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Live WIRe from Japan: Interview with Yoshiko Takayama

April 28, 2018

Live WIRe is a new portion of our blog dedicated to WIRe community-generated content and an opportunity to read and share stories, insights, and experiences in MR from WIRe members across the globe.If you'd like to submit your own Live WIRe content , contact Jessica Sage (jessica@womeninresearch.org)

Answer to WIRE Interview

Yoshiko Takayama Executive Officer, General Manager of Data Business Planning & Development Division, INTAGE Inc.

■ When you look back on your own career, please tell us if there are any turning points that will lead to your own success.

Ø When and what happened?

1) First year of joining the Social Research Institute (currently INTAGE). I was able to work with various types of seniors for each project. At that time, the Social Research Institute had a short history of ad hoc research projects, and each had their own unique work style without a standardized approach. The seniors I had been given were particularly strong in their individuality and worked in a way that did not set limits on the limits of research or the role of researchers. There were various turning points, but I think this blessed starting environment influenced everything in my researcher life.

② I became an executive in my early thirties. At that time, I kept saying that I wouldn't be an executive, but after receiving the expectations of my boss, I reconsidered "Why I don't want to be an executive," and I realized that I realized that I was thinking too much about stereotypes. I realized that it was important to draw the executive image that I wanted to be, and I was able to take an appointment test to become an executive. Being an executive broadened my horizons, and I was able to shift from the attitude of doing something by myself to an attitude of creating greater value for the organization/team.

Ø What made you successful at that time? (Example: change of environment/mental state, improvement of skills, support from boss/mentor, support from family, etc.) Why is it important?

Existence of seniors who show the way with their backs, organizational climate that promotes diversity and autonomy, and their own nature that likes change.

Rather than being shown the way by words or rules, being able to "think on our own" and being in an environment that acknowledges that, it is easy to shake "own belief" and "my style" I think he built it. And because I had a solid core, I think that I was able to continue to enjoy being able to change according to the situation.

□ I think it was more comfortable for some of my subordinates to show the way than to think for themselves. Please let us know if they have any experience of thinking on their own.

Young people do not want to “work as they are told,” but they also want the feeling of being utilized and the feeling of growth that is more compelling than their generation.

When I was a field leader, I straightly said, "I want to do this, but what do you think?" Still, "What should I do?" When asked, "What do you want to do, Mr. ●●?" / What do you think should be done? I always heard back. After listening to the opinions of the members, I made a clear statement about my own judgment and the reasons why it was based so that I could be convinced. While repeating this and getting members to speak first at meetings, I think the members started to change their opinions.

At present, the story of young people is closer to the vision, so I started listening because it was close to the factual question that was easy to answer, and while talking (using the probing technology and laddering structured technology that I cultivated as a researcher) We are gradually increasing the level of abstraction in order to bring out what we want to do.

□ How did the existence of clients influence career growth?

It is the customer who always guides us to go beyond the conventional framework and definition, and ask the customer to ask for a higher order, to feel that it has been useful, to be glad and praise, scold We have always grown by receiving it, and it is still so. There are many other jobs that have turned me into turning points, and I think that it is the customers who have always led to growth.

Ø How do these turning points help your career?

I was able to acquire a basic stance that puts no limits on my work or the definition of researchers. Unless the essence of “driving marketing with data and information” and “showing the direction of the organization and supporting members for that purpose”, specific roles and operations will change according to the times and circumstances. I thought I should, and I could keep changing. There is little stress on environmental changes and role changes, and I feel that I have accumulated without feeling the disconnection of my career.

Also, although it is outside the scope of the question, it was not only meaningful for my own growth that I was able to communicate inside and outside the company by becoming an executive with a super-professional popularity, and not only because of the balance of the company and the industry. I think that is also significant. Among the diverse managers, I think it is important for the research industry to have a mix of managers with a high degree of work popularity.

□ As a leader of the team, was there any conflict in leaving the work to his subordinates? If so, how did you overcome it? When I started to have juniors as players, I tried to clarify "who is the project owner". When I had a junior owner, "This is "●●-san's work", and my role is not to make that work convincing, but to enable ●●-san to do high-quality work. It was to support me." Instead, I think that there was a strict demand for juniors who would support me for projects that were called "my job." I tried to identify and communicate whether it was a general requirement for quality or my style.

