Hans in Chicago – Communication

Hans is German. Competent, respected, liked. Two hundred American engineers were added to his team. He wants to introduce himself to the organization, especially to three new American direct reports. Hans flies over to Chicago. The four meet for dinner. It starts off fine. Until Hans brings up controversial topics. The Americans are not amused. […]

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What a shame! – Agreements

Steven works in Atlanta. Anna in Stuttgart. Steven’s needs data from the most important projects company-wide. Anna had worked on one of those projects. Steven reaches out to Anna, who wants to help. But they fail to agree on how to collaborate. All lose: Steven, Anna, the company. It was avoidable. ACT 1 – “Rude […]

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Game Day – Persuasion

Mark works for a German company in the U.S., a tier-one automotive supplier. His team discovered a serious opportunity. Detroit clearly stated its interest. Mark’s team prepared the business case. Key departments were on board. They then got the green light from their otherwise very critical U.S. management. With high hopes they were off to […]

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“It’s only a car!” – Decision Making

A two-day offsite workshop. Americans and Germans. Engineers. They had problems integrating their respective decision making processes in a critical area.  Day One: Understand the fundamental differences in decision making approaches. Day Two: Integrate how they make the recurring decision. They were asked to contrast how the two cultures go about buying a used car. […]

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Job Swap – Leadership

Luke, an American, and Theo, a German, are colleagues in a global company. Early-50s, experienced, successful, in leadership positions.  They decided to exchange positions for one year. It went well. Luke had a great year in Germany. As did Theo in the U.S. And their direct reports gained deep insight into the differences between how […]

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“I’m fired” – Feedback

Aaron, an American, is a first-rate engineer and manager. Sent to Germany on a three-year delegation, his tasks: knowhow transfer, process integration, build cross-Atlantic teams. The first year is up. Time for Aaron’s first formal performance review. With Martin, his boss. Aaron expected a B+. And Martin saw him as a B+. But German feedback […]

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Up. Over. Down. – Conflict

USA. Joe in manufacturing is in conflict with Judy in supply management. Joe goes to his boss, Anne, explains the problem, requests that she speak with Rich, Judy’s boss. Anne gets Joe’s side of the story. Rich gets Judy’s.  The two managers then work out a compromise. They call in Joe and Judy to discuss. […]

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Roger and Karl surprised – Product

A German company acquires an American. Their core strength is engineering. Executive management wants rapid integration of the two engineering organizations.  The respective leaders – Karl in Germany, Roger in the U.S. – agree on the steps to be taken. The first and most critical step is a full-week offsite workshop in the U.S. with […]

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Quotes from Interviews – Process

„If we are honest, we Germans think many times that the Americans have no real processes. If they do, we do not see them or understand them. Either they do not understand them or they do not follow them!” „Our German colleagues always talk as if the entire success of our technology and our company […]

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“You got it wrong!” – Customer

A very important client. German. Head of a thousand-person engineering organization. I had done nine months of work for it. Dinner at a restaurant. I finally meet him. Friendly, relaxed, anything but self-important. He had every reason to be formal, intimidating, testing. None of that. All signals were positive. At least those in the first […]

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