Expert Spotlight: Junichi Kato | Managing Director, Japan

Expert Spotlight: Junichi Kato | Managing Director, Japan

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Expert Spotlight: Junichi Kato | Managing Director, Japan

Today we hear from Junichi Kato—Managing Director, Japan—and learn why he’s a big advocate of The Service Profit Chain, what it means to deliver the “total experience,” and how SMG is helping brands understand the value of prioritizing an experience management (XM) program.

Welcome to the team. What attracted you to SMG?

I was very passionate about this opportunity because I have been a big fan and true believer of The Service Profit Chain (SPC). To have a leadership position at an organization founded on the principle of the SPC was extremely attractive for me. I believed I could make immediate and long-lasting contributions at SMG through my international business, research, and service management experiences. Additionally, I thought my practical experience of coaching staff and building high-performing teams would be an asset to the organization.

What about The Service Profit Chain resonates the most with you?

The Service Profit Chain was the first business book I read in English when I was an MBA student in the UK. I fully believed in the theory that links employee engagement, customer satisfaction/loyalty, and profitability/growth. Since then, I’ve tried to implement that concept into the organizations I worked for, but the attempts were not successful because I did not have the appropriate tools, knowledge, and support. Now I work for SMG—which originated from the SPC—and am confident that I can use this theory to help our clients.

As we look ahead to 2021, what are some experience management (XM) trends you expect to impact the industry?

I think we should keep a close eye on the “new normal” arising from COVID-19, which greatly affects consumers’ behavior, as well as their engagement preferences. The pandemic has significantly increased digital usage and the need for technological developments—particularly relating to AI, 5G, and AR/VR.

According to Gartner Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021, one key trend is the “total experience”—combining multi-experience (customer experience, employee experience, and user experience) to transform business outcomes.

For organizations to survive and prosper in 2021 and beyond, a leading XM provider like SMG will play a very important role—acting as a true catalyst for change. 

As you reflect on your international business experience, what are some of the biggest takeaways that have defined your leadership approach?

To effectively lead a team, I have learned that a democratic leadership style works best. By applying this method, I share a global vision with my team and encourage them to participate in the decision-making process.

I’ve also been applying the Situational Leadership Model proposed by Ken Blanchard, which helps assign the right leadership style (directing, coaching, supporting, + delegating) to the right person—with the goal of building a motivated and high-performing “One Team.”

After your first few months at SMG, what have you found to be the most rewarding aspects of your job?

Our Japan team is small but mighty! Our staff has a proven track record in various business fields including business process, research, and consulting. They are united, hard-working, and passionate about our clients’ business. I feel really honored to be the leader of this organization.Experience management (XM) is largely underdeveloped in Japan although many people understand the concept—which means there are large green fields in front of us. I’m excited to present the real value of SMG’s work to as many organizations as possible.