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At the Center of Payhem

Payhem about “DIFFERENT OPINIONS”

Payhem about “WORK LIFE BALANCE”

SAYING NO

Payhem about “FEEDBACK”

Payhem in “MEETINGS”

Payhem on DIFFERENT OPINIONS
〜 Summarized version 〜

How do you communicate “different opinions” in your country or culture? Do you find it difficult to offer different opinions?

How is it compared to Japan? And why?

Read on to find out what we at PayPay think about communicating especially when faced with different or opposing opinions.

Encountering different opinions

How do you feel when someone offers a different opinion to someone else?

How do you feel when someone offers a different opinion to yours?

How do you feel when you offer a different opinion to someone else’s?

What is a different opinion?

What’s the difference between a “debate” and “quarrel” ?

  • You debate to find common ground. A quarrel is about winning
  • A debate is a logical discussion with supporting facts
  • A quarrel is fueled by emotion and can be irrational
  • In a debate, both parties provide constructive feedback
  • It's about whether you listen to and respect what the other person’s saying, not necessarily if it’s emotional

What does a rebuttal need to have to be useful?

  • Logic and facts
  • Respect for the other person
  • Not just why you're right but why the other opinion is wrong
  • Input about the goal, not negative personal comments
  • All opinions are valid opinions

Why offer different opinions?

What’s the ultimate goal of a discussion?

  • Share thoughts, bounce ideas,learn from other perspectives
  • Reach a compromise from possibly countless options.
  • Decide on agenda items, to-dos, and timelines.
  • Discuss the pros & cons and find the optimal solution
  • A conclusion un-reachable by one person’s knowledge or perspective

What would happen if no one gave different opinions?

  • It'll be very boring
  • The project would be biased and lack creative input
  • Adopting every opinion may result in a boring product. It’s important to focus on the value we want to deliver to the user.
  • The solution may not be optimal, not covering all angles
  • We won’t be able to create new value.

Is there a perfect solution to any problem?

Dealing with different opinions

What do you do when it’s difficult to give a different opinion?

  • Say it anyway
  • Elaborate it in the simplest form or prepare more materials
  • Explain by bringing in facts/data.
  • Make it clear that I'm open to discussion.
  • Play the devil’s advocate

What effort do you make to listen to different opinions?

  • By showing empathy
  • I listen attentively, even when I don't agree with it
  • Understand the other person's point of view - without that, you won't have any chance of convincing them of yours.
  • Stay wary of the fact that my opinion is just the starting point
  • The best way to listen is to be silent

Do you change the way you offer an opinion by who you're talking to?

  • You should always consider the audience
  • I don’t - I always try to be as polite as I can to anyone
  • Absolutely
  • It depends on how much the other person understands
  • Yes, depending on whether it’s a Japanese audience or not

Different opinions at PayPay

Is it ever difficult to offer a different opinion in PayPay?

  • No! (majority)
  • No, but I think sometimes people aren't speaking up
  • Anyone can offer their opinion and discuss things freely
  • Sometimes there are language barriers
  • Sometimes it’s difficult because of a difference in background or skills which however is always an opportunity to learn

Payhem about “DIFFERENT OPINIONS 2”

Mune [Engineer]

NO OPINIONS

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
If no one offers different opinions, we can only reach an average and predictable conclusion, which makes it harder create new value

【My approach to Payhem】
In meetings, I try to summarize and organize discussion points (suggestions, objections, and agreements) to offer a chance for everyone to object or add a suggestion

Leo Wang [Engineer]

NO OPINIONS

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
It can happen quite often that only a few members are doing the talking in a discussion. The others may have something they'd like to share, but perhaps they're not confident enough to state their opinions

【My approach to Payhem】
The most difficult thing about disagreeing is opening your mouth to begin with. When I do that, I usually start with “I might be wrong, but…” because it’s psychologically easier for me to speak up. Especially when I’m not sure if I’m correct

Mune [Engineer]

