As Hewlett- Packward undertakes the corporate turnaround initiated last year, Stuart (Justin) McCall 03 BBA is helping direct the application of new strategic priorities. He is a senior strategy manager on a global strategy team for HP’s technology services division in Stuttgart, Germany. “My job is to bridge high-level strategy with ground-level planning for execution and to ensure that changes can ‘glocalize’ to regional business models where they will become part of operations,” he says.
“In my experience, any global organization – be it a global technology company or the U.S. military – needs to balance providing global guidance with allowing local freedom of movement to execute,” he says. McCall, who is also the operations officer for the Navy reserve detachment at Special Operations Command, Europe, paraphrases Helmuth von Moltke, a 19th-century Prussian field marshal, saying, “No global plan survives first contact with the country manager. You have to partner and work together in a continuous cycle of vision, dialogue, execution, and feedback.”
In helping to implement a detailed, multiyear roadmap for improving business performance, McCall says it is useful to think in terms of that continuous cycle. “You start with the vision – what your executive sponsorship is wanting to achieve – then identify and keep what you’re doing today that aligns to that vision. Scrap what is misaligned and address where gaps exist. The rest is setting balanced short- to long-term objectives, rigorously and objectively analyzing progress, and making tough decisions.”
McCall’s military service began during his years at Emory, when as a Marine reservist he was deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. After completing his service and his degree, he left his native South Carolina for two years with the US Marines in Germany, where on his second day he met Conny, the German woman who would become his wife. “That meeting,” he says, “strongly influenced all that followed.”
Not only did McCall learn German; he also opted to earn an MSc in international finance, studying in Switzerland and Germany. He did an internship at Hewlett-Packard and after graduating joined HP as an internal consultant. McCall is also an adjunct professor of finance, investments, and economics at three German universities. “I’ve been experimenting with new ideas and technologies,” he says, “such as using Google Hangouts On Air for tutoring and Q&A sessions. These automatically record to YouTube.” He notes the typical German lecturer is still recycling the same slides and hosting a more unilateral discussion.
McCall continues to enjoy life in Germany. “It’s such an interesting county, with its mix of new technology companies and ancient towns,” he says. His favorite leisure activities range from trail running near his home to visiting the Starbucks in downtown Stuttgart nearly every morning with his wife and young son – recently joined by twins, who arrived in April. Given his long hours at work, McCall relishes the regular time with his family.
“Go abroad,” is McCall’s advice to alumni. “Whether to study or work, preferably both. Outside my comfort zone I discovered multiple dimensions of perspective.”
-Susan Merrit Jordan