Here we go again, Folks, another example of Americans using exaggeration, hyperbole, inflationary terms: amazing.
MerriamWebster defines amazing as: causing astonishment, great wonder, or surprise, as in an amazing story of personal bravery and survival. Two consultants, in the same field, praising each other for being amazing.
“Germans, in general, can often be more direct and straightforward than Americans, and to be honest even after living here for eight years, that directness is still sometimes a little shocking for me, a little bit too much, or even sometimes has made me cry!”
A comment: “Just your example about some shop assistent telling you that the piece of clothing does not fit you at all: I’m always more suspicious about a shop assistent telling me how good it fits keeping in mind he or she just wants their merchandise sold. So I tend more to appreciate an honest, though maybe direct answer.”
Another comment: “I’m always irritated how well the Americans can hide the truth of what they are thinking behind compliments and smiles. In Germany If you are getting an honest critique, then the person likes you, thinks said critique can improve you and is interested that you do better. So its a good thing 😉 “
Oh, here’s a good one: “As a German, i feel like lying when i am asked about my opinion and i would try to let it sound “nicer”. Everyone is honest and tells what they think about everything. I tried for a while the way that is used in the staates and i gat really that awfull feeling of lying and i konstantly had to think about how i say things and not what i like to say.
In my opinion germans are just used to that honesty and fee unconfortable to alter the opinion just to sound nicer. The other way around, when i meet people from the staates, i have allways that feeling they are sneaky and false, they try to hide their thoughts behind words. I was never sure how they really are and think.”
The absence of criticism can be taken as praise in Germany, Courtney Tenz learned the hard way. On Compliment Day she explains why she misses “superficial” American compliments, but appreciates the German approach.
“Though it has taken me more than a decade, I have finally come to terms with the fact that in Germany, I won’t be complimented on everything I do and when — if — I garner attention for praise, it will likely be more sincere than anything I’d have heard in the US. Like the one a young girl recently gave me after I visited the beauty salon: “You look much better now that your gray hair is gone.”
LinkedIn. We all use it. It’s American. 316 profile views. In what time-frame? Is that great? Based on what? Compared to whom? Who is doing the viewing?
And your “accomplishments are being recognized.” The word accomplishment is a big one. MerriamWebser defines it like this:
“The act or fact of accomplishing something; completion – accomplishment of a goal; a feeling of accomplishment; something that has been accomplished; achievement; her family is proud of her academic accomplishments; an impressive accomplishment.”
“I started working for a German company a few years ago and was immediately excited to find that they had a culture of frequent feedback.
As the weeks went on, the feedback kept on coming. Very quickly, I began to see a pattern; it was almost entirely negative. All delivered amazingly well, with examples of how I’d fucked up alongside helpful guidance on how I might want to improve.
The onslaught continued; it was relentless. It became apparent to me that there was very little chance of me passing my probation period if this continued. So I buckled down, pushed myself to breaking point and put in those extra hours to save my job. But still, it kept continuing critical feedback, after critical feedback.
For the first time in my career, I was going to fail my probation period. There was no point in getting feedback on how I improve the situation. I was getting it daily. I was just shit.
So finally, my final probation review came around. Everything was excellent; the company was super happy with my progress and delivery. I passed my probation period with flying colours. But it had broken me. I was fried and burnt out.”
“I have recently started working in an entirely new industry, leading a small team. Shortly after joining, my team’s scope changed to a new problem space.
Again, this company had an active feedback culture and processes. Constant feedback was given to the team every two weeks from leadership. As we built the team and worked out how we were going to achieve our new goals, we got feedback all the time. And it was always positive.
This didn’t play well for me. I knew that there was no way that we could be that good, we were a team with little experience in what we were doing, how could we be doing that well? There must be areas for improvement.
As this continued, positive feedback began to feel more and more empty. I went hunting for critical feedback. Unfortunately, this manifested in me trying to find critical input for the team bellow me. I became overly focused on trying to find areas for improvement in the team.
The problem came to a head when one of my team said ‘I only get negative feedback from you, and I don’t know what to do about it.’ I was so focused on finding the negative areas that we could improve on, and I had not given any support for improvement. I had also failed to celebrate the positive.”
