It was during a business trip to Cuenca (Ecuador) where I woke up to what great things the team has achieved and I decided to write down my part of the story. I will tell it along some of my most favorite quotes / book titles as they guide my way.
“Good decisions come from experience, but experience comes from making bad decisions.” – Mark Twain.
2020 (during the pandemic) I re-joined Continental. At the time the global IT HUB was implemented in San Luis Potosi and I wanted to be part of it. From 2007 to 2011 I was already part of the local IT. I don’t see it as a mistake that I left back then, because at that time there was no chance for a global role at the location for me which I desired. I left with only good feelings for my team and Continental as a company. Now re-joining I can not only bring in my outside learnings, but I come back even better knowing how great the work culture and team is here. With the global role I am working on the challenges I enjoy most in this international environment.
In my daily work I’m used to constantly put past learnings into practice. For example, before IT Infrastructure Library principles came to me, I was used to face changes in real time with no clear control, not leading into best results. However, all this gave me chance to improve change implementation with better tool usage, more transparent communication with stakeholders and clear documentation transforming outcomes from low to outstanding ones.
“Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zone" - Neil Strauss
The example that comes to my mind when thinking of leaving my own comfort zone at work is a roll-out of a new manufacturing software part during the pandemic. Usually we do the roll-out on-site. Even though in IT we were already used to working in a hybrid mode, had a paperless office and agile structures, it was still very different and difficult. As our internal customers and colleagues in the plants were not used to working fully remote we had to take them on that journey and gain their trust quickly without meeting each other.
Our main improvement from that time was that we heavily enhanced our global knowledge database and sharing it with all plants worldwide.
In particular, I’m very proud of a lean process improvement we came up with that is now used at Continental around the world. When we implemented a new software release in a plant it usually caused a 1-2 hour standstill. Those of you who work in manufacturing know that this should be avoided and every minute counts. With an updated process with clear responsibilities, perfect documentation and an environment of trust and confidence we are now able to implement a release of that kind in around 15 min in silent mode (so no standstill). Extra motivation comes from the great feedback of colleagues from other countries.
“Change Is the Only Constant” - Ben Orlin
We work in an agile, fast-paced environment. I always take any small or big change with a positive mindset and embrace it. This was always the best guidance for me. Now being promoted to a team lead this is also something I try to teach by leading by example. Something specific that is helpful to keep this a constant is to not only celebrate big achievements big time, but to realize the value of each baby step. With agile we don’t have long timelines anymore, but improve software/processes/etc. step by step and that’s why we also need to notice the value of each of these steps.
This is also how I will continue my journey with an open mind and heart towards the next challenges to come.