Crossing National and Organisational Cultures

The CFO of an operating division of a large US multi-national joined a US headquartered, multi-national mission agency as the European CFO. He was not only confronted with the transition from a US to European culture and a move from the corporate commercial to the Christian not-for profit worlds but he also faced a huge leadership style shift. His previous organisation had a reputation for a “hard nosed” command and control leadership style as opposed to the Christ-centred servant leadership culture of his new organisation. The two styles are diametrically opposed.

Through participation in the organisation’s Christ-centred servant leadership transition programme and supported by specific one-to-one coaching, both face-to-face and via phone and email, he successfully crossed the divide. He has learned to apply himself differently and effectively in Europe with a multi-national team.

This transition is not an insignificant achievement. Within Europe we are very familiar with its multi-national nature and lots of humour relies upon the national stereotypes. Even then European’s do not always find it easy to work cross-culturally, while US/European relationships have often foundered after falling on this particular sword.