What about regional differences

Question “But wait, what about regional differences within countries?” UC Yes, indeed, there are huge differences! Northern Germany vs. Bavaria. Cologne vs. Eifel. Saxony is not Schwarzwald. New York City vs. Mobile, Alabama. Georgia is not Oregon. San Francisco vs. Nashville. And those differences are especially relevant when you throw … Read more

Who is more open

Question “Which of the two national cultures is more willing to address cultural differences?” UC This is a very sensitive question. Why? First: Often we don’t address cultural differences because we aren’t aware of them. We don’t see them. No one has pointed them out to us. We simply assumed … Read more

No sense of humor

Question “Many people say that Germans don’t have a sense of humor. Is that true or is it a stereotype?” UC Although this question appears to have little to do with the complexities of Americans and Germans collaborating, it is a very serious question. Why? Humor is very important Having … Read more

Formal vs. Informal

Question “What are the potential risks in the different levels of formality in behaviour and communication between German and American business people?“ UC Yes, Germans are more formal than Americans. And yes, there are risks involved if the differences are not recognized, understood, and managed well. Here are three risks (certainly … Read more

Education vs. Experience

Question “After returning to the U.S. after many years of working in the German business context, I was stunned by how immediately I was taken seriously and valued for my extensive experience abroad. In Germany, despite proven work results over six years and my fluent German, I was still regarded … Read more

Can collaboration work

Question “With the many complex and subtle differences between Americans and Germans, can their collaboration even work, or at least work well?” UC Of course their collaboration can work. It works day in and day out. In many companies, large and small. In all disciplines. At all levels. Involving tens … Read more

Arrogance or Hierarchy

Question “Germans seem to have the logic: “I will only respond to my hierarchical counterpart in the U.S. I will not interact directly with members of her/his team.” The Global Key Account Manager for one of my accounts is German. That person will not include me directly in communications even … Read more

Always correcting my German

Question “While learning to speak the German language in their work environment, why does the average German not allow you to finish the sentence before jumping in to correct your grammar or vocabulary? Whereas the average American is very accommodating to allow the foreign learner of English to finish their sentences … Read more

Customer-centric vs. Stand up to customer

Question “Here in U.S. the customer is at the center of what we do. Our German colleagues do not think that way. They actually say: “You need to stand up to the customer re: what they need and how they should buy from us.” Our response: “No, we are customer-centric. … Read more

Please respond faster

Question “How can we ask our German colleagues to respond more quickly without annoying them?” UC Explain to your German colleagues what time looks like in the specific situation. Lay out the cause-and-effect relationships, i.e. if late by this much time, then this happens. Prepare, and inform them about, contingency … Read more