German Approach

Processes are most effective when they maintain a balance between conformity and flexibility. Germans prefer generally formulated processes allowing for interpretation based on the parameters of a specific situation. Judgement calls are driven by training and experience.

American Approach

Like their Germans colleagues, Americans too seek that fine line between process discipline and flexibility. The moment a process step makes unnecessary (no added value) demands, Americans will consider deviation. Judgement calls are made via internal communication (within team, with next level management).

German View

When and why Americans adhere strictly to a process versus when they deviate, appears arbitrary, remains a mystery to Germans, is a source of irritation. Because Germans construct complicated and interconnected parallel processes, they want to be informed early about deviations.

American View

When and why Germans adhere strictly to a process versus when they deviate, appears arbitrary, remains a mystery to Americans, is a source of irritation. And although many Germans processes are formulated in only very general, often theoretical language, they expect strict discipline.

Advice to Germans

Sit down together. Address those processes which are key to your success. Identify their key gates or checkpoints. Discuss, understand, then, if possible, decide when specific process steps must be followed strictly versus when they can be interpreted.

Also, agree on how you will inform yourselves about these choices. Life is fluid. The business world is fluid. Your internal processes need to be fluid. Be prepared to meet on a regular basis so that you remain fluid in your cooperation.

Advice to Americans

Sit down together. Address those processes which are key to your success. Identify their key gates or checkpoints. Discuss, understand, then, if possible, decide when specific process steps must be followed strictly versus when they can be interpreted.

Also, agree on how you will inform yourselves of these choices. Life is fluid. The business world is fluid. Your internal processes need to be fluid. Be prepared to meet on a regular basis so that you remain fluid in your cooperation.