Integrating two work cultures can be difficult -especially when combining two cultures as different as the U.S. and Japan! However, it is well worth the effort.
Here are four tips taken from btrax’s cultural values to help you achieve your goal:
1. Be a forward thinker
Being a forward thinker means being open to new ideas and embracing changes and challenges when they arise.
To drive success and reach team goals, one must consider the team needs -this may require some thinking outside of the box.
We consulted our team about the importance of being a forward thinker:
“It’s essential to be empathetic and well-prepared. Working with a diverse, multicultural team can sometimes present challenges. Of course, there are miscommunications from time to time. We can anticipate these obstacles by being understanding of different perspectives.
By acting as a forward thinker, we are able to strengthen our team and work effectively together.” – Jared Javier, Associate UI/UX Designer
“I think this is important (in order) to integrate cultures. For me, (being) a “forward thinker” is preparing well for the next steps by caring for other team members. Personally, as a designer, I tend to think about how I should create design resources that are easy to get feedback on and easy to maintain for other designers (JP/US).
I try to create resources and documents that are easily understood by all team members whether they are designers or not. Being open-minded about cultural differences is important to create great products that can appeal to a diverse audience.” – Akari Utsumi, UI/UX Designer
2. Driven by creativity
Creativity is essential to any field, and it can help you connect with both the team and stakeholders in unique ways.
Aim to be creative and innovative in your work, and be open to trying new things. At btrax, we are actively finding creative ways to bridge the gaps between the U.S. and Japan.
We consulted our team about their views on creativity, and here are their responses:
“I think any work or task can be creative! Creativity can be a great tool to bridge gaps and make people feel more comfortable or happy. In that way, everyone in btrax has to be driven by creativity (which relates to client satisfaction (Business Producers/ Project Managers/ Account Managers), User Experience (design team and development team), communication (marketing)).
Creating a marketing strategy for client and internal projects is the most creative part of my work. It’s necessary to imagine a customer or user’s emotions as well as the customer journey. You can bring alot of value to the lives of others when you can provide the right information and things to the right people.
At btrax, creativity is a vital aspect to every collaboration. When we collaborate as part of a multicultural team, we have to find a clear and direct way to communicate and work together. This process can be creative in and of itself.
Japanese class and team building activities are some of the ways that we unleash our creativity. This helps us to get to know each other’s culture and communicate better.” – Ayaka Matsuda, Marketing Associate
3. Empathize differences
Another key element to successful integration is empathy. Being able to understand and appreciate the differences between work cultures is crucial. You must value diversity and celebrate uniqueness, for example, respecting traditions and listening attentively.
Although traditions may be different, they should still be respected and honored. This shows that you value your colleages culture and want to work together harmoniously.
By listening attentively and trying to understand the concerns of both cultures, you can build a trusting relationship that can lead to productive teamwork.
We consulted our team about the importance of empathy when it comes to integrating two different work cultures:
“It is simply understanding the other side and how you can accommodate others. Staying within your lanes only limits the potential of successful communication and only enforces the undermining of the cultural values of others. It is very important. At btrax, we want to share our knowledge simply because everyone comes from different backgrounds.
Teaching and being open with each other, helps us not only with our efficiency but also with our relationships. It makes us a more well-rounded and happy team.” – Jonathan Chen, Design Manager
“I feel that U.S. and Japanese cultures are very different. For example, both cultures have very different social rules and expectations. However, I think it’s important to be respectful and understanding of each other’s differences. If cultures are integrated, there will be aspects that do not match the social rules of the other country. This, however, can be a strength as both can learn from aspects of the other.” – Hiro Aihara, UI/UX Designer
4. Fearless in trying something new
It seems like the most successful people are often those who aren’t afraid to try something new –even if it may seem risky at first! A willingness to take risks and trust that your intuition will guide you in the right direction can pay off.
Encourage your team to be creative and innovative, and be prepared to offer feedback and support. This will help your team embrace change and be more successful. They may be nervous to voice out opinions or even ask questions, but with encouragement and positive reinforcement, they can become fearless and successful in their work and integration with the team.
We consulted our team about their views on taking risks and being fearless in trying new things:
“It’s btrax’s nature to take on new and unique problems that require creative solutions.
btrax trusts its employees in delivering these solutions which empowers them to flexibly think of new and creative solutions to problems that cannot be solved with typical ways of thinking.” – Mana Hashimoto, Account Manager
Our values are important to us. They serve as guidelines to help us grow into a strong, multicultural team.
Brandon, btrax CEO created these values as “…they stick two cultures together. The cultural values of the U.S. and Japan are so different, especially when it comes to the workplace. So, we need something universal for both teams to follow. It serves as our “constitution”.
No matter what services we provide, these services do change from time to time. It is important to me and my team to have something that lasts a long time, that we can confidently cite as our core values.
As a creative design company, we need value statements to define where we stand. The four values are the key ingredients to being a “Designer.” Since we consider every one of us as a designer, we must understand those values.”
In conclusion, remember these key points when integrating two work cultures into one:
- Be a forward thinker
- Be driven by creativity
- Empathize with differences
- Be fearless in trying something new
At btrax, we uphold these four core values in many different ways. This can range from our internal communication with other btrax members, HR cycle, employee evaluations, design processes, and project proposals to existing clients and future prospective clients. Our utilization of this everyday approach helps us to gain perspective on how we can better collaborate with others.
By bridging the gaps between cultures, business, and mindset, we strive to blend our Japanese and American sides seamlessly together. We hope these four core values can provide you with the guidance to integrate your cross-cultural teams into one.
Contact us to find out how we can help you and your company succeed.
Our new E-Book is here!
We’re thrilled to announce the release of our newest e-book: “What I Wish I Knew Before Entering the Japanese Market.”
Featuring insights from industry professionals who have successfully navigated Japanese markets, this e-book will help you conquer the Japanese business world with confidence.