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In our Diversity@NORMA series, we highlight the diversity of employees who work at NORMA Group. In 2022, the series focuses on the diverse cultures of NORMA Group employees. Colleagues from different departments and different countries talk about their culture, how it influences their approach to work and how intercultural exchange takes place at NORMA Group.
Fabio Ghirardi works as R&D Engineer i/c Methods Development in Maintal. In this interview, he talks about the added value of intercultural cooperation.
Were you born in Germany or did you move there?
I was born in Italy and originally come from Turin. I worked there for three years at the NORMA Group site before moving to the German site in Maintal in 2014.
Even during my studies, I always wanted to go abroad and regretted not doing so for a long time. When the opportunity arose for me to work and live abroad, I jumped at it.
Did you explicitly want to go to Germany?
I wanted to know different cultures and life-stiles first and foremost. With NORMA Group the opportunity came in 2014. In the end, I could choose between the USA and Germany. I chose Germany because I was curious to better understand the German culture by staying close enough to family and homeland.
What is the difference between Italian and German culture?
I did not notice so many differences between Italian and German culture. We are both Europeans. People are very friendly and open to different cultures. When I moved to Germany eight years ago, I did not know the language, but I got great support from my colleagues to overcome the initial phase of the learning curve. Pretty quickly my wife and me socialize with other people and although they initially showed a reserved attitude, I soon understood it was just a matter of formal difference in way people are used to and have learned to express feelings and emotions.
Anyway I definitively found out one specific situation where Italians and Germans have highly diversified approach: conflict management ….hard to explain it without using my Body language, but I am sure most of the readers can imagine what I exactly mean 😉!
What influence does intercultural exchange have on your work?
I work with colleagues from many nations and cultures. If you are willing to listen, approach each other and speak openly with each other, this intercultural exchange offers incredible added value. We look at projects from different cultural perspectives and solve them together. Ideas and solutions that arise in such a diverse environment as we have here at NORMA Group are, in my opinion, the best. The more diversity the better.
Have you experienced a highlight or a positive event at NORMA Group that has to do with intercultural cooperation?
Some time ago, I found myself at an impasse in one of my projects. After talking to our Vice President Global Excellence, I contacted a few colleagues in Sweden on his advice. The helpfulness of the Swedish colleagues and their technical expertise helped me maneuver the project out of the impasse and successfully implement a great solution within a few months.
I believe that there is always added value in considering the different perspectives from around the world. Cultural diversity moves us all forward and will become increasingly important in the future.