Frontiers open new chances

Having grown up in three countries, Michael Moritz has been engaged in cross-border cooperation since 1986. In the eighties, his main focus was on recognising cross-border opportunities and on initiating cooperation projects for companies and organisations. Today, it’s all about successfully shaping direct involvement in the respective markets. In order to successfully tap into the opportunities in foreign markets, a company therefore requires executives and employees who can move between different markets and cultures with confidence while recognising any differences as opportunities.

Michael Moritz’s longstanding experience is the foundation of MORITZ Communications’ solution-oriented approach. The key focus lies in achieving goals and a business’s capacity to take action. Due to the fact that intercultural management and competence both depend largely on education and development, all methods and modules provide opportunities for gaining experience, for self-reflection and situation assessment. They have been developed as to be immediately actionable. As such, they offer participants and companies direct added value. 

Michael Moritz’s creation of the “Step In/Step Out” model provides executives and employees with the necessary flexibility, self-confidence and competence to act in a solution-oriented, win-win manner in intercultural situations. The knowledge transfer is customised to the specific conditions and requirements of your company – with a practical orientation and solutions that are optimised and viable in the long-term.

Experience

I grew up in various cities in French-speaking Switzerland, France and Germany. The benefit: due to my French school education, French became my second native tongue. Later I studied in the Saarland, where Germany and France are closest together, selecting sociology and majoring in social psychology and culture. This turned out to be a good combination because due to my two mother tongues and my knowledge of cultural topics, I was hired immediately after my studies as a research associate for cross-border cooperation on the council of cultural affairs in the state capital of Saarbrücken. The goal of this position – the only one in Germany at the time – was to take advantage of the border situation of the Saar-Lor-Lux region and, in particular, to interlink the four cities of Luxembourg, Metz, Trier and Saarbrücken. Some of the joint projects created at that time still are in operation today and function as a foundation for networking the entire region.

Later, as a partner in a communications agency in Frankfurt, I was able to pass on my expertise about cross-border networks to many companies, institutions and communities. From 1992 to 1996 I was a lecturer for cross-border cultural networking at the International Center for Culture and Management in Salzburg, Austria. In 1994 I was responsible for the conceptualization and execution of the congress “European Management – Cross-Border Networking of Culture and Economy. Intercultural Key Competencies for Leaders.”

In 1995, I took a leading position with the French AXA Corporation in Germany - a new milestone on my professional path. Being a leader in an international environment was a new challenge. My attendance at the AXA Management Academy in Bordeaux, France, provided me with an additional, solid foundation. Being employed by such a large corporation was an important stepping stone for my subsequent self-employment, because I was able to perfectly combine the disciplines of communications, leadership and cross-border activities. In addition, it was an exciting challenge to set up a new business and succeed in taking it to market leadership in the area of auto direct insurance within a mere three years.

Since 2001, I have been running my own business as a communications consultant, business coach and trainer. I specialize in the areas of communication, leadership, self-management and also intercultural and cross-border topics. The following additional training helps me to systematically evaluate my experience and process it for coaching and training purposes:

  • Training as a „Business Coach International“ at the European Coaching Company in conjunction with occupational and organizational psychology at the University of Osnabrück;
  • Training as a “solutions-oriented team coach” at the Forum for Continuing Education Basel and Lucerne
  • Additional training as an ‘NLP Master’, and in non-verbal communication

Today, my work with leaders focuses predominantly on managing their internal and external limitations while maintaining and raising their efficiency during phases of change. The main focus is process-oriented, personal guidance, with entire teams and also with individuals.

Conclusion

A key realization for me is that it is, indeed, possible to cooperate with people of the most varied professional and national backgrounds – provided that the following has been established: that there is a common interest to do so, that the common goals have been clearly defined, that the different mindsets have been made known and that communications capabilities have been developed accordingly. Leaders play a key role, because the process can only be successful if they have the skill to manage the complexities of intercultural situations in a goal-oriented and effective manner.

It is always rewarding to learn about another culture; actually dealing with it and regarding it as a stimulus and enrichment depends fundamentally on one’s personal attitude. I observed this phenomenon closely during my involvement in many company acquisitions and mergers. Undoubtedly, corporate cultures shape their employees, but it also takes personal commitment and willingness to integrate oneself in a new environment.

Yet another key learning for me is that external boundaries are easier to overcome than internal ones. I was able to witness this over a period of twelve years while working as an independent consultant, coach and trainer. As a result, my work focuses on several core topics: which strategies are available to executives, employees and teams when dealing with changes and intercultural topics, what resources do they have access to, how do people experience and communicate changes and, also, for example, how do executives initiate and guide change processes with their employees.

Approach

My approach is founded on three cornerstones:

Cross-Cultural Approach: This new and integrative approach regards the thought and behavioral patterns of employees with different cultural backgrounds as an asset. A key role in this context is the capability of re-evaluating one’s own value system and tolerating new perspectives with an open mind.

Learning Approach: Switching between different cultures demands a high degree of flexibility and expanded viewpoints. Learning how to navigate one’s way in a new country goes hand-in-hand with broadening one’s thinking and acting capacity. In due course, additional strengths and resources will be formed which are vital for a company. Here, the key to success is the willingness to learn.

Leadership and Communications-Oriented Approach: The increased complexity of intercultural and cross-border projects requires a higher degree of guidance and communication. Key requirements are, therefore, capabilities such as flexibility, a readiness to change one’s perspective, a focus on relationships, the aptitude to integrate, the ability to deal with conflict, and self-management.