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Servant Leadership

There's more to leadership than driving a team to profit. In fact, there's a word for looking beyond self-interest to prioritize individual growth: servant leadership. Try this course for a quick breakdown of what that is, how it works, and how it can lead to organizational success.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Ever wonder what makes a great leader? Whether your role requires leadership or not, understanding organizational behavior is useful for your career. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can set you on your way.

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management are different skills, but today’s leaders must have both. Try out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to understand the difference, as well as when and why each skill is necessary for motivation, communication, and value.

Strategy: Creating Value Inside Your Company

Have you ever wondered why certain companies are more successful than others? The answer is strategy: internal processes that control costs, allocate resources, and create value. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can give you the tools you need for that strategic edge.

Strategy: Understanding the External Environment

To plan strategy on any level, you need to understand your company's external environment. In fact, your level of understanding can impact hiring, budgeting, marketing, or nearly any other part of the business world. Want to learn how to do all that? This course from GLOBIS Unlimited is the perfect first step!

Using Japanese Values to Thrive in Global Business

Japanese companies have unique cultural, communication, and operational challenges. But they also have values that have led to remarkable longevity. Check out this seminar to hear how these values help earn trust from overseas head offices and develop employees.

Turnaround Leadership: The Differences Between Japan and the West

What's the best way for leaders to communicate a shift in corporate strategy? How do you even know when it's time for such a change? This course explains how Japan might have one answer, Western companies another.

Conflict Management

Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable. But they can lead to positive outcomes if they’re managed well. Check out this online course for a two-step process that can help you manage conflict successfully.

Evernote Founder: How Tech Startups Can Break through in Japan

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Women Empowerment: Lessons from Cartier

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Marketing: Reaching Your Target

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Marketing Mix

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The Principles of Negotiation

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Negotiation: Creating Value

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Finding Your Life Purpose with Ikigai

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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Confirmation Bias

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An Investor's Lesson to Entrepreneurs

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Managerial Accounting

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Finance Basics: 1

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Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis

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Career Anchors

What drives you to be good at your job?

Career anchors are based on your values, desires, motivations, and abilities. They are the immovable parts of your professional self-image that guide you throughout your career journey.

Try this short GLOBIS Unlimited course to identify which of the eight career anchors is yours!

Digital Marketing Psychology to Transform Your Business

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Pyramid Structure

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Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi

The key ingredient to success? Passion.

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AI First Companies – Implementation and Impact

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Technovate in the Era of Industry 4.0

Is Industry 4.0 is the next step of human evolution human civilization? Dr. Jorge Calvo seems to think so. Join him to learn how the past can help you set goals for an exciting future of digital innovation.

Technovate Thinking

Business leaders of tomorrow need to harness the power of technology and innovation. That means understanding algorithms and how they drive business results. Discover opportunities to make technology work for your competitive edge.

Product Life Cycle

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Logic Tree

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MECE Principle

Using the MECE principle can help ensure you categorize without gaps or overlaps. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited for a practical demonstration of how it works!

Nowadays, it’s not unusual to come across reports of how businesses and operations are undergoing a digital transformation. Many of these focus on superficial aspects of new technologies such as IoT, AI, big data, sensors, robots, and 3D-printing. They talk about the applications of technology, employing technological jargon to elevate Industry 4.0 news to the heady category of prophesy.

The media make it seem as if anything were possible in the future, a time when today’s companies will be shoved aside to make room.

It’s easy to come away with the impression that the business world has divided itself into prophets and doomsayers. The optimists promise a business heaven enjoying 11 trillion dollars by 2025, eternal happiness for executives, and 55 billion IoT connected devices by 2020. The passimists threaten us with new demons: Amazon, Uber, Google, Airbnb! These companies will surely bulldoze traditional businesses!


Everyone seems to think themselves an expert in technology: you’re either on the side of the prophets or the doomsayers. But despite the current popularity of Industry 4.0, and maybe due to the skewed attention it receives at the hands of the media, its effectiveness remains elusive for many company directors and senior executives.

But we mustn’t forget: this is business.

