The chief beauty of this book lies not so much in its literary style or in the extent and usefulness of the information it conveys, as in its simple truthfulness. Its pages form the record of events that really happened.
Jerome K. Jerome, Preface to Three Man in a Boat


SHAPE is a qualification programme for future Senior Managers in the EADS Defence and Security Systems Division. It runs over a period of roughly 12 months. The programme has been introduced in 2004, with the first team of high-potentials (“SHAPE 1”) being selected for a specific training in four separate training events. These training units are also referred to as “Modules”. In order to let EADS DS profit from that accumulated brain potential, the Shapies were additionally tasked with a challenging project work in parallel to their training Modules.

Since I never belong to the avantgarde, it was not until SHAPE 3 (from March 2005 to January 2006) that I was nominated to participate myself. Nevertheless, I felt very proud when my boss told me that I would be part of this programme.

Like the earlier SHAPEs, we SHAPE 3 participants had also been trusted to perform in a challenging project task. Actually, our task was unbelievably boring, so there is no point in writing too many details here. Just to give you a clue – it has to do something with maturity assessment models for analysing processes within large organisations. Can you feel the excitement in it? ;) Strangely enough, there are lots of experts around even for this kind of pastime, so feel free to browse their contributions on the Internet. And, seriously, my thanks go out to all of them for their support of our work (even if most of them never knew about it).

However, I have to make clear that this dry project work did not in any way affect my fully positive SHAPE 3 learning, and I feel very happy and grateful for this year.

That much for the introduction.

Module 1

My SHAPE experience started with the challenge to find the hotel near Munich in which the first training event (“Module 1”) was to take place. Obviously, this was the first test to measure my instincts, frustration tolerance, resourcefulness, and determination. I quickly found out that the provided map was not usable, the route description completely wrong, and the hotel receptionist unhelpful when phoned (as the cleverly chosen hotel was staffed by Balkan residents who were not knowledgeable of the German language). However, having been an infantry officer in the German military for so long, I finally managed to arrive at the well-hidden hotel. Even as number two, out of 16 aspiring participants. (My friend Klaus still had been quicker than me, but he only had beat me by three minutes. That was because I had jammed my car right in the middle of a big dirty snow huddle which blocked my door at first.) Together we explored the Balkan hotel and waited impatiently for the next events.

One by one, the other Shapies dropped in, and I was eyeing them cautiously. After all, they were supposed to be of Senior Manager stuff, and I was curious how this qualities would become manifest in their appearance. On that first evening, however, most of them were only looking tired and somewhat lost. Warily, we started into some polite yet trivial conversations. I met Ilja, a German engineer from the Lake Constance area. Xenia was from Munich, working HR. Marc was a German laywer, and Julia was a PR expert from Munich. Luis was an engineer from Spain, and we had a second Luis also from EADS CASA in Spain. Stéphanie was a legal expert from Paris. Patrice and Olivier were also French. Richard came from Newport in the UK. Klaus and Roman were Munich engineers. Oliver was an engineer from the Manching site of EADS. Thilo was an engineer from Ulm. And Michael was another engineer from Munich. I already knew him, because he worked in the Eurofighter programme management and I had presented to him once or twice in the recent years.

This first docking-in day ended with a hot shower, with a most nourishing menu of Balkan food, and with a visit to the bar. That is, for some of us the day did not really end this early – those Shapies who were booked into street-side hotel rooms (with a view to the snow huddles next to the busy highway outside) soon noticed that heavy 40 ton trucks were driving through their bedrooms all night, keeping them awake a little longer.

The training started the next morning, right after breakfast. Our lead trainer disclosed her identity of “Salad Sue” to us, encouraging us 16 hoping young managers who were circling around her to invent our own noms de guerre. Since then, therefore, I am also known as “Father Florian”, taking the confessions from the other Shapies. Salad Sue then made us all swear a holy oath that nothing personal should go out of our training room, so I cannot disclose such details here in this report. My apologies, should you have expected this.

The training module (correctly pronounced “Mödüle”, according to our French co-trainer Mango Marie) then went to full speed with each of us defining his/her personal learning goals and noting them down in little black books. After this exercise, we considered and discussed what “teamwork” was meant to be, and how we could best contribute to our team’s effort. Then it was time for lunch, and we enjoyed a most nourishing menu of Balkan food (not necessarily typical for Munich, but then the foreign Shapies did not notice) and afterwards a short promenade in the early spring sun. In the afternoon, however, things quickly got serious again. The high level Human Resources managers of EADS DS joined the SHAPE 3 team for discussion (with some delay, I may add, due to the skilfully misdone route description they had received as well). This very afternoon, I have learned quite a lot of the way managers with responsibility do their thinking, and how HR experts are operating. I could also pick up some moderator’s tricks from my friend Michael, who was moderating the afternoon session very expertly. The day ended with a lengthy dinner (a most nourishing menu of Balkan dishes), and then I had to drive home to feed my turtle. The other Shapies hit the bar again.

On the next day, we explained the peculiarities of our delegating Business Units to the Shapies from other BUs. Together with Klaus, I was presenting Military Aircraft. Then we learned about Defence and Communication Systems, Defence Electronics, the missile company Lenkflugkörpersysteme GmbH (now merged into MBDA), and peculiarities of the DS Headquarter. For me, it was very interesting to learn that many details on the other companies within my EADS Division, and for the first time since joining EADS Military Aircraft, I started to proudly feel part of the big EADS.

The trainers then used this picture on BU differences to lead over to cultural differences, the big topic of Mödüle 1. So I continued to note down into my little black book what characterises the Spanish culture, what is typical for France, what makes the British tick... and how they all do see the Germans. All this was most interesting – even more as we were going to face a lot of irritation later in the SHAPE 3 programme exactly due to these cultural differences. (Later I learned in a second step that only knowing about differences would not be enough. Accepting them, adapting the own attitude, and making the best use of the different mindsets would do the trick.)

We broke for lunch with a most nourishing menu of Balkan dishes, and in the afternoon it was time to meet our Project Sponsor and to get our project task: Process capability and maturity assessments. As already indicated in the introduction, the task was not really thrilling. I immediately felt reminded of a movie I once had seen, Apocalypse Now. There is a line in there, spoken by the protagonist Captain Willard: “I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one. It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, I never wanted another.” So this was what we got on that March afternoon, in the sunny conference room. Outside the heavy truck traffic went by, adding to our irritation.

