Lean Definition

Nemawashi

Nemawashi is the Japanese have very different ways of conducting a business meeting. Before formal meeting starts, participants have already drawn conclusions regarding information to be presented at the meeting. This is called Nemawashi (prior consultation). The original meaning of the word is to smooth around the roots before planting. This system was developed to avoid discrepancies, and gain agreement from everyone in advance when making a decision in formal Meetings. It is also to keep the relationship harmonious. Nemawashi is best used to let people of differing opinions have time to adjust their opinions. When the principles of Nemawashi are put into effect first, people have the time to adjust opinions beforehand without wasting time. The main fear people have of Nemawashi is its use in politics. People are worried that decisions are sometimes made behind the scenes instead of out in the open. It is therefore seen as an undemocratic process.

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