After a long trip from around the world, twelve participants representing nine different nationalities got together in the cold and snowy city of Wesel in Germany on January 26, 2010. They received a warm welcome by the HR Department of Mannesmannröhren-Werke, the Chief Human Resources Officer Dr. Michael Blank, Dr. Thomas Bissels and their team as well as the trainers of this module, Stefanie Scheffler and Michael Hardtmann.
The group started with an icebreaker to get to know each other and to connect to team roles and the team development phases. At the end of the first day, the participants joined together according to their Salzgitter Group companies to prepare company presentations.
On the second day, participants learnt about stereotypes of other cultures and that they can be misleading, but are often difficult to change. However, different cultures have different values and beliefs which are mostly formed early in life. This is why each culture has a unique way of communication and way of life. In the evening, participants gave their presentations on important aspects on each company represented in the training. The presentations of each company respected the cultural backgrounds.
On day three, participants learnt how to work with other different cultures through role playing games and experienced how difficult it is to find common ground if beliefs differ strongly, however they recognized how much more value the different perspectives add to the result of a team. In the afternoon they started to reflect to achieve a right balance between work and private life and to minimize ‘time wasters’ due to bad working habits. That evening, participants debated for about three hours with Dr. Michael Blank on the Salzgitter strategy to better understand the international future of the Group.
On the forth day of the workshop, each participant started analyzing priorities in his/ her daily work life using the correlation of urgency and importance, Pareto Principle, interruptions and level of concentration as well as stress and performance. Furthermore, they reflected on benefits and disadvantages of saying ‘NO’ and what can be alternatives. Finally, they analyzed the performance curve and individually developed links between their objectives and key activities to improve their self management.
In order to improve the transfer of knowledge, participants outlined their personal change projects for the next four months, teamed up with one partner and committed themselves how to work on their projects (milestone in June).
We are looking forward to the next module on June 7 to 10, 2010.