“Be careful” … “Take the leap”

German Approach
Germans believe that an intelligent and correct decision, in line with the essence of the situation, both farsighted and aimed towards the future, is a decision which provides continuity, ensures quality and minimizes risk.

American Approach
Because no analysis can be 100% exact, Americans are willing to take risks, as long as corrective measures are possible.

German View
Because their American colleagues are willing to take unwarranted risk, Germans feel the responsibility to apply stringency and methodology.

American View
Americans find the Germans to be overly risk-averse. Decisions are made too late, too carefully, via an overly complicated process. Forward momentum is lost. Opportunities are missed.

Advice to Germans
Your ability to analyze is strong. You strive for objectivity. But what about your Bauchgefühl, your gut feeling, your intuition? Trust it or at least take it into consideration along with your objective analysis. Be willing to take a little more risk. There is no such thing as a perfect decision. Every decision, if made in a timely manner, can be revised.

Advice to Americans
You know that your German colleagues anticipate, calculate and react to risk in ways different than you do. It is imperative that you engage in a discussion with them about the positive and negative impact of a given decision. Quantify (measurables) and qualify (non-measurables) the down-sides as well as the up-sides. Anticipate your assessments being askew: German focus more on what can go wrong; American focus on what can go right. Prepare convincing and detailed arguments for why your assessment is realistic, fact-based. It is fine to rely to some degree on intuition, but be sure that you can explain the concrete experience behind that „gut feeling.“

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