In 2013, C3 Consulting designed and implemented a cross-cultural training program for managers at Grundfos Business Development in China and Denmark to develop their global leadership skills. The training program consisted of 2 modules of 2 days each. Here, 15 managers participated in a dynamic training program and had the opportunity to learn more on how you manage cultural differences in a global organisation.
The purpose for Grundfos was to enhance the value of working with different cultures and learn about the differences in Chinese and Danish cultures in order to improve communication and collaboration and thereby develop a global management team that shared a common ground.
The managers participating in the training were Chinese and Danes. Some had local teams that worked across the Grundfos organisation globally, and some had teams representing 2-5 different nationalities and Grundfos locations. All of them had daily collaboration and communication with Grundfos members of different cultures, managers, subordinates, host managers, stakeholders.
Together with Grundfos, C3 Consulting designed a cross-cultural program, integrating key Grundfos elements – like values and leadership principles – together with the day-to-day challenges the participants experienced from the implementation of a strategic change management project; this in order to learn how to deal with the challenges as a global team.
The entire training took place during a period of 5 months including the 2 x 2 days workshops. The process started in December 2012 with reflective questions for each individual on her/his manager daily work and global challenges in order to prepare each individual for the first workshop in March 2013.
In the period towards the second workshop in May, the managers continued to practise learning experiences and integrate these into their daily work.
“Personally I now try to work with a more global mind to understand my colleagues in other Grundfos locations better. I keep in mind that we come from different cultural backgrounds and therefore understand some things differently. Our training with C3 has been successful because both leaders in China and Denmark and their subordinate leaders in either Denmark or China have participated in the same training sessions. Now, we share a common perspective on culture, and we share the same tools to help understand each other.”
“I also believe the cross-cultural training program has helped us during the organizational transition, we are going through right now; this transition requires that we all are much better at creating relationships internally out of our own organizations across Grundfos. I now better understand why there is a need to build cross-organizational relationships and how to do this across organizations and cultures, as I know more of our cultural diversities.”
“Helping us to see and understand that cultural differences are part of the conditions we must face in a global setup has been a definite success for this training and an important learning experience. I believe we have been successful with this also because we as leaders now have a common ground, with common tools and understanding.”
“From my perspective the biggest change after the training program with C3 is the awareness towards differences in culture and how this affects the way we communicate, behave and collaborate. The training touched upon some of the aspects that are crucial for Grundfos’ success in the future, in terms of leadership behavior, i.e. how we understand and act upon “responsibility” and “being proactive”. This was an eye-opening experience for all of us, I think.”
“The biggest change for me is the common framework and the common tools we now share, because this makes discussions where culture is a factor tangible. We now have tools to help understand each other and to reach an agreement. Another learning experience after this training is that being different is not a bad thing; differences have proven to be strength so we can learn from each other. On a longer perspective this training will help make collaboration between our teams in Denmark and China much more efficient.”
“The training philosophy at C3 makes the training very specific, not just to national cultures but to the company culture; C3 integrated some of the key elements from Grundfos’ company culture, some of our daily tasks and work challenges in a global setup. At the same time, we got tools to help unlock the cultural challenges so that we focused on discussing and finding solutions in our daily work and not discussed where we were different.”
“The training on cross cultures I have received previously has been lectures or education, whereas the C3 concept is based on dialogue and team work; this gives room for discussions and problem solving of the issues that are important to our daily work.”
“The C3 cultural training has given us common ground; common tools, a common language to discuss culture. And this has helped us understand and recognize differences – instead of just seeing the differences and perceive them as 'problematic' because we do not 'align'.”
“It is still too early to see any concrete results from the training program, but I believe this kind of training, giving us actual tools to integrate in our daily work and giving us a common language to discuss cultural issues that influences our communication and collaboration, will help us execute faster, perform better in the future; simply because now we have a better understanding of how to communicate efficiently.”
“The training philosophy that C3 Consulting brought to us, integrated the key elements of the Grundfos DNA, so we dealt with actual Grundfos work related challenges from our daily work in a global organisation as well as experiences from the organizational transition we are going through.
The facilitation and the tools that C3 brought to us, helped us understand, acknowledge and openly discuss the issues where difference is a factor we must learn to work with and not against, because we are a global organization. We now see and understand how culture is a factor that influences how we behave, lead, collaborate, communicate as leaders. And this will help us be more efficient when we collaborate across borders in Grundfos.”
Grundfos is a global leader in advanced pump solutions and a trendsetter in water technology. Grundfos contributes to global sustainability by pioneering technologies that improve quality of life for people and care for the planet. An annual production of more than 16 million pump units makes Grundfos one of the world’s leading pump manufacturers.
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