bite-sized development opportunities with shorter workshop sessions, on the job experiments followed by group coaching and reflection.

I will continue to support work style reform and women’s empowerment in Japan through my CSR activities:

 

Thank you again for being part of the journey. Looking forward to collaborating and learning together.

Please do follow me on Facebook or LinkedIn.  I post articles, videos and event reports regularly about training and development in inclusion, communication and change management in Tokyo.

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!

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

What is it that only you can do?

As entrepreneurs in the start up phase of business, many Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs Circle members struggle with the feeling of “having to do it all”.  Weird guilt about how it is somehow cheating to outsource, to delegate or simply being worried about cash flow stop us from using a vendor!

In the October Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs Circle meeting we focused on ways to become more productive by doing more of what matters and less of the stuff that keeps us busy and drains our energy.

It was a refreshing take on the idea that you can drop the ball without guilt. Perhaps you can mindfully throw it someone else, let it bounce away from you safe in the knowledge someone else will pick it up or simply set the ball at your feet ” this is not going to get done and I am fine with that”! 

 

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Lean In Japan Entrepreneur Circle Members October 2017 Zoom Meeting

After discussing the takeaways from the video “Drop the Ball: Doing More of What Matters: Find Your Highest and Best Use” By Tiffany Dufu, Chief Leadership Officer, Levo and author of Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less , the circle got into the practicalities of how to achieve the lofty sounding goal of “finding your highest and best use”

Circle members shared some of their own stories of how they had said no, reprioritised, found work arounds, used vendors to make the mental space and physical time to work on what only they can do.

Be Gone foul to-do list!

The process of writing the list of what really mattered personally and professionally alongside what you wish would just go away was empowering. Very refreshing to say “I just wish that no longer existed!”

Highest and Best Use ranking system

Using Dufu’s method of ranking your “to-do” list reduced mine from 21 items to 13. Being honest with myself there were another 3 to 5 items that I could look into outsourcing in the longer term or getting my family to take more responsibility for.

What remained were highest and best purpose – things only I can do and things that I can do well and easily.

Meeting Takeaways

  1. Make time for more of your highest and best use activities -What are the things that 
    1.  only you can do – skills, political savvy?
    2.  you do very well with little effort?
  2. If you pay a vendor, the job will surely get done…not sit on your to-do list! Circle members recommended 99 designs, fiverr, upwork 
  3. When you are feeling overwhelmed get that “to-do” list ranked and be brutally honest on whether that ball really needs to be being juggled at all!

Join Us!

Register for the Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs Circle to get your invitation.

2017- 12/13 (F2F and Zoom)

2018 – 1/18, 2/21, 3/20 (F2F), 4/19, 5/23, 6,21 (F2F), 7/17

 

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.

You can’t be what you can’t see?

 

This is Milly.

Milly is 11 years old. She is an articulate, intelligent, thoughtful girl and also a natural athlete. This is a girl who shuns the ladder to the top bunk and does a pull-up instead.

A few months ago, Spartan Race Japan held a trial event in Odaiba and Milly came along with her mum, a fellow Spartan. The plan was that whilst the adults were sweating it out on the 90-minute course, Milly would tackle the kids’ obstacle trial. Based on this, we headed off for running, climbing, crawling and burpees in the 29-degree heat.

When we came back, Milly was sitting with her dad. She had clearly not been on the course.

“What happened? Why are you not on the kids course?”

“Mmm… I didn’t want to….”

“What? We came all the way here to Odaiba. This is a great chance to train for the race in October!”

“I don’t want to do it. There are only boys.”

We were gobsmacked. In front of us was this amazing young athlete and she was not going to shine because she felt excluded from the group.

Because she was a girl.

She didn’t feel like she could take part. Her reason: there was no one like her on the course. She didn’t belong there.

Because she was a girl.

You can’t be what you can’t see

I’ve always been quite dismissive of the need for women to have specifically female role models in the workplace. Being in a male-dominated company for most of my career in Japan has meant I was often the only woman in the room. I assumed that many women  working in Japan know we might need to be the pioneer in our organization and I just got used to being the “first woman” to do something.

But here was a clear and quite painful reminder that the inability to see people “like you” taking part and being engaged, really does hold people back.

It was so sad to see this talented girl sitting on the sidelines. My hope is that she can find the courage to be a pioneer when she needs to in the future.

What if there are no role models?

In line with this belief of “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it”, many organisations in Japan seem to be fixated on the idea that the reason that women are not climbing the corporate ladder is because there are no internal role models. They have resigned themselves to the idea that change is impossible unless women can see someone like themselves at a higher level. An aspirational role model is essential for success.

How does this mindset help though?

It’s a Catch-22 situation – there are no female senior role models because there are no female senior role models.

How can you break out of this mindset?

Firstly, think of your leadership role – how can you make minority or outside groups feel that they do belong? How do you make meetings more inclusive? Let people know that their ideas and contributions are valued – not just as a representative of a “special interest group” but as a key part of your team.

“What are your thoughts on this from a female perspective, Jennifer?” is probably a well-intentioned attempt to bring in a different perspective but reminds me and everyone else in the room of my difference. Asking me to speak on behalf of all women is as ridiculous as when I am asked, “What do foreigners think about Japan?”. I can only share my experience, so please go and ask 100 other people if you want a statistically reliable answer.

