Macro vs. Micro Goals

Question

“I find my German counterpart likes to break down tasks into micro goals. I tend to keep macro goals in view but not bother recording the steps along the way. Is this cultural or just us?”

UC

Yours is a question I have never been asked. Nor have I done any thinking about micro and macro goals, and whether there is a cultural difference between Americans and Germans. Let me take a spontaneous stab at it anyway:

It is actually one of the great American strengths to take complexity and break it down into its component parts, in order to focus on the essential, and to not waste time on the non-essential. Of course, what is essential and non-essential is in the eye of the beholder.

In contrast, it is one of the great German strengths to see – understand, grasp, penetrate – the specific as a part of the general … the particular as a part of the system. Germans instinctively look for the connections, interdependence, mutual influences among particulars.

Your German counterpart appears to break down complexity into its component parts, whereas you focus on the overall.

However, it could be that she/he has already gotten the overview, and is now addressing the particulars, the most important among them.

Can you be more specific about “my German counterpart likes to break down tasks into micro goals” … and about “I tend to keep macro goals in view but not bother recording the steps along the way”?

I don’t want to split hairs, but how do you distinguish between a task and a goal?

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