Here’s a brief explanation of what this is for.
※1 Engineering — Reference: Wikipedia. E.G.) “To solve a problem in reality”
※2 Refactoring — To improve the internal structure so revision and understanding would be easier, but to simultaneously maintain the external structure
Diverta had been running based on its founder Kato’s values and judging criteria. However, as the number of our employees (both Japanese and non-Japanese) and our foreign branches increase, we decided to set the value and judging criteria as a company.
Our statement encourages us to find delight. How do we do that? As a company, we define “delight” as moments we discover something new; our curiosity gets inspired; or when we are able to please others. How do we discover something new or how can we inspire curiosity? We need change. We cannot find such delight if we are in a rut.
IT and Artificial Intelligence has been changing the way people work, and there will be further change. In order to catch up with the change and its speed, we believe companies need to have flexibility and adaptability.
So why did we clarify the Diverta Way principles?
Let’s say a company is running without having a clear company value or judging criteria. As that company grows, employees will be given more responsibility for the decisions they make. What kind of criteria shall the employee depend on in such case — if a company has not set an official one?
Performance measurement could be unclear at times ― but apart from that, the employee will probably make decisions depending on his/her common sense, way of thinking, experience, etc. That will be fine in a homogeneous group that shares the same common sense, way of thinking and experience.
But we’re aiming to be a global company, and we want to be competitive in the global market. We need different and various talents and perspectives rather than a united one.
Imagine lacking a clear company value or judging criteria under such condition — wouldn’t that be a huge problem as a company?
That is why, we need and had set the Diverta Way — to embrace and to adapt to change.
As paradoxical as it may seem, we believe it is important to “define an absolute judging criteria and principles” to make a changeable company. Defining a judging criteria and principles can clarify what cannot be changed, and by clarifying what cannot be changed, we can decide what can be changed.
It is important to note that we need to exhibit the background, reasons and intentions on how the principles were set in order to make future changes easier.
These “absolute judging criteria and principles” could be deemed corporate culture, but corporate culture does not emerge out of the blue. It takes a long time until a corporate culture is generated from a mixture of decisions, common understanding, common method, common experience and value. Furthermore, if a company is constantly growing, the organization can break apart before a corporate culture is established.
With “absolute judging criteria and principles”, we do not have to wait until a corporate culture is created but quickly make one. Needless to say, these criteria and principles need to be thoroughly penetrated in the organization.
How shall we penetrate it, then?
We need to redefine everything so it will be in accordance with Diverta Way — including compensation, responsibility, evaluation system, work place rules and how to proceed work.
People who are to be hired and people who already work in Diverta will be required to prioritize Diverta Way than their individual abilities.
The principles listed below were set as simple and feasible as possible. It does not differ greatly from our conventional judging criteria.
Below are the 12 principles that have expanded our statement in details. The first half is for “doing right”, and the latter half explains how to “do delight.”
Again, we define “delight” as moments we discover something new; our curiosity gets inspired; or when we are able to please others.
The concept falls above the founder, manager, stockholders and it is also the existence value of the company.
The company’s mission statement is paramount and everything shall comply with it, including the company itself, the corporate manager and employees. Even the founder of the company shall not defy the statement. If the company cannot be run properly for any reason, it does not deserve to exist.
We shall strive to correctly “play our social roles” and discover “something new” at the same time.
““Profit is not the explanation, cause, or rationale of business behavior and business decisions, but rather the test of their validity.” He also said that companies exist to fulfill corporate social responsibility.”
Playing our social roles is important, but discovering something new is just as important. Clearly, it becomes difficult to maximize profit if a company constantly seeks something new. This is the duty of the manager, and is also connected to our statement “Defeat dilemma.”
We live in a game called the capitalistic society, and achieving sustainable growth for the company is a crucial matter. Investing for the future is just way to contribute to the growth. Furthermore, we need to keep in mind that an employee’s salary is the most comprehensible way to compensate. This is as equally important as creating culture.
Working always requires decision-making, and work shall not be done without making decisions. Asking someone else to make a decision for you is also a decision that you make. Decision-making requires the following process; to collect information; to recognize the judging conditions; to have the choices; and to select from the choices.
One cannot appropriately make decision when one fails to gather information, to recognize judging conditions, or fails to list the choices. Collecting information includes the investigation and verification process if one is an engineer. One must sort out QCDs and requirements to have adequate judging conditions.
Decisions can be made partially, too. That is, one can offer the choices to a third party and have a decent and accurate decision made by them. If one fails to relate his or herself at all in a decision-making process, that person is unnecessary in that work.
Think about systems development. Even the best partial optimization will end up in the worst result. When partially revising a system, you need to see it from the overall optimization point of view, or consider detaching the revised area completely.
