‘Indian associates are full of challenging spirit’

Navadha Pandey | Updated on April 29, 2014 Published on April 29, 2014

TAKUICHI SHIMIZU, President, OMRON Management Centre of India

A self-confessed fan of butter chicken and halwa, Takuichi Shimizu, President, Omron Management Centre of India, is on his first stint in the country.

While infrastructure is definitely an area that needs improvement, he says India can boast of many strengths — a promising young workforce, the growing middle-class, increasing rural demand and FDI in key industry verticals with many global MNCs investing in the Indian market. In an interview with Business Line, Shimizu, on his second overseas assignment here, says India is important for the global strategy of his company, which opened its headquarters here in 2011.

What draws you to India?

The cultural diversity and rich history of India is what draws me. It is fascinating to know how the dialect, costumes, customs, traditions and eating habits change every few miles. I find communicating with the people very interesting. Though they are very different from Japanese, we have many things in common.

How comfortable is it working in India?

So far, it has been comfortable. Though the current macroeconomic outlook is challenging, it is surely going to turn to a positive outlook over the mid or long term. The outlook for India’s economy is far better than a lot of other nations in many aspects and so, as a corporate, we are very positive about our performance – both as a team and as individuals. This positivity makes me feel that our efforts will be very successful in the future. It is this enthusiasm which keeps me motivated and at ease to render my responsibilities in the best possible manner.

How different is the work ethos here?

Having spent considerable time in Japan, the US and India, I feel that in Japan the work culture is more team-oriented; in the US, it is more individual-oriented, and in India, it is somewhere in between. However, the basics of the business remain almost the same.

What do you like about the work culture?

The flexibility and adaptability of the people. I think this lends them a quick learning ability which is very much required for a productive work culture.

Also, I feel Indian associates are full of challenging spirit and are very creative. The way they find solutions to challenging tasks sometimes amazes me.

What is your advice to expats?

Have an attitude to learn. It will also be very helpful if they observe from a neutral viewpoint, without any emotional judgment. They must understand the differences and the common aspects of the cultures thoroughly.

They should communicate with Indian associates as much as possible. For this, they should focus on strengthening and honing their communication skills.

What do you do in your free time?

I like to go to the gym, eat out at Indian restaurants and spend time with my family. I enjoy playing golf and exploring new places on weekends.

This is part of a series on expat CEOs working in India

Published on April 29, 2014
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