An American woman. About how her German husband is deflationary with scores. And how she is inflationary. Can’t separate the two.
Now this woman is a youtuber. And an American on top. So, she is more than a bit animated. And frankly, she could have made her points in about two minutes instead of seven and a half. But wait, it’s YouTube. And not a webinar.
Daylong torrential downpours in the western part of Germany during the third week of July in 2021 led to catastophes in several town. Homes were destroyed. Automobiles swept through the streets. Dozens were killed. Either unwilling to evacuate their homes as or doing so too late.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, on her final trip to Washington as head of the German government, during the official press conference with President Joe Biden, consoled the German population with guarantees of federal assistance.
Armin Laschet, the Premier (governor) of the State of Northrhine-Westphalia, and the chancellor-candidate of the governing party Christian Democrats (think Adenauer, Kohl, Merkel) in the September elections, was on-site in the town ravaged by the flooding.
Malu Dreyer, the Premier of the State Rheinland-Palatinate, of the SPD (Social Democrats), was also on the scene in the hard-hit town of her state. They, and the mayors of the towns, were interviewed extensively.
Interestingly, from the American perspective, none of these leaders – federal, state, local – gave the kinds of words of encouragement and motivation that their American counterparts would have given, and routinely give in such situations.
An American would expect: “Folks, this is a catastrophe. This is aweful. But you know what? We’re Germans. We know how to handle these kinds of situations. It was not long ago that we had to pick up the pieces after the Second World War. It took decades. We can do this ! We will do this ! Because we’re Germans. We know how to do this. So let’s get to work !”
Berlin, 1936, the Olympic Games. The great American track and field athlete, Jesse Owens, wins the gold medal in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, the 4×100 meter dash, as well as in the long jump.
What many people don’t know, however, is that the silver medalist in the long jump, the German Carl Ludwig “Lutz” Long, had given Owens the kind of advice that only a true colleague, and friend, would give.
Going into the 1936 games Long had been the reigning German champion and holder of the European record. The Nazi hierarchy – and the German people – had anticipated gold for Germany.
In the qualification round Owens had fouled twice in a row by stepping on the white board delineating the jump-off point. A third foul would have disqualified him. Jesse Owens would have failed to advance to the final round. The crowd, the millions listening by radio, and especially Owens himself, were unsettled.
After that second fault, Lutz Long walked over to his competitor and advised him to simply imagine the foul line to be located one foot closer than it actually was, saying that he just had to avoid fouling a third time, and that his third jump would easily be enough to advance to the next round.
Some sources claim that Long went so far as to lay down his white towel marketing where Owens should leap from, ensuring that he would not foul a third time.
Jesse Owens took the advice given to him by that German, advancing to the final round, and then setting a record which would hold for decades. Lutz Long took the silver.
Immediately after the medal ceremony, when Owens and Long stepped off the podium – and in full view of Adolf Hitler and many of the highest ranking National Socialist officials – Lutz Long, the German, smiled, shook hands with Owens, then hooked Jesse’s right arm into his left and proceeded to walk with him around the track, smiling, talking, congratulating.
1936. Tensions in Europe were very high. The German regime was espousing a crude racial theory. And in the United States, an African-American like Jesse Owens was treated as a second-class citizen, at best. With the world watching, and in conscious defiance of his own government, Lutz Long, a German, reached out to his archrival to give a small bit of helpful advice. Unsolicited.
Postscript: After the 1936 Olympic Games Jesse Owens was celebrated triumphantly in the U.S., only then to be forgotten for two decades, and to struggle financially, until the 1950s brought him a presidential appointment as American Ambassador of Goodwill by Dwight Eisenhower, and with it lucrative celebrity endorsements as well as a long, healthy, happy life.
Lutz Long, his German friend, died in battle against the Western Allies in Italy at the age of thirty. Fast forward the video above to 1:38 mins:
“You could melt down all of the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating for the twenty-four carat friendship I felt for Lutz Long at that moment.” Jesse Owens
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