Now let’s think about people who are difficult to understand. These people are people who have unexpected reactions. You cannot imagine how they will react, and hence communicating with them will be challenging.
We can say the same thing for systems. If the process logic or source code is not consistent, the system will be hard to handle.
Having multiple personalities will complicate relationships and could break trust. When you try to cope with an issue through partial optimization, it could damage consistency and balloon costs.
One must solve a problem through overall optimization, and be aware of the background of each decision to do so.
If you do not try to be fair, it is difficult to “do right”. On the other hand, if you are fair, you could consequently “do right”.
You can be fair to others inside and outside the company. If you treat someone specially, that means you are being unfair to others.
For example, making a discount without a legitimate reason is rude for the customers who purchase at the regular price. Try to come up with a way to reduce man-hour, or perhaps a trade-off method with the customer if you are to make discount.
Any change is better than no change at all. In addition, as long as you are taking more actions than before, most changes lead to growth.
There is a chain to change. Once you stop changing, because your brain gets optimized to that certain situation, you will need much effort to change again. Therefore, we can decrease that burden by changing continuously.
Changing is not difficult. By doing something in a different way you did from the first time, that could already lead to change. Big changes are necessary too, but it is important to keep on changing.
Imagine a baby playing with tissues. They can go on forever taking them out of that box. Researches tell us those babies are in the zone with great curiosity, and simply want to try various things. They are not doing it with malevolence. Even adults can discover and make small changes like children do.
Understanding each other is crucial in order to work together. However, you do not have to accept them. You also need to be aware that values can change greatly depending on which stage of life you are at.
Knowing various values and culture and experiencing new things are the zest for life. It is more important than earning money. However, these can be something incomprehensible and hence unpleasant. But we should gather people who can enjoy it regardless. Together we will strive in this game called capitalism.
An organization that embraces diversity is an organization that is adaptable to change. Needless to say, the company’s value comes first before embracing diversity.
High-context cultures are more efficient as a workplace, but the sole promotion of diversity could end up in a low-context and inefficient organization. We clarify the company’s absolute judging criteria and principles in order to avoid this.
Trusting someone and being irresponsible is different. Simply trust your coworker by thinking they’re taking that action for the company. If they’re doing something wrong, point it out.
A failure can basically be a success as long as you can analyze and share the cause. Even if you do make a failure, leverage it in the future.
Sometimes people feel under the weather. They cannot wake up in the morning or they cannot concentrate in work because they have private issues. Remember that these things happen when you plan things out, and try to support each other.
Trust can cut unnecessary systems and regulations and streamline work process. We believe we can realize this by using IT and AI so we can make the status quo visible.
Reproducibility means to spell out the reason of the consequence, and to define the process to achieve that same consequence.
If you have only work experience, there is no reproducibility. If you can reproduce what you experience, it becomes your skill.
Things that can be controlled should be done precisely, and things that cannot be controlled should be done with consideration of the odds and risks.
It is also important to clearly distinguish facts and opinions during communication.
We are an engineering company, and we make the structure. A structure requires to have the same output when the same input is made, and that is something we always need to have in mind.
Also, victory can come by chance, but defeat does not. When one fails, it is important to analyze the cause and to eliminate it to increase the odds of success.
By eliminating vague things and subjective judging criteria, we can increase reproducibility in work.
It is very important that a certain work can be reproduced. If one tries to do the same thing and if s/he can, that is due to their ability. If not, it means that the first result came from pure luck or thanks to other’s capability.
Works that can be reproduced could be deliberately changed. On the other hand, works that cannot be reproduced cannot be changed deliberately.
The “CEO” is merely a classification of role/duty, and is not an absolute position. The CEO needs to be replaced if s/he is inept.
Full stack developers are everywhere nowadays. Computers and smartphones have consolidated jobs, and AI will further accelerate that. We should avoid unnecessarily labeling jobs when we know there will be a change.
AI can even increase the responsibility/task of an individual and strengthen their métier.
This could be considered a method, but we included in the principles. We believe it is a fundamental perspective and process to be an organization that can change, and therefore we must practice it.
Loose coupling is when two elements are not dependent on each other but independent. This may be incomprehensible for those who are not engineers, but the basic idea is that we aim to be a company that is adaptable to change by considering technological reform by IT and AI.
These principles should be used as judging/action criteria for individuals, so the company could be run appropriately. The organization can superficially look as if it is tightly coupled, but in reality it should be loosely coupled. That’s the ideal form.
Every work should be considered as a project. Every project, regardless of its size, shall has a project manager who will be responsible of the progress and consequence. Even the most constant work should be turned into a project and be revised/evaluated annually.
