Detecon Alumni today
#WhatHappenedTo Birgit Gerstgrasser?
From when to when did you work at Detecon? What was your position?
After working for a number of years as consultant in a leading corporate consultancy for management diagnostics and development, I was Head of Personnel Marketing and Recruiting as well as of Compensation and Benefit at Detecon, where I was supported by a team of 5 people, from 2001 to 2004. In addition, I was partial project manager in the integration and change project “twingo”, the merger of Detecon and Diebold, when I had a part to play in designing the future HR processes and instruments.
What were the most exciting Detecon moments for you?
Every day was exciting: on the one hand, I was deeply involved with many different people and, on the other hand, I worked with innovative, technological developments. This was in the days when e-business was just getting started, and we were wringing our hands during our search for new and talented employees, from juniors to managers, who would join us in realizing the new vision. During this “war for talent,” modern and efficient personnel marketing and recruiting were essential. We had to move away from our rather “dusty” image to that of a modern consulting company. Naturally, there was a certain amount of resistance that had to be overcome. But when I look at Detecon today, I have to say that we were successful, and the often protracted negotiations about budgets, marketing strategies, personnel development concepts, or target and compensation systems have proven to be rewarding and successful. Some of the talented people I recruited are still at Detecon today and have positions of responsibility or they are working somewhere completely different. That makes me very happy.
I especially remember the challenge of that time in finding consultants for the area of “mobile applications and services.” Mobile services in those days meant little more than making phone calls with a Nokia and sending text messages. Even aspects such as the intranet were still in their infancy. There were not yet any smartphones, but Detecon already had ideas about what would be the pivotal points in business processes of the future – and that it was important to get the right people on board for that. And not in Silicon Valley, but in Bonn-Ramersdorf!
“twingo” was especially exciting. There were nights it cost me my sleep when thinking about how I might contribute to setting our course into the future. Alone the issue of structuring the various target agreement and compensation systems fairly for all employees during the transition period was challenging. Even today, I am proud of the “Cut&Go” model that was developed in collaboration with Financial Controlling, a highly complicated transition model with various factors for measuring target achievement. I’ll just say: #Interdisciplinary #Teamspirit.
Moreover, I am especially proud of having founded the company sports group “Golf.” This is today an established institution for Detecon and is a source of fun for many colleagues.
What company do you work for today? What is your primary field of work there?
When I realized that I was not going to be able to reconcile having children with a full-time job – almost no one talked about full-day care back then – I decided to become a self-employed consultant and coach. Employers at that time had almost no career models for mothers in management positions. The idea of home office was non-existent. I still remember the card for punching in at work! When I took the step into self-employment, I became significantly more flexible in terms of scheduling my time. Since then, I have been working as a business coach and freelancer for corporate consultancies, specializing in management development. I cherish the unbelievable entrepreneurial freedom and responsibility I have in this respect. Nevertheless, I could certainly imagine working within the structures of an organization again. My children are in the meantime university students, another freedom that I enjoy.
What did you value especially highly while at Detecon, and what do you miss from the “old” days?
I found the innovative spirit and the technological topics at Detecon unbelievably fascinating when I was there, and that is still the case today. I often felt a little like I was living in a science fiction world. Today, the #InternetOfThings or #FutureWork have become reality. I’m still highly interested in IT topics, and they are also part of the content of my coaching activities. What do Future Work, digitalization, and agile work mean for competence development, leadership, team development, or the company development? What I miss from my time at Detecon is the familial and relaxed atmosphere with colleagues from completely different departments on various topics, including personal situations. #Diversity is the companion to innovation.
What three hashtags would you use to describe Detecon?
Thank you very much for the interview, Birgit!