Today I like to share my final post as Guest Editor. It was an exciting journey in a new field of activities to me. The week started with a people story and an introduction of my job, followed by thoughts about the hashtag buildingbridges. On Wednesday we had a glance on a shaping experience of my carrier and on Thursday we dived into details of a typical working day. After I shared a curios experience in working live my 60 seconds challenge has been published by the great corporate branding team. With that release my journey as Guest Editor comes to an end. Looking back, I conclude that the video challenge did put me most outside of my comfort zone. Nevertheless I´m quite happy with the outcome and very proud to be the first challenger of that format.
It was much fun and I enjoyed sharing some insights of the working environment at Evonik. I like to thank all of those who have shared their valuable feedback and followed me on this journey. I wish all following Guest Editors a lot of fun as well.
Also, the year is coming to an end. It was a challenging one and 2021 will keep challenging. We all never experienced a pandemic before, and further lockdowns seem to come in place. It demanded and demands very much from all of us. I belief in our discipline and endurance to follow the important guidance to fight the pandemic. As well I belief in the researchers working for a vaccine and I wish us all a coming year at which we hopefully can celebrate the end of the pandemic. Keep healthy!
My week as Guest Editor is coming to an end already and it past by very quickly. It is time to sit down and rest a little bit to look back and to analyze feedback received. An important step in every project. In modern project management wording: the sprint is done and now the review of customer feedback happens before we sprint again. Even so my next sprint will not be as guest editor but certainly I will proceed actively at the #humanchemistry community.
Today I like to share a curious situation in working life: Once I was on a business trip to a high-level meeting with the CEO of a potential customer of us in the O&G industry. Of course, I was not on my own but accompanied by our BL top management. We were perfectly prepared to give a great marketing driven pitch. But we were stopped already within the first sentence by the CEO asking whether we want to seriously sell our product or not. Silence in the room. After a clear YES, he invited us to discuss deeply technical or to stop the meeting. What does this experience tell us? Be never to sure that you are perfectly prepared. Stay flexible and try to anticipate possible scenarios which could happen at a customer meeting. To make this easier it is always a good basis to know your customer in detail 😉.
I just followed a great presentation: Our Technology Leader Industrial Oil & Gas, Carsten Schuett, was presenting together with our customer latest results of the joint qualification of our Polyamid 12 based CF Tapes for offshore pipe applications at AMI Polymers for Oil & Gas Virtual Summit. This project is a good example of our involvement and close cooperation along the value chain. Our approach is to understand the end application in a way that we can translate or even anticipate application needs into material requirements.
This was my last post of the day and I hope I could give good and interesting insights of a typical working day from me at Evonik.
Reviewing this week, I wonder what I might should have addressed. What did you miss? What would you like to read as my almost last post as Guest Editor of Evonik?
I don´t have time for staying fit. It is to time consuming. That is a typical excuse I hear very often. And actually, at the current period of time it is really not an easy one because work-life-blending hasn´t been as intensive as yet. Nevertheless, with good time management and some willingness it could still be possible to find at least a little gap to exercise. For example, it needs just an 8 to 10 min High Intensive Interval Training (HIIT) to reach a significant effect on your body fitness. Right, just 10 min! Imagine you would implement it in your daily morning routine. It literally wouldn´t affect your timetable but your fitness significantly. Currently I place it in my lunch break. Today I did two Tabata rounds of box jumping with 1 min rest in between. Tabata stays for eight 20/10 cycles (20 sec exercise/ 10 sec rest). So, one round is 4 min of training. If you gained interest, you will find plenty of training examples for HIIT (e.g. like Tabata) on YouTube. And never forget, staying fit can help you to perform well in business life as well. Just imagine a very long and intensive negotiation meeting. A good fitness will help to stay concentrated and can make the difference. Keep fit!
Before lunch break Christian Trassl, Technology Leader Foams based in Darmstadt, and I had an exchange on our performance foams project portfolio and synergies with our activities in Marl. Christian is our, or let me say the R&D expert on plastic foams at Evonik. Actually, he is also frequently approach from externally for his expert opinion. For me, not having much experience on foams yet, these meeting are always a great learning. Thank you Christian!
And you might have recognized at the picture, my early bird son is taking a nap. Thats the easy way of child care during a business meeting.
My sons curiosity woke me up at 5 am today. And I love it, not the 5 am wake up but the curiosity kids do have. And the curiosity is on such a level that also speed is defined in a different way. Not next week, not tomorrow, NOW! That’s how kids feed their curiosity. Settling the curiosity by spontaneity and by finding out immediately not postpone it to later. Isn´t that be a great blueprint for R&D? Not in general of course but shouldn´t we spend a certain amount of time to dive into new thoughts or impulses received. Even so they might look too much out of the box on the first glance. Many disruptive ideas have been generated out of spontaneous ideas which have been driven further.
Today I would like to talk about experiences that have shaped my professional career. One of the most formative situations was a situation at which we were not able to produce an important product during several month and thus no longer supply it to our customers. As you can imagine, this led to an extremely big challenge for us and our customers. At that time, I was in daily contact with customers as a business development manager. What did I learn from this time? I learned how important it is to put the customer at the center of all activities! Our managing team at that time made sure that we gave the greatest possible transparency; both internally and externally. This required intensive communication and coordination. We ensured that our customers were informed about every progress in the necessary measures and derived schedules for getting back into operation. Alternative products were developed at top speed in close cooperation with our customers, and even if they were only compromise solutions, they helped to bridge the time gap. After several months we were able to get back into operation. Many believed that we would lose many customers, but it turned out that this was not the case. Personally, I could see that many customer relationships had even improved. This experience also greatly strengthened my confidence in the extraordinary capabilities of our great Evonik team.
Get the work started. Together with my great assistant Nina, I start every working day with a short comparison of upcoming topics and tasks. Virtually, of course, since both of us, like many other colleagues, are currently often working from home office. I'm very happy to have this opportunity as it makes today's work-life-blending much easier especially under the challenging Covid-19 situation. Especially those who also have children and depend on childcare facilities will most likely agree. Actually, our facility has just been closed this week. However, I would like to warn against the generalization that a home office is suitable for everyone in the long run. For example, one's own home may be unsuitable because of the lack of a regimen. Under the special circumstances of the pandemic that might work for a certain time but nevertheless, I ask for companies to not make home office spaces mandatory. A home office is a great thing to have available, but only for those who find it suitable. At Evonik I have the impression we are on the right path and for me, personally, home office is suitable and it fits!
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