The FocusCore Podcast

Dr. David Sweet

Meet interesting and inspiring and entertaining people who show why Japan is a unique, fulfilling and sometimes frustrating place to do business. We will discuss how to hire, train and retain talent. How to create values that motivate, and review best practices that have worked and attempts that have failed. David will be speaking to company presidents, CEOs, CFOs, HR professionals, coaches, consultants as well as sharing with you some of my own experiences and opinions discovered over the years in this great country. The focus is simple: To explore how to succeed in business in Japan.

Diving into Diversity and Inclusion with Yuta Hasumi, Ikigai Authentic
14-06-2022
Diving into Diversity and Inclusion with Yuta Hasumi, Ikigai Authentic
This week’s episode with Yuta Hasumi, Managing Director of (Ikigai Authentic) is brought to you, especially to celebrate Pride Month. We dive into diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace and discuss the key difference between Japanese and international organizations approaches to diversity and inclusion.   When foreigners make up only 2% of the population of Japan, you would be forgiven for thinking that diversity and inclusion in the Japanese workplace just don't apply. Yuta has built a global career in D&I and is working with companies and organizations in Japan and the UK to change the way they think about diversity and inclusion.  In this episode you will hear: How Japan is at a pivotal point to address gender inequality  Local challenges when it comes to diversity in a homogenous country How people can develop a career in diversity and inclusion and get involved in their current workplaces  Why it just makes commercial sense to have diversity and inclusion policies  Easy steps companies and individuals can take to be inclusive (e.g.Gender Pronouns) Yuta’s top advice for companies to attract and retain talent  How can SMEs be inclusive and bridge gender gaps How one hair salon in Tokyo changed their labeling of hair pricing to be more inclusive and has now built a reputation in Japan as inclusive for transgender and LGBTQ+ clients setting them apart from their competitors  (Register) to join the next FocusCore Webinar Walk the Talk for LGBTQ Inclusion with David Sweet, FocusCore Japan, and Yuta Hasumi, Ikigai Authentic.   June 23 2022, 6.30pm (JST) Yuta Hasumi Bio: With experience in the Asia Pacific region and global human resources and talent management for overseas firms, as well as overall responsibility for promoting diversity and inclusion in Japan and the South Korean region, Yuta now operates with two bases, one in Japan and the other in the UK. He provides management consulting that makes the most of diversity, advising businesses and other organizations in planning and execution of lectures and training, coaching for management, promoting women’s participation in the workplace, and work style reforms. Yuta holds an MBA from Waseda Business School.  Other responsibilities • Certified Coach, COF Rosinski & Company • Director of GEWEL, Japan • Chair of D&I Advisory Board, Medito Foundation, Netherlands • Member of U.S.-Japan Council, US & Japan • Member of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the UK Connect with Yuta Hasumi: Website: (  Email: yuta.hasumi@ikigaiauthentic.com LinkedIn:   (  ) Links of things mentioned in this episode: FocusCore Webinars: (  Connect with David Sweet: LinkedIn: (  Twitter: (  Facebook: : ( (  Website: (  Doin’ the Uptown Lowdown,” used by permission of Christopher Davis-Shannon. To find out more, check out (www.thetinman.co). Support independent musicians and artists.
