- CEO and Representative Director
- Publicis Groupe Japan
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 2.5 (as of June 2019)
I first visited Tokyo about six years ago, for business — at that time, I was living in Singapore, in charge of global clients for the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan. I still remember the excitement that I felt when I jumped on the plane to Tokyo as it has been a dream destination for so long.
“Raise your words and not your voice, because it is the rain that makes flowers grow, not the storm.”
In the West, often people who are loud and raise their voices are considered strong and own a legitimate authority in their organizations. But thanks to experiences, and to the East, I realized authoritative behaviors rarely solve conflicts or delicate situations. Only when you listen attentively, tap into your empathy and set the appropriate level of discussion can you help people to thrive.
One that stands out is when I started at Publicis Japan. Over several months, the management team and I pushed our people to transform, acquire new skills, work differently and adopt a new mindset. Then, a group of people came to me with a remarkable initiative called Publicis 100, proving they understood that for our company to fully transform we needed the concurrence of all collaborators. It felt great, as I do believe that modern organizations have the duty to empower employees so that they can have a business impact.
There are so many things I want to achieve. First, I want to make sure we have strengthened the right capabilities and structures that will enable people to be still relevant and able to perform in the near future. I also want to continue working toward a better working environment, friendly for women and working moms. There is still so much to do in terms of working style, gender pay gap, women in leadership, and childcare options.
Japan is the most sophisticated country that I have lived in. Sophistication, attention to details, and thoughtfulness are present everywhere and every day. With these traits come also what some would qualify as “downsides” — over-servicing, over-processing and a slower pace of execution. I would advise anyone coming to Japan and working here to be fully aware of this ambiguity, this paradox; dig into it and make the best of it.
In Japan, you need to be twice as patient than anywhere else — I have noticed that extraordinary rewards come to those who are patient and don’t come to conclusions or decisions too hastily.
Finally, I would recommend you be consistent — the rule you apply to the company should also apply to you.