NO OPINIONS

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Even if I have an idea or opinion, there are times when I don’t say it because I’m not confident

【My approach to Payhem】
I make a conscious effort to say what I think, but if that’s not enough and I’m still uncertain, I bounce my idea off someone else first to gain confidence

Martin [Engineer]

LOGICAL THINKING

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Sometimes people just try to “win” a debate instead of having a meaningful discussion to figure out ways to solve problems

【My approach to Payhem】
I look for middle ground to arrive at a common understanding even if I don’t agree with what someone is saying

Katie [Designer]

LOGICAL THINKING

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Everybody has different communication styles. Some people may find it difficult to express their thoughts or are afraid of stating their opinions, especially towards higher managers or stakeholders.

【My approach to Payhem】
Who is in the conversation? What is the goal? What is the context - I always try and keep these in mind and back up all suggestions with facts and data. That being said, sometimes I pick my battles and accept things as is. However, if it's something that I really believe in, I will try my best to present a logical explanation and reasoning.

Rafael [Engineer]

LOGICAL THINKING

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Sometimes a logical explanation by itself is insufficient

【My approach to Payhem】
I present facts in order to support my arguments. When facts are absent, data can provide more confidence, in my opinion

Shihao Wey [Engineer]

LOGICAL THINKING

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Sometimes it can be quite difficult to explain a very technical idea or design just through a verbal brief, like the migration process of files when many different components are involved with intertwining dependencies.

【My approach to Payhem】
I try to explain in the most simple way possible, but if that doesn’t do it, I prepare materials (diagrams) as well as a written commentary

Martin [Engineer]

COMMUNICATION BY PERSON

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
In meetings where there are people from many different backgrounds and cultures, you need to make sure people are getting your point, otherwise there may be misunderstandings.

【My approach to Payhem】
I find a way to express my point that causes the least amount of conflict as possible, but make sure I do express it.

Katie [Designer]

COMMUNICATION BY PERSON

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Because I haven't fully grasped the way and approach that Japanese people prefer to communicate, I may sometimes accidentally cause offense without realizing it. I noticed that a lot of Japanese people are not used to directness or having their opinions challenged.

【My approach to Payhem】
Sometimes I adjust my communication approach based on the situation, but I generally try to stay as genuine and authentic as possible.

Traff [Engineer]

COMMUNICATION BY PERSON

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
During a technical discussion, sometimes some people say no to my team’s suggestions without really understanding our intentions

【My approach to Payhem】
During any discussion, I make sure that I am not just saying "do it this way." I try my best to explain my team’s intentions thoroughly. If anyone has any concerns, then I will work with them to solve them one by one. Also I try to create a plan which gives the other party the freedom to do what they want to do as long as it meets the primary objectives.

Payhem about “DIFFERENT OPINIONS”

Yoshimitsu [Engineer]

NO OPINIONS

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
In my opinion, a great product is the result of an exchange of different opinions and reflecting that in a continuous string of iterations. But sometimes, there aren’t that many opinions to begin with

【My approach to Payhem】
I try to make sure everyone feels safe about speaking out, for example by asking what they’re concerned about or what problems they see, or at other times, intentionally present a completely different perspective

Justin [Translator]

NO OPINIONS

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Some people are very vocal about their opinions (it may be a cultural thing), while other times no one says anything, and it's hard to tell whether they're not interested or simply don't have an opinion

【My approach to Payhem】
I might say something that would likely elicit words of disagreement from others to make it easier for everyone to speak

John [Engineer]

AFRAID

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
In my previous job, the leader would do everything from explaining the problem right to presenting a solution, without asking for any input from the team. He was the kind of guy who would get offended if someone said something different. We tried to work around the leader's idea, by implementing it or incorporating it with our own solution

【My approach to Payhem】
I changed jobs. (laughs) I now try to do what the leaders at PayPay do; I listen to other members’ opinions to figure out the best way to do things. I believe that we need to be open-minded and welcome new ideas and suggestions

Justin [Translator]

