After we all stop, reflect and appreciate…where do we go from here?

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17 July 2020

Masako Eguchi-Bacon

CEO & Founder

This is the very first time in our lives when the whole world had to stop at the same time, and many try to predict what the “new normal” will be.  However, many changes had already begun before the COVID-19 pandemic.


Interestingly, the lockdowns happened when we were reviewing our own business strategy and we have taken time to sit and think deeply about the purpose of Ocean Bridge Management and how we connect with our clients. 

Individual values re-defined

Many have now realised that real happiness derives from your own values, not from external factors, like titles and money.  This re-think of our values will become important to businesses in the following ways:

  • People will focus more on the difference between “reality” and “superficial rhetoric” and be vocal about their displeasure.
  • Companies will have to consider more about how to answer each individual clients’ requirements and preferences, when they design products and services. 

Communication both with clients and between managers and staff, in a clear and logical way, will be so important so that both sides can understand each other’s values.


This will be very challenging in high-context cultures such as Japan, where people are expected to understand the other with implicit and nonverbal communication, however, it is vital to introduce more verbal communications particularly in a business situation. 

Humans are more capable and adaptable

We are more capable and adaptable than we had thought, and we have adapted ourselves to working-from home, and to home schooling very quickly. As a result:-

  • People will continue to pursue their work-life balance after the pandemic.
  • Judging productivity by the number of hours in the office will not work anymore.

In order to attract talented people, companies should offer a flexible working style and appraisal scheme which accommodates each individual’s requirements.


As lockdown has been eased, I have observed that some companies have returned back to their old behavior.  There will be a larger gap between the companies who stick to their old rules and those who adapt to the new customs. Businesses with international operations may want to be aware of this and apply styles, which suit different countries and regions.

Local and Global – the importance of partnerships

The pandemic has shown us the importance of both local and global:

  • Lockdown has highlighted the value of local shops and businesses which understand and cater for local requirements. 
  • Global cooperation across government, industry and academia is vital to tackle with this unprecedented situation.
  • When global logistics and travel were disrupted, companies started re-organising their supply chains and global operations.

As a more decentralised and resilient operation is required, businesses may have to increase supply chain locations or grant more authority and autonomy to local operations.  Companies do not have to establish everything by themselves but can work with reliable local partners.

Globalism with a cooperative mindset will be the way forward.

The answer is not to choose either global “or” local but it is both global “and” local.

Importance of “Fail Fast” and “Correct Fast”

COVID-19 spread faster than the human decision-making processes and current technologies could keep up with.  Countries were forced to make difficult decisions before completing their analysis and planning.


What I learned from this was the importance of “Fail Fast” and “Correct Fast”.  In a country like Japan, failure means embarrassment and it is difficult to be given a second chance. Even in such a culture, I believe the following thought process can apply:

  • When the world is moving faster, delaying the decision-making could make the situation worse.
  • It’s better to make the best decision at that point, act, and then analyse the result – run all the processes as quickly as possible – then if it fails, don’t blame anyone but correct it fast and move forward.

Everything is equal

This incident has taught us that everything should be equal;

  • between nature and human,
  • client and supplier, and
  • between individuals. 

When everyone stands on common ground, embraces differences and removes silo mentalities, we can achieve real collaboration and create a more compassionate world.

The world had to make so much sacrifice.  Too many lives have been lost and many people have experienced pain and sorrow.  We express our sincere condolences and promise that we will not waste our learning.  We should not go back to where we were.  We do not have to wait for the world to change. Let’s make positive changes and leave the world in a better place.


At Ocean Bridge Management we look forward to welcoming you all to create ideas, partnerships and continued success in a ‘new’ world.

If you would like to discuss further please contact us.