Monheim – Nov. 13, 2019

On November 13, 2019 I gave an hour-long keynote to a group of senior-level people – Germans and Americans – in the Strategy and Portfolio Management organization of a major German company with a very significant presence in the U.S.

The focus of my talk was on leadership. Not in the sense of the over-used buzzword, but instead about the very concrete, specific, day-to-day interaction between hierarchical levels, between team-leads and team-members. Here are the key points:

About John  in five mins.
Magee – an American who has lived and worked in Germany for thirty years – introduces himself to a group of high-level management.

Three Data Points  in three mins.
There are differences between cultures. The differences are in foundational areas. The differences necessarily exert direct and constant influence on collaboration. (Please note: at 41 seconds the audience laughs. Not because of my statement about Germans closing doors to bathrooms. Instead because a door which was behind me was closed by a member of the restaurant staff precisely at that point when I had made the statement about Germans and doors)

Three Steps  in six mins.
First, understand cultural differences. Second, engage in three conversations. Third, discuss and decide on how to collaborte.

Three Good Things  in nine mins.
Three good things happen when Germans and Americans, who are collaborting, understand cultural differences.

On Leadership  in twenty-five mins.
One key difference between the American and the German leaderships logics: Where the two cultures respectively draw the line between strategy and tactics.

Stop. Engage.  in three mins.
Americans and Germans, who are collaborating, need to stop each other whenever they find themselves – individually or as a group – thinking and saying that the other side “has another crazy idea which will never work.”

Our Blind Spot  in three mins.
Most companies operating across borders do not address the deeper-lying cultural differences. It is the single greatest blind spot among global companies.

Because my talk went over the agreed-upon time, I could only take a few questions. I did not record those Q&As. However, I address them on Ask CI  located on CI – – my web-based tool and platform which supports cross-border collaboration between Germans and Americans. They are:

Which culture is more open
“No more meetings!”
The worst of both worlds