CHAPTER 6From Process‐Driven Thinking to Thinking‐Driven Process

Too many companies in Japan are dominated by process‐driven thinking, when what is really needed is thinking‐driven processes. Process‐driven thinking is all about adherence—following a process meticulously and consistently—something that the Japanese feel that they are particularly good at. Thinking‐driven processes on the other hand are all about contingence—what you do is contingent upon the situation, and will naturally vary. Calcified processes form refraction layers in mid‐level management, because they are resistant to change. When process is contingent upon need, mid‐level management is adaptable to change.

Companies have myriad managers obsessed with doing things right, while CEOs wish that far more of them would be more concerned with doing the right things. The latter is harder as there is no work more physically demanding than thinking. And there is risk. In process‐driven thinking, individual success or failure is based on adherence to form regardless of outcome. In thinking‐driven process, success or failure is based on outcome—form is flexible.

This chapter discusses a critical transition in mindset and behaviors that mid‐level managers must achieve to become partners in change rather than reactionaries who impede it. The chapter provides practical tools for inculcating the mindset and desired behaviors in mid‐level managers.

Shifting to Outcome‐Orientation, not just “Gambarimasu!”

The Japanese ...

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