Leaving your comfort zone with Ready4Excellence
From staff in Public Affairs to top management? 31-year-old Jürgen Habenbacher shows how to do it: He completed the Ready4Excellence program and made it to Managing Director of Wienerberger Germany. In this interview he talks about personal impressions, exciting contents and culinary cultural exchanges.
What brought you to the Ready4Excellence program?
Jürgen Habenbacher: I have known about Ready4Excellence since I joined Wienerberger AG. Initial and further training is always a very important topic during the annual development interviews. Last year, I intended to mention my interest in Ready4Excellence, but to my great surprise it turned out that my boss had already nominated me for the program. Then everything happened very quickly: I submitted my CV and a letter of motivation, and shortly afterwards I was part of the 2017 Ready4Excellence program.
What did you hope to learn in this program?
I wanted to know what is expected of a potential executive, what the requirements are and what kind of competencies you need to have. These issues were addressed in the four modules of the training program, which was a great opportunity for me to develop and improve, both substantively and socially.
What was your impression at the first Ready4Excellence module in Vienna?
I remember my first day very well: the friendly welcome in the lobby of the hotel and my first meeting with Chris, who was to be my coach. It was a great way to get started, you could immediately feel the group dynamics. Dynamic interactions and mutual trust within the group are essential in this type of training, because in some of the exercises you have to leave your comfort zone and go beyond what you would normally regard as your limits.
How would you describe Ready4Excellence in three words?
I can do it in one word: Super! A super program, a super coach, super colleagues.
How are the individual modules of Ready4Excellence structured?
Each of the four modules starts on a Wednesday at noon and ends on Saturday afternoon. The four substantive areas we covered together with the trainers and coaches were culture, values, feedback and communication. Additionally, each module included lectures by guest speakers from the Wienerberger Group as well as external experts. Another interesting feature was the strategic input from the Managing Board of Wienerberger AG and the management of the Business Units.
Which topics or modules did you find particularly interesting?
The four modules were all extremely fascinating and valuable for my daily work. You acquire new knowledge and skills in every area – from communication within a team to feedback and corporate culture to shared values. Not to forget the social program – a great chance to get to know each other better over dinner, at the cart race and during the guided city tours.
Was there a moment in the program which you remember in particular?
There were two decisive and especially valuable events for me. One was the open feedback round with the entire group in the third module. The other was the international dinner as part of the last module. When the colleagues from different cultures and countries presented the culinary delights of their home countries, I was deeply impressed by their enthusiasm and passion.
What would you recommend to future participants of Ready4Excellence?
I would urge anyone who is offered this opportunity to courageously take up the challenge and approach it with confidence and optimism. Some of the tasks demand that you leave your comfort zone and reflect critically on yourself, but this is the only way to develop and advance.
Jürgen Habenbacher, 31, was born in the Austrian Province of Styria. He started his career with Wienerberger in 2014 in the Public Affairs Department at the company headquarters. One year later, he moved to Hannover to the central office of Wienerberger Germany. 2017 was an exciting year for Jürgen. He participated in the Ready4Excellence program and took over a new field of responsibility. Since the end of 2017, Jürgen has been responsible for corporate development as a member of the management of Wienerberger Germany. Since mid 2018 Jürgen holds the position of the Managing Director of Wienerberger Germany.
Wissenswertes über Ready4Excellence
Ready4Excellence is an international development program for key personnel of the Wienerberger Group. It comprises four modules of 3.5 days each in Austria and is conducted in English. The participants are nominated by their superiors.