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  • Yvonne Burton-Burton Consulting International

‘Leading from any Chair’

Guest Lecture @ Ritsumeikan University - Osaka-Ibaraki Campus

As a technology and business communications consultant with Japanese companies, I primarily work with professionals already several years into their careers. By that time, we are trying to change or reshape ingrained mindsets, behaviors and workstyles of people conditioned by education, company training, and years of top-down managerial interactions.  


Training or facilitation to instill new concepts involves a lot of ‘un-learning,’ before new learning can happen. Changing mindset alone is a long road filled with hurdles at every step.


I often thought how beneficial it would be to do the work I am doing with established professionals, at the beginning of or even before their careers started. Providing awareness of the real tools of business whether it be in technology, business communications, or leadership, prior to their first hiring.


I created such a product offering and recently I had the opportunity to pilot one of the programs courtesy of Dr. Rolf Schlunze of Ritsumeikan University. This is the second year I have been invited to be a guest lecturer in one of Dr. Schlunze’s classes. This year it was for his Senior Seminar One class studying Intercultural Management and it gave me the wonderful chance to sow the seeds of new kinds of thinking and leadership to these students.


During my ‘Leading from Any Chair’ workshop-style lecture, I emphasized the need for a shift in mindset as crucial to thriving in the modern global business world many of them would soon enter.  

I started with an exercise on building trust as it is one of the key factors of being on a team or managing one. Knowing and understanding our own perspective, behaviors and motivation allows us to better be aware of and have insight into those of others. Often, understanding the perspective one is coming from can make the difference between a successful interaction and a failed one.


We compared traditional leadership and management styles with the more current people-centric approaches, such as servant leadership. I emphasized the importance of taking accountability in their careers, to first  look to themselves and be proactive in ‘leading’ their own growth and development in their jobs and not wait for others to do it.

Leading from any chair is just that; wherever you ‘sit’ in a company, YOU have the potential and responsibility to be a leader of yourself.  


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