A life in the day of... Nick Wakai, VP of IP business at NTT Communications
Nick Wakai, VP of IP business at NTT Communications, likes to arrive into his Tokyo office before the rest of his staff. It allows him valuable time to plan his schedule for the day ahead in peace and quiet. It is, he says, by far the most important hour of his day.
Secretaries are not common in Japan, and so it is left to Nick to meticulously manage his own time. It often proves a juggling act. Nick can have upwards of six meetings an hour, and must often delegate members of his staff to take his place instead.
Communicating with his staff throughout the day is therefore absolutely essential and the building’s open office plan allows Nick to do just that.
As the international arm of the NTT Group, Nick and his team are also in frequent contact with the company’s overseas entities, such as NTT America or NTT Europe. Nick estimates he touches base with his colleagues in each country at least once a month.
As a result, the dominant language in his office is English, not Japanese. This, he admits, initially intimidated his colleagues at NTT’s domestic operations, and so in an effort to get them involved he introduced English speaking lunch sessions.
Nick and his team meet twice a week with their colleagues at NTT DoCoMo and lunchtime conversation is strictly conducted in English only. He says it has helped bring the international and domestic teams closer together, as well as improve their language skills.
As well as being international jetsetters, members of Nick’s team are expected to be fighting fit. New staff members are often introduced to the team through a one-day trek up Mount Fiji - climbing some 3,700 metres and staying overnight in a log cabin.
Nick has a strong love for the great outdoors and other team-building exercises include annual skiing trips and boat rides down the Sumida River. A keen sailor and jogger, Nick likes to spend his weekends either sailing his yacht on Tokyo Bay, or training for his next half marathon.
In Japanese culture, staff aren’t expected to leave the office before their boss. Fortunately for Nick’s team, he is an early to bed, early to rise man and tends to leave the office no later than 7:30pm.
Once home, business is firmly over and it’s time to relax with his wife and kids before getting an early night for the next busy day ahead.