“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

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

Criticism of America

Question “On what level is it socially accepted to voice concerns or criticism of America?“ UC „Within the family“ criticism of America and/or of Americans, understood as internal debate about what America is and should become, is as old as the country itself. In fact, a democracy as vibrant as … Read more

Can collaboration work

Question “With the many complex and subtle differences between Americans and Germans, can their collaboration even work, or at least work well?” UC Of course their collaboration can work. It works day in and day out. In many companies, large and small. In all disciplines. At all levels. Involving tens … Read more

Best country in the world

Question „Americans believe that they live in the best country in the world. To what degree are Americans self-critical?“ UC Americans identify with their country personally. In a way they believe that if America is good, they are good. If bad, they are bad. If strong, they are strong. If … Read more

Americans are superficial

Question “Oberflächlichkeit – superficiality – is one of the main stereotypes Germans have about Americans. Are Americans aware of it, and where does the stereotype come from?” UC MerriamWebster online defines the term stereotype as: to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same. American … Read more

Americans and History

Question „How do Americans understand history? Are they aware that there is a difference between what actually happened and what is written in the history books?“ UC This is a question of seriousness and gravity. It goes to the heart of how a people understands itself and others. Although a … Read more

Customer-centric vs. Stand up to customer

Question “Here in U.S. the customer is at the center of what we do. Our German colleagues do not think that way. They actually say: “You need to stand up to the customer re: what they need and how they should buy from us.” Our response: “No, we are customer-centric. … 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