This is what we often say in systems development: a system that can adapt to change is one that effectively uses resource, that is asynchronous and loosely coupled. The same could be said to project management, therefore we use this expression.
We have an evaluation system especially designed to practice Diverta Way.
If Diverta Way lacks an evaluation criteria, Diverta Way will just be a pie in the sky. Although the evaluation criteria is a part of Diverta Way, we will continue revising it so it will be more appropriate.
Before anything, we will evaluate if one is being able to practice Diverta Way. This is paramount and must come before anything. We will also evaluate if one’s abilities are necessary for corporate activities; if one contributed to other’s change; and if one contributed to company’s sales/profit.
One is expected to set a goal in terms of “result” e.g. sales, profit, gaining something, developing a system, etc.
Diverta Way is the way to reach your full potential, so one shall not be evaluated no matter how competent they are, if they do not practice the Diverta Way.
It should not be difficult to evaluate personal change, as long as one is constantly aware of one’s change.
The value of practical ability changes depending on the work environment. Although there are exceptions, practical ability could become obsolete with time.
For example, if one applies for a leave of absence in advance, that will not affect that person’s evaluation. The ability to plan a leave of absence and paid holidays shall be evaluated.
Working long hours shall not be evaluated, but if the quality of the output is proportional to the amount of working hours, the result itself shall be evaluated. However, continuously working long hours is not recommended because it may hinder change.
The reproducibility of the output/action and the output/action having multiple aspects are important in evaluation. Success itself could be determined by luck and timing, and there are easy jobs but also challenging ones. If evaluation is made solely based on numerical figures such as sales and profit, the organization will focus on increasing sales and profit hence will not be adaptable to change. Numerical figures are important, but the reproducibility and having multiple aspects are more important.
E.g.) You will be given a better evaluation if you can make profit AND you were able to improve through the project (two aspects) than just being able to make profit (one aspect). Achieving personal development through work could also be an outcome. A failure with reproducibility is the kind of failure where one can analyze the cause/reason.
Examples of work that must be done but that tend to be avoided are troubled system developments, or frequent and detailed confirmation between coworkers.
These three things are the only things you will be given negative evaluations for.
One of the first things you were probably told as a child is that you should not lie. However, this is not easy. Technicians could lie that they “cannot do” something when they only “do not know” how to do it. If you don’t know something, admit it. If you can technically do it but do not have enough time, explain so. You should always give an accurate explanation. If you end up lying, immediately apologize and do whatever is necessary. If you intentionally lie, remember that you cannot avoid receiving negative feedbacks.
It is also important that you are always fair — to people inside and outside the company. Giving a discount without an appropriate reason is betrayal to those who purchase at the regular price. Being unfair means you are going against our company statement “to be correct”. Hence, you will definitely receive negative evaluation.
One can turn a blind eye can in various occasions. When you find trash but when you don’t pick it up, that’s turning a blind eye. In terms of work, you turn a blind eye on something when you notice a potential problem but you ignore it because you think you are not responsible for it. If you don’t do something when you can, that’s also turning a blind eye. This is when you will receive negative feedbacks.
Currently we have managerial posts and different kinds of jobs, but we do not have a vague, “middle management” class “manager”. Every job shall be defined in accordance with one’s role. Hence, the concept of “promotion” shall no longer exist in the future.
If one thinks s/he can do it, s/he can apply for an extra role. It is safe to say that one’s compensation will differ greatly depending on one’s role.
Managers must be hard workers. The more responsibility, the harder the work becomes.
Also, knowing the work and being able to do it is different. One could be regarded as a “catalyst” when one has extensive knowledge about the work.
If one wants to have a more responsible work, s/he should know every task that is involved in his/her field. That is the fastest and most effective way to gain new knowledge.
We’re going to test a unique system ― we will ask you to ask for your own pay rise. If you think you have changed, let us know every half a year. Adjustments for the salary increase will be made at the year end.
One shall not be promoted unless one’s action or output has changed (exclude temporary changes).
Change is not equal to promotion. Note that one will not be given the chance to be evaluated whether or not a promotion is appropriate unless that person’s action changes.
One’s annual income shall be reduced by 2% if one does not go through any change for two years. (We will think more about the details later. Salary could be reduced only after 2022)
Simply coming to work early is a “change”. One’s annual income may be reduced when one seems to be refusing to change.
There’s something I’ve realized in the course of studying AI. Human brains are said to be composed of a very dense collection of circuits. Memories and data are not simply stored inside there, but the brain has circuits to recall them.
We mainly use our brain in our work — so how can we efficiently use our brain? When setting Diverta Way, this was a critical issue for us, too.
We realized that we can streamline our work and be adaptable to change by cutting down the “things we need to consider.”
