Does the plant manager need language and cultural skills?

What management qualification is required during the turnaround abroad.

The Swedish X company is buying an electrical equipment manufacturer in Germany that operates a plant in Poland. The plant, with about 150 employees, writes red numbers. The Swedish owner sends a Swedish manager with no Polish language skills.

After a year, the numbers continue to deteriorate and the turnaround is not progressing. The Swedish manager is exhausted and burnt out. Communication at the plant doesn’t work. The plant is located in the Polish province. The second management level at the plant speaks English, but not so well, that a real team spirit comes about between the Swedish manager and his second management level. The Swedish plant manager cannot communicate directly with the staff as they do not speak English. After a year of hanging game, it is now a rush to advance the turnaround.

What we are looking for is an international, experienced plant manager from the mass production of electrical appliances, with Polish cultural and language skills. He is also supposed to master lean management methods. In addition, the Swedish owner wants a plant manager who is not a Pole. Occupying this position in a short space of time seems impossible. The usual procurement route for management, Executive Search, does not bring a quick fix here. The Swedish owner is looking for an interim plant manager across Europe who will meet all his conditions.

In Germany, he finds what he is looking for at an internationally experienced interim management provider. This provider introduces him to a Danish interim plant manager who lives in Poland and works as an independent manager in Poland. The Interim plant manager is fluent in Polish and English and also meets all other requirements. He has already successfully mastered similar situations. After half a year, the turnaround is completed. After 12 months, the Swedish owner takes over the Danish interim plant manager in a permanent position.

Conclusion: Language and cultural skills are just as important as modern management methods to create the turnaround abroad.


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