While the Project Sponsor strolled into the hallway to have a Marlboro, the team remained in the conference room and started to define tasks and subtasks, invented a team structure, and assigned jobs to the various accountables and responsibles. With this amusement, the afternoon easily prolonged into early (and then full, and then late) evening, so in the end I was really looking forward to the again very nourishing Balkan food dinner.

The rest of Mödüle 1 brought us a funny game where I had the opportunity to play an individual from outer space (Florian the Ruler Man), while my friend Olivier mimicked a bunny in order to communicate with me (yes, a strange game indeed – the trainers would give their utmost to make this a lasting event). We also had opportunities for self-reflection, for long conversations within the team, and we savoured several more most nourishing menus of Balkan specialties. The team continued to connect very well, and I enjoyed these days.

I spent some more time with Oli (“Oktoberfest Oliver”), a friendly German with a big beard. Oli had been in the German Air Force like me, and we enjoyed each other’s company. I was especially intrigued because Oli worked at the Manching site of EADS Military Aircraft, and he also lived near this place. Voluntarily. I was concerned that sometimes in the near future, the complete Military Aircraft Business Unit (including me, of course) would move up to Manching, and I was not sure yet whether I should exchange my Munich flat for a cottage in the Manching outback. It was new to me that people actually chose to build a house there, like Oli did.

And I got into longs talks with Luis, the youngest Shapie. Luis worked in the Spanish branch of Military Aircraft, and like me in the Eurofighter programme. He had a good sense of humour, and we got along very well. I did not know yet, but Luis would help me a lot during the project work ahead.

Outside the increasingly strong spring sun finally melted away the last patches of snow, and the winter got ready to leave. When I was climbing into my car in the late Friday afternoon, I already felt homesick for all the other Shapies, and I was very curious how our programme would evolve from that point.

Intermediate Work in Spring

At first, actually, there was not too much evolvement after Module 1. We all came back to overloaded desks and had to catch up with the daily work. (Soon, I started debating again to jump from my office window.) Mödüle 1 became a nice memory for all. All? Well, nearly all of us. My friend Michael was suffering from boredom each day after the EADS security guards had chased him away from the office at about 2100 hrs. So he identified the SHAPE 3 project task as highly welcome new playground. Best of it was, he could do it at home (where the wicked guards could not come and unsettle him). Michael dedicated his spare time to this new mission and started to put the SHAPE 3 project into perspective, wrote lengthy requirement documents, researched into textbooks and processes, circulated monster emails, and implicitly made clear to all of us how unbelievably complex and dreary our project task really was. I was not feeling too happy in these weeks, as I did not yet have full grasp of the project, and no clear task in the evolving work.
But then, no one except Michael did.

When Michael’s project had been worked on for three months in this way, the Shapies were summoned in early June to the next Mödüle, this time in France.

Module 2

The plane touched down at Charles de Gaulle Airport on a grey Monday, and we Munich Shapies curiously entered the futuristic terminal building. Some of the walls are tiled like bathrooms, and escalators are running through transparent glass tubes. I at once felt intrigued. But not only the building architecture, also the established procedures are noteworthy. For some strange reasons, baggage claiming at CDG takes place on the third floor or so. Probably one of the reasons why the luggage travel time from the aircraft cargo deck to the third floor conveyor roughly equals the flight time from Munich to Paris. Of course, we passengers rejoiced in spending as much time as possible in the worn-down terminal, especially as the toilets had been closed down on this third floor.

When the last suitcase finally arrived, we walked off to find our rented car. This audacious undertaking, however, was immediately delayed by the next obstacle: Again for some strange reasons, the CDG terminal does not feature a single exit from which to easily find the way. Nor does the terminal building limit itself to, say, two or three or five exits. Mais non, Monsieur ;) The flabbergasted passenger can select from no less than 36 exits to leave the building, and his feeling of de-orientation is further supported by the circular shape of the terminal, around which the exits are placed in an equally spaced fashion. So feel free to leave the building by any exit, and promptly enjoy the feeling of being completely lost. Fortunately, a miracle happened and we found the rental car area with our reserved Peugeot within the hour. I was using the time to show off my new handheld computer to a desinterested Klaus.

As a positive surprise, the map and guidance instructions this time were very good, so we did not have any problems in finding the Chateau de la Tour hotel after a one hour drive to the north of Paris. The hotel is situated in the wonderful French countryside, with huge trees and gently rolling hills in the background. It also features a small swimming pool (just big enough to accommodate a sitting elephant, I would guess), and a bar overlooking this pool. Of course, we were heading for the bar immediately.

During the afternoon, the other Shapies arrived one by one. Klaus patrolled the hotel and found out where our training room was, and we started to discuss our project in some more detail. Thanks to Michael’s assiduous activities in the past months, everyone had a more or less clear idea of the SHAPE 3 mission now, and we made some good progress this afternoon. With this sense of progress at last, I was starting to feel better soon and volunteered to lead a small team for research into related methods – a task later to be known as Comparison Study. I wanted to contribute substantially to the SHAPE 3 success, and this comparisons could be the way to supply this contribution. I felt very happy this afternoon.

Finally, the warm French sun came out. We left the room and strolled over to the pool, before I went up to my room and tried to plug in the notebook. The evening of this docking-in day then featured a wonderful dinner with good wine and several courses. I was even more lucky, as I was seated next to Xenia, who was a very charming company. I was especially delighted that she wanted to keep her BMI in check and therefore shared her main course with me.

The training was fully launched at 09.00 the next day. Our trainer Stealing Steve was welcoming his flock by sounding a terribly loud klaxon, summoning the last Shapies from their breakfast table (and making a lasting impression on the other breakfasting hotel guests, I assume). He soon launched into body language, dialogue scenarios, and other training content, and I started again to fill the pages of my familiar little black book.

From time to time, the trainers would make a break and allow their trainees to wander over to the buffet next to our sitting elephant pool. Cookies, little cakes, chocolate things and other sweets, juices, and hot coffee were arranged there, and I concentrated on gulping down as much as possible in the short time-span of our breaks. In the meantime, the aspiring managers around me were frantically speaking into their mobile phones or rapidly typing away on their notebooks, obviously in an effort to save the Company from evil threats. This was irritating me somehow, as I was using my notebook computer only occasionally in the evenings, to load my iPod and to write notes... and my cell phone to SMS my date Doro in Munich. I wondered if I should change my attitude. But then, I could not think of anybody in the BU back home to call. So I just had another little cake.

