Game Day in Germany
The presentation to the company board, as well as the meetings thereafter with engineering, quality, sales/marketing, and commercial did not go well, in some cases they went very poorly. By noon of their second day they were quite unsettled, not knowing what had gone wrong. They even began to suspect that the Germans were against the project just because it originated in the U.S.
As they had in the U.S., they worked day and night, responding to the questions they had not anticipated. Mark and his team reached out to all possible supporters in the key disciplines, and on both sides of the Atlantic. And although their German colleagues listened patiently and sincerely, none felt comfortable with committing in any way.
By the time Thursday had rolled around, Mark and his team were physically and emotionally exhausted. They had presented, discussed, debated with more people and groups than they could count. Every meeting seemed to be a battle. Argument, counter-argument. Facts, counter-facts. Experiences, counter-experiences.
Their flight was scheduled for Friday morning from Frankfurt. They had had no time to do any sight-seeing, something the Germans always encouraged their Americans colleagues to do. Only a few meetings were scheduled for Thursday, and with folks who were not influential in terms of the project.
At breakfast Mark asked his colleagues for their assessment. Did the project have a chance? The team put their prospects at fifty-fifty. They could not have been more disappointed, dejected, almost despondent.
Friday late morning Mark and his team flew back to the U.S. They knew that their meetings and presentations were going to be difficult. But, they had underestimated just how difficult. They felt defeated. Did the project have a chance?
The answer came two weeks later. Their German board thanked them for a motivating, and at times very interesting, presentation. They saw many positive aspects. The proposed project, however, would be not be funded.
Mark and his American colleagues got hammered. By the Germans. In Germany. What went wrong?