November 18, 2016, Dortmund: It is Monday and a special day for our participants of the Salzgitter International Training Program 2016, which will start any minute. Thirteen young professionals of the whole Salzgitter Group came to Dortmund from all over the world: China, Mexico, the United States, India, France and Germany as well. The Program, abbreviated as SITP, consists of 3 different modules of 4 or 5 days each. Working on soft skills (e.g. teambuilding) is one common target the group will follow up during their encounters. They will get to know new working techniques (e.g. setting priorities and planning effectively) and learn to increase intercultural awareness and self reflection. Furthermore, Germany, the Germans and our culture will be brought to the SITP group since each module takes place in another German town.
But see for yourself what the group experienced:
“Day 1 started off with introductions and expectations for this module. Then straight away our CONTUR trainers were down to business as we were introduced to the top five competencies that an individual can and should have: leading, working together, steering oneself, contributing to progress and entrepreneurial approach. The next important lesson was on team development. Four phases, namely forming, storming, norming and performing were discussed in detail and demonstrated through a simulation. After having dinner at the hotel, the team headed-off to the Christmas market nearby – chilly weather, hot wine and the world’s tallest Christmas tree. The King Kong of Christmas trees to be exact – it was 46 meters tall, weighing 40,000 kg and consisting of 1,700 small trees. It was a wonderful evening and gave everyone an opportunity to talk and get to know each other more personally, while enjoying a German tradition.
Day 2 was all about communication skills. Active listening, asking questions, reading body language, focusing on relationship, creating clarity and effective presentation were the topics of that day. Working in multi-cultural team activities was the best example to understand the importance of accepting other opinions, understanding different perspectives, being creative and listening actively. These skills certainly helped to achieve good results during the exercises. We also did an exercise in groups of two on self-perception and how we perceive others, which gave everyone an insight into their respective traits and habits. This training sequence was rounded off with our company presentations. We were very well prepared on how to effectively present information to our target audience, and got to work practicing this in groups. The day ended with some delicious Italian food.
A multi-cultural group activity was waiting for all of us on day 3. Once again, effective communication played a critical role in this activity. If different cultures come together, it can be very often challenging because every culture is driven by several external and survival factors, as well as deep-rooted values. After the group activity, we were organized into own cultural groups and were asked to reflect on stereotypes – namely how we view other cultures, and also how we think we are perceived. This activity broke the mold on some of the stereotypes and gave us some new perspectives how our own culture is seen in other countries.
During the evening we had the great opportunity of a fireside chat with Dr. Patrick Lagao from Salzgitter Mannesmann Precision. In an open, warm and friendly atmosphere Dr. Lagao answered all of our questions from leadership to team building. He also shared some personal experiences that helped him grow as an individual and professional. Once again, we would like to thank him for the great evening.
Day 4: Our company / group presentations were the kickoff and the focus this time was on presentation style, skills and etiquettes. It also displayed how different cultures communicate while presenting similar information. The key point for all the presentations was the target audience and we were reminded that in order to connect with the audience it is also important to express oneself genuinely.
Day 5, the last day, was a tour to the KHS Dortmund plant before everyone departed to their respective hometowns in the afternoon.
Mixed cultures, different opinions, multiple perspectives and varied thoughts but we all smile in the same language. One week of great exposure and fun learning time in Dortmund – we look forward to meeting the team for module 2 in Hannover!”