Talent Acquisition for the luxury brand industry with Naomi Takase, LVMH Japan
31-05-2022
Talent Acquisition for the luxury brand industry with Naomi Takase, LVMH Japan
Naomi Takase is a Kiwi living in Japan who has built an 18-year (and counting!) career in recruitment having worked both agency and corporate sides. She’s currently the Talent Acquisition Director at (LVMH Japan) and shares her top advice for those wanting to work in the luxury goods industry or have a listen even if you just want to know a little bit more about talent acquisition for a major global organization in Japan.  Naomi shares how she came to live and work in Japan which started with a phone call from FocusCore podcast host, David Sweet, for a job interview (you have to listen to find out the full story), and how she has built her impressive career as a Kiwi living in the land of the Rising Sun.  In this episode you will hear: How to market your company to attract great talent  Employer branding and employer reputation and why these are important for recruitment  Why she prefers to be paperless in interviews Her frustration when candidates undersell themselves, especially women returning to work after caring for children  The value of executive search recruiters and how she uses them to tap into hidden talent  Why Naomi wants to have lunch with fashion powerhouse, Stella McCartney  How reading (‘Good to Great’ )by Jim Collins has been instrumental in her career and personal decisions  Naomi Takase Bio: Born and raised in New Zealand, Naomi is a Kiwi at heart but Japan is where she now calls "home". She has been recruiting in Japan for 18 years with experience in both the agency side and corporate talent acquisition functions. At LVMH Japan, Naomi strategically sources for key positions and welcomes the opportunity to speak to executives who are open to learning more about the LVMH Group for future opportunities. Naomi is also happy to connect potential candidates to some of LVMH Maison, so feel free to send her an in-mail and /or connection request on LinkedIn.  Connect with Naomi Takase: Website: (LVMH Japan) LinkedIn: (  Links of things mentioned in this episode: (“Good to Great” By Jim Collins) Connect with David Sweet: LinkedIn: (  Twitter: (  Facebook: : ( (  Website: (  Doin’ the Uptown Lowdown,” used by permission of Christopher Davis-Shannon. To find out more, check out (www.thetinman.co). Support independent...
World-class learning and development with William Nealy Jr.
14-05-2022
World-class learning and development with William Nealy Jr.
We hope everyone had a wonderful Golden Week. We’ve taken a little break from podcasting but host, David Sweet is back with a brand new guest on the show this week. William Nealy Jr. started his career journey in Japan as a teacher on the JET programme and turned his early education teaching experience into a successful career in senior management in Learning and Development where he has worked for some of the world’s most well-known brands including Adidas, Nissan, and Cartier in Japan and America.     In this episode you will hear: How teaching in Japan started William on his career journey How playing tennis and sport develops a growth mindset and how that benefits working in a business  What are company values and why are they so important - it needs to start from the top What pitfalls can companies avoid  How companies can do better for their staff when it comes to developing their careers How to provide learning and development for staff when you have a limited budget  Importing international organizational values to Japan versus creating company values in Japan  William Nealy Jr. Bio: I work inside a business to align people development initiatives with the overall business strategy. In this position, it has been my privilege and honor to work with individuals around the globe. I've worked in the USA, Spain, and Japan, the latter for nearly 18 years. During my time in Japan, I fell in love with the people and the culture, and developed a deep understanding and respect for Japanese workplace practices. My background includes working closely with senior managers to identify opportunities for improvement and managing change at the local and global level. I'm accustomed to creating and managing talent development programs, coaching high-potential talent, and facilitating training programs. I love the rush and satisfaction of helping my co-workers around the world achieve their goals.  Connect with William Nealy Jr.: LinkedIn: (  IG: (  Twitter: (  Links of things mentioned in this episode: (Harvard Business Review) (LinkedIn Learning ) (Jim Loehr) Recommended Reading: (The New Toughness Training for Sports by Jim Loehr) (The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim
Recruitment ‘Hacks’ with Andrew Hankinson of Zwilling J.A. Henckels Japan
17-04-2022
Recruitment ‘Hacks’ with Andrew Hankinson of Zwilling J.A. Henckels Japan
This week on the podcast we are doing something different. I wanted to share with you an interview I did with Andrew Hankinson from the first podcast that I ever recorded.  Developing operations in Japan to be efficient and profitable can be a challenge when you run six top brands, over 30 retail shops, and a factory of the German company, Zwilling J.A. Henckels. For over 30 years, Andrew has been a true leader in Japan, a sales guru, and a business leader. He is undoubtedly one of the most exceptional business people I've had the honor to know.  In this episode you will hear: How Andrew worked his way back to the Land of the Rising Sun after studying in Japan in high school The importance of hiring people who really know how to sell Why it’s so important to really study resumes, and interview questions Andrew likes to ask when recruiting What quality good recruiters need to have and Andrew’s own recruitment ‘hack’ Why Andrew would choose lunch with his grandparents over Columbus and Aristotle The book Andrew recommends for every business professional About Andrew:  Andrew Hankinson is Senior Managing Director at ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS Japan Ltd. Andrew has 27 years of professional experience in Business Development, Sales Training, and P/L Management. He has 17 years of managerial-level leadership skills as Director of Sales & Marketing, General Manager, and Managing Director. Andrew has a proven track record of surpassing target expectations, motivating both team-based management styles and start-up ventures, and managing budgets / forecasting. He has excellent bilingual (Japanese – English) communication skills honed through 20 plus years of sales / business presentations, negotiations, and public speaking, to Fortune 500 firms, industry conventions, and team building. Andrew has also had managerial experience in business alliance development, service/product rationalization, corporate/event planning, and Japan new market entry. Connect with Andrew:  Website: (zwilling.jp) LinkedIn: (linkedin.com/in/andrew-hankinson-09b89) Podcast: ( of things mentioned in this episode: (The First 90 Days) book by Michael D Watkins Connect with David Sweet: LinkedIn: (  Twitter: ( ( the Uptown Lowdown,” used by permission of Christopher Davis-Shannon. To find out more, check out (www.thetinman.co). Support independent musicians and artists.