Secondly, support the pioneers. Actively seek out the talent that looks different from your previous success profile. Know what that individual values and how your organisation might support it…but again, don’t assume that all the pioneers need the same support.

You are missing out on exceptional performance from your team and potential employees because of their perception of what a success profile looks like in your organization. As a leader in this talent-short market, you need to be addressing the implicit bias in your company and making extra effort to support those who might be being overlooked.

Finally, accept that even though it looks to you like the playing field is totally even and there are no signs on the door saying “No girls (or whatever!) allowed”, you could be seeing this through the lens of your privilege. The experience for other people can be totally different than yours.

So what happened to Milly?

You’ll be glad to know that there is a happy ending to this story.  On closer inspection, there were not only boys taking part. Milly was persuaded to give it a go and change her perspective. She made a new friend and, in the end, it was hard to drag her away as she was having so much fun.

We got to see Milly in action, tearing up the course… and it must have been dusty out on the course that day. I got a little teary eyed watching her shine.

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Lean In Tokyo Girls on Fire 2017/18 Kick Off Meeting – Event wrap up

7 professional women from Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK kicked off the Lean In Tokyo Girls On Fire 2017/18 Kick Off meeting at Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills on September 27, 2017. This celebration dinner marks the start of our 4th year and we were delighted to welcome a returning founding member as well as a new member to the Circle. Other members were unable to attend but we look forward to seeing them at our October 18th meeting.

With time in Japan ranging from 6 months to almost 20 years, our Circle diversity was not only cultural.  We cover diverse fields: banking, pharmaceutical, professional services and luxury goods. Cross-pollination of ideas and sharing best practices and members find the variety refreshing and inspiring.

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Creating Trust

For a circle to be successful, members need to agree to the 3 Circle fundamentals: Confidentiality, Communication and Commitment. Over the four years of moderating this circle, Commitment has been one of the keys to developing trust and learning. As members see each other more regularly, the relationships really deepen and it is amazing to have a group of supportive peers available to help you with challenges and opportunities.

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(Image Credit: Leanin.org)

Lean In peer support enables change

In the past year members have taken on new roles, asked for and been given stretch assignments, returned with grace and professionalism from maternity leave and developed their professional skills. It’s inspiring to see the growth in the group and many members commented that being part of this community has helped them either from moral support or by using specific techniques covered in the curriculum

A year from now?

Setting shared goals and themes for the group in the Kick off Meeting allows the moderator to pick the most appropriate resources on LeanIn.Org. The Leadership series is a great place to start as it does touch on many universal themes and gives you a 5 month arc of meetings to get you started.
As the Lean In Tokyo Girls on Fire group is in our 4th year, we are looking for new material and interested in including a guest speaker or mentor once a quarter.

Themes for the year will include:
1. Clarifying Mission
2. Overcoming Fear
3. Influencing Others
4. Difficult Conversations
5. Managing your Manager
6. Women’s Wellness
7. Reputation and Branding
8. Effective Collaboration
9. Developing Balance

An email free Circle

LeanIn Tokyo Girls on Fire will be moving our circle communications to Slack. Events will continue to be advertised on Social Media but to be inclusive we need a non-public platform for discussion that all members can access. Members who have never used the tool are keen to be “email free”!

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.

2017 10/18, 11/15, 12/13 (2nd Wednesday)

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.

Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs 2017/18 Kick Off Meeting – Event wrap up

“Revitalised”, “Energised” and “Inspired”

Three of the closing comments at the September 21 Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs 2017/18 Kick Off meeting. (Not sure what Lean In is? Check out this post and my personal story on the power of peer support)

7 members joined the live meeting sponsored by Smart Partners K.K. and 2 members joined via Zoom. Thanks to Jason de Luca for his continued support in our second year!

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Choose Happiness@Work

As many of the group have been meeting regularly we started with a different type of connection activity. This game got us talking and sharing best practices of how we can be happier and according to the game’s creators “Science suggests that a boost in happiness raises productivity 10-25%”. As entrepreneurs we are all looking at how we can get more out of our day!

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Creating Shared Circle Goals

“One year from now, what would you like this circle to help you achieve?”

Circle members shared their big picture business goals and we defined 4 broad themes.

As business owners, marketing, pricing and negotiation, continued professional development and work-life balance came up as key areas that the 2017/18 curriculum will focus on.

Accountability, Resources and a Sounding Board

These were themes highlighted as expectations as to how the Circle can support each member to achieve goals. To enable this a closed Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs Facebook group has been set up to allow smoother communication than the current LeanIn.Org forum/ email list.

Dates for future events have been tentatively set for 9:30-11:30am via zoom with a face to face meeting four times a year. Register for the Lean In Japan Entrepreneurs Circle to get your invitation.

2017- 10/19, 11/15, 12/12 (F2F)

2018 – 1/18, 2/21, 3/20 (F2F), 4/19, 5/23, 6,21 (F2F), 7/17

 

“A vital event for me to attend”

In closing, one of the circle members described the meeting as “too important, vital for me to attend”. Even though members had to battle through traffic, personal illness and getting lost, every meeting brings connection, cameraderie and most importrantly actionable ideas to grow our business.

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.