Think first. Then act.

Germans often have the impression that their American colleagues gather too little information before making a decision. Valuable information sources are not tapped into. Comparisons are made “on thin ice.” Early indications based on subjective sources are not questioned critically.

All these reservations go against the German belief in erst denken, dann handeln – think first, then act. For richtig denken – literally right or correct thinking, in the German context means holding down (controlling) the natural impulse to act until the situation has been analyzed and the consequences of actions thought through.

It should be of no surprise, therefore, that Germans often see American analysis as insuffiently stringent. They see a narrow and incomplete focus on only certain aspects of the decision to be made. They fear that the Americans overestimate their ability to do a sauber – clean analysis.

This is underlined by what the Germans believe is an American tendancy to take subjective information too strongly into consideration. They are surprised when their counterparts do not use those tools and standards which have proven to be successful.

In the end Germans see their Americans colleagues as too pragmatic, too inaxact. Insufficient results are accepted too quickly. This is very difficult for Germans to accept as a people which places so much emphasis on avoiding errors via accepted tools and standards, errors which could be the source of a Systemzusammenbruch – literally system collapse. Germans see themselves sliding into danger which can only be stopped through analysis performed twice or even three times over.