Around the hospitality world with Minesh Raniga, Regional Finance Director for Hilton
31-03-2022
Around the hospitality world with Minesh Raniga, Regional Finance Director for Hilton
Welcome back to the FocusCore podcast and thanks for listening. In today’s episode, host David Sweet is joined by the Regional Finance Director for (Hilton Worldwide Internationa)l, Minesh Raniga.  As you listen, you’ll understand why David really likes Minesh and had to interview him for the podcast - he’s warm, friendly, open - the personification of great hospitality. Which, as a long term Japan resident and the architect of a long and esteemed CV in hospitality is not a surprise. Minesh’s career has taken him globally and we’re excited to share his career journey and his insights on the hospitality industry and working in Japan on the podcast. In this episode you will hear: Minesh’s journey from growing up in Fiji and moving to Australia to study How his first career as an accountant at one of the Big Four firms was not for him and how he found himself working in finance at Sheraton Hotels by chance  What he loved about working for the Sheraton Hotel group and why he stayed for nine years Resigning to move to the Gold Coast, Australia to open a pizza and ice-cream shop with his brother-in-law, a pastry chef Getting itchy feet and rejoining Sheraton Hotels in Malaysia and then Bangladesh before moving to Miyazaki in Japan What his first thoughts of moving to Japan to work were when he in arrived in 2008 What it was like working in hospitality in a financial role after 2011’s Earthquake Moving to Tokyo to work for the Hilton Hotel brand and why he moved How working and living in Japan has changed and evolved the way Minesh works and what lessons we could all learn from Japanese colleagues How Minesh is trying to lead the Japan Hilton hotels into the modern technology era - no easy task in a country that still heavily relies on faxes What the challenges are as Finance Director in a country of high labour costs and in an industry that has been impacted by Covid The difference between Japanese hotel customers and other hotel customers - from the amenities they use and expect to how they book their hotel experience Connect with Minesh Raniga: Website: (  LinkedIn: (  Links of things mentioned in this episode: EQ Travel - (  Waldorf Astoria Japan - (  Connect with David Sweet: LinkedIn: (  Twitter: (  Facebook: : ( (  Website: (  Doin’ the Uptown Lowdown,” used by permission of Christopher Davis-Shannon. To find out more, check out (www.thetinman.co). Support independent musicians and artists.
How to hire A-player candidates using the Topgrading interview methodology
14-03-2022
How to hire A-player candidates using the Topgrading interview methodology
Do you want a better way to hire employees that will save you time, money and ensure you are hiring the best candidate to join your team? In the latest episode of the FocusCore podcast, host Dr. David Sweet takes you through a proven and tested hiring method and shares a simple five-step strategy to hire the A-player candidate. Introducing you to ( Topgrading), a recruitment methodology proven effective by some of the best companies in the world including General Electric and Barclays.  In this episode you will hear: • How to engage your HR and executives to hire A-Players • How to document and create scorecards • Learn the easy, time-saving technique for screening candidates  • Why are reference checks so important • The simple process and the questions to ask   These five steps are the bare bones of creating a recruitment process for your organization that our clients say attracts and retains the top talent. Utilizing topgrading as a method to hire talent is the best way to sort through B and C talent and find the A-grade candidate that you want to join your organization and will ultimately save you time, money, energy, and most importantly, save you from making a hiring mistake.   If you would like samples of a scorecard, please feel free to email me at david.Sweet@focuscoregroup.com. Connect with David Sweet: LinkedIn: (  Twitter: (  Facebook: : ( (  Website: (  Doin’ the Uptown Lowdown,” used by permission of Christopher Davis-Shannon. To find out more, check out (www.thetinman.co). Support independent musicians and artists.