One of the Mödüle 2 top events took place on Wednesday, when the Top Strategist of EADS visited the Chateau de la tour and gave us a very interesting overview of the Company’s strategic considerations. Again, I was very impressed and proud of what a great company EADS is, and how widely diversified our markets are. And we all felt great appreciation that this top level information was shared with us. This strategy evening ended with a wonderful dinner and good wine, with further strategy discussions around the table, and – some weeks later – for my friend Luis with a new job in the EADS Strategy Department.

The real highlight of a SHAPE Module is the so-called SHAPESpace day. This is the “free” day which the Shapies can spend as they like. Or nearly; as we had to clear our ideas first with the SHAPE manager of EADS DS, Mrs. Margot. She was a smart lady with beautiful red hair who reminded me of Charlotte Rampling, and she was very supportive of our SHAPE 3 run. Our France-based friends Stéph and Patrice had taken care of planning and arranging things, and their programme had been kept secret from us until this Thursday. In the morning, however, we had to work again on our project task: Stéph had arranged for a very interesting discussion with a process capability maturity assessment specialist from EADS DCS. The hurried lunch was then sandwiches with a wonderful white wine, and directly afterwards we boarded a bus and travelled across the France countryside.

When the bus stopped, we had arrived at the EADS SPACE site in Les Mureaux near Paris. We were greeted in a conference room, and the welcome event then crossed over into an one-hour lecture on the risk management approach applied by the EADS astronauts. For our project work, this information again proved very useful, and our EADS SPACE hosts were as friendly and supportive as competent in the following discussion. As we were leaving again, I noticed a small buffet in the far corner of the conference room: Sweet cookies and lukewarm coffee had been arranged there and then forgotten. I concentrated on gulping down as much as possible in the short time-span I had before we moved on, while the other Shapies were already crowding the hall outside, looking for the toilet.

After that welcome event, we were shown some outstanding products by proud engineers. First, we saw the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle). This is an Ariane-launched spaceship designed to fly up to the ISS to transport goods and scientific devices up there, and to automatically perform the docking/undocking manoeuvres. It is the most modern and complex spacecraft in Europe. Then we were introduced to the French M52 missile, the national ICBM to equip the Force de frappe. It looked like a serious design, and I was happy that we Germans are on the same side as the French in this game. The best came in the end, when the amazed Shapies were being shown the Ariane launcher assembly line. ("Launcher" is engineer-speak for a rocket without the payload section on the very top.) This takes place in a real huge building, big enough to accommodate a launcher standing upright.

Finally, our EADS SPACE ( I still wonder why the French colleagues write this in capital letters) afternoon came to an end. The parking lot in Les Mureaux was already deserted when we climbed into our bus and headed back to Chantilly.

Right away, however, we were only heading for the next traffic light down the rue, where we met again with the rest of EADS SPACE: We got caught up in the mother of all traffic jams, and it took our bus more than 20 minutes to only move once. At first I was curious if we would have to spend the night at this junction, but then I did not mind any longer and switched on my iPod. Slowly, the situation cleared, and the bus driver shifted gears again. Finally we were on our way back to the Hotel de la Tour and our secret last SHAPESpace day event.

Lazily observing the landscape from my window, I could not avoid noticing that we passed certain signs, shops, and villages for a second and then a third time. Obviously, the traffic jam had confused our chauffeur to a point beyond orientation, and I had again premonitions of SHAPE 3 spending the night on some pittoresque French country road, in a small bus with an empty tank and a post-traumatic stress-disordered driver. I felt seriously concerned, as we had no food with us, no drinks, and no laptops – the situation could soon become very critical indeed. By then, also Stéph and Patrice were eyeing the driver more carefully and recommending to him that actually following the signs to Chantilly would be a good idea, and after one last detour to the southbound motorway the chauffeur decided to have at least a look at the north of Paris again.

When he pulled up in front of our hotel, the whole SHAPE team got out of the bus as quickly as a platoon of parachuters from their airlifter, lest the driver should receive any new mission orders from God and unexpectedly drive off again. Still panting, we gathered around the elephant pool in the back, and Patrice then introduced us into the last SHAPESpace event of the day: a Pétonque game.

First, we all received a classic straw hat, which had to be worn in order to qualify for Pétonque. I liked this hat immediately, and I have taken it to Tuscany, Crete, and Spain since then. It is not the 0,95 Euro quality of this piece that made me like it, but the circumstances under which it was given to me. When I look at it, I remember my friends Stéph, Patrice, and Olivier, who planned this event. And I also remember my friends Ilja, Klaus, and Roman with whom I was teaming up this evening for Pétonque. Patrice went on to explain the rules of the game to us, and I noticed that the hotel staff had refilled our buffet table. So while the other Shapies were breathlessly listening to Patrice, trying to memorize tricks for winning, I just helped myself to some coffee and pastries and choco bars. I never win when I am hungry.




The rules are simple. In competing teams, we toss around silver metal globes the size of Tennis balls. Only that Pétonque balls are much more massive. They are made of lead or plutonium or something real heavy. Somewhere on the playing ground also a very small plastic ball is positioned, and the one Pétonque ball which ends up closest to this small plastic thing makes the winner in the end.



Then off we went to the parking lot, the only half-way level area around the hotel. Patrice had arranged for a table with snacks and drinks there. So while the others were experimentally juggling their silver Pétonque balls and measuring the throwing distances to the expensive limousines parked next to us, I collected as much appetizers as possible. Then I made friends with a nice bottle of Absinth. After all, we were in France, and I was sporting a van Gogh type straw hat. I remembered that van Gogh once had hit the Absinth hard for a full summer, just to discover a new yellow tint for his sunflowers. Intriguing.

So this is how our SHAPESpace day ended – clicking Pétonque balls rolling over the uneven gravel, Mrs. Margot and Luis smoking Marlboros under their straw hats, Roman cursing as his team was loosing, Olivier critically watching Pétonque balls closing in on his nearby parked Audi TT, and Florian experimenting with Absinth. Everyone was enjoying himself, while the summer sun was slowly sinking behind the hills. Afterwards, I hit the bar with Oli and Ilja.

The last training day was Friday. The trainers convinced us to take part in some last childish games (other victims may know of these Tiger/Grandma/Samurai acting nonsense – I will not go into detail here, to spare you the painfulness), then we had one last wonderful lunch, and in the afternoon we split up. I had a last look into the empty training room, and it looked like the Red Army had just stopped looting, with all the papers and posters and flipcharts and stuff dropping from the walls and covering the floor, mixed with magic markers and legal pads and coffee mugs and empty bottles. The room looked lonely again. On the outside a light drizzle awaited us, cutting short our farewell ceremony.

