Halyna Novohatka, Manager of Analytics and Development Strategy of Compensation Plan at Amway. She worked in Ukraine, after getting MBA degree moved to Germany, and later to America. Alumnus of MBA program of Edinburgh Business School
One day you wake up and realize that your childhood American dream has come true. All this would not have been possible if not self-belief, a strong desire to develop, elementary communication skills, logical thinking and critical analysis and, of course, business education. Quality education. Now I can say with absolute certainty that without an MBA of Edinburgh Business School it would be extremely difficult to realize my “American dream”. Why? Abroad, though, the rules for hiring a person for a top-managerial position are seemingly very simple but at the same time tough. A large corporation, such as Amway, will not be able to offer a top executive position unless you have an international MBA degree.
Ukraine, Germany, America – where is the best?
Working in a large corporation or working for yourself is usually the first question young people ask themselves after graduating from university. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, either excitement and risk dominate, or the predictability of prospects. The case is individual. But if people think that business in Ukraine is built on a different canon than in Germany or America, then they are mistaken. For all my time abroad, I realized that in essence the rules are the same for everyone. Quite different when we talk about the mentality of people, the level of sales culture and the presence of a strong corporate culture – trust among employees, methods of stimulation and development.
In Ukraine it is very difficult to prove without papers that you are right. Although, as experience shows, sometimes even the availability of papers does not guarantee anything. Overseas the situation is a little different. It may be because of their openness and goodwill, perhaps because of a higher standard of living, but the business there is not intended to set somebody up. The business is working on the result – whether it is an increase in sales, customer base growth, or cost reduction. It is very noticeable that in Central Europe and the USA, the culture and spirit of entrepreneurship have evolved not in years, but in centuries. The mechanisms are honed and the business machine runs on schedule. And that is probably the only significant difference between us.
Big American Dream: management style
America itself is a country that has opportunities and prospects. People are sharpened to get the most out of their jobs. And in this regard, American entrepreneurs have been given full freedom of action. What does it mean? Business in Ukraine is still mostly built on a hierarchical principle – the manager gives the task and controls its execution. In America, the principle is different. The country is fascinating and at the same time intimidates its freedom to make decisions. Sometimes it seems that such a freedom does not have a very positive effect on the company. But every employee gets a chance to develop and prove himself or herself in order to move up the career ladder later. And the experience itself is not enough – for Americans and Europeans where you got your education matters a lot – it is about the universality of the knowledge gained in the MBA.
As for leadership, I do not think that nationality has any influence on leadership. What matters is the desire of the leader to learn, to listen (or at least to listen to his subordinates) and to improve skills.
For example, I had three top managers, each with a different approach. Ukraine has a more totalitarian management style. The requirement to do everything the way the leader wants dominates. It is very difficult to work with such executives as they are convinced in only one right solution of which only they know. This approach is not entirely justified in the corporate business, where responsibility and decision-making depends team. That is why very often professional staff can quit because they do not agree with such a policy.
Other leader favored people who did their job better than himself. It is important for such leaders to be a mentor and to direct the work of their employees – to be a kind of ship captain. And there are those who set a good example – they usually show the result and share their experiences. Even if they don’t get the result they want, they give feedback to their employees, discuss their strengths, and try to find the best option to achieve their goals. This is the foundation of the team.
Human resources: it won’t be easier
Open Space is what dominates in America. In Europe, as well as in Ukraine, the cabinet structure of work is widespread in most business companies. But despite the fact that everyone has their own space and place to work, everything looks very coherent and complete, as one single team. However, in the US, the company works differently. Today, even partitions between employees’ tables in the open spaces are gradually receding into the past. However, despite such physical proximity during working hours, Americans do not have the tradition of greeting with each other each morning. In this way, they do not want to distract each other from work, but after a friendly team in Ukraine, I am a little embarrassed by it.
Therefore, the American dream is smart marketing and opportunity creation, not just their expectations. However, one must always be prepared for the reality. Basic survival skills, a strong education (believe me, it plays a significant role) and family support are the keys to a successful career and a happy family life.