Life@Conti has always been filled with a lot of fun and excitement, whether it was Germany, China , India or now South Korea. Every country comes along with a rich culture and tradition and a new learning experience. Here is just a short list of my experience with the different work environments.
Germany teaches you perfection and punctuality, China teaches you that everything and anything is possible, Korea says welcome to our country… thank you for your idea.. but please understand, that we have been working in this way all our lives and we don’t find anything wrong with it and India to a considerable extent says welcome to reality or maybe I put it this way. The procedural aspects and bureaucratic structures in the world’s largest democracy make it a challenge to implement. The complex cultural and geographical environment also makes work challenging but fun. It is a huge learning experience and provides many opportunities to be innovative and encourages entrepreneurship, especially ones who have high aspirations and want to slog it out.
The kind of infrastructure and supplier base and networks that Germany and China enjoy, don’t exist in India. Hence there is a lot of additional effort that needs to be put in to ensure that things move smoothly and efficiently.
South Korea has been a challenge. It has been an environment where discussing topics in a meeting which points out to deviations in working style is viewed as an insult and the retaliation is either very strong or complete silence or blockade of information. It is a very delicate situation to be in. I believe majority comes from the Market in South Korea which is naturally dominated by the big domestic players. Foreign companies are yet to make the kind of impact they have made in other Asian countries. Korea definitely has been the biggest challenge so far, organizationally!
The most complex work environment is what India & China provide owing to the vast diversity of cultures and languages and varying climatic conditions. For someone who is used to working in a very well structured and organized work environment in Germany, work in India and China exposes you to a harsh reality. Out there is a cut throat competition and people are just waiting to take your place in the market at the faintest hint of error from your side. It is always a tough race out here. That is the fun element as well! Being challenged at all times is the best that an employee can ask for when he is starting off with his career in an organization that has a huge global footprint.
The secret to a successful work, however, is to know the language. It opens up all avenues of interacting with everyone in the plant and this builds up a better team and a better understanding of the work to be done. Teamwork forms a very important and integral part of building a successful organization.
In the end I would just put it this way:
Germany says we should do it, China says we will do it, Korea is complicated and India says we know we should do it. India and China teach you the harsh realities of life and Germany teaches you how to make it better, Korea teaches you patience! Lots of it 🙂