This article was originally authored by Helen Tian.


/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/dieter_932479.jpegDieter Kaufhold, the SAPer with German roots deeply planted into a life in China for the last 10 years, has been a paraglider for even longer.

Face the challenge

There are reasons why Dieter lives in China for so long – as much as there are reasons why he is a paraglider for an even longer time: “I love challenges – and I enjoy facing them in my work-life as much as in my private life. The decision to move to Shanghai 10 years ago wasn’t an easy one – being taken out of the comfort of a well-established life in a well-known environment, starting a life that had to be learnt living again.”

“The same is true for paragliding as well – whenever I start into the air and my feet have lost the (secure) ground, a lot of uncertainty wants to be dealt with: where is it safe to fly – how can I stay in the air, how far can I get, where will I be able to land again?”

Facing such challenges is an experience that shapes characters – it needs full focus to master these challenges successfully.

Engage in the community

When Dieter arrived in China 10 years ago, a lot was new to him. He didn’t have much friends in the country – yet. Having this hobby and being so dedicated to continue being a paraglider even in Shanghai made things much easier to him since he found out that there is an international community of paraglider existing in Shanghai:

“It was amazing – almost like a homecoming experience – when I met other paraglider who have organized regular get together in downtown Shanghai. I became part of it right away – and it didn’t take long until I was airborne again. Chances to go flying exist everywhere – you just need some hills high enough to allow a safe take-off. We found them in Fuyang, at the Hangzhou ringroad – just 2 hours out of Shanghai. By now I have been flying in various locations in China, including the all-time highlight of flying my own paraglider over the Great Wall of China, an experience I will never forget.”

Finding inner peace

Asked about the reason, why Dieter has chosen for paragliding to be his hobby, Dieter starts smiling, pondering over this question:

“Well, you need to know, that I am actually scared of heights. So whenever I go flying I am very anxious to pay full attention to my own safety to encourage myself and overcome my fears. Being in the air, sitting comfortably in the harness that connects the pilot with the paraglider itself, I don’t have a single second that I could divide my attention into any other topics when being fully focused – on flying my paraglider. Focused on making sure that I stay safe, but also on enjoying the moment of flying like a bird – in absolute (inner) peace.”

(Only) The sky is the limit


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Reflecting on his life in China, Dieter is well aware that this has brought him to his own limits – of dealing with an overwhelming amount of different impressions, cultural differences, needs for adaptions that all did hit at the same time. But it has opened his horizon as well:

“Being a paraglider and being a SAP employee actually is quite comparable – at least for me: Both is giving me a lot – the more I invest into it, the better, the more secure I feel. There are challenges on the way, which look like I couldn’t manage at all. Actually that is not true – taking it step by step has made me overcome every challenge in life, in my job and in becoming an experienced paraglider.  Whenever you are floating in the air – not quite sure where the wind will take you, you might get a little scared and uncertain about the decision you made – but as soon as you land safely again you feel the almost overwhelming realization that you made it happen again and that it was worth it all the way through.”

And that’s true not only for paragliding…


Dieter, located in Shanghai, is member of a global team, the SAP Productivity Consulting Group, a team of experienced consultants, mandated to drive simplicity across all Lines of Business at SAP. He is dedicated to enable our organizations to run better and to run simple.

Equipped with such mandate he considers it his responsibility to challenge complexity wherever he sees it. If you can think of any area of complexity in your daily work and would like to discuss ways to eliminating these, he will be more than happy if you reach out to him.

To arrive at such a high sophisticated job, Dieter looks back on quite a history of different assignments – helping him a lot to arrive where he is today. His hobby – paragliding – had been with him all the way through, and plays quite an important role in making all of this work.

Three things you don’t know about Dieter:

Dream: I’d like to be able to fly – without a wing

Next destination: Japan for the Sakura blooming in April

Longest flight: 12 hours in a Boeing 777 that took me to New Zealand



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