Underpraise vs. Overpraise

This article appeared in Handelsblatt Today on January 31, 2019. See all articles here. Whereas Americans tend to gush positivity, Germans often come across as stingy with praise. This can lead to bad misunderstandings in firms and teams where Germans and Americans must work together, says an American consultant in Germany, in the 8th part of a series. … Read more

Address vs. Escalate

This article appeared in Handelsblatt Today on December 1, 2018. See all articles here. Americans and Germans have very different expectations about how to manage interpersonal conflicts when they arise, which can lead to huge misunderstandings. As part of an ongoing series of articles, an American consultant living in Germany offers some advice. When Germans and American collaborate, there … Read more

Process vs. Relationship

This article appeared in the Handelsblatt Today on October 27, 2018. See all articles here. Germans believe that processes — how the work is done — is the key to success. Americans, however, favor relationships, or how to gain and retain customers. By tradition, Germany is more a culture of artisans (Handwerkerkultur) than of traders (Händlerkultur). The Germans have … Read more

Soccer vs. Football

This article appeared in the Handelsblatt Today on September 15, 2018. See all articles here. Germans and Americans have very different expectations about leadership. That often leads to problems when they work together in business, explains an American consultant living in Germany, in the fifth part of a series. Germans and Americans differ in many ways, as you know … Read more

Consult vs. Serve

This article appeared in the Handelsblatt Today on July 9, 2018. See all articles here. A big source of misunderstanding between Americans and Germans, rarely made explicit, is about whether business should inherently be customer-centric, supplier-centric, or somehow balanced, as our fourth column in this series explains. A big source of misunderstanding between Americans and Germans, rarely made explicit, … Read more

Big Talk vs. Small Talk

This article appeared in Handelsblatt Today on May 31, 2018. See all articles here. Germans and Americans have different conversational styles. And that often causes trouble, says John Otto Magee in his third article in a series. When Germans and Americans make conversation, things often go wrong. And, as in the other types of miscommunication I’ve described in my … Read more

Systematize vs. Break Down

This article appeared in Handelsblatt Today on April 20, 2018. See all articles here. Germans and Americans make decisions in totally different ways, which often leads to clashes. In his second piece in a series, John Otto Magee, an American living in Germany who advises companies in cross-cultural management, explains the dilemma. Germans think systematically. They formulate their understanding … Read more

Directness vs. Euphemisms

This article appeared in the Handelsblatt Today February 24, 2018. See all articles here. Americans and Germans do a lot of business together – and often have unnecessary misunderstandings, causing a lot of grief and mistrust. An American consultant who has lived in Germany for 25 years offers some help. The United States and Germany are among the most … Read more