importance of understanding Nemawashi when doing business with Japanese.
If you are doing business with Japanese, one concept that is "must understand" is Nemawashi. The translation of this term comes from a Japanese gardening technique and means "going around the roots." This technique is used when preparing to transplant trees. A Japanese gardener will dig around sections of the root system very carefully, the purpose being to prepare the plant for moving and minimize shock to the plant and allow it to flourish in a new environment. Sometimes this process can take a year to complete.
What is the significance for business? The "nemawashi process" prepares the "roots" of the company for new ventures, the direction the company will take, among others.
So, how is this applicable to business? This concept is typically used in a decision-making system allowing for consensus-building activities. In other words, it is a process of gathering information and feedback from employees, usually in 1:1 or small group discussions.
Typically this process is used when introducing new ideas or change, making business decisions, etc. The goal - get everyone on board with the proposed action. The Nemawashi process is one reason outsiders express frustration with the time it often takes for Japanese to make decisions.
While the process may see extraordinarily lengthy, often the decision or announcement is quick once the process is completed and there is buy-in from all those involved. It might be referred to as the art of persuasion and consensus-building.
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