Europe vs America – Who’s got better management?

Having spent the first half of my life in the US and the latter based in Europe, I’ve often been presented with the question of whose management system is the best.

It’s not that straight-forward and I’m generalizing, but let me open up the debate by  sharing some of my experiences.

The bull in the china shop is what I was referred to when I arrived onto the “old continent” in 1991. I got the results, but  upon reflection I could have done the same with less collateral damage. After traveling around Europe and faced with vastly different cultural, religious and ethnic beliefs I started to change my approach resulting in even more effectiveness yet less casualties.  I learned that the end doesn’t always justify the means, so 1 point to the Europeans for greater emotional & social intelligence.

The stigma of failure is probably one of the greatest factors behind the European lag in innovation & “the entrepreneurial spirit” in general. It’s a cultural aspect that in Europe failure is looked upon with great disdain where as in the US, as Wess Roberts once wrote, the attitude is that “anyone who doesn’t make mistakes isn’t trying hard enough“. Add to this the Yesbutters vs. Whynotters syndrome, which has more to do with simple procrastination, and the point goes to the American management ferocity of getting things done! 1 point to the Americans for the courage to extend themselves beyond their comfort zones, as well as not being afraid to learn from failure.

Verbal communications skills is a key facet to the success of any individual and no more evident is this skill highly regarded than in “The Boardroom“. Whether an entrepreneur looking for funding, or senior management looking for support & budget for a new initiative, unless you’ve got strong communication skills you won’t likely succeed. 1 point to the Americans for the advantage of expressiveness & public speaking throughout their educational system, starting in kindergarten.

The competitive edge & sense of urgency needed to survive in a highly combative playing field such as the US is beyond comparison! Anyone who’s taken an elevator ride in a 5th Avenue sky-rise accompanied by 10 competitors, all on their way to see the same key decision maker knows what I’m talking about. 1 point to the Americans for their unprecedented competitive drive.

Work-Life balance breads the healthiness & stability required for the mental & social balance required to make sound business & life decisions. European executives just seem to be less stressed, at peace with themselves, which in turn leads to better overall decision making. 1 point to the European ability to blend lifestyle into their work-style.

On the surface it seems the US centric management system has an upper hand on their European colleagues. What are your thoughts on this subject?

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