This story comes from Clas Neuman, Senior Vice President, SAP Labs Network, Shanghai.
One of the defining moments influencing my leadership style occurred shortly after I became Managing Director for SAP Labs India. In a 360 feedback, my team in India told me that they were a bit irritated about my problem solving approach – mostly starting with comparing how things work at the headquarters in Walldorf. The feedback I received was “That’s fine Clas, but now you are in India – and things do work a little differently here!”
This early feedback helped me tremendously to look deeper into different solutions to the same problem and to stop providing my (experienced-based) advice upfront. Also – I understood, that cultural diversity is one of the richest sources of innovation that SAP has today and that we kill this innovation if we would push a “one size fits all” agenda across all matters in all countries.
Our steadily expanding SAP Labs Network now comprises 18 labs in 15 countries, and over time we have developed a fine balance between global excellence and local innovation – which relies heavily on mutual trust and openness. I learned a ton of things during my years in India – and keep learning today from my colleagues in China, and elsewhere.
Stay tuned for our next installment of Leaders@SAP!
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