When I say "as a leader of a team," I feel that the training when I became an executive was a turning point. Answer the issues individually → We did exercises to discuss with the team and make answers as a team. At that time, I was confident that I could answer all the questions correctly, and I couldn't believe that the percentage of correct answers would improve by discussing with the team. However, in reality, of course, the latter had a higher rate of correct answers. This was an event that had a great impact on me at the time, and I was able to experience the power of the individual <the power of the team, rather than reason. Since then, the more I want to do a big job or a good job, the more I feel that I have a limit in my strength and I need to make the best use of it as a team.

■ Are there any times when you looked back on your own career and were tough or difficult? Please let us know as much as you can.

Ø (If YES ) What happened when and what?

Even though I had the above attitude, when I first felt the change in the skill set required of researchers, it seemed to be self-denied. I place great importance on researching the truth as a reason for the existence of researchers, and I am a craftsman researcher who keeps looking at the data until the last minute to make as many new discoveries as possible. I didn't give much weight to people. However, I was very reluctant at the beginning as customers were required to have "expressions that anyone could see and see," and "logical and emotional presentations." I think it was hard to admit that until then, I felt that a researcher was a full-time job, but no longer.

Ø How did you overcome it? (Example: change of environment/mental state, improvement of skills, support from boss/mentor, support from family, etc.) Why is it important?

When I thought that I might not be able to continue as a researcher anymore, I asked myself, "Did you really finish what you could do?" I thought, "Let's do what is required rather than worrying about 4-5. It doesn't make sense to stick to your own style without taking a challenge," and once I changed my style. As a result, I was able to understand that it would be of no use if you did not convey any excellent analysis, and in order to make the value of the research that you believe in work, you should rather I should definitely change the definition of the researcher."

Ø How are the experiences you had during this time useful for your current career?

I think that being able to know my limits and being able to know my idiosyncrasies has led to my desire to grow and change. It also seems to be connected to the current management style, where I always want to respect the new generation.

■ What advice would you give to you if you are a new graduate or when you were having a career problem?

Make an effort and serve seriously. When you make an effort and it doesn't work, you either don't have enough, you're doing it wrong, or you're just in the process of working. Keep calm to determine which is which, and work hard until you can believe in yourself. And don't give up on being sincere. You are neither dexterous nor excellent. However, while continuing to do what he should do, people and heaven become friends. Don't give up.

□ When you are at a research company, you may be worried about your relationships with clients and how you proceed with your work. Please give us your experiences of improving your relationships with clients and any advice especially for young people in research companies. If you want to be a partner instead of a contractor, I think you should act as a partner first. To do so, you must have the skills of a research professional to be confident that you can deliver value as a partner.        

After that, the relationship changes as the researchers change their passive attitudes, such as listening to issues rather than listening to orders, asking clients to do things rather than receive requests unilaterally I think it will continue.

It was when I realized the value as a researcher that I realized that the customer really respected me as an expert. When a researcher can propose things that are difficult to see from the client's perspective, or when they can speak as a spokesperson for a consumer (when they can translate a consumer's thoughts that the client did not notice), they will be respected without exception. However, when we were able to provide more business insight than a single survey in combination with past surveys and survey results of other departments that customers do not know or have forgotten, we were able to say, “We are more than ourselves. I understand your challenges."

■ Finally, please tell us your motto, your motto.

Life is more fun to regret not doing it. Failure can be a process of success.

I remember this belief and push my back when I am at the crossroads of something different-doing something new, or doing the same thing-an extension. Whether you try something new or not, you can regret neither of them. Then it means you should do something new and regret it.

If something goes wrong without doing something new, then there's little you can learn from regret, and you'll want to blame it for something like a change in the environment. On the other hand, if I try something new and fail, I can assume that it is my responsibility, and I can learn from failure and become a success process.

The latter life is more fun for me.

Therefore, it is also a motto that "I reflect, but do not regret." If you do something new, you can reflect on it rather than regret it.

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