Global Opportunities at the Focus of SME Support by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

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Keynote Speaker Gerhard Hain, managing director of ti communication, spoke on the vital significance of intercultural competence.


Stefan Schnorr, head of the Digital and Innovation Policies department at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), opened the annual convention of ZIM (Central Innovation Program for SMEs) on December 5, 2017 in Berlin. The event was characterized by globalization and its specific challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises. Two hundred representatives from SMEs and interested parties were able to experience a variety of talks on the subject throughout the day.

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The Strategy Challenge

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The Strategy Challenge

How can companies develop their strategy or implement an existing one more efficiently? The basis for starting strategy development involves examining essential questions about the future and evaluating how the company will be affected. By including managers and employees in the process, a solution culture is generated which extends beyond conventional delegation. Dieter Dier, speaker at the INTERCHANGE '15, about the strategy challenge.

What is the greatest challenge with regard to the strategy of a company or division?

Developing the strategy or implementing it? Several companies develop a corporate strategy themselves or with the assistance of external consultants. However, many fail in its implementation. In our view, there are two primary reasons for this:

  1. The strategy was developed behind closed doors, considered the boss's job or even "developed after complex analyses" by external parties. The goals and measures for strategy implementation do not sufficiently trickle down to employees, and the organization cannot connect to the new strategy. Neither the goals nor the measures are worked out adequately. There is not enough transparency to offer concrete action options for the operative levels. There are too many loose ends.
  2. The developed strategy is inflexible and cannot respond quickly enough to changes in markets, technologies and environments. The initial innovative energy often transforms into an appeal to do ever more of the same at an ever faster pace. More and more often, momentum must come from "above" in order to impel those "below" to continue.

In other words, the approach lacks an integration into the organization and developmental dynamics.

The challenging aspects of strategy development are the creation processes and their implementation. An integrated strategy process is needed, one which ensures the participation of the implementers as well

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Internationalization Strategies - Just how global is your company?

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Internationalization Strategies - Just how global is your company?

German products are known throughout the world under the quality label “Made in Germany”, and several German brands generate the majority of their turnover beyond the borders of their home country. The requirement of having an international presence and being a global player in one’s respective market segment is a matter of course for many medium-sized and large companies. Yet just how far has “international thinking” really come in the management and executive levels of German companies?

Particularly when talk is of international cooperation, there is a variety of models according to which companies orient themselves toward respective partners, subsidiaries or branch offices. In the following, four internationalization strategies will be presented that can help depict the various approaches and behaviours in such interaction.

In the illustration above, the left circle depicts the corporate culture of the home country (which, for purposes of explanation, represents the German head office), whose organizational structure has a grey background; the right circle represents the international partner, whose local circumstances are depicted on a white background.

Polycentric strategy: The German head office and the foreign subsidiaries work well and with little overlap parallel to each other, almost independently.
This strategy is frequently employed for functional internationalization: There is a high degree of independence from the German head office; the corporate management of the partner is adapted to local circumstances; the foreign corporate culture remains intact; there is no exchange of employees and know-how.

Ethnocentric strategy: The environment in the foreign subsidiaries is clearly influenced by German culture, and work is done according to the instructions of the head office.
In the past, it was typically used for institutional internationalization, but is also still a widespread corporate philosophy: Central decisions are made in the head office; the corporate culture and corporate management of the foreign partner are strongly influenced by German methods; a German expatriate has an executive function in the foreign country; hardly any foreign know-how or employees are integrated into the German mode of thinking.

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Competency models in leadership workshops – a project report from China

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Competency models in leadership workshops – a project report from China

End of last year ti communication supported a mid-sized German enterprise group with the roll-out of their new performance management system at their China subsidiaries. Two trainings were facilitated by Dr Laurenz Awater, Chief Representative of ti communication in China, introducing a new competency model developed for the client’s global organization.
Competency models are an integral part of any strategy aimed at building a high performing organization. Competency models are an important instrument because they have proven to be helpful in

  • defining corporate identity and giving the organization overall direction
  • clarifying performance expectations by providing specific behavioral descriptions
  • making performance management a more effective process by transforming traditional performance review sessions into future-oriented development sessions
  • creating a performance culture and an appreciative feedback culture
  • redirecting the orientation of individuals and teams from monetary incentives toward maximization of development potentials
  • aligning company and individual development around commonly shared values and goals
  • forming a leadership culture which moves developing others to the centre of leadership behavior
  • building a corporate culture based upon core values and principles set out for the global organization
  • creating a common language among employees across hierarchies and national boundaries

Participants discussed the competencies and behavioral descriptors and learnt their application in performance appraisals by making self-assessments and preparing for appraisal sessions using case studies.

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