Julia and I climbed into Stéph’s car, and she drove us into Paris. From my memory of our arrival day, I was expecting a one hour ride back. In order to allow us as much sightseeing as possible, however, Stéph's route went in a wide arc through northern France, until hitting Paris from a totally unforeseen direction. Half a year later, CNN and the newspapers were full of the French Banlieu riots (where all the young idiots protested against their own stupidity), and I immediately recognized the St. Denis area from our trip on this Friday. While Stéph was expertly mastering traffic and her two cell phones, I found a map of Paris at the floor of her car and started to plot our route to the centre. Actually, the map was torn along the middle and came in two parts, and it dated back at least to the early 1960s. Maybe it had once belonged to General de Gaulle. So real-time navigation through the narrow Paris centre streets, while swimming in the late afternoon rush hour, was a real challenge. The trip was also challenging for the other Shapies in the rented Peugeot, who were following our lead car. Their on-board navigation system kept telling them the right direction to the Bastille, while Stéph and I were taking contradictory turns all the time. But we had a lot of fun and did not mind the zigzag route, even when a confused yet furious Klaus managed to leave the chase car and climbed in Stéph’s voiture during one traffic light stop. Outside, the rain had stopped by then.

Finally we managed to reach our small Ibis hotel behind the Bastille. I was somewhat confused in the final approach phase, because from the “Bastille” word, I had expected some fortification along the way. Stéph later explained to me that, in France, the labelling does not always match reality. Checking-in was easy, as Ibis granted us special EADS rates. Climbing up to my room was difficult, as about 40 friendly Africans populated the entrance area, the lobby, the hallway, and the stairways. This African house-sitting party was apparently on strike or on demonstration of some kind, supported by a huge number of little children, and uncounted plastic bags full of strange equipment. In one hallway, even an early dinner was going on. The strikeforce however did not feel too embarrassed or irritated by the new hotel guests who were climbing over them, and kept going about their strike/demo business.

Up in the room I only put down my SHAPE straw hat from the Pétonque game (which I had sported up to then). Then back down we went, dodging the Africans who were just starting to sing demo songs. Outside, Stéph took the lead, and we started into the warmth and the low sun of a summer Paris evening.

Our friend Olivier had recommended a special French restaurant: Nos Ancêtres les Gaulois. I can only pass on this recommendation, as it is a really wonderful place, situated in a small street on the Ile Saint-Louis island in the Seine river. The guests find themselves seated on long wooden tables, and the food is being served like in one of these Asterix comics. You have to take care of your red wine yourself, so I seized an empty pincher and found the red wine cask in the restaurant corner. Ilja was raiding the baguette depot. Soon the spirit around our table was rising, roughly at the same pace at which the wine level in the big cask went down.

When I woke up the next morning, the sun was shining. The Africans had left the hotel. I grabbed my camera and a new Paris map from the hotel reception, said Goodbye to breakfasting Julia and Ilja, and then went out to walk the streets of the French capital.

Intermediate Work in Summer

Right after coming back from Paris, I hurled myself into the Comparison Study work. I drew up time schedules, invented milestones, and wrote highly motivating emails to my small team. Later I was to learn that only half of my team would even read all this, let alone get active in any way. So undisturbed from any throwbacks yet, I started to write our Study. Unfortunately, I was to discover very soon that this work was even more boring that expected, and that this task was also very time consuming! Instead of going out with friends, visiting the Biergarten, biking along the Isar river, or teaching my most intelligent turtle, I found myself spending long evenings and whole weekends over maturity assessment models and quality standards. Lots of weekends, actually. The only solace I had was that the German summer of 2005 was a rainy, cool, sad story itself, so I did not miss too much.

However, everything comes to an end, and when the summer was about to finish in Munich, so was our Comparison Study. Besides, parts of my small team had finally checked in by then and provided several pages of input, which I was more than happy to include in our document. In fact, the feeling of having nearly completed this boring task was elating me, and I was joyfully boarding the Iberia plane to Madrid, where Mödüle three was to take place.

Module 3

When flying into Madrid, I was curiously watching the Spanish landscape below the airplane. In geometric patterns, olive trees are placed on the otherwise dried up plains, countless tiny spots on an endless ochre canvas. Obviously, the strong sun was beating down hard here, creating in response this unique scenery. I felt intrigued, as I had never been before to Central Spain. I hoped that there would be some spare time during the Module, allowing me to do some sightseeing here.

After the obligatory wait for the baggage (the Madrileņos had managed to forget my suitcase on the hot tarmac outside, and when it was finally found and brought in, parts of it had been torn off), the Munich Shapies started to look for the transport to El Escorial. While walking through the terminal building, we met a lost-looking Thilo, who had arrived on another flight. The rest of SHAPE 3 was still somewhere between Madrid and Munich, Paris, or Newport. Outside the two taxis were waiting to take us to the Euroforum hotel upnorth, a most appreciated service which our Spanish friend Luis had organised for us.

El Escorial is situated roughly one hour north of Madrid, set against the Sierra de Guadarramain mountains in the background. Quite a beautiful scenery. When we arrived there, unfortunately, the sun had disappeared. So we stepped out into a grey yet warm late-summer afternoon.

One by one, the other Shapies dropped in, and the rest of the day was dedicated to our project work. It became quickly obvious that the project was progressing, but that it was not supported equally well by all. Some Shapies were heavily workloaded while others did not really feel part of the team. However, the SHAPE 3 group was not yet ready to openly address this conflict potential and resolve the problems. Instead, everybody hoped that the irritations would just disappear somehow...

We started the Tuesday with a healthy breakfast in the Euroforum basement. Lucky as ever, I met Luis at the breakfast buffet, and he gave me expert advice on the ideal selection of sweet Spanish pancakes and doughnuts. I also learned that the Spanish connoisseur differentiates between seven types of coffee, depending e.g. on the pancake/doughnut combination. I was impressed by this kind of expertise. I quickly decided to stay in Luis' wake for the duration of the Mödüle, at least during chow time.

After breakfast, Steve and Marie were waiting for us in the training room. After a first Let's-break-the-ice exercise, Steve started with his training programme, and I eagerly started again to fill the pages of my favourite little black book.

