No Surprises

No Surprises

Germans like to receive nicely wrapped presents. At the same time they are no fans of surprises. Not even at Christmas or on birthdays. On the contrary, they really do prefer to know in advance what is in the package.

They do their research before they make even everyday purchases. Which product is the right one? Have they had any negative experiences with it? What are the alternatives? How much more or less expensive is the alternative?

This is why the German consumer often asks the salesperson if the product can be returned. They seldom feel sure that what they buy is exactly what they need.

Germans, for example, never plan a vacation without doing intensive research, unless of course they are returning to a well-known destination, which many of them do in order to reduce the risk of disappointment.

85 billion Euros a year, that is the amount German spend on travel – the highest in the world. Nonetheless, they most likely do the most research before deciding. Numerous websites are looked at, comments good and bad are read critically, photos from the vacation destinations compared, maps surveyed, travel guides studied carefully, friends and acquaintances asked.

Then finally the decision is made, the trip is booked. The research has just begun, however. What‘s the use of booking a trip if you don’t plan well what you‘ll do during it? Climate. Transportation. Sightseeing. Shopping. Shop hours. Restaurants and prices. Day-trips. Health care should anyone get sick or injured.

Front loading.

Just the facts, Ma’am

The term iteration has become common within American companies: To communicate several or many times, back and forth, between two or more parties, in which information is exchanged, decisions made, activities (action items or more called simply actions) agreed to.

Merriam-Webster online defines iteration as a procedure in which repetition of a sequence of operations yields results successively closer to a desired result.

Americans iterate, some intensely so. It allows them to maintain flexibility, to ensure information flow, to discriminate between what is important and unimportant, to reduce risk. Like any strength, however, it can be inflationary: Too much communication, too little action.

Instead of front-loading an agreement with in-depth discussion about the details, Americans iterate.

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