Lean Blog Interviews — 423: Laura Kriska, the First American Woman to Work at Honda HQ in Japan

My guest for Episode #423 of the Lean Blog Interviews Podcast is Laura Kriska, a Cross-Cultural Consultant and the author of the book The Business of We: The Proven Three-Step Process for Closing the Gap Between Us and Them in Your Workplace.

Notes: https://www.leanblog.org/423

She was previously my guest on Episode 61 of the “My Favorite Mistake” podcast.

Laura was previously the author of the book The Accidental Office Lady: An American Woman in Corporate Japan, a book about her time as the first American woman to work for Honda in Tokyo, Japan. We talk about those experiences and so much more today.

Topics and questions:

  • How did you get to become the first American woman to work at Honda HQ in Japan? 
  • What was it like working in the Ohio factory?
    • Quality Circles
    • Kaizen — We can always do things better
  • What was an “office lady”?
  • Adjustments to the Japanese working culture?
  • You initiated a Quality Circle around the uniform for office ladies, tell us about that…
  • “Let’s Abolish Women’s Uniforms”
    • Use of data?
    • Being careful with assumptions
    • Studied it for a year
    • What was the outcome?
  • You describe Cultural laziness (now, “corporate carelessness”) – what do you mean by that? Can this apply to somebody who is new to a company culture, too??

I hope you enjoy the conversation.

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity, and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network