“Japan Odyssey”

This is one of a series of blogs which describe my trip to Japan in April 2012.  To see further blogs in the series, click on “Japan Odyssey” in the Tag Cloud.

An Introduction

My interest in Japan began 17 years ago in 1995, when I first came across a book called “Sid’s Heroes”.   At the time I was hungrily devouring management books, searching for better ways to lead The ExtraCare Charitable Trust.   I read the book from cover to cover in one weekend  –  I could not put it down!   Within weeks I booked to go on a 5 day training course run by Yorkshireman Sid Joynson on Japanese management techniques.   It began a  friendship with Sid that lasts to this day.

Sid’s teaching greatly influenced the way I went on to manage ExtraCare.   In our formative years at ExtraCare, Sid ran many training courses for ExtraCare to pass onto hundreds of staff the quality improvement techniques of Kaizen and Taozen.   They see the frontline staff and residents themselves as the “experts” and give them tools to improve every aspect of  service delivery.   Goal setting and performance measurement became essential management processes in the Trust.

That chance finding of a book on a shelf is what ultimately enabled The ExtraCare Charitable Trust to lead a transformation in the way housing and care for elderly people is built and managed in the UK.


On my retirement in 2010, I was delighted to be  given the present of a trip to Japan.   Over the following  weeks I will publish a thread of blogs describing my experiences during a 10-day trip with my son Tom made in March 2012.  They will be illustrated with photos I took and with some of Tom’s sketches.

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