The Tokyo Test

Upon arriving in Tokyo after a 12-hour flight from Chicago, preceded by a connection from Boston, one is tempted to say, “Enough!” –and go no farther. Yet my destination, Singapore, is still a three-hour layover and six-hour flight away. (But I’m not complaining.)

I remember in college when Bain & Company, the management consultants, came to recruit. When asked to describe what kind of people they were seeking, one of the presenters referred to “The Tokyo Test.” After assessing a candidate’s intellectual prowess and experience, members of the recruiting team would ask one another, “Would you be willing to sit next to this person on a flight from Boston to Tokyo?” The logic: consultants spend a lot of time together on the road and it’s important to work with people you can engage with.

Anyway, as I though back to that Bain presentation, I started wondering who my seatmate would be on the way to Narita. It turned out to be a four year old Japanese girl who spoke only a little English. She passed the test.

I hope I did.

July 22, 2007

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