COMMUNICATION BY PERSON

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
When I lived abroad, if I said something in a roundabout way, people would ask, "What are you trying to say?" In Japan, though, if I go straight to the point, I notice that some people tend to find that too direct

【My approach to Payhem】
I change the way I communicate depending on the person. Especially in Japanese, I consider what kind of tone and vocabulary would be appropriate for each person I communicate with

John [Engineer]

COMMUNICATION BY PERSON

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Some people can get hurt simply because they’re not familiar with certain ways of communication

【My approach to Payhem】
I try to change the way I speak or the way I make suggestions based on the other person’s accustomed way of communication. For example, when I was working with someone from the US, I was very direct and explained only what he wanted, because I could see that was how he wanted to communicate

Yoshimitsu [Engineer]

COMMUNICATION BY PERSON

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
In retrospect, there are people that I’m very direct with - I can simply say NO if it’s not good, even if they’re Japanese. For some other people, I communicate things in a much more detailed manner, offering guidance on everything from what the issue is to how to reach a conclusion

【My approach to Payhem】
Not that it’s a very conscious effort, but I guess I change the way I communicate depending on what kind of a relationship I have with the person

Justin [Translator]

AFRAID

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
In Asia, there may be a tendency to maintain the appearance of authority. Looking back to my time at Japanese schools, for example, I got the impression that some teachers were afraid that students would ask questions they couldn’t answer

【My approach to Payhem】
In Western universities, professors actively encouraged students to raise questions and objections, and sometimes even incorporated students' thinking into their own research papers. While authority should be respected, I would rather have discussions this way

John [Engineer]

LOGICAL THINKING

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Sometimes I see people say things without any supporting evidence or logic. They let their emotions take over when they argue

【My approach to Payhem】
When I present something, I try to collect as many facts as possible in advance so that I’m fully equipped

Justin [Translator]

LOGICAL THINKING

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
When searching the internet in English, websites specializing in one subject or research papers appear at the top of the search results. But when searching in Japanese, blogs and Q&A sites appear. It seems like in Japan, people tend to believe other people's opinions rather than researched facts

【My approach to Payhem】
It’s good to have questions. I communicate with that idea in mind

Payhem about “WORK LIFE BALANCE”

Amogh [Engineer]

COORDINATION

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
At my previous job, many colleagues said they could only spend time with their family on weekends

【My approach to Payhem】
Working from home solves this problem mostly. Regular work planning with the team helps reduce overtime work as well

Ashwini [Engineer]

COORDINATION

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
I was asked to work a shift from 1:00am to 5:00am to run production environment tests, back when we were working in the office. That meant I had to go into the office late at night, which made me a bit uncomfortable

【My approach to Payhem】
Although people around me worked the same shift even if they were not happy about it, I was honest about my concerns with my boss, who understood my situation and rearranged my shift

Makoto [HR]

BE CONSCIOUS OF TIME

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
I had to participate in all sorts of interviews when I was on the hiring team, which left little freedom for me to plan my schedule. I ended up working longer hours

【My approach to Payhem】
I try to set myself up so that I can control my workload. I also make a conscious effort to complete my tasks as quickly as I can

Amogh [Engineer]

BE CONSCIOUS OF TIME

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
I used to work excessive hours in my previous job, for example, 9:00am to 11:00pm. I did not eat well or exercise properly. It went on like that for about a year. I didn’t realize the effects it would cause to my health, because I was a new graduate and didn’t have any work experience

【My approach to Payhem】
I changed jobs. (laughs) I didn’t know what the “norm” was back then. Changing jobs widened my horizon

Ashwini [Engineer]

BE CONSCIOUS OF TIME

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
It becomes difficult to separate work and personal life when a project has a very tight timeline. With a particular project, I was so busy that I wasn’t eating well, so I ended up exhausted both mentally and physically

【My approach to Payhem】
Separating work and personal life to me means respecting my “Me time.” When I’m done for the day, I don’t check my phone unless my boss asks me to be on standby. “Me Time” for me involves cooking, reading and going out

