Karl speaks fluent English, but is aware of his inability to decode the nuances communicated in American English. Like his colleague, Roger, he prepared his presentation carefully.
Karl wanted to get right the sequence of topics and their structure. And he focused on striking the right balance between depth and breadth. Karl aimed at ninety minutes of presentation and thirty of Q&A on clarification questions.
Like Roger, Karl asked his direct reports for input on their areas of specialty: product management, process harmonization, personnel, the marketing-manufacturing interface, and sales. In addition he spoke to a colleague in finance.
Karl’s intention was to provide a detailed and comprehensive picture of the facts and their correlations. Twenty slides per topic should be enough. Wanting to cover as much territory as possible, he saw no need in preparing all too many backup slides. After reviews from colleagues, as well as from his next-level manager, his presentation was good to go.
On the German side of the organization there was also much apprehension. Whose product line would get the lead? Which set of standards would be chosen? Would German engineers have to work for an American boss? And what about quality? How would that be maintained? And the R&D budgets?
The rumor mill on the German side also spoke of mixed results of the integration thusfar. Some merger initiatives were progressing positively. Most of the others not so well.
Not a small amount of Germans thought the merger was unnecessary, a pipe dream thought up by their managing board and their over-priced strategy consultants. The term synergy made them particularly nervous, which for them signaled headcount reduction.
How will Karl’s presentation go? Will the Americans react positively, negatively or mixed?