“The world is getting smaller, but an anti-American mood seems to be driving the United States and Europe further apart”. These words are from an exclusive interview by usatoday.com to Nancy McKinstry, who is a rare American CEO of a European-based company. She runs Wolters Kluwer, a publisher in Amsterdam that operates in 25 countries; it has 20,000 employees and $4.3 billion in 2003 revenue. McKinstry, 45, spoke with USA TODAY 1 corporate management reporter Del Jones about the growing Atlantic divide. She says there are European companies can learn from U.S. companies and vice versa (usatoday.com, 2004). In this interview, there were some questions and answers that caught my attention based on the leadership style.
Q: Does running a European company require a different leadership style?
A: In Europe, it is more like leading a jazz band. We put local attention on customers, product development and sales and marketing. We centralize functions such as finance and technology where there are economies of scale. One of the greatest challenges is finding the talent to blend local and global thinking, deploying local management with global expertise.
Q: Do U.S. and European companies differ in their views on outsourcing and offshoring?
A: It is more of a hot political issue in the U.S. than in Europe. However, you see an increase in companies looking to outsource and offshore alternatives as a way to gain flexibility. This is true in the U.S. and Europe.
Q: Have you adapted to the European culture or have your employees adapted to you?
A: I am more communicative and informal than my predecessor. It has taken time for people to adjust. We act with greater urgency and direction than in prior years. I have created a third culture, blending both styles and getting benefits from both.
These statements by Nancy McKinstry in her interview have a particular meaning to leadership style. It gives a clear view of how the leadership style differs in other countries in Europe. What motivates the most from this interview is the blended leadership style that Nancy McKinstry applies in her company and getting the best of these cultures. Nancy McKinstry focuses in finding employees with the talent to blend local and global thinking, deploying local management with global expertise, which is a very important step to success in today’s global market.
1 For the detailed interview, go to website: http://www.usatoday.com/educate/college/careers/profile13.htm