How do you ensure that the right questions are asked during check-in with stakeholders? Better yet, how do you minimize the need for questions altogether? Let's delve into a simple method of achieving that.

I am by no means an expert on, or even familiar with, Japanese business culture. So, when a colleague at Mathem mentioned Nemawashi, I was a bit skeptical. It turns out I was mistaken, and this simple principle is effective in any business culture.

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In essence, Nemawashi is about achieving consensus from everyone affected before implementing a change. Think of it as planting a tree – before planting, ensure the soil is suitable so that the roots can grow deep.

In a project, there's typically a need for stakeholder input and approval. While conducting weekly check-ins with the team, also schedule individual check-ins with stakeholders the day before. This informal approach allows you to gather feedback and obtain consent for changes without the need for extensive group discussions. The following day, during the team check-in, everyone is already aligned, and discussions usually focus on when rather than why and how.

This principle has proven incredibly valuable for me – arigato, Nihon (thank you, Japan).