Amy Tausch

Around the world with Konica Minolta

Who dares wins - with this attitude and a healthy dose of curiosity, Amy ventured into the unknown, taking on the management of a global project. The project saw her spend three months at our headquarters in Tokyo, and a further month in the US. She now reflects on her assignment and shares her experiences with us.

When I joined Konica Minolta as a Talent Management Specialist in the German organisation back in 2019, I remember telling my manager in the hiring interview that I wanted to join a company that offered growth opportunities and international exposure. I accepted the offer, and even though my local responsibilities always came first, I was able to get involved in a lot of European Projects right from the start. When, after three years, I realised I had outgrown my local role, I was able to switch to the European Headquarters and join the People, Organisation & Culture team. 

My time in Japan and the US stemmed from a classic business assignment that involved taking on a global project management role. The enquiry came from the Global Talent Management team in KMI (Konica Minolta, Inc.). Our annual global employee survey 'YourVoice' led to a question being raised globally about whether we were deriving the right measures from the feedback and tackling the 'right things' from a medium- and long-term perspective. That's why it was decided to put the employee survey on a more strategic footing. As I was already in contact with the team from KMI as the survey's regional project manager in Europe, they approached me directly and asked if I could imagine taking on strategic management of the survey.

A carefully considered decision

Together with my manager we thought about how the project could be organised and drew up a project outline. It turned out that a three-month on-site visit would be useful to maintain a close dialogue with the project team and relevant stakeholders, and keep things moving at pace. When the decision was made to combine the project management with a three-month stay in Tokyo, I was surprised at first – but happy!

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My decision was inspired to a large extent by the support of my manager and my colleagues. They all shared their own experiences with me and helped me understand the benefits for my personal development and for us as a region Europe.

Amy Tausch

Specialist Talent Management & Engagement

I realised that this offer was a great compliment to my abilities. However, I also knew that there would be many pairs of eyes on me, both in Japan and here in Europe – which made me quite nervous at first. After all, as well as being young and female, I also tend to stand out by wearing bright colours and asking lots of questions. But the chance to open doors for other colleagues by setting an example for global mobility was the deciding factor for me. A bit like a colourful rocket in the career sky, visible to both me and my colleagues.

Good planning is half the battle

Having made the decision to take on the role, it was time to prepare. A lot of tasks were taken off my hands: my Japanese colleagues took care of my accommodation, our Mobility Specialist in Germany pushed through my visa, and my HR Business Partner skilfully juggled all the contractual matters. The planning was a bit chaotic: for example, the flight was booked while I was still waiting for my visa. Fortunately, I could count on my manager and colleagues during this phase, and we stayed in close contact. My flight was rebooked and I boarded the plane on 3 June 2023 with butterflies in my stomach.

Towards the rising sun

On arrival in Tokyo, I was picked up for my first day at work. We travelled to the office together where I was given everything I needed to get started – it went like clockwork. New surroundings, new faces – the first thing to do was to really get to know my team and find out who I needed to talk to about my project. Regular meetings with the local team and short check-ins with European colleagues who had already worked in Japan were invaluable.
Of course there were also challenges. For instance, I found it really tricky to learn the different forms of 'thank you' – Google Translate became my constant companion. There's no small talk in lifts, and anyone who knows me knows that was a real change for me. Overall, everything is much calmer and more organised, but I'm a fan of speed and cultivated creative chaos. 😊 Inevitably, there were some obstacles to overcome. My direct manner was unfamiliar to my Japanese colleagues – our two cultures tick very differently. My biggest learning was finding the right tone, which was a real balancing act, and some things were simply 'lost in translation'. But with growing trust and a touch of humour, I would say (looking back) that we managed it well. It makes me think I would like to see more cultural understanding by encouraging more global cooperation and mobility on both sides.

My professional highlight in Japan was a personal meeting with our President & CEO Tom Taiko in his impressive office (a real "headquarters" feeling, just like in the movies), closely followed by meetings with our HR Director and other executives, and a visit to a toner factory, which gave me a completely new perspective on our business. 

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As well as regular business meetings, my team made a lot of time for me outside of work, with welcome dinners and tips on where to eat and everyday life, which really helped me to settle in.

Amy Tausch

Specialist Talent Management & Engagement

A journey to myself

Before I took on the project, I was worried about whether I could do it and whether I had the right knowledge and skills. But once I got to Japan, I realised I was the right person for the job despite the challenges. That was an encouraging feeling and made me feel proud I had dared to take this step. Since then, I've approached projects with a different self-image.
Knowing what I know now, I was ready for the next stage: a trip to New Jersey, US, where I once again incorporated regional and cultural challenges into my strategy work and conducted stakeholder management. The aim was to ensure our engagement strategy is tailored to the different needs of our global organisation so that we can have a positive impact on engagement around the world over the coming years.

My message to new colleagues 

If you're interested in international experiences or global responsibility, make yourself visible, look for opportunities and have a little bit of patience. Be open and communicate about what you're looking for. And if an offer comes your way, take it up. Daring to take a chance and turning it into a winning experience is good for you as an individual – and for Konica Minolta as a company.