On Wednesday, our SHAPESpace day was taking place. Luis and Luis had been busy the whole summer organising the event. Their curriculum had been kept a secret, as already last time in Chantilly. We had only been told that a visit to EADS CASA would take place in the morning. So curiously we gathered in the morning sun outside the hotel, waiting for a bus to take us to the Getafe site of EADS. After twenty minutes useless waiting, I decided to go for a short walk and take some photos of the towering El Escorial dome in the sun. Another fifteen minutes later, frantically phoning Luis was approached by a stranger, who identified himself as the bus driver. The driver then told Luis that he had parked his bus behind this three meter high wall on the far side of the street, just behind the road bend at the foot of the hill, and that he would have been waiting there for the last 45 minutes. I did not understand what Luis answered to this special agent of local tourism, but I think it was not helpful in improving their individual relationship. Together with Thilo I climbed into the bus, and off we went onto the highway system around Madrid. Thilo checked his watch. The carefully prepared Luis & Luis schedule for the day was already blown. From the window, I watched monkeys and goats in olive groves passing by.

After a pleasant ride through Central Spain, the bus finally managed to arrive at the Getafe site south of Madrid. Security waved us through, and we pulled up before the huge Eurofighter building in the middle of the EADS CASA compound. I curiously looked around me, as I had never been here before. To our right, the big airfield was stretching to the horizon. I also saw maintenance hangars in the background, and an empty CN-295 fuselage at the side of the road. The hull had no wing and no gear, so I assumed that it was not going anywhere. In the back, also several construction site vehicles were at work. I was intrigued. I wanted to look around some more, but Luis and Luis shepherded us quickly into the Eurofighter building. Inside, we were lead into one of the modern briefing rooms on the first floor. Obviously, it was a CASA tradition to name their rooms after outstanding aeroplanes. We met in room "DA6", short for "Development Aircraft 6". This refers to the only Spanish DA among the seven DAs within the Eurofighter Development Programme, a twin seater. I felt slightly uneasy, because DA6 is also the only Eurofighter which went down so far (November 2002). The last thing the world had seen of DA6 was an aerial from the crash site. The aircraft looked like it had been dug out of King Kong's footprint. I felt like entering a mausoleum.

My mood instantly improved again when I could grab some cookies and a cup of strong coffee from the buffet waiting inside room DA6. Soon, we were greeted by high-level HR, and given a top-level overview of CASA's activities. I was impressed by the variety of competences obviously concentrated at CASA. Afterwards, Luis and Luis had organised a tour around the Getafe site, and I could watch Spanish Air Force F-18 being maintained, Airbus parts being built, and the Spanish Eurofighters being put together in the national final assembly line. This all was really impressive for me, this broad technical variety concentrated on only one spot. Outside again, Marc and I were then watching this gigantic Beluga Airbus taxiing in from the airfield.

Back in the meeting room, we had the opportunity to talk to two SHAPE 2 participants from EADS CASA. Finally a project manager from the A400M programme gave us a short introduction into project management. Our CASA visit ended much too early after lunch, and we entered our small bus again to drive back into Madrid.

On the way to the motorway, we passed a terrible accident. A big beer truck had tipped over and distributed hundreds of beer crates and beer bottles over the ramp. Concerned helpers had already gathered there to rescue what was to save. What a sight. I was deeply shocked. My hands were shaking when I tried to take photos. Together with speechless Ilja I watched the disaster site disappear behind us as the bus sped away.

Thirty minutes later the bus stopped and we filed out onto the hot tarmac of Madrid. Luis and Luis had prepared some kind of urban gymkhana for us, with a long list of important Madrid places to go to, and an elaborate background text to these. We were split into four teams, being handed a Madrid map and some money (to call the police when we got lost, I assumed), and then the competition was on. The team which had first visited all the marked sightseeing places would be the winner.

While the other teams sped away, our team remained for some more minutes under the Monumento de San Cristobal to discuss some strategy. Stéph and Thilo then studied the map, while I strolled off to photograph the pigeons.

We did not win in the end, but I think our team really saw most of the city. I photographed everything, including the anonymous name tags next to Madrid building entrances, Thilo on his ATM, Steve with his Ray Ban sunglasses, a signpost to the next toilet, sparrows before the Prado, iron cast buffalos on the plaza before the bullfight arena, Stéph buying subway tickets, construction sites, important-looking buildings, Spanish motorcycles, Klaus, traffic lights, the King’s Palace, more pigeons, parks in the bright sunlight, street cafés, Luis’ pack of Marlboro, little dogs, and strange people in the streets. After all, I had never been to Madrid before.

Satisfied with the SHAPESpace day, we finally drove home.

During one of the training breaks on the next day, the latent conflict in our group broke fully out. The project workload distribution was not balanced, and some of the harder working team members (like Michael or myself) felt unhappy that other Shapies were taking a more relaxed approach to the programme. From my understanding, SHAPE was not only about enjoying training in selected hotels and collecting bonus mileage, but also about giving good project performance back to the Company. And there was so much to do in the project that we really needed everyone's help. I was seriously concerned that our project would end in failure, if the workload would not be shifted onto more shoulders. I could not accept some participants' preferring to leave the giving-back part to only some hard workers, while graciously taking all the goodies. And I could not accept their justification of the project being "...that boring", because that difficulty was shared by all hard working team members as well. For the first time, I also thought about the SHAPE selection process. These participants were considered to be of Senior Manager material. Did they really think that a Senior Manager would only be confronted with highly interesting tasks? Where was their capability for self-motivation? And I started to feel angry, because I do not like to be misused. I do not like someone else coming along and decorating himself with the results of my work – when he did not support me in the first place. For this decoration would happen during the Final Presentation at the latest.

It became a long day of exchanges and discussion, and then a long evening of project realignment, while we straightened out the conflicts at least to a manageable degree. This day was not easy for anyone, and certainly not easy for me. I respected all of my SHAPE friends, and I liked their companionship. I just could not accept some of their attitudes. But in the end of it all, close to midnight, I felt that our team had re-established a very stable basis for the future SHAPE and the future project work, and I started to trust again in our success. SHAPE 3 had finally dared to go into the storming phase.

In the lunch break of Thursday, some of us managed to escape the tight SHAPE schedule for a visit to the famous El Escorial premises. Designed as a combination of monastery and King's palace, this impressive complex is the biggest renaissance building of the world. Not everyone liked it, but I was fascinated. After all, the Spanish kings once had ruled a global kingdom, influenced for centuries European arts and literatures, and played a major role in the history of two continents. So I wandered around El Escorial with growing respect for these Spanish accomplishments, as I saw all this evidence of historical greatness. Unfortunately, I had to hurry to get back to the Euroforum hotel in time for the SHAPE afternoon training.