Let’s take religion as an example. Why do people have religion in the first place? Most religions define what happens after death; what is good and what is not; the remedy when you mess something up; and how you will be forgiven. These are usually set as an absolute judging criteria or principle, and make life easier to live.
An increasing number of people is becoming more aware of “psychological safety” — in other words, a situation where one does not feel at risk. If one is not in psychological danger, s/he does not need to spare the brain capacity/performance to protect themselves from that danger — which will increase work performance. People are beware of things they do not know or understand, so by clarifying the company’s principles and judging criteria and making the company something one knows and can understand, the “psychological safety” can be enhanced.
From a neuroscientific point of view, a brain’s capacity is limited, and cannot create something from nothing. After the brain obtains information, the brain circuits are processed to memorize or associate things, and then the results are outputted. The brain also takes out unnecessary things from the circuit.
What happens when we engage in work that does not require us to change? We use the term “overfitting” in the AI field — we get so optimized specifically for that work that we cannot do anything else. If that happens to us, our brain will not be able to change when a change is necessary.
Recent researches found out that the brain itself does not age. Personally, I think it does at one point, but not until our 60s. Then why is it that the number of “incompetent” people increase when they hit their 40s and 50s? Perhaps because they are experiencing “overfitting”? The knack to maximize your potential for a long time, I believe, is to accept and embrace change — in your work, in your environment, and in yourself.
That is why we need to continue changing as we continue working. You can also see that it is critical that we find joy outside work, too.
Diverta has been trying to change constantly since around 2015.
Below are some examples of how we are trying to become a global company.
In 2015, I declared that “employees who will not be able to speak English good enough to work by 2020 will get a pay cut.” It might have been pretty harsh. If we enter a global market that is at least a few times bigger than Japan, consequently there will be a pay hike, but if you can’t speak English you can’t take that opportunity. So this was what happened in 2015.
In 2016, we started to hire non-Japanese engineers who cannot speak Japanese. We realized that people can communicate with each other in English as long as they were both engineers. We also established our branch in Malaysia, Diverta Asia.
We continued debating how to improve communication in a low-context environment. We also hired more non-Japanese engineers.
In 2017, we had a two-week training camp in order to forcefully create and think about such environment. Participants included those from our Indian affiliate, Diverta Asia and five engineers from Diverta (Tokyo office).
We realized the importance of images/footage/screenshot/documentation in communication — following that camp, we had a dramatic increase in the use of these.
By 2018, we had hired seven non-Japanese engineers. Engineers were able to communicate smoothly with each other in English at this point. So we had a one-month training camp in Malaysia (divided into two parts, two weeks each) in which employees of all occupation (sales, administrative work, customer support, etc.) were able to participate. I believe this taught them the significance of English and the choice of telecommuting. We also had a six-month intense English lesson course which all employee were able to voluntarily join (nearly 70% of the employees ended up joining).
In 2019, we set Diverta Way in order to increase the presence of non-Japanese engineers, to advance into the global market, to secure labor and to enhance our organization itself. There was a Japanese employee who voluntarily moved to Malaysia without changing the task itself. We still organize training camps abroad — employees work on a project in Malaysia or India for a month.
This is how we have slowly developed into a global company — and we are ready to change further.
Here are some examples.
【A list of “Why are we doing this?”】In our monthly meeting, we ask each team to have at least one “Why are we doing this?” This is because we want our employees to be aware of why they’re doing certain tasks, and we don’t want them to be wasting time on unnecessary tasks.
【Free coffee and water / Breads for 100JPY】I thought it’d be a waste of time if employees need to go out of the office every time they want to drink coffee, water, or they get hungry for a snack. There is a chance of improvement in terms of snack though, since different people prefer different things. However, we need time for change.
【500JPY for on-site massage by athletic trainer】We ask a professional athletic trainer for on-site massages, because we have a good number of staff in our company who are suffering from backache. We are concerned that this leads to performance limitation, and we believe that measures that are not necessary for all employees are essential to streamline operation. We also have many people who need to go to the dentist. Hopefully we can come up with a measure for that too…
【Company accessible from station】Iidabashi station consists of five train links, and Diverta’s office building is directly connected to the station. I believe this saves employees’ time. There are many places to eat around the station, too.
Although Diverta Way is the paramount and absolute criteria, I am fully aware that we need some time until each one of us will be ablate fully practice this in every occasion.
However, I am determined that when we do thoroughly understand Diverta Way and will be able to refactor it, we will have gained the flexibility to adapt to this rapidly-changing society and the ability to make the right decisions inside and outside business.
The manager will strive so this “Diverta Way” will not be something superficial.
Let’s discuss and share anything that we notice or we do not understand.
For a company that embraces change!