Finding our Way

I hope this finds you well, despite the strange and difficult times we are facing. A global pandemic was certainly not on my list of things to deal with this year.

Matt Ketchum, Executive Director
Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan

And while we must be sure to take care, given the nature of the crisis, it is also an incredible opportunity for discovering new, positive and sustainable business practices that will produce short- and long–term benefits.

But these practices don’t just magically appear. Rather, they can be discovered through — among other things — three values that the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan holds dear: resilience, solidarity and compassion. And in this time of upheaval, I thought it would be prudent to bring these values front and center once again.

Resilience

With the official edict of the Japanese government for employees to work from home, our events schedule is largely cancelled, while the Office finds itself unoccupied and in uncharted territory, which is just the way things are right now for almost everyone else. And that’s uncomfortable, for sure, but it also means that we’re able to experiment with new and alternative solutions to the challenges we face.

Teleworking is one of those concepts that’s certainly received its fair share of attention recently, and not without reason. With many remote conferencing services available, it is now readily apparent that there are plenty of solutions available to help you and your coworkers effectively communicate with each other and your associates outside of the standard office environment.

This isn’t to say that the way things have been done up until now lack merit. Far from it. But if there were ever a time to explore alternatives, it’s now.

Solidarity

While we like to think we have cordial relationships with all of the individuals, companies and organizations we work with, it is now — more than ever — the time to make those relationships into something greater than the sum of their parts, and work together to reach even greater heights.

To that end — along with our good friends at the American, British, and Australian and New Zealand chambers of commerce in Japan; the European Business Council in Japan; and the International Bankers Association of Japan — we have issued a joint statement formally requesting that the Japanese government prepare fiscal countermeasures to offset the damage being done by the coronavirus outbreak to the business community at large.

We’re not working just with other chambers to help us all figure out the best ways to move forward, but also with you, our members, to understand your specific needs.

We’re here to help, if we can, with any needs or concerns you might want addressed, because we are truly all in this together.

Compassion

It’s very likely that you’re already overloaded with the situation directly in front of you, and dealing with more stress than you’re accustomed to. I’m willing to bet that’s quite normal in times like these, and recognizing that is an important part of managing stress in this situation.

It’s also important to recognize that others, too, are going through the same thing. So even if it might seem difficult, put in a little extra effort, if you can, to support those around you. We all deal with difficult situations in our own ways. Try to remember this in your interactions — digital or otherwise — with others.

And if you really need some inspiration, remember: Geddy Lee sings spectacularly about the power of friendship on a certain track on Rush’s eponymously titled 1974 debut album. If you can’t name the track right now, go take a look on the internet and let me know when you find it. Looking up the song — and listening to it — might serve as a nice break during these stressful times.

When the opportunity arises and you’re feeling up to the task, take a few moments to offer what you can to support the community and society around you. After all, it is the wonderful people and organizations around us that interact with and support each other, that tie us all together as a society, be it local, regional, national or international. We’re here to help, if we can, with any needs or concerns you might want addressed, because we are truly all in this together.

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