The remaining trainings brought insights into management and leadership topics, and some conflict mitigation tricks. Then, on Friday mid-afternoon, Module 3 was finished.

After unceremonially breaking up in El Escorial, we climbed into a taxi and had us driven into Madrid centre. Stéph and Klaus were chatting on the rear seats, while I was cautiously watching our cab driver. From her behaviour, I was slightly concerned that we might not find our way back into civilization too soon; her constantly checking the map made me nervous. After all, we were short of supplies in the cab – Stéph’s cigarettes would only sustain one night, I had already consumed all the candy I had brought from Germany, the Averna bottle in my suitcase was more than half empty... and we had not enough laptops with us, let alone company cell phones. My worries increased. Outside the dribble continued until we reached the outskirts of the Spanish capital.

Just before arriving at our hotel near the Madrid main station, we dropped off Stéph. Mysterious as ever, she disappeared into some dark doorways. Klaus and I then checked into the Hotel Agumar, a venerable place just off Atocha. I took my equipment into room 513 and then went back into the lobby to wait for Klaus, Ilja, and Richard. Ilja had offered us an unforgettable tour of Madrid at night, showing us all the fantastic places he had reconnoitred during his EADS CASA years. Curiously I collected my camera and a map of Madrid and followed him outside.

We started in the Atocha station, where little turtles populate the flowerbeds, basking out in the sunshine or swimming in small ponds. Outside, the late afternoon sun was shining, and we felt very happy and relaxed after the SHAPE week. Two beers later, we met Roman and his wife at Puerta del Sol, quickly discussed the strategy for this evening, and then walked directly into a strange Torero tapas bar on Plaza Mayor. I found the photographs on the wall most interesting. Two San Miguels and a soup afterwards, Ilja remembered this cool place where they sell sweet red wine along with fried crabs. When ordering a sufficient amount of crabs, one would get a coupon for a small complimentary beer at a tapas bar two blocks farther down the road. After I had managed to take some pictures of the tiled ceiling of the crab kitchen, we went first for the coupons and then to investigate that other place.

Afterwards, having walked to a small plaza with a band playing in the background, Klaus and I started a serious discussion on must-see movies. Klaus countered my proposals Blade Runner and Last Seduction with Clerks. We then agreed that Dogma (the movie, not the Lars von Trier concept) was also an impressive film, not only because Linda Fiorentino was starring. Ilja was meanwhile struggling with the cocktail list, but finally managed to identify the right way up. He quickly decided on special Madrid cocktails. They make pretty good stuff, I can tell you. I would have taken a third round, had it not started to rain suddenly. So off we went again, strolling through the rain. It was then that things really got strange. I photographed a penguin on the streets of Madrid, before we hit two more interesting places for beer and tapas. I remember wonderful conversations. Over a few more beers, we finally discovered our deepest sympathy for each other. It was just great. When we stepped outside again, Roman and his wife suddenly decided to quit and head back to their hotel. By then, it was about 1 a.m. Unshaken Ilja however announced that he would now be investigating one last bar, and Klaus and I followed with grim determination. When we arrived at this last insider tip, they were already putting up the chairs and preparing to close down. Insecure of how to handle this loitering and singing bunch of teutonic adventurers, the Madrileņos were very cooperative. The barkeeper just gave us fantastic Cocktails de la casa (mixtures from all he had left in his colourful bottles), for ridiculously low prices, hoping to get rid of us soon. Unimpressed, we stayed until 3 a.m.

I first noticed that something was wrong, when I had problems to make it to my hotel room after stepping out of the elevator. Unimpaired, I switched on the TV to check the weather forecast. After all, I was planning to do some Madrid sightseeing the next day. Then I went to work and disassembled the toilet flush, as it seemed to me to work somewhat jammy.

The next morning I was feeling ill. For several minutes, I considered the possibility of having passed away during the night and being now in the purgatory, paying and suffering for all my sins. On my way to the bathroom I discovered six parts of the toilet flush system, neatly lined up on the carpet. My efforts to put them back in place did not succeed. Finally, I just hid them in the toilet tank. To flush the stupid thing then, I had to fill the wastebasket with water from the shower and pour it into the toilet. So here is the warning to the world – everyone who intends to book room 513 in Hotel Agumar, mind that the toilet flush is out of action there.

When I walked down to check out, Ilja had long left the hotel and disappeared. I should not meet him again until four months later. Klaus came down soon after me, and together we started into the city centre to do some sightseeing. When we met Stéph later this day, we did not know yet that this was our goodbye. Stéph would leave the company in the coming winter and start a new life in southern France.

On the Saturday evening, Klaus and I left the city and took a taxi to the airport. Our Madrid journey ended with one last highlight: On the way to our departure gate, we met the famous footballers David Beckham and Ronaldo. Disguised in grey business suits, so they were not easy to recognize. Unfortunately, my camera was completely filled up with photos from SHAPE and Madrid, so I could not even take a picture. But then again, who takes pictures of David Beckham. I would have rather photographed his model wife Victoria.

The flight itself was uneventful. After all the new impressions and experiences, I was happy to finally come home again. I took the S-Bahn transit from the Munich airport to the small town of Neufahrn where my car was parked, and then trolleyed my suitcase the short distance from the S-Bahn station to my Mazda. From the strange puddles on the pavement one could tell that the Oktoberfest weekend had begun.

Intermediate Work in Fall

Right after coming back from Madrid, I hurled myself back into the Comparison Study work... although I should have known better this time. I drew up new time schedules, invented new milestones, and wrote highly motivating emails to my small team. Then I went to work and amended the Study with additional assessment methods, and lots of smart wording at the beginning, in the middle, and towards the end. When this was done, I experienced a sudden inspiration that the Study rationale had to be reconsidered and expanded. After just two more weekends, the missing parts were also included in the Study. And when November was about to finish, so was also the Comparison Study.

Besides, parts of my small team had eventually checked in with several pages of input, which I was more than happy to accept. In fact, the feeling of having finally completed this boring Study task was elating me. I spent some more evenings and the first Advent weekend preparing the Final Presentation slides, and then the SHAPE 3 mission seemed to be accomplished. Also the Module 3 irritations between some of my friends and me had been clarified by then through a number of emails. So in December 2005, I was feeling very comfortable with the overall SHAPE situation. And I was in high spirits when leaving the office for the Christmas break, with all the Christmas feasts awaiting me.

