This year Henrik knew he wanted to gain more insight into plant operations. Austin wanted to learn more about working on the global level. By choosing to do a Global Exchange within LM Wind Power, both colleagues had that chance.
Austin went to Denmark for two weeks to lead a workshop on the start-up of new process. In exchange, Henrik went to Qin Huang Dao, China for five weeks, where he took over and worked on various local projects.
Stepping into a new role and completely foreign environment wasn’t easy, but both colleagues describe this as an invaluable opportunity for personal and professional development. Here’s what they had to say about the experience.
Why did you decide to do the global exchange?
Austin: This was a great chance to view the global team, working on current plant operations. I wanted to extend the collaboration with my global colleagues by sitting and working in the same office.
Henrik: I knew I would get to work on tasks that would normally be outside the scope of my job description – going from global to local. I wanted to gain experience in more detail regarding how a plant operates, what challenges they face, how they work internally with global teams and with our customers and how our blades are actually being produced. This gives a much deeper, more comprehensive knowledge and understanding of LM Wind Power as a whole. Not only does this opportunity benefit my own development, it also enables me to better understand and contribute to my company’s goals.
How did the experience push you outside your comfort zone?
Austin: When working on a project in a new area, which I had hardly ever touched before, I felt the strong “NEED” for the planning process to be set up by all key stakeholders. Being the workshop organizer challenged me a lot – to make sure people were aligned, to note key stakeholders’ expectations and to lead the discussion. Even though I’m quite confident in “making deals” with plant teams and leading those discussions, a global workshop is quite different. People’s thoughts are quite dynamic, and also they have been experts in the field for years. I’ve learned a lot from each of them.
Henrik: When working in a global position with no exposure to the plant environment, I do not have the feeling of what is actually going on at plant level. It is difficult to realize and appreciate what impact our global decisions (can) have on the local team, who will in the end be the ones executing the changes and plans. Gaining local exposure has made me more aware of these things. Being partially responsible for the start-up of a brand new process within LM Wind Power is a great challenge that I learned a lot from.
How did the global exchange benefit you, and LM Wind Power?
Austin: A quick take-away for me was that the plant team needs to maintain and enhance knowledge exchange between global function teams and plants, in order to be more structured and professional on blade manufacturing, process control, customer service and winning the world of wind globally. As everything is about people, who play a key role in LM Wind Power, projects are most effective when we draw on the experience of both the global and local plant teams. This diversity positively impacts our company and brings it to the next level of a high-performing organization.
Henrik: To take part in a local environment and a culture that is far from what I am used to is a very enriching experience in itself. That LM Wind Power is willing to spend what it takes to exchange people around the world for longer periods of time shows that there is a long-term focus on getting, keeping and growing employees. I would definitely encourage everyone working in global functions, and especially new employees to LM Wind Power, to explore the opportunity to take longer stays at a plant.
Below (from top to bottom): Henrik and Austin back at work in their home countries, Denmark and China.
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