“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

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

Worst of both worlds

Question “Ok, we understand the idea that the overall goal of integration is bringing together the best of both worlds – German approach and American approach. For example, German thoroughness and American speed and flexibility. But how do we react when we find ourselves bringing together the worst of both … Read more

Persuade with processes

Question “I’ve always been baffled by how Germans can attempt to persuade by referring to processes and certificates. That is certainly a cultural issue which even after 14 years I’m not willing to accept.” UC You are baffled. When Germans refer to processes and certificates it does not persuade you. Why … Read more

Help! What can we do?

Question “Germans love processes and procedures and rules. Our American point of view is: “Processes are man-made. We can change them.” Customers in the U.S. find it difficult to do business with us as a German company: “Too inflexible.” We are constantly debating internal business rules. We struggle to get things done. … Read more

Just trust the system

Question “In the U.S. market everything is done in a hurry. Shipments come from Germany. We in the U.S. want to know when the shipment will arrive. Germany: “I did my part, can’t help you.” We have to chase down the shipment. Where is it in the process? Our minds … Read more