Leadership in International Projects: GPM visiting the workshop classrooms of ti communication

Leadership in International Projects: GPM visiting the workshop classrooms of ti communication

On December 7th, the head of the GPM regional group Regensburg, Dr. rer. pol. Christian Eisenschink, opened the event „Leadership in International Projects”. As initiator of the event, he welcomed the attending members and interested guests and emphasized that leadership in international projects requires cooperation on a cultural level as well as on management and personnel levels. Clearly-structured tasks and the right tone are prerequisites. The basic skills and abilities that managers should possess was the topic of the GPM lecture with Anna Corbett at ti communication.

The focus of the lecture was basic skills and abilities that characterise leadership and the expansion of these skills to include an international factor. The participants used the occasion of the lecture "Leadership in International Projects" to expand on and discuss various topics with lecturer Anna Corbett. Specific aspects, such as "cultural hurdles" or "leadership in the matrix", made for lively discussion.

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Cultural understanding á la carte

Cultural understanding á la carte

Indulgence workshop by Gerhard Hain and Christoph Hauser allows you to dip your senses into foreign cultures

When and to whom do you give your business card at a business meal with Japanese – and which way do you hold it? How many bows or half-bows are appropriate when doing so, and what are the "ten do's and don'ts" for doing business with Arabian business associates? If you are preparing for intercultural business relationships by limiting yourself to such questions, you're doing it wrong, according to Gerhard Hain: "It's not about fixed rules, it's about encounters between people – whether on a national or international level". With his consulting firm ti communication, he, along with 80+ team members, has been successfully supporting companies in internationalizing their businesses for 15 years now. Infineon, Robert Bosch, Hilti and several other international market leaders as well as SMEs are now part of their clientele.

"Learning can be fun and involves the senses"

Hain finds the stolid memorization of rules of conduct to be largely ineffective. Instead, he focuses on a deep understanding of cultural peculiarities and small communication codes, as well as observing without evaluating. "Learning can be fun and involve the senses", is a further principle at ti communication. Thus, it is only a matter of course that Gerhard Hain got together with an indulgence expert in the autumn of 2014 to combine learning and indulging: along with Christoph Hauser, known, among other things, for Hausers Kochschule (cooking school), he now offers "intercultural indulgence workshops". In groups of a maximum of ten persons, a one-day seminar will focus on a specific cultural realm where intercultural communication is explained in theory and practised in practical situations, followed by cooking and eating a typical meal of the respective country, which culminates in a sensory understanding of the target culture.

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ti communication turns 15

ti communication turns 15

Company anniversary 

Ti communication turns 15 – what better reason to celebrate! And yet, we wanted more than just a party. True to the motto "Work hard, play hard", we coupled our anniversary with the exchange platform INTERCHANGE, which successfully took place on the afternoon of 2 October. That evening, most of the conference participants took advantage of the opportunity to continue conversations begun in the afternoon with chilled drinks, a warm buffet and cool jazz. Some used the break between events to go on a tour of the winding lanes of the medieval Old Town, presented by Stadtmaus, and discover interesting facts about the history of Regensburg as a city of encounter – a perfect topic to fit the day. With the arrival of the evening guests, the room in the historical Salzstadel in the heart of Regensburg's historical centre was well filled.  

Fund-raiser in favor of Doctors Without Borders

But the relaxed evening event offered more than just entertainment. Conceived as a fund-raiser, all profits went to the international charity Doctors Without Borders. The motto "Work hard, play hard" continued through the evening, whereby the work on that evening was treated as a reason to celebrate. Before guests could enjoy the international delicacies made by Hausers Kochlust, supported by Rosenpalais Catering, they received some food for thought. In a visibly good mood, ti communication directors Gerhard Hain and Susanna Bezzel greeted their guests, and Mr. Hain took the opportunity to explain in a humorous presentation "what moves us and where we are going". It then became clear that the ti communication success story was not only made possible by a high degree of commitment and dedication and hard work, but also a hearty dose of fun.  

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A successful premiere

A successful premiere

INTERCHANGE took place for the 1st time

After months of preparation, from the conceptual planning to the organization of the venue and catering to inviting presenters and participants, 2 October finally arrived: the INTERCHANGE exchange platform took place for the first time, and, without exaggeration, we can say that the premiere could not have been much better. Inspired by bright sunshine, everyone involved provided for an excellent atmosphere even before the official start of the day. Heartfelt greetings, animated small talk and the prospect of a fascinating day filled the rooms of the historical Salzstadel in the heart of the world heritage city of Regensburg. The location, as historic as it is modern, proved to be the ideal site for a successful mixture of concentrated professionalism and pleasant conviviality.  

One decisive factor for the event's success was its perfect organization by our marketing department, who made sure it was conducted smoothly, from start to finish. The ti communication staff in charge of reception and service also contributed to the wonderful atmosphere by – believe it or not – being even more motivated, professional and friendly than they already are. In cooperation with the extraordinary catering provided by Hausers Kochlust, supported by Rosenpalais Catering, they left nothing to be desired. 

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Iran after the nuclear agreement – Is the euphoria justified?

Iran after the nuclear agreement – Is the euphoria justified?

