February 24, 2010,09:08 +0900(JST) Global Manager Development Program
In mid-February we organized a four-day training program, inviting local executives of our affiliated overseas companies to Japan. I also wrote about last year’s Global Manager Development Program in the blog.
This year we had 16 trainees from 11 countries: Australia, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, Poland, Thailand, UK and USA. I personally took part in the Program by giving a talk to the participants, attending the welcome party on the second day and listening to participants’ reports on the last day. The welcome party was extended to a second round, and the party on the last day was equally pleasant and enjoyable. I believe that this program helped shorten the psychological distance between the Head Office in Japan and the participants’ companies.
The Global Manager Development Program involves more than simply listening to lectures or going on field trips. The participants are given themes relating to the entire Sumitomo Electric Group, on which they must deliberate in two groups and report on the last day. Each year I look forward to these reports, and the suggestions made, with great interest.
This year’s themes were "how to secure excellent human resources" and "how to enhance group consciousness and motivation." The two groups made proposals regarding the clarification of career paths and the importance of corporate branding. I found these proposals very well thought out, and I was strongly impressed and encouraged by the participants’ serious attitude. An active question and answer session also took place, as well as a deep and sincere exchange of ideas among those present. I expect that those suggestions will be effectively integrated into various future measures.
The Sumitomo Electric Group is a rapidly globalizing company: about 40% of our sales come from outside Japan, and over 100,000 of the Group’s consolidated employee population of 150,000 are non-Japanese.
As for future world market trends, it is certain that China, India and other newly emerging economies will achieve the greatest growth. Europe and North America, although in a difficult situation at the moment, still represent a huge developed market and cannot be ignored. As for Japan, its relative importance continues to diminish. For us Japanese, it is becoming necessary to adopt the way of viewing Japan in a larger worldwide context, and act accordingly.
Speaking of Japanese in connection with the Global Manager Development Program, which is targeted at overseas executives, there are still some Japanese who have difficulty engaging in fluent conversations with overseas participants, although a growing number of our Japanese personnel are quite capable in this area. The Program also reminded me of the importance of training for Japanese human resources if we are to stay on the scene as a global player.