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The Answer Beside You

  Author:Shentop  Date:2012 /12 / 06

The Answer Beside You


People often do not look for solutions in their surroundings. Like the characters in the a fairy tale, people tend to look for answers far afield -- believing that the hardest to find solutions are the ones with the most value.

This is nothing more than an illusion. The value of a solution is not connected to how difficult it is to find. This may be the case with precious metals and minerals, but it is absolutely not true when we are talking about the best way to get a job done.

The trick to doing your job well is to always search first for the obvious solutions close at hand. The person in the next seat over may know the answer, or can at least tell you something that moves you along on your quest.

At Rakuten we make a practice of learning from our various divisions. We are a company with headquarters in Tokyo – but we mine solutions to our challenges from all our locations, all over the world. When our staff in France developed an Internet anti-counterfeit product system, we adapted it for use as we entered new markets. When our Indonesia staff came up with a solution for helping customers feel more secure using credit cards, we rolled that out in other countries with similar cultural concerns about online shopping. And when in Tokyo we found success tapping staffers to return all web-based requests for information with a live telephone call within two minutes, our U.S. colleague were quick to try the two-minute system as well. We learn from each other, all the time.

When you are looking for best practices to imitate, look first to the staffer beside you. The answer you seek may be closer than it appears.