However much we exalt or disdain the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its emerging technologies, there needs be some form of rationalization between management and strategy. Businesses need to be able to transform prophesy into profitable businesses and threats into opportunities.

While all this digital noise is swirling around us, many industrial firms have begun a silent revolution, gradually digitizing their businesses, products, and processes. They are allowing strategy to drive technology, rather than the reverse.

A number of studies from the US have calculated that implementation of IoT and its enabling technologies lies between 25% and 45%, depending on the industrial sector. They also forecast that, on average, this will double in just five years, reaching levels of 50% to 80%, again according to industry.

Professor Michiya Morita from Gakushuin University and I wanted to ascertain the situation in Japan, a country characterized by innovation in technology. We were particularly interested in learning what executives are thinking.

We carried out a survey on the implementation of Industry 4.0 in three Japanese industries subject to intense global competition from German, Chinese, and American companies: electronics, machinery, and vehicles. Our goal was to understand each company’s strategic vision, implementation level, expectations, and future plans. The companies were separated into two groups: high performers and low performers.

How closely was high-performance culture associated with the key factors and benefits of Industry 4.0?

As it turned out, for high-performance Japanese industries, Industry 4.0 matters a lot. Our results showed they each had a clear vision, well-defined plans, high expectations, and ultimately better results than low performers.

Monozukuri culture still reigns supreme

The importance of Industry 4.0 in the strategic plans of Japanese companies is high: 3.7 out of 5, with a strong focus on production (3.9), collecting customer information (3.7) and product development (3.6).

However, it seems the level of Industry 4.0 implementation of high-performing companies is relatively low, at 2.5 out of 5. This could be interpreted as meaning that implementation in these companies started later than in other countries.

Our results showed that high-performing companies tended to have an initial vision that was focused inward. They oriented their strategies on product development and paid little attention to customers or value chains. We also observed a lack of integrated company vision and kaizen-based execution. Strategies were carried out sequentially and by division: product innovation first, then production adaptation, and finally customer input.

Robots? Yes! IoT? Maybe.

Japanese industrial companies seem to like automation, but fear the risks of the internet. More attention is paid to internet security than developing IoT platforms.

Which Industry 4.0-related technologies are Japanese companies using?

Investments are mainly occurring in the more mature technologies related to product and quality improvement—namely, robots and simulation systems. Curiously, in third place was cyber security, in fourth, 3D-printing, and in fifth, IoT platforms. In last place are cloud computing, augmented reality and big data.

If this conservative investment profile were to become a trend, it would signify a dangerous distancing from AI and, more worryingly, from customers and suppliers. Unlike US or Chinese companies, which invest heavily in big data and AI, Japanese companies could face big problems in creating strong business ecosystems.

Key expected benefits from Industry 4.0.

The picture changes when it comes to future expectations. It seems Japanese companies are aiming for faster response to demand, which they hope to achieve with Industry 4.0 technologies.

Greater customer satisfaction lies in second place, with flexible production systems third. These companies are willing to increase customer satisfaction by improving company responsiveness to changes in demand. This will minimize customers having to wait for products, as well as the build up of inventories.

The link between people and processes

Japanese manufacturing companies are aware of the risks that come with connecting people, but see the opportunities as being greater. Perhaps this is because they do not believe Industry 4.0 will be an industry standard in the future.

It will be difficult for companies to manage the enormous data flows that characterize Industry 4.0 if they don’t implement cloud computing systems or begin experimenting with big data and AI. It seems that Japanese companies, with their engineering culture, believe more in internal developments than in outsourcing or using standard solutions.

Management culture is key

Supporting innovation through management culture is not just about R&D. To truly take advantage of Industry 4.0, all functions need to work together. Learning-by-doing allows a company to gradually acquire the necessary digital know-how and market responsiveness for a competitive position in a global environment of rapid change.

This article is based on a study carried out by Michiya Morita, Jorge Calvo, and Yukari Shirota in 2016, as well as their article “Envisioning Supply Chain Management 4.0: The view from Japan,” published in CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly Magazine.

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