Sarika Kanade visits Sweden to strengthen cross-cultural collaboration
16 JANUARY 2023
Agile coach heads for Stockholm to enhance cross-cultural collaboration and explore ways to bring improved work processes back to India. A partnership programme opens possibilities for the local team to learn more about the Scania Way of working and leadership principles.
Sarika Kanade, our Agile Coach in Scania ITS Pune, India, arrived in Stockholm on a three-month assignment in the Scania headquarters to get a deeper understanding of the work done by her counterparts in Scania IT. The visit provides a good opportunity for her to engage in cross-cultural collaboration, and to bring back to her team a better understanding of the Swedish work and cultural norms. By aligning the teams with agile values and concepts, Sarika helps our colleagues to operate more flexibly, transparently, and efficiently.
Unity in diversity
“The main objective is for our teams to speak one language so that they can understand and empathise with each other. They should feel like a family – safe, and not experience any difference,” comments Sarika.
The importance of cross-cultural collaboration cannot be over-emphasised, especially in a big organisation where cultural diversity prevails. The visit to Sweden gives Sarika the invaluable opportunity to enhance her intercultural competency, broaden her horizon and experience different cultures and perspectives.
On her first day at work in our headquarters, she was overwhelmed by the hospitality extended to her. Everyone was helping her, making sure she felt comfortable in the new environment, and that her welfare and safety were well taken care of. “Now I understand why Scania employees have been working for over 30 years. The tiny details and attention given to every employee make us feel special and included. My voice also matters!” says Sarika.
In Pune, she is responsible for the agile transformation journey where she would evaluate teams for product maturity assessments and coach them so that they can improve their way of working in the IT department. She runs an initiative called Coaching Clinic, where she encourages team members to be more knowledgeable in their area, to work in more efficient ways, to bring agility to their work processes, and to improve their skills.
As part of her work in cultural transformation, Sarika coaches the local team on “IT the Scania Way” of working, servant leadership values, about design thinking, and transfers the knowledge gathered from IT in Sweden to India.
Unlike the work environment in India where hierarchy is observed, she finds the Swedish work culture more open. Anyone can voice their opinions freely regardless of the positions they hold in the company.
At workshops, she found it more effective when groups break and pause for reflection, allowing time to review if they fully understood the discussions. She would like to encourage her colleagues on such best practices.
With first-hand experience at the Scania headquarters, she has gained better clarity of Scania’s strategy and plans moving forward. It gives her an invaluable opportunity to develop stronger cultural mindfulness while ensuring synergies across teams from different cultures.
For Scania, diversity and inclusion is a strategic necessity. By having people with the widest possible range of skills, knowledge, backgrounds and experiences, we ensure we have the right people and together with an inclusive corporate culture this drives our business forward.