Mean

An uncut scene from Bridesmaids where Kristen Wiig and the teenager argue in the jewelry store. This is improv at its best! Who says Americans can get in each other’s face?

YouTube comments:

“This girl was only 14 when she held her own with a professional comedian for 10 minutes.”

“Kristen Wiig is an absolute improv genius and not afraid to set herself up as the punching bag for the little girl.”

“They clearly were having way too much fun with this scene. Mia starts to smile too much because it’s such a joy to go so unhinged on somebody. The director probably said to go in there and completely go off on her but don’t overlap lines so we can edit. The editors probably had too much fun with this scene too. Can you blame any of them?”

“Props to Kristen but that girl annihilated her.”

80% self-censor

7 April 2022. New York Times:

“There is now little doubt that students frequently bite their tongues because they feel unsafe. A 2021 survey of more than 37,000 college students — by far the largest on free expression to date — found that more than 80 percent of students censor their own viewpoints at least some of the time, while roughly one in five students regularly do so. Meanwhile, only 40 percent of students say that they are comfortable openly disagreeing with their professors.”

Yes, hypersensitivity on American university campuses is well-known. What does this have to do with communication and feedback within American companies? Everything. Political correctness, like it or dislike it, has been a growing force in the United States for several decades.

You’re amazing !

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.

Jeff Bezos Is Getting Astronaut Wings

Starting in January, space tourists will not receive a participation trophy for flying to space. But everyone will be on the honor roll.

The changes will help the F.A.A. avoid the potentially awkward position of proclaiming that some space tourists are only passengers, not astronauts.

The advent of space tourism, and especially the F.A.A.’s new rules, sparked debate over who can be called an astronaut.

But future space tourists should not despair a lack of post-flight flair. Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and SpaceX have each presented paying and guest passengers with custom-designed wings.

Adults. With a lot of money. Go on a space flight. As passengers. Then want to be called astronauts. What?

Still too direct

“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.”

Why Germans don’t give compliments

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.”

Looking great

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.”

316. Great. Really?

An American in Berlin

German Feedback

“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.”

Feedback: Be a little German, Be a little American.

American Feedback

“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.”

Mr. German Man is deflationary

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.

Begin watching at minute 4:00.

July 2021 – Massive Flooding

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 !”