The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

As my children grow up and I watch how they interact with friends and one another, I’m struck more each day by how technology has changed what it means to be social.

I’m no tech slouch myself. Having gotten my first computer in 1982 at the age of 10—a gift from surprisingly prescient great-grandparents—I’ve had a lifelong love of technology and am an early adopter of the latest gadgets and apps. But whereas my children are digital natives, I’m not. I’ve just learned to work new ideas and tools into my life as they come along.

Embracing change and new ways of doing things has, I feel, made my life better. This reminds me of how other changes now taking place in society will—once adopted and normalized—create a better environment for my children.

WORKING BETTER
The workstyle reforms that are now being championed by many member companies of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) are creating the type of environment that I have long felt is key to better productivity and results.

Going back to my opening observation, communication is the foundation of every­thing we do. How we all come together, whether in the same location or at a distance, shapes what is possible. It does this not only in the literal sense of what task we can undertake and complete to achieve a concrete goal for a company or client, but also figuratively in how we unleash potential.

I know that whenever I have worked for a company that places results over counting hours—something ACCJ Treasurer Nancy Ngou and Governor Ryann Thomas talk about in our interview starting on page 16—both what I personally and the team as a whole achieve has been far greater.

FEELING BETTER
Another key shift is happening in the area of inclusion. Since my days as a resident of the Rotary International Student Center at the University of Alabama, this has been second nature to me. And as an expat of more than two decades, I’ve been at times puzzled and at others frustrated by the lingering divisions that hold back society and the workplace. It’s great to see these walls coming down and for my friends who have felt like outsiders for one reason or another—because of their nationality, sexual orientation, or age—to be brought into the fold and valued more.

And this all brings me back to my children and my belief that the world in which they will work will be better than the one in which most of us built our careers. Thanks to the social shifts that are shaking us every day, their workplace will be one of greater inclusion, greater energy, and greater personal fulfillment—all of which will lead to more successful businesses.

Christopher Bryan Jones is Editor-in-Chief of The ACCJ Journal. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he has lived in Japan since 1997.