After the Christmas holidays, I started with recharged batteries. This was good luck for me, because our Project Sponsor had reviewed the SHAPE 3 Final Report during the holidays and had come up with lots of ideas for improvement. As the time we had left until the last SHAPE Module with its Final Presentation was getting short, we were again under pressure. This time really hard. Within only a few days, I had to add another chapter to the Comparison Study, draw new tables, and rework the Final Presentation slides. Together with my friend Luis I also invented a single page "flyer" hand-out, which summarised our Study. As our normal working days within the week were packed with other tasks, we had to do the unexpected SHAPE work during the weekends. Luis had discovered this internet phoning tool Skype, and this was a great help to do our phone discussions in the night between Saturday and Sunday. In the end, we managed to complete our task. But we really hit the point where we were fed up.

Module 4

On a sunny winter Monday in January 2006, I left the office after lunch to drive the 30 km south to Feldkirchen-Westerham, where the last SHAPE Module was to take place. We had a lot of snow, and with the nearby Alps clearly visible on this bright day, the drive through the German winter scenery was very beautiful. This time, I had no problem finding the hotel. I was just experimentalising how many bags and suitcases I could carry at the same time without dropping the stuff again, when Klaus arrived on the parking lot. Together we walked over to the hotel.

This Monday, the docking-in was somehow different. The project was nearly completed, with only some fine-tuning of the Final Presentation left to be done. Some friends were already missing – Stéph had left EADS, Olivier was in India for a trade fair, and Julia was stuck in the office to prepare this big LFK/MBDA event. We knew that SHAPE 3 was finally coming to an end, and that we would break up on Friday. I felt sad when I thought about this. But when, one after the other, my Shapie friends entered the room, I was at the same time happy to spend this last week with them.

We used the remaining hours of the docking-in day to harmonise our powerpoint slides for the Final Presentation show, which was scheduled for Wednesday. Afterwards, we went to dinner. Full of expectations, I was reading the menu. The listing did not impress me too much, unfortunately. But then the hotel had a huge buffet installation, and I could collect a sufficiently nourishing combination of dishes. However, the Feldkirchen-Westerham chow was not comparable to Chantilly or El Escorial... not even to Poing. After dinner, fortunately, we could hit the bar for a good Bavarian beer. This balanced our moods again.

When I was roaming through the breakfast buffet on Tuesday morning, I came across Salad Sue. Our lead trainer from the first Module would also run the last one. I was happy to see her again. Soon also Mango Marie came down to the SHAPE breakfast table, and so our SHAPE 3 club seemed complete again. I was curious what would come now in our final Mödüle.

Right after breakfast, the training started. This first morning was again dedicated to preparation of our Final Presentation, with a brainstorming exercise and other prep activities. As all the other times, I soon started again to fill the pages of my little black book. Careful not to use too much space, as I had only a couple of blank pages left. The hours quickly passed by, and after an uninspiring lunch, we grabbed our laptops and drove up to the EADS premises at Ottobrunn to prepare and dry-run the Final Presentation on-site.

Our performance would take place in the famous pavilion, the Company's stylish presentation facility. There, a wild collection of plasma TVs, computers, movable walls, posters, and party tables was waiting for us. In the middle of all, I watched one lonely and dispirited mechanic, who was searching the pavilion for hidden power outlets. Together we plugged in the TVs and computers, moved walls and tables to their places, arranged and re-arranged the chairs for tomorrow's visitors, and loaded the various presentations onto the seven computers. Outside, the afternoon sun gave way to a red sunset, and then night.

Finally, when everything was set up, we started our dry run for tomorrow's important show. Mrs. Margot and the trainers were simulating the audience, giving us good feedback. This exercise, with crucial repetitions, took several hours. In the end we did not leave because we were finished, but because we had to be out of the building by 20.00 hrs.

Tired we drove back to Feldkirchen-Westerham, just to learn that the hotel was not really prepared to provide dinner to the SHAPE team this late. Obviously, the special agents in charge there had assumed that SHAPE had been taken hostage by an alien spaceship, or that we all had just collectively decided to get out of the rat race, drop everything, and start a new life in Australia... just anything except that we would simply show up again for dinner, as hotel guests usually do. The combination of dishes which I could collect from the widely empty buffet was really strange this night, and did nothing to improve my mood. After dinner, we met again and finalised our presentations for tomorrow – a task which took us into the small hours of Wednesday. I then went up to my room to read one last time all the background details on our Comparison Study, since I was expecting the various experts among our visitors to come forward with explicit questions.

Wednesday – Show time. We changed into our best suits, grabbed the laptops, and stepped out into a beautiful yet freezing cold German winter morning. I chatted with Thilo on the way to Ottobrunn, and he explained some of his daily work in more detail. Thilo had presented results of his work to some high-ranking officers of the German Navy only yesterday, and I was very curious and interested in his work. Ships and aircraft are rather different, but nevertheless intriguing.

In our pavilion, we fired up the machines and prepared the show. Then we waited for the guests to arrive. I killed some time with coffee and cookies, and slowly the first curious visitors were dropping in. One of the first managers I spoke to introduced himself as one of the V-Model experts of the Division, and I was starting to feel uneasy about my later presentation on CMMI-related methods and standards. I hoped that this friendly man would not come and take me apart then. In one corner, I discovered a glass bowl filled with colourful candy. I walked over as inconspicuously as possible and got some. I hoped this sweet stuff would help me later on as an energiser, supporting me to make a bella figura during the presentation. Then I noticed that my boss was just walking in, and the room was filling quickly now.

With only some minutes’ delay, the show started. It went very well, just as rehearsed the day before. Richard was guiding through the event, Klaus and Luis did their portions, and then our Project Sponsor was addressing the audience. I considered this the right time to raise my blood sugar level, so I took the candy from my pocket and started on it. It tasted strange, cool and hard, and not at all like a sweet. Actually, some clown had put little glass marbles into the bowl and tricked me into believing them to be candy!

When the audience broke into smaller groups to get detailed information on the various SHAPE 3 sub-projects, Luis and I were giving our well-rehearsed presentation on our Comparison Study computer screen. It went well, and we both felt very happy. We also managed to arrange ourselves with the dreaded experts, and the half-expected flak was not coming. Right on the contrary, we shared good discussions and even arranged for follow-on meetings. However, after giving my speech five times in a row, I felt somewhat exhausted. So I was content that the show was slowly coming to an end, with Klaus wrapping it up, and Richard asking the guests to shift the glass marbles from the bowl to a vase as rough indication of their rating our Final Presentation. So that was the riddle's resolve.

