Company Spotlight: Øyvind Reed, Videonor CEO
Videonor has grown substantially in the six years since our launch, and today we are a global company with colleagues of different cultures and nationalities. In 2015 we started our US office, and during this time I’ve come to find that although historically Norway and the US have enjoyed very close connections there are also massive cultural differences. Some bigger than others, some interesting, and some downright funny.
5 Differences Between My Teams Across the Pond
- INTERVIEWING candidates is very different. Norwegians tend to downplay their own abilities, whereas an American candidate tends to sell it (ability, experience, etc.) beyond what might be true. Both strategies are hard for an employer to navigate but knowing the cultural presets in advance can help uncover great candidates.
- The SENSE OF URGENCY in the US is much higher. And it should be. If we’re not moving fast enough – someone else will swoop in, resulting in lost opportunities for Videonor.
- US employees take a lot less time off, whereas in Norway, it is standard to have 5 weeks of VACATION. Being out of the office for 4 consecutive weeks would never happen in the US – as is commonplace in Norwegian summers.
- BUILDING CONSENSUS as a company is important for the EU side. In the US, I’ve found the expectations of my role to include total company vision and dictating the right path forward. At Videonor we encourage everyone to add more insight by taking part in the decision making.
- When our colleagues in Norway are expecting a baby they can look forward to a system that takes care of both MATERNITY & PATERNITY LEAVE, allowing them lots of time with the new-born. In the US, employers are only legally obligated to provide unpaid leave. Individual employers can offer different maternity/paternity benefits, but there are no enforced paid leaves by the US government.
With the majority of my professional life being in the EU, I realize I am more accustomed to one set of principles than the other, but truly find value in both. Often, these are the things the Videonor cross-pond teams wind up discussing after meetings or after a few glasses of wine on the occasions we can all get together. With all I’ve learned in my time in both business cultures, I believe if we could find the golden middle way in all this, it would be magnificent place to live.