Recruitment in Japan with Supply Chain Wayne™ AKA Wayne Yoshida, Talent Acquisition Manager at Maersk
28-02-2022
Recruitment in Japan with Supply Chain Wayne™ AKA Wayne Yoshida, Talent Acquisition Manager at Maersk
Today’s podcast guest is a former FocusCore alum and the current North-East Asia Talent Acquisition Manager at (Maersk), Wayne Yoshida, or as he is officially known as, Supply Chain Wayne™. Wayne is a Quebecer who has called Japan home for the past 15 years and has built an enviable career and reputation in recruitment for the transport industry.  This episode looks at two sides of the recruitment coin as Wayne shares with David what it's like going from a boutique recruitment agency to in-house talent acquisition for a global organization. Wayne candidly shares some of the challenges of working in recruitment in Japan and what companies can do to build better recruitment practices with digital technologies and systems that provide a great employee experience from the initial chat to onboarding.  In this episode you will hear: How Wayne transitioned as a recruiter from the agency side to in-house recruitment - what he learned and what he likes about being the in-house talent acquisition manager  Recruitment in Japan and the key challenges  How and why Wayne built his own personal brand that led him to be known in the industry as Supply Chain Wayne™   Why customer relationship systems are critical for a great and smooth recruitment experience  How Wayne hunts Unicorns - looking for the best and most unique candidates that will bring value to the company The secrets to healthy competition in a competitive industry  Wayne Bio: Wayne Yoshida is currently the North East Asia Talent Acquisition Manager at Maersk in Japan. He started his recruitment career journey at FocusCore Japan where he built an impressive personal brand and tribe following leading Wayne to be known as Supply Chain Wayne™. He is also the editor of (CargoNOW) and a Senior Board Member of the International Propeller Club of Japan. Wayne will soon be able to add a published author to his title with the publication of a children's book about transportation due out soon.  Connect with Wayne Yoshida: (LinkedIn - Wayne Yoshida ) Links of things mentioned in this episode: Recruitment tools: (Engin10)  and (Hireplanner) Wayne and David’s Mexican restaurant chain recommendation:  (Casa Bonita) Wayne’s favorite South Park episode: "It's Christmas in Canada" ( Season 7 E15) Connect with David Sweet: LinkedIn: (  Twitter: (  Facebook: : ( (  Website: (  Doin’ the Uptown Lowdown,” used by permission of Christopher Davis-Shannon. To find out more, check out (www.thetinman.co). Support independent musicians and artists.
