Did you get my email?

Question “Email is our main form of communication. Between us in the United States and our colleagues in Germany. And for the most part it works. However, it is very common for our German colleagues to not acknowledge that they have received an email from us. We don’t understand this. … Read more

“That doesn’t work here!”

Question “Our German colleagues at headquarters in Germany push their processes on us. We try to make clear to them that the processes need to be modified for our situation here in the U.S., but they simply don’t listen. Why can’t they see things from our perspective?” UC This is … Read more

“Germans are bureaucratic”

Question “We often hear that Germans are very bureaucratic. Is that true?” UC It just happened. Today. Beginning of March 2021. It’s funny. I made a phone call to the Finanzamt here in Bonn. The tax authority. I had made a request a week or so ago, and was following … Read more

German angels. What?

Question “I like my German colleagues. They are intelligent, focused, hard-working. But sometimes they can really get in your face. I experience, and observe, that they give other colleagues advice, whether it was asked for or not. I find this rather annoying, at times even arrogant. Why do they do … Read more

Not root cause

Question “But isn’t it true that sometimes intercultural differences are not the root cause of problems in collaboration?” UC Yes, it’s true that cultural differences are not always the root cause of problems. Often it is the fight over power and influence. Often it is simply personality differences. And often … Read more

What about regional differences

Question “But wait, what about regional differences within countries?” UC Yes, indeed, there are huge differences! Northern Germany vs. Bavaria. Cologne vs. Eifel. Saxony is not Schwarzwald. New York City vs. Mobile, Alabama. Georgia is not Oregon. San Francisco vs. Nashville. And those differences are especially relevant when you throw … Read more

Who is more open

Question “Which of the two national cultures is more willing to address cultural differences?” UC This is a very sensitive question. Why? First: Often we don’t address cultural differences because we aren’t aware of them. We don’t see them. No one has pointed them out to us. We simply assumed … Read more

No sense of humor

Question “Many people say that Germans don’t have a sense of humor. Is that true or is it a stereotype?” UC Although this question appears to have little to do with the complexities of Americans and Germans collaborating, it is a very serious question. Why? Humor is very important Having … Read more

Formal vs. Informal

Question “What are the potential risks in the different levels of formality in behaviour and communication between German and American business people?“ UC Yes, Germans are more formal than Americans. And yes, there are risks involved if the differences are not recognized, understood, and managed well. Here are three risks (certainly … Read more

Education vs. Experience

Question “After returning to the U.S. after many years of working in the German business context, I was stunned by how immediately I was taken seriously and valued for my extensive experience abroad. In Germany, despite proven work results over six years and my fluent German, I was still regarded … Read more