Friday, February 27, 2004

Last week we had to undergo a 2 day INTER-CULTURAL Workshop as part of SAP's initiative to harmonize us to the global work culture . It was organized at TAJ RESIDENCY, Trinity Circle, M.G.Road. The workshop was conducted by an Ex Wing Commander, Mr.Murthy and Beate Billhardt, a german working with SAP LABS INDIA (SLI) for quite some time.

The objective of the excercise was to know how to interact and conduct business with westeners and Germans in particular. Also the purpose was to train SLI employees who go to Walldorf (SAP's headquarters) on short/long term assignments .

The Germans typically are reserved at the beginning of an introduction, are very punctual and time conscious, very meticulous in their planning, need evidence for any claims made blah blah. They are not very funny people in general. But some germans are one of SLI's joint MD, Claus...he is excellent with words ! Bea tried to explain us why the germans tend to 'appear' boring. According to her, the german history is full of bad memories. They had to rise from the ashes after both world wars and dont want a similar incident again , ever. Hence they have ingrained the mindset of detailed planning in their each and every day to day activity. They dont step out of their house without a plan !!

At Business meetings, Germans dont prefer small talk. No comfy zones to create. Attack the problems and troubleshoot them ASAP is their mantra. Seems ok..but for us its hard to adjust ! Small talk is Big talk for us !

Ok, we were shown videos of SLI employees working at Walldorf. These guys narrated their experiences and their major tip was to 'LEARN GERMAN'. This is another aspect of the german psychie. They rarely speak English, but are slowly realising that to compete in a global market, English is essential. SAP has made English mandatory for all its employees. Its effect can be seen...All the germans working at SLI speak good english.

One last pecular thing about them....GERMANS dont hard sell their products...they believe in making the best products, the highest quality,reliability etc etc...but they dont believe in selling them. The underlying philosophy being, 'if my product is good, the buyer will come to me'. How wierd is that !!!???? I remember going to buy a washing machine and finding it totally absurd to see a SIEMENS machine priced at 35,000 wheras the best LG, SAMSUNG, VIDEOCON models priced at 14-20000 range. The models were comparable on functionality. And there was no effort by the sales man to project SIEMENS as a great product. But slowly things are changing. They are realising that this high headed philosophy will make them extinct in global business. Thankfully SAP doesnt do this now. The market share of SAP is a booming 57 % in EnterPrise Software Business, and thatz HUGE !

Stop where was I? Ok, inter cultural workshop....umm ultimately it was time well spent outside office at a nice 5 star hotel, good food and a nice trip to M.G.Road in the evenings ! :) We had an Activity Management workshop two weeks back, at a hotel adjacent to TAJ named 'THE PARK'. Same story there too ......and the next one on People Interaction is scheduled again at TAJ on 4th and 5th March. Work can be so tough that we need such breaks ! Ya, right...we have been working our asses off...that explains all the free time that i get to update my blog !!!!!!

Ok, on 2nd March, Our team, i.e SAP Custom Development is organizing a get together at the HYPNOS, Gem Plaza, Infantry Road. Looking forward to it......



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