Leading from the Living Room: Microsoft Japan

We couldn’t have imagined a better way to launch our Leading from the Living Room executive webinar series than with Microsoft Japan’s Head of HR, Katsuyoshi Sugita. It was incredibly insightful to hear how his authentic approach to managing people has equipped him to successfully manage huge transitions at Microsoft Japan, especially the coronavirus crisis.

A few key highlights were:

  • In order to make informed business decisions while navigating, Katsuyoshi believes the key is to understand the facts objectively. In making the best decisions with other senior leaders, it’s important to factor in that others may be inclined to either overreact or under-react. Leading with an objective-based mindset will help to gain consensus. 
  • A successful diversity and inclusion strategy that yields measurable results is achieved by positioning D&I not as the goal, but as a tool and process to become a better, more innovative organisation.
  • He believes the greatest barrier to effectiveness of D&I initiatives is senior leadership attitude, if senior leaders in an organisation are not committed to or passionate about D&I, significant transformation cannot be achieved.
  • Continual measurement and tracking of clearly set targets is essential in driving lasting change.
  • Coronavirus has accelerated the shift toward a more modern work culture in Japan, including remote work. To sustain this change organisations need to:
  1. Think about why the organisation needs a work style change: what are the benefits? How can they be measured?
  2. Start quickly and accept early stage mistakes. Learn from them and take corrective actions quickly, so that each day is an improvement from yesterday.
  3. You cannot change work style independently, you need to think about your company fit to remote work, factoring in your corporate mission, culture and values. HR policy and performance appraisal needs to be well aligned with remote work, significant issues will emerge if there is a discrepancy between them.

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