What Hans did not know
That was Tuesday evening. The five colleagues met several more times during that week. What Hans did not know, however, was that many of the Americans in the organization asked Maria, Jack and Nancy how the dinner and the other meetings with Hans had gone.
All were curious about Hans, his background, how he thinks. He’s a Senior Vice President with a lot of authority. His influence at senior management levels is very significant. And he’s their boss.
The three Americans gave their impressions. At lunch, on the phone, between meetings, always discreetly. Never by email. The feedback was mixed, from somewhat positive to very negative:
Smart guy. Very open. Enthusiastic. Very opinionated. Always pointing out America’s problems. Critical. An arrogant know-it-all. A real jerk. Avoid any contact with him outside of the workplace!
For those Americans who had similar experiences, what Maria, Jack, and especially Nancy, had to say only reinforced their own negative opinions about Germans.
Word began to spread around the office about Hans. Some of the Americans ignored the gossip. Others became cautious around Hans, and now even around Evelyn. A few decided to do their best to stay clear of him.
Word began to spread around the office about Hans. Unfairly so. How will this affect Hans’ ability to lead the organization? If damage has been done, is anyone on the American side in a position to repair it?