Nancy McKinstry, CEO of Wolters Kluwer, the information services company based in the Netherlands, says “Every culture is very different in how people make decisions.” She adds the following:
So the ability to understand how they interpret what you’re said to them, and how, you interpret what they’ve said, and the rules of engagement about how you’re going to make a decision is very important. In the Netherlands, where our company is based, people really want to be heard early on in the process. So if you just go to someone and say, “I want you to go take this product and enter this new market,” most likely the first response they’ll say is, “No, and let me tell you how that won’t work.” What they really want to say is, “I’m not going to commit yet to that objective until we have a chance to really sit down and explore how we’re going to do that, what your expectations are, and how we measure success.”
Then, when I work with my Italian colleagues and the Spaniard colleagues, what you find is they can’t always tell you how they’re going to get something accomplished, but they manage to get it done.
Ms. McKinstry also points out a key element of leadership – “Results matter. No matter how much somebody respects your intellect or your capabilities or how much they like you, in the end it is all about results in the business context.”