GROWing as a team

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Today we share the inspiring journey of one of KAEFER’s GROW Development Programme participants: Alexander Praß, Sales Engineer at KAEFER in Germany. He takes us behind the scenes to reveal the inner workings of the programme, its impact on his personal and professional development, and the lessons he has learned along the way. His story is a testament to the power of collaboration, team spirit and growth.

Join us as we explore his journey in his own words and discover what it means (to him) to be part of this programme.

We recently completed the second module of the GROW programme. And what can I say? It felt like being in the right place at the right time.

It is only when you take a step back and change your perspective that you realise how much the daily grind consumes you. But let me start at the beginning of the journey.

The first week of the GROW Development Programme took place in Bremen – a logical place for aspiring and ambitious KAEFER employees to form a strong unit. For me personally, however, it was a tough start. The day before the group met for the first time, I felt sick. Although I did not feel well, I saw this as an opportunity to improve and gave it my all.

On day one we all met for the first time, including our very professional and likeable coaches. In the following days we explored ourselves as people, both inside and outside our work environment, how to understand our character traits and what the advantages and disadvantages of them are. We also worked on techniques to help us better understand the people around us and how to deal with different, sometimes uncomfortable situations. These tools are self-directed and focus on how to cope better and how to measure success in a situation.

I realised that I still had a lot of room to grow – both as a person and as a part of KAEFER.

The following weeks were packed with masterclasses, project meetings, organisational meetings for the second seminar block and lots of day-to-day work. After several discussions, the location of the second GROW face-to-face seminar was decided. Paris – the city of love.

It might not have been love that I felt when I saw all those familiar faces again in Paris, but it felt really good. Within a short period of time, we had become quite close. But there were still some smaller sub-groups within the participants. And that’s what we worked on in Paris. There are very clear differences between a group of people and a team. And of course, we had the goal of becoming a team.

In seminar 2 we focused a lot on the important topic of lateral leadership – leadership without hierarchies in the corporate environment. And this was an eye-opener for us. Simple techniques, such as asking people for their needs and opinions, can be so effective when used sincerely and before diving deep into a project. In a group challenge set by the trainers, we had to find a way to work together to achieve the best possible result. While the first day of the challenge was a kind of a disaster, the second day started with a critical self-reflection of our group performance so far. After this, you could feel the group dynamics changing. People asked for each other’s opinion and listened actively. We were successful – what started as a group challenge became a team success. What started as a game to win became the perfect reflection of how to react and win as a team rather than as individuals. At the end of the week, I was sad that the time had gone so quickly. But that’s the way it is – time flies when you’re having a good time.

Reflecting on this week, I still feel energised and eager to improve, both as an individual and as a team with my colleagues. I appreciate the (sometimes) uncomfortable criticism I received – it helped me to see myself and my behaviour better and to improve my weaknesses in the future. For the last week of GROW in June 2024, I have set myself the goal of being very active in the group to maximise the team spirit.

As we continue to follow the journey of our participants, we look forward to the completion of their final module. Stay tuned for updates and reflections from them as they move on, armed with the insights and skills they have gained from our GROW programme.

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