After the big event, we drove back to our gourmet hotel. I quickly changed into trainers, packed my iPod and some cookies, and went down again. Xenia had organised a last surprise event for us, and I was very curious. Outside two small buses were waiting. They took us to one of these special sport halls where the Yetis train their climbing skills, vertically up and down. So this was definitely a surprise for most of us. After putting on ridiculously tight-fitting shoes, I started to climb one wall. After all, I had spent one summer parachuting, so I was not too concerned about the height. It was at the altitude of five meters that I chanced to glance down on Ilja who was holding my safety rope. It seemed a long way to fall already, so I quickly made up my mind to cut this pastime and come back down. While the rest of SHAPE 3 was parading in their tight-fitting shoes and jumping from an Indian totem pole, I teamed up with Ilja at the bar and together we enjoyed the first cool beer of this day. Wonderful. Afterwards I was musing why my reptile brain once enabled me to jump from airplanes, but now disapproved of climbing the excess of five meters. It must be the stupid shoes, I decided.

On Thursday, training continued. After the Final Presentation, however, the energy was gone. There was not much voltage left in SHAPE 3. Everyone felt this. The trainers did their best to bring the programme to a controlled end, inviting us to do some thorough reflection of our ten SHAPE months. I liked this very much, because we remembered and discussed in small teams, and I was interested to hear what my friends were feeling about their SHAPE experience.

I also liked the attempt of the trainers to support our history studies with short film clips played from their laptop. However, this undertaking remained an attempt since the bad stupid laptop did not do as it was expected to perform. But then I did not care too much. My favourite movie clip for this situation would not have been screened, anyway. The trainers did not bring Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with the unsurpassable opening scene (“We were somewhere on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold”). So I strolled over to the buffet to collect a Bavarian roll, while Marie continued to fight with the machine. Then I took some photos of our assembly.

On our last evening, nobody really seemed to be aware that we would split soon. Part of the team went bowling in the basement, the other part lolled in easy chairs in the hotel lounge and told funny stories. Marc was swinging a glass of the hotel's special dark beer. Luis was wandering between the two worlds, talking endlessly on his mobile. I still dreamed of movie clips.

After the last training exercises on Friday, some minutes were reserved for our thanking Klaus for his efforts. He had been the project leader, and much of our success as a team was owed to his work. Marc and Julia delivered a fine speech, and Klaus was given a good bottle of wine. Everybody had chipped in, and Marc had gone and bought it. (I do not know whether the subsequent shock-frosting in Kitzbühel would be any help in improving the quality, but then the gesture was what counted.) Afterwards we also cheered our trainers, and Mrs. Margot as EADS DS HR representative. In a small ceremony, each Shapie was then presented a SHAPE certificate, a yellow book by Fredmund Malik on management tricks, and a glass of champagne. I looked around one last time, taking in my friends. I remembered when I met them for the first time, on this cold and dark evening in March 2005. And I mused how, slowly, trust and even friendship had developed from the initial polite yet distanced attitudes. And how the SHAPE 3 team had actually managed to transform from a norming, through a storming, to a highly performing team, finally succeeding very well in its task. I just thought it felt good.

Then it was over. We went out. I stuffed my laptop, my new book, and the two bags into my car and changed my formal manager coat for my skiing anorak. Slowly, the afternoon sun was sinking. I got into Ilja's car, and we started to Kitzbühel for a night at the dance hall and a day at the ski slopes. Oli was sitting on the rear seat, singing.

Post-SHAPE Event: Meeting our CEO

As already announced just after the Final Presentation event, the CEO of the Defence and Security Systems Division had become interested in the SHAPE 3 team. So, according to the best practices of the Division, a “fireside chat” was set up. During this informal and neighborly talk, the Shapies should present themselves to the boss, and a friendly exchange would then follow. Of course I was very curious to get to know Dr Zoller, the CEO. Besides, there would be a substantial dinner after the fireside talk. So when my friend Marc started to organise the event and called the Shapies together for one last time, I quickly agreed to attend.

The day itself was a typical German late winter day. We had snowstorms until lunch time, but then the clouds cleared and we enjoyed a sunny afternoon. I had to attend meetings in Hallbergmoos with the Eurofighter crazies during the day, but managed to escape just in time to make it to the Munich restaurant which Marc had selected for our convention. Before entering the building, I studied the menu on display in a glass box next to the door. Then I quickly climbed up the stairs.

While I had hoped to see all my friends again, unfortunately some had not managed to fit the fireside talk into their diaries. Anyway, I was very happy to meet most of my German team colleagues again, and also Luis from Spain and Richard from the UK. Together we had a wonderful cold beer while we waited for some 90 minutes, until Dr Zoller finally pulled up outside.

When we started to introduce ourselves and ask questions to our CEO, he was talking back to us individually, giving his thoughts on the individual programmes and undertakings of which the Shapies were part in their “home” Business Units. I was once more impressed by the scope of the business of the Defence and Security Systems Division, and I listened to the man in charge very curiously. And, as I had done already on this Strategy evening in France eight months back, I felt very proud that these thoughts and strategies were being shared with us. It came to me that I liked and appreciated the EADS culture, which made this sharing possible. So at the end of the meeting, my determination to stay in this interesting, colourful, and modern EADS for my whole career life had only grown stronger. And, of course, the healthy Schweinsbraten which had been on the menu had also helped to bring me into this positive mood.

When the CEO had left after dinner, the Shapie club slowly dissolved. Ilja was staying the night in my flat (instead of travelling four hours back to his house near Lake Constance), so we took off and drove home. Unfortunately, we both had to get up early the next day, so we decided to fully tour Munich's night life another time. However, we still went to the student's bar at the end of my street for two beers, joking and talking and remembering and feeling happy.

Concluding, my SHAPE year has been full of new learning and reflecting – cultural differences, team building, change processes, team motivation, self-motivation, dealing with conflicts, leadership in a highly specialized civilian setting, project management, capability maturity models, and much more. I feel grateful for this SHAPE experience, and I want to thank the responsible managers in the EADS DS Division for giving me the opportunity to participate. I am also indebted to my trainers, Salad Sue, Mango Marie, and Stealing Steve, for they have really given everything they could to make SHAPE 3 this successful. With this performance, they really stand out in the trainer world I have gotten to know until now. And most of all, I have to thank my SHAPE friends, with whom I could share all these moments – the warm and pleasant ones as well as the complicated ones. It has not always been easy and smooth, there have been irritations and conflicts and insults and fights. But in the end, we have learned to make the best of this, to let the project and EADS profit from the different attitudes and cultures, and I am happy for this experience. Thank you. I miss you already as I type this, and I always will.