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UC was created by John Otto Magee.

Why? So that you and your colleagues better understand each other. At the deeper level of national culture. So that you succeed. Together. As brothers and sisters.

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On LinkedIn connect with me.

Or simply send me an email:
john.magee@understand-culture.com

Germany: de es fr it us
USA: de es fr it us

Specific to the topic you have selected go to Respond and respond to the survey, case study, story and topic questions. Then read and reflect on the responses. You can segment them by nationality. Look for the patterns in thinking.

Unlike in Questions only your responses will appear. Without your name or photo. This enables you to more quickly read, reflect, and recognize patterns in thought.

You work internationally. Interacting with different cultures. This space is for you. To deepen your understanding. So that those interactions work. Warning

Business is culture.
We explain cultures.
Then contrast them.

John started out explaining cultural differences to Germans and Americans. Management liked his work. “John, can you help us to integrate cross-Atlantic teams?” He developed a pragmatic approach. It worked.  “John, can you also do that for multinational teams?” John modified that approach. It worked, too.

We serve you and your colleagues. Working in cross-border teams. We need your feedback. In order to get better. Please send to: member-feedback@john-magee

The Third Explanation

What happens when collaboration doesn’t work? Typically we have one of two explanations. Colleagues from the other culture are either incapable or unwilling. Sometimes we believe it’s both. Seldom does it occur to us that it could be neither, that our colleagues from the other culture are both capable and willing.

And that should lead us to a third explanation, an explanation which is the most probable: that cultures think and work differently. Different cultures, different approaches. It’s that simple. That’s the third explanation, the real cause, most of the time.

Frankly, we shouldn’t be surprised. If we aren’t aware of cultural differences, if we assume that “people are people, engineering is engineering, we all speak English”, no one will think of the third explanation.

And that’s what we at understand-culture are all about. We provide the third explanation. Your colleagues in the other countries are capable. And those colleagues are willing. They, too, have bills to pay. They simply think differently, therefore work differently.

Hard vs. Soft Factors

We all know the difference between hard factors and soft factors. Hard factors can be observed, defined, and most importantly quantified. Soft factors, in contrast, are difficult to observe, difficult to define and difficult to quantify. Everyone likes hard factors more than soft factors. And that is quite understandable.

But, what about national culture? Let’s think about it. Have you ever tried to change how Germans define quality? How Americans fundamentally persuade? How Germans set up complex work processes? How Americans establish and deepen business relationships?

Culture is our self-understanding, our self-definition, it is deeply-rooted, not easy to change. National culture is hard. Hard in the deeper, truer sense of the word: complex, not quantifiable, difficult to describe, difficult to manage, and very difficult to change. Culture is not soft, culture is hard. In fact, culture is the hardest of the hard factors in the global economy.

John helps

Q&A

By responding to their specific questions. Teams discuss and formulate their questions, then send them to me. I prepare. We meet and discuss per Zoom.

Topic Talks

By going deeper on specific topics. Currently we have ten. Teams choose those topics especially critical to their success. We meet and discuss per Zoom.

Coaching

By working individually with senior-level management. We tailor the program to the specific needs of the executive. Then proceed in breadth and depth.

Germans and Americans.
Complex working relationship.
Because they think differently.

Deutsche und Amerikaner.
Keine einfache Arbeitsbeziehung.
Weil sie unterschiedlich denken.

World’s fourth-largest economy.
With only eighty million people.

Die viertgrößte Volkwirtschaft.
Nur achtig Millionen Einwohner.

Unlike in Questions only your responses will appear. Without your name or photo. This enables you to more quickly recognize the patterns in thought.

We’re constantly adding examples to the patterns. If any cross your mind, please feel free to send them to us at: examples@understand-culture.com

Contrasts

We contrast cultures by addressing three questions: Where do we differ in how we think, therefore in how we work? What influence do these differences have on our collaboration? How can we get the differences to work for, not against, us? Contrasts 

Questions

We enable colleagues to help each other. To submit and to respond to questions. Not a low-value chatroom. Instead specific, concrete, practical. Where members can gain deeper insight. About how culture influences collaboration. Questions

Exercises

We provide exercises. These are real-world situations. So that colleagues can apply to their work what they have come to understand at a deeper level. As colleagues. Together. It’s their collaboration. They decide how best to work with each other. Exercises

Research

We identify, describe, and contrast how cultures think and work. By answering the three key questions stated above. Research is our core strength. We strive to get to the truth. By doing our homework. With care, diligence, and respect. Research

Our Terms. Your Privacy.

Member-Feedback is key.

Questions and Exercises

The Questions and Exercises sections are experimental. And they are for free. When you join UC you are paying for access to our core content: Countries, Contrasts, Patterns. We reserve the right to remove Questions and/or Exercises.

Contract Research

Tell us which countries are key to your success. We do the research. Then upload the content. Countries. Contrasts. Patterns. Discussions. Exercises. Research

Corporate Sponsors

Colleagues in cross-border teams use UC. It’s integral to their success. We want you to sponsor our work. Out of your company’s own self-interest. Sponsors

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Member Donations

People are good. Be nice to them. They will be nice to you. We help you and your colleagues to understand each other. Please help us to help you. Donations