Rat, Rathaus, Vorrat

By John Magee

Rat (council, advice). Rathaus (town council building). Beraten (to advise). Hausrat (household goods). Vorrat (stocked goods). Gerät (tools, implements). All of these German words are oriented on being prepared. They are careful, anticipating, in a way defensive, cautious.

German suppliers, vendors, consultants are first and foremostly protective. They aim to minimize the downside, the risks. They anticipate mistakes and dangers. My German clients always want to test me and my work before agreeing to larger-scale projects. I understand this. Americans proceed step-by-step, also.

Helpful advice

Several of them have become friends, some even close friends. They talk about the complexities and challenges they face. We discuss my business model. They‘re Germans, so they give me advice whether I ask for it or not. It is implicit in our relationship. And their advice is always helpful.

„Herr Magee, don‘t move too fast with your German clients, especially the new ones. They will be careful and cautious. They want to avoid making mistakes. That‘s your job, to help them work across the Atlantic.“ My German friends remind me that Germans want first to avoid the pitfalls, before they consider how to take large steps forward.

Rat, Rathaus, Vorrat