Walking in someone else’s shoes
I love travelling. I really get a lot from immersing myself in other countries and cultures. As a result, I also like working in international teams. My colleagues include people from UK, France, Turkey and Slovakia. This cultural diversity often helps us advance with projects more quickly. People from other countries approach tasks from different perspectives in order to find a common solution. I often find myself thinking, “How simple!” But I would never have got there on my own.
Although I work mainly in Germany, I am also involved in global projects at our locations in the UK, France, Turkey and Slovakia. When I discuss such projects with colleagues throughout the group, it is vital that we understand one another. So I learn a lot about other cultures, both for my job and because I simply enjoy it.
I want to be part of that
At the moment, my most fascinating project is the Condensing Leadership Program (CLP). The CLP has meant responding to the new legal guidelines stipulating that old combustion systems must be replaced with condensing technology. Condensing systems are far more energy-efficient than non-condensing units and the changeover is being applied across Europe. It was clear to me that I had to be part of this project.
Sites in the UK, France, Turkey and Slovakia are involved in producing the new systems. At the end, the project was very pressed for time. One factor was the delay in finalising the design of the heat exchange returnable packaging. This was urgently needed for further processing in Trenčín (Slovakia). So I made a transfer from England where I was on a 6 month placement back to Germany and got together with our suppliers, the people from the test laboratory and our central CAD designers. Due to these efforts, we managed to meet our deadline. Since then over 100,000 heat exchanger modules have left the plant.
When someone unexpectedly lops off your tie
Working in international teams and travelling to other countries always makes for an exciting challenge, whether for business or pleasure. I’m particularly fond of the little cultural misunderstandings that arise. I still have a chuckle today when I think back to my first Weiberfastnacht (women’s carnival day) in Remscheid. Thankfully someone had warned me about it beforehand – otherwise I would have been aghast when my female colleague expressed a desire to cut off my tie!
Moving from Belper (UK) to Düsseldorf in autumn 2013 was a thoroughly cross-cultural experience. Rental agreements, electricity providers, health insurance: you have to plough through all of that when you’ve just arrived. And it’s different in every country. However, the Vaillant Group’s HR team was hugely supportive. This is another advantage of international companies: moving from one country to another is relatively hassle-free.
development sites in Europe and China