How John thinks

Germany – October 2021

Kelvion is a mid-sized German company with 5,000 employees and about 800 million Euro revenues. John was invited to speak to their Top 100 managers at their yearly leadership conference.

Excellence Talks

John did a series of four interviews with Dr. Christian Forstner, co-founder of Excellence Talks. A Ph.D. physicist, Christian is a former Head of Excellence at Siemens Energy. He consults global companies in all regions of the world.

Berlin 2020 and Düsseldorf 2019

Acuris hosted a two-day M&A MergerMarket Forum in Düsseldorf in March of 2019 and then in October of 2020 virtually in Berlin. Catherine Ford, Editor-at-Large, led the interviews.

Cologne – November 2019

On November 13, 2019 John Magee gave an hour-long keynote to a group of senior-level people – Germans and Americans – in the Strategy and Portfolio Management organization of a major German company with a very significant presence in the U.S.

The focus of his talk was on leadership. Not in the sense of the over-used buzzword, but instead about the very concrete, specific, day-to-day interaction between hierarchical levels, between team-leads and team-members. Here are the key points:

About John

Magee – an American who has lived and worked in Germany for thirty years – introduces himself to a group of high-level management.

Three Data Points 

There are differences between cultures. The differences are in foundational areas. The differences necessarily exert direct and constant influence on collaboration.

Please note: at 41 seconds the audience laughs. Not because of John’s statement about Germans closing doors to bathrooms. Instead because a door which was behind John was closed by a member of the restaurant staff precisely at that point when he had made the statement about Germans and doors.

Three Steps 

First, understand cultural differences. Second, engage in three conversations. Third, discuss and decide on how to collaborate.

Three Good Things

Three good things happen when Germans and Americans, who are collaborting, understand cultural differences.

On Leadership 

One key difference between the American and the German leaderships logics: Where the two cultures respectively draw the line between strategy and tactics.

Stop. Engage. 

Americans and Germans, who are collaborating, need to stop each other whenever they find themselves – individually or as a group – thinking and saying that the other side “has another crazy idea which will never work.”

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