"HoRenSo" for Non-Japanese Employees (1): the Awareness of Objective
HORENSO is an acronym of three Japanese words: HOKOKU (Report), RENRAKU (Contact), and SODAN (Consult).
It is an important practice for effective communication in every department. Japanese companies encourage their staff to practice HORENSO.
HOKOKU is to report detailed progress and results of assigned job to relevant persons.
RENRAKU is to contact relevant persons across departments about the job you handle.
SODAN is to consult with your boss when you have doubt about something or come up with an idea.
What Is Important in Reporting, Contacting and Consultation Is the Awareness of Objective.
Q: A birthday bouquet from a client for the superior arrived when he was out. That evening, upon his return, the superior saw the bouquet of flowers and asked Staff A, “When did this arrive and who sent it?” When the flowers arrived Staff A was not at his desk, so he replied, “Well, I have no idea. I wasn’t around.” How should the superior instruct Staff A?
Ａ: Always be aware of the objective.
What the superior expects from Staff A is the provision of information, whether Staff A has the information or not. On a day-to-day basis, if you carry out your work with an awareness of the objective, you can sense the “objective” from the superior’s words. If you do not have the information that the superior wants, it would be helpful to the superior if you can take action by reporting, contacting or consulting immediately with the person who received the flowers, since you were not around.
A person who is good at his job is someone who can quickly investigate and provide the information that the superior wants. Sometimes it is all right to just reply that you don’t know but the person who is good at his job will respond by saying that he doesn’t know but he will check it out.
Let’s be a person who can both “answer” questions and “meet expectations.” If on a day-to-day basis you do your job with an awareness of the objective, you will be able to meet expectations.
A customer in the shop asks, “Do you have this?” The shop assistant replies, “We do not have.” The shop assistant who is aware of the objective and live up to expectations replies, “What do you use it for? If so, I think instead of that, this is more helpful” or “How about this instead? This has the newest features and is selling well recently,” “I am sorry we do not carry that but you may be able to find it in that shop.”
“A guest from Company D has arrived.” During lunch time on a weekend in a hospital, there was a guest for the director and receptionist B attended to the guest. The guest was the salesperson from Company D retailing medical supplies and B knows him by face only. The salesperson said, “I have something to consult with the director. I do not have an appointment with him but could I see him?” As a matter of principle, business consultations at the clinic are after 6 pm on Tuesdays. Therefore B went to ask the director. B: “A person from Company D has something to consult with you and is here.” Director: “Which person from Company D?” B: “Well, it is that person with glasses who comes sometimes.” Director: “What glasses? What consultations? Is it urgent?” B: “Well, I don’t know.”
Let’s be aware of the “objective of contacting.”
In this case, the “objective of contacting”is to “provide information for judgment and to receive instructions.” If there is no awareness of the objective, then it is simply a notice. Objectives exist even for contacting. As the “objective of contacting” is to “provide information for judgment and to receive instructions,” it is Receptionist B’s job to gather accurate information that can be the basis for judgment. She could confirm by asking the guest, “Could I have your name and why you want to see him so that I could let him know?” Just conveying ambiguous information will turn you into a mere messenger. If the guest says, “I would like to talk to him directly about why I want to see him,” then you can just convey the message. You need to be aware of not only the objective of contacting but also reporting and consulting.