Communications and change happen everywhere. Here at Pivot, we work with clients that take us all over the world. We have had the opportunity to work on a global SAP deployment where our efforts in change management, communications, and training are being leveraged in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Japan. I have had the chance to be part of the team facilitating the Japan deployment.
In April, we were able to travel to Tokyo to meet face-to-face with the local team. We connected with leadership and the project team to talk through IT system changes. And, as change leaders, we made sure to connect with our business partners to understand how these changes may affect their daily lives at work. We also successfully collaborated on localized communication and training strategies to suit their team’s specific needs.
As I think about the efforts for this project, it is apparent that basic communications efforts and strategies can be universal. However, it has been very important to think about what works best for the workplace norms and culture of the location. In Japan, we use email newsletters and posters to communicate and create awareness about the project. Very direct and informative communication is common, so we focus on sharing project updates and highlighting local leaders in newsletters. We also find that when we have project meetings in English, it is important that we always prepare information in a visual presentation so our Japanese colleagues understand more clearly or can review the content before the meeting. It is important to allow time for the local team to discuss items in their native language.
On a recent trip to Tokyo, we were able to help the team and trainers do some initial testing in the new system. Testing helps to ensure they know what is changing, make adjustments, and learn what processes need training. Looking ahead, the next few months are important for communicating and working with the local trainers and end users to ensure they have the knowledge and ability to make the change successfully and utilize the new system when it goes live later in 2020.
In addition to busy days in the office, we also had extra time to explore Tokyo. This clean and safe city was full of delicious food, temples, and people. We enjoyed riding go-carts through the streets of Tokyo, visiting beautiful temples and eating fresh, delicious ramen, sushi, fish and more.
One of my favorite highlights was discovering a shared enthusiasm for baseball with one of our colleagues in Japan. He was able to coordinate getting tickets to the see the Yomiuri Giants face off with the Tokyo Swallows at the Tokyo Dome. In some ways, it felt like time rolled back and I was at a game in the old Metrodome in Minneapolis. However, Japanese baseball is a little more intense and structured. Each time our section’s team batted (Go Giants!), we stood for the entire half inning and chanted a different cheer for each player while waving orange Yomiuri towels. It was such a memorable experience for me as a lifelong baseball fan.
It has been a privilege for me to support our clients by learning, working and exploring in Japan. As a larger Pivot team, we greatly value the opportunity to work along-side our client to help them realize the vision to be more efficient and operate as one, united company across technologies and the globe.
Pivot Communications Team