Bear dancing and coaching with Cory McGowan, Coach and Founder of Adventure Partner
14-02-2022
Bear dancing and coaching with Cory McGowan, Coach and Founder of Adventure Partner
Cory McGowan is an American by birth who has made the mountains of Minakami, Japan his forever home with his family. He is a coach, husband, father, and a bear dancer. In this week’s episode, FocusCore Podcast host, David Sweet chats with Cory about his coaching business, (Adventure Partner), which he launched in November 2020, and how Covid and past career trauma has led him to this new career path. If you have ever wondered about coaching and what it can do for you and for your career, you wouldn’t be alone.  Cory shares his experience of being a coach, what it involves, and the benefits. They also discuss coaching benefits for organizations, why organizations shouldn’t shy away from using coaching as a development opportunity, and how it can elevate not just people but organizations to reach their potential.  In this episode we discuss: The difference between training and coaching  How Corey transitioned from working in the corporate world to running his own business, Adventure Partners, and why he doesn’t see himself as an entrepreneur  Why a coach also needs their own coach Taking the jump with his family from Japanese city life to the Japanese mountains and living in Minakami Community development in Minakami, setting up the Relocation Concierge Programme for Minakami and his vision to make a positive impact in his adopted town for his family  Japan’s social issue of rural depopulation and how he contributes to addressing this problem Cory’s first-hand experience of bear dancing, how it led him to discover bears are an endangered species in Japan, and how he is active in their conservation  The routines and rituals that keep him focussed and are non-negotiable for his well-being About Cory McGowan: Coach, Husband, Father, Bear Dancer. After decades of searching, Cory found his true home in the mountains of Japan. Professionally trained transformational coach and experienced adventurer. He uses both to support leaders and other humans around the world to express their fullest potential and co-create the lives they want for themselves.  He supports his hometown, Minakami, Gunma Prefecture as the first foreign relocation concierge and is actively creating a vision for community development with the hopes of being a leader in solving the problem of rural depopulation in Japan.  Connect with Cory McGowan: Website: (  IG: (  LinkedIn: (  Links of things mentioned in this episode: (Kumamori) (Minakami Relocation Concierge ) Connect with David Sweet: LinkedIn: (  Twitter: (  Facebook: : ( (  Website: (  Doin' the Uptown Lowdown," used by permission of Christopher Davis-Shannon. To find out more, check out  (www.thetinman.co). Support independent musicians and artists.
Innovation is key with Hideo Goto, Henkel Beauty Care Japan
31-01-2022
Innovation is key with Hideo Goto, Henkel Beauty Care Japan
Hello and welcome to the FocusCore Podcast with your host David Sweet. In this episode, David speaks with Hideo Goto, Country General Manager of Henkel Beauty Care Japan and Korea. Hideo has a long career history in beauty and personal care spanning over 20+ years and has been in senior management roles at Henkel Beauty Care since 2017 where he has accelerated business growth by strengthening brand portfolios through innovation and building high-performing teams. By focusing on a strong organizational culture and innovation, Hideo has led Henkel to be a leader in the consumer and professional haircare industry in Japan.  In this episode we discuss: Hideo’s career journey that has led him to Henkel Beauty Care The growth of Henkel, in particular, the haircare business in Japan and their path journey to becoming a powerhouse of hair Key challenges for growing Henkel and how to sustain growth over the next 10 years Innovation including digital innovation and product innovation The company culture of Henkel and how it attracts employees and how Henkel’s strong culture values differentiate them from their competitors How leveraging collaboration from within the business to create solutions is key Sustainability and how Henkel is adapting to reach the 2030 UN sustainability targets and the importance of sustainability embedded in a company’s values to attract employee candidates The impact of Covid-19 on Henkel’s beauty care business and how haircare is thriving due to the pandemic Hideo Goto Bio: Hideo Goto is Country General Manager of Henkel Beauty Care Japan and Korea, a position he was promoted to in 2021 having joined Henkel Beauty Care in 2017 as GM of the Professional Division. In 2019, Hideo was promoted as Country GM of Henkel Beauty Care Japan and led both the professional and consumer businesses. In 2020, he successfully turned around consumer business and, in 2021, accelerated the growth and achieved the historically highest market share.  Hideo has more than 20 years of experience in health and beauty industry, and a strong track record of driving results.  Prior to Henkel, he started his career at Johnson & Johnson in 1996 in sales and marketing.  In 2005, he joined L’Oreal and spent 11 years there, where he turned around several businesses and scaled the growth.  He held various leadership positions throughout his tenure including GM of Active Cosmetics Division in Japan, GM of Consumer Product Division in Taiwan, and GM of Professional Product Division in Japan.   Hideo earned an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management in the U.S. in 2003 and a BBA from Meiji University in 1996. Links of things mentioned in this episode: (Henkel Japan Career Page) Connect with FocusCore: Website: (  Facebook: (  Twitter: (  LinkedIn: (  Instagram: (  Subscribe on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you download podcasts. Doin' the Uptown Lowdown," used by permission of Christopher Davis-Shannon. To find out more, check out  (www.thetinman.co). Support independent musicians and artists.