Makoto [HR]

BE CONSCIOUS OF TIME

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
In my previous job, I would often receive messages over the weekend, which I would respond to

【My approach to Payhem】
I try to draw a clear line between work and personal life. I don’t check slack messages or emails after work if possible, and instead focus on my tasks during the day

Amogh [Engineer]

BE CONSCIOUS OF TIME

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
I love developing software. It’s work and a hobby at the same time. So, there are times when I keep thinking about my tasks even after work

【My approach to Payhem】
This may not be a solution, but after having a baby, I got into the habit of putting my family cap on when I’m spending time with them. No matter how much you love your work, it’s important to draw the line somewhere

Ashwini [Engineer]

BE CONSCIOUS OF TIME

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
When the timeline did not factor in different time zones. It was hard to just get together to talk about requirements and other things. It took us forever just to be on the same page

【My approach to Payhem】
I ended up flying to the site in the end and stayed there for several weeks to get things done. (laughs)

Amogh [Engineer]

WORK FROM HOME

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Working from home was something very new for me, so it was difficult to separate work and personal life in the beginning

【My approach to Payhem】
It takes a bit of practice to separate the two. I need to keep reminding myself, for example, not to check slack messages after work. But I think I’m much better at doing it now!

Ashwini [Engineer]

WORK FROM HOME

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Having a baby around when working from home makes it difficult to concentrate at times

【My approach to Payhem】
I take turns with my husband to take care of the baby. I also work at night after she goes to sleep so that I can focus on my work

SAYING NO

Harsh [Engineer]

SORTING IT OUT

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Finding out right at the last minute a task can’t be completed because someone didn’t say “No” to something that really had to be rescheduled or dropped

【My approach to Payhem】
Make a clear distinction between “I can/can’t” and “I’ll do my best”

Jonathan [IT Control]

SORTING IT OUT

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Sometimes people can’t say “No” because they don’t know where the blockers are or what the goal is

【My approach to Payhem】
You have to say “here’s the expectation or here’s the goal.” If someone hasn’t reached this goal, you have to become comfortable with communicating to the individual that they haven't met the goal. This gives you along with the individual a good opportunity to discuss what could have been done differently or what next steps should be taken

Chizuko [Business]

SORTING IT OUT

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Sometimes people cannot make proper judgement because they lack information as to how they impact other people and their job if delayed

【My approach to Payhem】
It all comes down to information sharing and goal setting - setting a common goal for everyone, whether it’s a deadline, metrics, or release and making sure to communicate that information with everyone

Harsh [Engineer]

YOUR BOSS

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Not saying “No” to your boss

【My approach to Payhem】
There are always times when you need to say “No” to your supervisor. I tell new members it’s okay to do this

Jonathan [IT Control]

BEING HONEST

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
It isn’t easy to say “No” to each other

【My approach to Payhem】
Honest communication is important, whether the message is positive or negative. We have to understand that there is a difference between being respected and being liked within the workplace

Harsh [Engineer]

BEING HONEST

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
It can be difficult to offer criticism in Japan, including saying “No”

【My approach to Payhem】
I say in a friendly way, “please do it like this next time,” “please do it better,” “please consider this too”

Taiki [Business]

AS A VIRTUE

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
Some people say “I’m fine” when things aren’t actually fine

【My approach to Payhem】
I ask “Are you guys doing OK?” or “Are there any problems?” when I am worried if they really are doing OK

Chizuko [Business]

AS A VIRTUE

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
There’s a tendency in Japan to say neither “Yes” or “No.” Most things happen in the gray area between black and white. Almost nothing is very good or very bad. Even for the Japanese who are used to this, it can be difficult to understand someone’s true intentions

【My approach to Payhem】
I apply pressure by asking “Is this or that done?” or “Is that a Yes or a No?” I believe doing this helps to elicit the realization that it’s important to speak clearly

Chizuko [Business]

BEING HONEST

【Payhem I’ve encountered】
We do not have an environment where we can say “No” and give critical feedback

【My approach to Payhem】
Being specific works best. I ask the person to come up with their own ideas on what to do next by saying things like, “this is what happened right, why was that again? Let’s try and think about what to do together.” Give critical feedback on things but not on the person

Payhem about “FEEDBACK”

Harsh [Engineer]

FREQUENCY

[Payhem I’ve encountered]
Timely feedback is rare. For example, you can’t correlate feedback to something that happened 6 months ago.

