Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Kudos again to the Lykki Culture Club for all the fun events around Halloween. We love to dress up all times of the year so when it hits October we are warmed up and rarin' to go. 
I was traveling but it looks like the Lykkiites had a great time. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Japan Part 3 - Where's all the garbage cans?

After 10 days in Japan I have a list of some pretty cool things that stood out compared to Canada. 
1. Garbage cans are hard to find. Why? Because the Japanese take ownership for their impact on the environment. If they had some trash, they just hold onto it until they find a trash can. No need for a trash can on every block. You would never see someone flick a cigarette butt. 
2. It's so clean. No gum on the floor, graffiti on buildings or junk in front yards. Taxi and bus drivers are constantly cleaning their vehicles as they wait in line ups to pick up passengers. Every taxi or bus I rode in looked like it just came from a detail shop. 
3. The Japanese are just so friendly. Friendly in a respectful and humble way. I loved being greeted when I walked into a shop or restaurant - by everyone. When I mean everyone I mean the wait staff, the cooks, the hostess and who ever else worked there. The same ritual was repeated when you left. So there was this constant greeting and goodbye hum I became accustomed to - and something I miss now that I'm back in Canada. All too rare to get that level of pure great fullness in business as I saw in Japan. 
I see this post is getting long and honestly I could write 20 more things I found interesting but I'll wrap up with one more. 
4. It was not crowded !  We are eating breakfast on the top floor of the Westin Tokyo and looking down at the streets of the financial district on a Friday. It's amazing how few cars and people there are. The city is so efficient with trains and public transport that they are the masters of moving people efficiently. I didn't see any traffic jams and when we did travel on the freeway by car the traffic flow was smooth because everyone did the same speed - no jerks speeding and slamming on their brakes. 
Sure the train stations were crowded and quite something to witness. But one you understood the protocol like walk on the left, line up to enter and exit the trains, basic stuff. Finally I must note how quiet Tokyo was. No loud Harley motorcycles, no horn honks and people generally spoke very little in public. Tokyo is many times the size of Vancouver but felt so organized, friendly and calm..
Bonus Round - OK, needed to mention there basically was very little crime, no homelessness and from what we were told by our business hosts, very very little in the way of drug abuse or alcoholism. I was told a story about a business case left on a train seat and nobody touched it all day until the trains were cleaned out at night and it was returned to the person who lost  it.
definitely a city I will go back and spend more time. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Japan Part 2 - Work Life

During our tour of Japan, we were fortunate to spend a day in Tokyo with some local business owners. This was a great opportunity to learn more about employee culture, work ethics, and happiness at work. 
A highlight of the day ( other than the fantastic lunch) was each business made a presentation about their culture at work and how employees are motivated. Some interesting stories arose on the topic of "social drinking " as part of the company culture. What we learned was many employees started work as early as 6am and finish work at 6-8pm. Then they go out after hours several times a week with coworkers and managers for social drinking time and karaoke. This practice was considered part of the job and the workers who didn't participate didn't grow with the company. Wow, that really is dedication to the company and limits work life balance by our standards but seems to work for them. 
Another story was about hiring sales people. One company would send new sales people out to call on businesses and bring back 70 business cards per day. If the sales person couldn't bring back 70 cards, the sales person would just not return to the office, they would quit out of honor. 
There seemed to be an extremely strong sense of honor and pride for not disappointing the company they work for and as a result there were interesting dynamics that we just would not usually see in North America. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Japan Part 1 - Keep Calm and Kaizen On!

This week we are in Japan to visit Toyota. 
Our goal is to better understand  the philosophy of Kaizen.
Kaizen (Kai = Change and Zen = Good) stands for Continual Improvement.
I first became interested in the principle after reading the book - The Toyota Way. The philosophy of Customer First - Respect For Humanity - Elimination of Waste struck a cord with me.
At Lykki we cherish all three of these principals and our commitment to continual improvement runs deep in our company at all levels. Kaizen and the Toyota way is a huge subject matter to take on in this blog post so I challenge you to learn more if you are interested. Start with the book or check out
I was not able to take any pictures inside the Toyota plant but needless to say I made a ton of notes. I was amazed to see how some systems right on the assembly line we so basic and simple. One memorable time was when a person assembling a dashboard in a Camry needed help fitting it in during the allotted time he was allowed. He walked over and pulled a rope and the nursery rhyme song "Itsy Bitsy Spider" music started to play over the loud speakers. Next a supervisor walked over and observe as the line worker continued to wrestle with the part till he finally got it into place. The supervisor did not help manually or speak to the worker, he just watched and made notes on how to improve the process. You could hear different tunes playing all the time in the factory and each time that equaled communication between the front line workers and their supervisor. How powerful is that to hear and see constant improvement in real time. WOW!
Looking forward to more factory tours and visits with other businesses in Japan.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lykki Q3 All Hands Meeting

Just wrapped our Lykki Q3 All Hands Meeting. Awesome energy, great presentations and learning - but the best part was the card from staff to Sandy and I. It's things like this that get me jumping out of bed every morning. We handed out profit sharing bonuses and received this awesome card of thanks and gratitude.