Arrogance or Hierarchy

Question “Germans seem to have the logic: “I will only respond to my hierarchical counterpart in the U.S. I will not interact directly with members of her/his team.” The Global Key Account Manager for one of my accounts is German. That person will not include me directly in communications even … Read more

Roles & Responsibilities

Question “Although I have worked with German colleagues for 15+ years in a global context, I still see the strong push from them to clearly define roles and responsibilities. This occurs with people who have already established trust and confidence in working together, as well as with new colleagues, and … Read more

Macro vs. Micro Goals

Question “I find my German counterpart likes to break down tasks into micro goals. I tend to keep macro goals in view but not bother recording the steps along the way. Is this cultural or just us?” UC Yours is a question I have never been asked. Nor have I … Read more

Consensus vs. Top-Down

Question “As a practical matter, how does German consensus-style decision making differ from the American top-down approach? Is it more efficient? Does it produce better results? Is it easier to implement because of the buy-in of all the parties? Can these factors even be measured?“ UC Well, you can’t get … Read more

No more meetings!

Question “Our two companies were merged about a year ago. Post-merger integration has been completed. Recently we have begun experiencing cultural problems. More and more often our American colleagues refuse to participate in meetings. They simply say ‘No more meetings!’ We don’t know how to react. What should we do?” … Read more

Why are we here?

Question “Headquarters in Germany wants us to run our business, but they don’t empower us to do so. Frustration in the U.S. is significant: ‘Why am I in this team if our German colleagues are always negative about new ideas we propose?’ We Americans collaborate differently than Germans. When tasked with … Read more

Let go of some control

Question “There are a lot of benefits to doing product development regionally. But our colleagues in Germany are not open to that.” Nothing is made in U.S. We buy internally from Asia or Europe. Why? The German fear of letting go. We had no other choice but to find a … Read more