[My approach to Payhem]
Immediate feedback is crucial to correlating and understanding.

Jonathan [IT Control]

READING THE AIR

[Payhem I’ve encountered]
Things become increasingly ambiguous when people “read the air.”

[My approach to Payhem]
Clearly say whether something is right or wrong. Or let them know what improvements can be made next time. Feedback may be given for any situation and should be considered a constructive way to promote growth, improvement, and as a way to effectively collaborate among teams and individuals.

Harsh [Engineer]

NOT USED TO IT

[Payhem I’ve encountered]
Many are not used to feedback from their bosses, but there are even less people used to receiving feedback from colleagues and subordinates.

[My approach to Payhem]
Build relationships between you and your bosses or your colleagues that allows for honest feedback, both good and bad.

Taiki [Business]

NOT USED TO IT

[Payhem I’ve encountered]
Some people might think that they are being attacked when they receive feedback.

[My approach to Payhem]
When you give feedback, it’s important that it’s not aimed at the person but at their actions or the situation.

Harsh [Engineer]

NOT USED TO IT

[Payhem I’ve encountered]
You need to be very careful how to word your feedback, avoiding direct feedback and asking questions instead.

[My approach to Payhem]
The more often constructive feedback happens, the more easily people will get used to feedback.

Payhem in “MEETINGS”

Chizuko [Business]

FACILITATION

[Payhem I’ve Encountered]
Facilitators of long-winded meetings tend to ask “this is the problem we have – what do you think?”

[My Approach to Payhem]
Facilitators should focus on what needs to be done to solve the problem

Jonathan [IT Control]

FACILITATION

[Payhem I’ve Encountered]
There’s really no need to read out aloud materials in a meeting

[My Approach to Payhem]
Materials should be shared in advance so that the meeting is focused on discussing key points or how to drive actions

Taiki [Business]

DECISION MAKING & PARTICIPATION

[Payhem I’ve Encountered]
A top-down business tends to take away the power to decide from individuals or make it difficult to share challenges

[My Approach to Payhem]
Make sure participants have the power to make a decision

Harsh [Engineer]

DECISION MAKING & PARTICIPATION

[Payhem I’ve Encountered]
In Japan, the meeting goes on until everyone agrees

[My Approach to Payhem]
Only those who are truly involved or who have the power to make a decision should participate in a meeting

Harsh [Engineer]

FAILING

[Payhem I’ve Encountered]
It’s hard to make a decision straight away because in Japan everyone wants to go with the “safe” approach

[My Approach to Payhem]
Mistakes and failures need to be allowed to promote timely decisions and swift action

Linsai [PM]

OTHER CULTURES

[Payhem I’ve Encountered]
I’ve been in meetings where people avoid trying to come across as harsh when someone says something stupid

[My Approach to Payhem]
If someone says something stupid people point it out straight away where I’m from, but here, I subtly raise a question so that the person realizes the problem

Chizuko [Business]

OTHER CULTURES

[Payhem I’ve Encountered]
Working at one company for your whole life is still relatively common in Japan, so there are people with experience in just one work environment

[My Approach to Payhem]
We have it lucky at PayPay – there are so many people with different backgrounds, there’s that many opportunities to share & learn different and effective meeting styles

Taiki [Business]

OTHER CULTURES

[Payhem I’ve Encountered]
OJT is still quite common in Japan, which means you’re not all that exposed to different ways of holding meetings

[My Approach to Payhem]
Studying different styles of holding/facilitating meetings makes a difference