Tag Archives: Second Rotation

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Are you ready for a cultural challenge?

Category: Product Supply | (0) comments

こんにちは(Ko-n-ni-chi-wa)from Japan!

If you had asked me two years ago, then I would never have had imagined that I would be living and working in Japan. But here I am, four months of my second rotation have passed in the blink of an eye and it has been the biggest challenge for me in my professional career. Entering the graduate programme of Product Supply I knew that my second rotation would be at one of our production sites around the world. My great colleagues in the Product Supply programme are currently on rotation in the US, France, Iran and Denmark. Usually the second rotation in the Product Supply programme is at our sites in the US, France, Brazil, China and Denmark, but this year we have graduates in both Iran and Japan.

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A picture from a fishing trip with my colleagues

So how do you prepare for working abroad? What I did was that I started attending Japanese classes every Monday evening. I quickly discovered that Japanese would be a difficult language to learn, but more importantly, that the cultural differences between Denmark and Japan were bigger than I had anticipated (or least that was what the textbook said). This was further strengthened by the cultural awareness course that my colleagues and I attended before embarking on our second rotation journey. When comparing the two countries on different cultural dimensions you would usually find Denmark at one end and Japan on the far other end. With an increased cultural awareness and tools to tackle cultural differences I moved to Japan in May to begin my second rotation at Koriyama factory as the only foreign employee. Having worked here in Japan for four months now, I can confirm that some of these cultural differences exist. Exchanging business cards using both hands, bowing instead of shaking hands, swapping out the knife and fork with chopsticks and being addressed as Jacob-san are all natural to me now and part of my everyday life here in Japan. There have of course also been cultural challenges, which from time to time have been frustrating. Eventually you learn to tackle or accept these challenges either by changing your behaviour or by understanding the why. So have a changed the way I work? No. For me it has been important to be myself even more, exposing my Japanese colleagues to Danish culture at first hand on a day to day basis. In the end working with different cultures comes down to a matter of understanding and having respect for other people’s way of work. You might wonder; so how big is the cultural difference between Denmark and Japan? In my experience it is smaller than I expected. The global mind-set and values of Novo Nordisk are key reasons to why the cultural gap is smaller than that described in the textbooks. It is fantastic to see that the values that Novo Nordisk emphasizes in Denmark also are finding their way to a packaging site in the country site of Japan. To give a real life example, my good colleague had a single day off in three years (to go the interview at Novo Nordisk) before joining Novo Nordisk in Japan. Now he has just returned from two weeks of vacation. As I see it, it is not a Japanese packaging site in Novo Nordisk, but a Novo Nordisk packaging site in Japan. Living in Denmark I knew that I wanted to work for Novo Nordisk. Had I lived in Japan, Novo Nordisk would still be my first choice.

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So if you are looking for a unique cultural challenge at first hand, then the Product Supply Graduate Programme is a good place to start. Unfortunately the Product Supply Graduate Programme will not be open for applications next year, but fortunately for you there are a lot of other graduate programmes in Novo Nordisk that offers the same cultural experience.


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Hello from Business Area South East Asia!

Category: People & Organization Uncategorized | (0) comments

Dear Friends,

Hope you all are doing great. I am in the middle of my second rotation here in the Business Area South East Asia (BASEA) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. The experience so far has been enriching in a number of ways and more so because of the environment in the office. The BA office seems to be a manifestation of so many different cultures “melting together” into a harmonious whole but with a common company culture – the NN Way. I was fortunate to be joined by four other brilliant graduates from different parts of the world. The cultural milieu allowed me to recognise, appreciate and learn about many of them so as to enrich my overall learning experience.

Today, I would like to share with you a few nuggets from the rotation so far that I felt developed me into a better professional. As a People & Organisation graduate I must say I was very excited to have a rotation in Organisation Development, as anyone in HR would tell you, that this is indeed a very interesting domain to work in. Being in a business area that is undoubtedly one of the most happening ones in the region International Operations meant that this stint promised to be an exciting one. And yes what a stint it is turning out to be! In the very first month I was given the opportunity to attend and witness a Business Area Leadership Meet (christened LEAD BASEA) that was essentially a forum for knowledge exchange within the affiliates in South East Asia. Bringing together all the management teams of the countries under one roof and mixing them together in teams to solve pressing business critical issues was a great sight. I realised that there is so much to learn just by observing how leaders think in teams and how they approach a problem. Donning the mantle of a vox populi journalist during the LEAD BASEA event was a great opportunity for me to learn on the job. I interacted with almost all the management team members across different affiliates and got brilliant insights into some of the pressing issues in their countries and how they are planning for it. The solutions that came out from the meet regarding the competition, the regulatory hurdles and overall business development were just fascinating. In a nutshell this event opened my eyes to the fact that so much can be achieved in a matter of 2-3 days if we collaborate across functions and across affiliates. Indeed I was a witness to the phenomenon “Getting more done in less time.”

Equipped with the understanding of the business area and the challenges facing it, I started working on an interesting project on needs analysis in an effort to cater to the present gaps and to help prepare the organisation for the future in terms of people capabilities. I have been working on this analysis for a couple of weeks then and been starting to wonder if I could get an opportunity to see an affiliate up close and interact with the people there. And just a few days later I was asked by my manager to travel to support him for a New Managers’ induction programme in Indonesia. I could not have asked for more. I learnt a lot while preparing for the sessions and the exercises therein. Even during our travel I discussed a lot of topics with my manager. A brilliant speaker, with tons of experience behind him and with sound business acumen, my manager has been always such a pleasure to talk to and all the debates I have with him are such a productive activity. When I returned from the trip I felt very confident about the projects I was asked to handle. And even then at every step of decision making within the team I felt very inclusive although I was just a graduate and that instilled in me a lot of respect for the team in particular and the company in general.

As I am writing this I am even more excited and cannot wait to see the next four-five months in the rotation unfold in front of me. As a graduate, I also appreciate the fact that there is a lot of trust and responsibility on us to make the most of our rotation and become not only good organisational citizens but also a great brand ambassador for Novo Nordisk in the future. I hope I was able to give you some taste of the first half of my rotation in BASEA. Thank you for reading my post. Wish you the very best!

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