We live and work in the so-called Information Age. How information is generated, analyzed, and shared is critical to success. The success of individual teams, organizations, and entire companies. But wait. There are differences in how Germans and Americans fundamentally handle information.
Information as Power
Americans believe that information is of value only to the extent that it can be converted into action. In the United States knowing and doing always beats just knowing.
Get vs. Give
The German term which describes the American logic is Bringschuld: Bring from bringen, to get; Schuld means debt. Bringschuld means give-debt or give-obligation. In the U.S. if a colleague has information important to your work that person is obligated to provide that information.
Americans make less of a distinction between their core team and teams in ever wider organisational concentric circles. They believe that information fundamentally belongs to the entire company.
Role in Teamwork
In American teams information is the lifeblood of communication. Any breakdown in information flow means a breakdown in communication. And that quickly becomes a threat to the team’s overall success.