Fred Hassan is chairman and chief executive officer of Schering-Plough Corporation. Prior to his arrival at Schering-Plough in April 2003, Hassan was chairman and chief executive officer of Pharmacia Corporation. He received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Imperial College of Science and Technology at the University of London and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
How can you manage effectively across cultures?
Fred Hassan: While absolutely avoiding stereotypes you have to be a little more sensitive to the local situation.
Identify the local cultural framework . . . relationship-driven? or transaction-driven?
Fred Hassan: If you’re working in a country where relationships matter more than transactions one should modify one’s style so one takes a lot more time with people trying to understand what motivates individuals. Show that you’re listening and learning, that you understand what they’re saying and hopefully as that relationship develops and makes progress, getting to a point where you can truly say you have earned trust with the individual because once you earn trust with the individual in a country where relationships are important it’s amazing how easy one can get traction with one’s own efforts.
Implement a universal strategy within the local framework.
Fred Hassan: You have to be sensitive to the local situation, but the underlying core motivations that drive people to succeed and to well are really very similar around the world.
Cross-cultural Management Strategy:
1. Instill common sense of purpose.
Fred Hassan: The most important part is to create a common sense of purpose and to create common goals and to show people what is in it for them to buy into these goals. So having this common sense of purpose is very important.
2. Show faith in your team.
Fred Hassan: The second very important component is to have faith in their ability that they can do that work, that the people who they work for are good people and that the people who work for them are good people. So having faith in the mission is very important.
3. Continue to educate yourself.
Fred Hassan: The third is this constant discipline, training, skill building, self knowledge, knowing your area extremely well and always getting better is very important.
4. Create will-to-win atmosphere.
Fred Hassan: And finally, that will to win that makes the whole project very exciting--passion, courage, tenacity, and creating that atmosphere of a will to win is very important. This formula works across countries, across cultures. I have used it again and again.
Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd