How Curiosity and Collaboration Helped my Growth and Development

Curiosity is a good thing, especially when it comes to personal growth and your career! Last year I asked colleagues and customers to consider providing me feedback for my year-end review. It was a bold move, but I was interested in what they would say and how I could improve. You see, my role is unique on the global communications team. I am responsible for the Celanese intranet and manage the editorial calendar. On a daily basis, I work together with team members in Budapest, Frankfurt and Shanghai to share company news. Based on their feedback, I was challenged to consider working on some non-Dallas projects and learn from my colleagues in other regions. So, I prepared a summary to share with my boss.

I have always had a healthy fear of performance reviews, but with our new approach to employee performance, I was optimistic that this year’s discussion would ease my discomfort. During my review, my boss and I had a great dialogue. When the time seemed right, I took a risk and asked if it would be possible for me to go to Europe. She thought about it and smiled in agreement, telling me about a global communications rotation program the team began a few years ago. The program gives the visiting employee and the hosting teams the opportunity to work together on short-term collaborative projects to better understand what it means to be on a global team. This was great news!

I wish I could say it was easy from that point on…to just get on a plane and fly half way around the world, but it wasn’t. Asking was the first step. Now I had to follow through and go. Even though my boss and family were supportive, I wrestled with being away from my two young children. I knew it would be a valuable experience, but two weeks was a long time. After a few months had passed, I took the plunge and bought the airplane ticket before I changed my mind!

I began my visit in Budapest, home to our European shared services center. The average age at the site is 32, so I fit right in. I worked with my colleagues there to launch a new Facebook page to promote the company in Budapest. We had 100 Likes by the end of the first day. I helped troubleshoot issues and provided guidance based on my previous experience with Celanese’s corporate Facebook page. In addition to this launch, I worked together with one of our team’s technical experts to find out how I could leverage an email template he had created locally for some of the global communications I work on. I brainstormed with my other colleague on an idea she had and helped her write an intranet story. I met with site management to socialize the new Facebook page and to learn more about what their departments do. It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed to get out of my cube and into their world. The trip developed a deeper level of empathy in me for them.

For the second week, my Budapest colleagues traveled with me to Sulzbach, the company’s European headquarters. I joined the European communications team for their mid-year meeting and participated in their annual CSR project, the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge.  I helped with social media coverage and later wrote a blog about the event. Our Europe communications manager took us on a tour of the Industrial Park. The time I spent in Germany raised my awareness of the company’s rich history there.

This experience helped me to learn how to listen and how to articulate myself better. I felt empowered to share my knowledge more freely in-person. I appreciated my team members’ creativity and attention to detail. I returned to Dallas with a list of new collaboration opportunities, including less email and more phone calls and helping to organize more cross-team knowledge sharing sessions.

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About the author


				Margie Dolch is a communication specialist, responsible for the management and content of the Celanese intranet. In her free time, she enjoys jogging and spending time with her husband and two sons.				

There are 16 comments. Add yours.

  1. gretchen says:

    Margie, thanks for sharing your experience. You took the first step by asking for feedback and listening. It has opened doors for you!

    • Margie Dolch says:

      Thanks Gretchen. Feedback helps us understand our customers’ needs better and brings out personal opportunities to develop and improve our performance.

  2. Sushil Ojha says:

    What a great honest expression of “how to listen and how to articulate ” this is the baisc of opening of all the communication channels. thanks and regards

  3. Rüdiger Dingeldey says:

    Hi Margie, is it possible you are working in communication? thanks for a great blog. It is truely interesting and nicely put into words. In addition you are showing us how valueable it is to get to other locations, have good dialogues, get to know colleagues, experience cultural differences and make the best of it.

    • Margie Dolch says:

      Hi Rüdiger, yes, I’m in internal communications, but previously worked in our IT department for many years. I appreciate all the points you drew out of my post. Thank you for your comments.

  4. Dee Brown says:

    Margie,

    You really showed the importance of receiving feedback and how it contributed to your growth. We all can benefit from that type of personal ownership of our career development. Thank you for sharing, it was a great read.

  5. Suzanne Graham says:

    This is an excellent perspective Margie, thanks. Those of us who have had the opportunity to meet our colleagues in person realize what a difference it makes in how well we work together.

    • Margie Dolch says:

      Thanks for your comment Suz! Meeting/reconnecting with global team members in-person encourages greater knowledge sharing, makes daily tasks more meaningful because of the names and faces behind them and paints a bigger picture of what it means to be a part of a global team.

  6. Susan O'Neill says:

    I really enjoyed your blog. This is a great demonstration of taking some risk, asking for the opportunity to travel, and experiencing the daily challenges of your colleagues. Everyone can benefit from your experience – don’t be afraid to take some chances (asking for feedback) and asking for opportunities (travel).

  7. Patrick Dailey says:

    Margie – it is exciting to see you step out there for your development. If you recall from our connection, asking the question doesn’t necessarily change the outcome! I am so glad you asked!!

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