Embracing Innovation: Shifting Perspectives
“Think twice before you are going to ask a question and try to answer it yourself before asking” That was one of the first lessons I learned from my first boss and leader, Josef Prinz, three decades ago at the austrian subsidiary of an american IT company.
“It is called person days, not man days as we respect women too” or “we pay certain salaries for roles, regardless of the gender”, were some further important ones that came soon after from other leaders too.
All these standards were early set, clear and appreciated and meanwhile I call them default settings when talking to leaders and students. The importance and benefits of working in diverse teams are evident and I remember that already in my first projects in the early 90s, we had team members from all continents.
Recently Marcus Grausam (CEO of A1 Telekom) said at an AmCham breakfast that “customers in Tirol don´t want to have their data running in Data Centers in Wien”. He said it with a twinkle in his eye but what we can learn from US, is to see the power and advantages of innovation as a chance and not a threat. “We can, if …” instead “We can´t, because …” has become my first thought on every tough challenge I am facing.
While there is a lot we can learn from the US I have also eyewitnessed that a more common sense approach, like we live it in Austria is in many cases, can lead faster to the goal, a shorter way to meet or exceed objectives.
In USA there is a high emphasis on statistics and every data point gets measured and anticipated. But already Peter Drucker said, “the danger in times of turbulence is acting with yesterdays´s logic” and sometimes I see that decisions in the local market are taken more instinctive and in a social context, considering many topics you hardly can measure or anticipate.
On quality of living, Vienna has set remarkable records and I appreciate to get the best of both worlds for more than three decades working for US companies out of Austria and European countries.