On My Mind: I’ve been to Japan several times now and my last visit two weeks ago was one of my favorites. There is excitement in the air as Tokyo—and the country at large—prepares to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. Japan last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964 when it was also held in Tokyo. Japan is a wonderful country to visit because of its beautiful scenery; interesting history; use of leading-edge technology; safe, clean, and efficient transportation infrastructure; and second-to-none customer service. If you’ve never been to Japan, then you should consider visiting – it is a wonderful destination. Interesting Stories: I recently checked out of Hotel Century 21 in Hiroshima, Japan and I tried to get a taxi. After about ten minutes of no luck, I went inside the hotel and enlisted the help of one of the hotel employees working behind the front desk. She went outside and promptly got me a taxi. My destination was a hotel located in an obscure rural area near the airport and the taxi driver clearly didn’t understand the destination area and his vehicle navigation system wasn’t working. The hotel employee and I agreed that I needed a different taxi which she quickly secured. The new taxi driver didn’t seem to understand the destination address either, but at least his vehicle navigation system was working. The hotel employee took several minutes to make sure my new taxi driver knew exactly where to go. About an hour later I arrived safely at my destination. I was grateful for the hotel employee’s help. She helped me far beyond my expectations with no expectation of a tip. It was a treat to experience world class service. Company News: I attended the Global Quality Futures Workshop in Hiroshima, Japan last week where I presented on Advances in Strategic Planning. There were attendees from Japan, India, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. We visited Mazda Motor Corporation where we learned about various aspects of the company from senior executives and also toured the engine assembly plant and a vehicle assembly area. Mazda was VERY impressive. The next public Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC courses are the following: Strategic Improvement Green Belt starts September 11, 2019; Strategic Improvement Black Belt starts November 5, 2019; and Strategy Techniques & Tools will be held November 25, 2019. The brochures for these courses are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. The 11th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference will be held October 29, 2019 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. There will be eleven presentations on topics related to Organizational Culture & Philosophy, Strategic Planning, Innovation, Performance Measurement, Risk Management, Safety Huddles, Lean Six Sigma, System Thinking, & Problem-Solving. The brochure is available on the ANNUAL CONFERENCE page of this website. Intriguing Reads: I read the new book by Ezra F. Vogel titled, China and Japan: Facing History prior to my recent trip to Japan. The book details the historical relationship between China and Japan plus the other countries/political entities in the region (e.g., North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.). The deep historical perspective really helps you understand the current dynamics and tensions in the region. Sometimes you need to thoroughly understand the past in order to understand the present and prepare for the future. My favorite chapter was Chapter 12: Facing the New Era.