Andrea: First of all, for the reader to get a brief introduction about you…how could you describe yourself in one sentence?
Dylan: I like to push myself to be open-minded and positive in every situation, with an endless curiosity for new cultures, languages, and perspectives of this beautiful world.
Andrea: When you hear the phrase “new kid in-town”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Dylan: I think it is natural on an instinctive level for us as humans to be weary of ‘outsiders’ entering a well-established group, as you may find in a new office. It’s been my pleasure to experience, however, that a group or culture will find it very respectful and inviting if they in time see you are open to embracing their way of living, their language, and cultural norms. As an American attached to many global “expectations”, I must admit it is always amusing to see a new person’s perception of you evolve in time, much in the way my perception of a new group changes after spending more time among them.
Andrea: Before this program, have you had any other experiences that made you “the new kid” in a certain place?
Dylan: Each time beginning in a new office is often this way, and I’ve found this an especially refreshing mental activity in exploring amazing things new people bring to the table, while observing how misplaced our first impressions of someone often are.
Andrea: Since joining ZF, you’ve been living/working in various locations in Germany, one in the U.S., as well as one in France. How has this experience been so far?
Dylan: It’s been wonderful! I wish every employee of our company had the opportunity to see the ways in which different faces of our company work, especially with the new acquisition of TRW.
Andrea: Which challenges would you say that are the key factors to deal with a situation like this one?
Dylan: I experienced a bit of culture shock when attempting to bring German directness of communication into the Parisian office. For me, it has been fruitful to often think of creating a “++” relationship where both parties are able to interact in a way that leads to a positive, sustainable relationship. If working tendencies greatly vary between you and a colleague, there are likely still common objectives you share.
Andrea: So far, what would you say that is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in this regard?
Dylan: It is amazing how simply being open-minded to the capabilities of people, as well seeking patience in you can allow opportunities to blossom that may have been invisible at an earlier stage.
Andrea: Finish the following statement: “If I could change…”
Dylan: If I could change the demographic structure within ZF, it would be to improve the mixing and collaboration that occurs between locations in our company. There is unbelievable talent and perspective often isolated that has huge potential to improve the composition of ZF globally.