German Approach

Germans believe strongly in planning. A good plan provides structure. It maintains cohesion and stability. A good plan is essential to achieving results.


American Approach

For Americans a plan is an approach, a way to proceed. A good plan guides people who are collaborating. A plan keeps them on a path towards a target.


German View

Americans don’t truly understand the purpose of a plan, it’s deeper meaning. They take a pragmatic approach to planning. Americans often treat plans like they’re no more than guidelines.

American View

Germans can come across as obsessed with planning and with plans. They believe that a good plan guarantees success. As if the plan were more important than the work itself.

Advice to Germans

If you’re collaborating with Americans anticipate their very pragmatic approach. It will appear that they don’t respect planning. It’s not the case.

Take the time to explain to your American colleagues your fundamental understanding of planning. Yes, your planning philosophy. Spell it out to them. And be sure to ask them to explain to you their approach to planning.

Advice to Americans

Germany is the fourth-largest economy on the planet. And with a population of only about 85 million. German planning works. There can be no doubt about that.

Germans take planning very seriously. Because of how they define its purposes. Make the effort to understand their thinking. And help them to understand your American thinking.