"We are hoping for a better future, when international companies return to Iran, invest in us and generate prosperity". We hear this sentence almost every day in our talks with Iranian managers, officials, workers, consumers and people on the street. The Iranian economy fell into a veritable recession following the intensified economic sanctions and local mismanagement. High inflation, rising unemployment, a lack of investments and international isolation put an obvious strain on the Iranian standard of living. Since Rohani administration has taken office, however, there was a slight recovery even before the agreement in the nuclear talks – the economy grew in 2014 by 2% - and now all signs point to investment, expansion, re-integration into the global economic system and an opening of the market. 

What opportunities does Iran have to offer?

For several weeks now, highly-ranking international economic delegates have been streaming in and out of the country's economic realm. The interest in business with and in Iran is enormous. Yet how attractive is the Iranian market really for foreigners, especially for German companies? And what specifics need to be observed; what problems should companies be prepared to face? Iran's population of approximately 78 million people, who have accumulated a huge "consumption backlog" (and whom primarily international markets covet), have turned the country into a massive potential for consumer goods and service providers. In addition, producers of capital goods and infrastructure can look forward to a giant pent-up demand for products and investments. Eighty percent of Iranian industrial facilities are obsolete  and must be replaced, the infrastructure needs to be modernized, tourism developed and the financial system brought to the state of the art, to name just a few industrial sectors. Today, several sectors are dominated by local companies that can hardly keep up with international competition in their current state, with obsolete factories, processes and management systems.

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eMag Profile: Ashish Kumar

eMag Profile: Ashish Kumar

"When I moved to Germany last year it was my second move across three continents in five years"
Living in different places changes one's perceptions. Ashish Kumar personally experienced this phenomenon many times – as a native of New Delhi he has worked in the United States, in Singapore and now works for Infineon at the Campeon. Awareness of intercultural differences is essential to him.

eMag: Ashish, where are you from? Where did you grow up?

Ashish Kumar: I am a native of New Delhi, India, where I also went to school.

eMag: What did you study and what is your assignment here at Infineon?

Ashish Kumar: I studied computer science. At Infineon I am a Principal Engineer. We have multiple manufacturing automation systems at our production factories. These systems have to be managed and supported. The team I work in develops guidelines and specifications for the system architecture.

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The Strategy Challenge

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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Welcome to Germany

Welcome to Germany

In this Blog article our partner Palladium Mobility Group points out some difficulties foreigners might encounter when moving to Germany and how to overcome these easily by making use of their professional relocation expertise.

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German food culture, from the asparagus to the potato

German food culture, from the asparagus to the potato

ti cooking culture autor Christoph Hauser provides food for thought about our habits of consumption and a delicious idea on how to prepare potatoes

Asparagus is probably the only vegetable of which people know the exact season. The asparagus season ends on the 24th of June, Midsummer Day. That much we know. But when does it start? From that point in time when the soil is warm enough to allow the tips of the white asparagus to peek out. Or from that point in time in which ground heating on the fields makes the asparagus shoot up?
And what about potatoes? The small, young ones with the thin skins? They are gradually becoming ripe now. And yet I've been seeing them for weeks. The ones from Egypt. And here is where people's lack of patience is really noticeable.

This is how these potatoes are produced:

Irrigation and fertilization systems are installed in sandy African ground. These systems require 428 litres of Egyptian water per kilogramme of potatoes. Germany imports 130,000 tonnes of potatoes. This means that, essentially, Germany is importing 55,640,000,000 litres of water from Africa! These potatoes are transported in the kind of sturdy plastic bags also used to transport paving stones. Peat is used as a filler. Since peat is not harvested in Egypt, but rather in Ireland, it begs the question as to why such irrevocable destruction of land and CO2 emissions are accepted for the transport. The answer: because the potatoes are supposed to look like they've been growing in dirt, not in sand!

International environmental protection– it's this easy:

The carbon footprint of a single imported potato from southerly countries thus weighs in at more than 500 mg per kilo in comparison to the 3 mg/kg of regional potato farming. Germany itself produces 11 million tonnes of potatoes per year, whereby only a certain percentage is destined to become table potatoes, while the majority is transformed, using even more energy, into potato starch, further processed products, flours, etc.
What would international environmental protection look like?

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Developing management competencies for tomorrow here and now

Developing management competencies for tomorrow here and now

Sabine Amend, speaker at the INTERCHANGE '15, about changig demands on executives in an increasingly global and complex world.

Small, medium-sized and very large companies ask themselves: If the world changes in the next 10 years at as fast a rate or faster than in the past 20 years – what will we be facing? What competencies must managers master in order to endure in this turbulent world? The challenge for HR and managers is the complexity of the situation: A lot is going to change very quickly - but just how is virtually impossible to predict. Several factors will come together. Global and local interactions will cause surprises and critical, new conditions for organizations. How can companies react? What role will management have? Will foresightful, future-oriented action even still be possible? And if so, how?

Let's start with a snapshot of the present to find answers to these questions:

Global leadership – unlimitedly complex?

A manager from Southeast Asia with international experience is responsible for employees in several Asian countries and western Europe. She works for a German corporation. Now, for the first time, she is working in an American/multicultural environment in southern California: The German corporation purchased a company with locations in several regions of the USA. The firm's goal is to expedite the standardization of processes – while at the same time keeping the impatient, individualistic American employees motivated. Initial tensions between the expectations of the German head office and the realities in the USA are already showing. How can the manager operate optimally in this multilayered situation?

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