“Communicate immediately!“

Germans expect to be informed immediately about any changes which impact the agreements they have entered into. From their perspective all agreements, large and small, involve interconnected activities among colleagues, including at times business partners and customers. A change in one area has immediate effect on the others, thus helping or hindering those colleagues in their work.

Although the majority of German work is based on time, they do not like to work on anything which will not be used. They expect to be informed as soon as possible about any changes to an agreement which affect their work. There is also the potential that they will suspect people of being political with important information. The sooner changes to an agreement are communicated to all parties, the better.

Figures of speech: ‘Etwas ist zwecklos.’ Something is purpose-less. ‘Ohne Sinn und Zweck’. Without meaning and purpose. ‘Für den Papierkorb arbeiten’. Working for the trashcan.

Germans also strive to understand their work in the broader context, what impact their results have on those of other colleagues. They often say ‘Alles hängt mit allem zusammen’ or everything is connected to everything else. If a colleague is on vacation, their tasks are divided up among a few other team members. Potential problems are discussed and prepared for beforehand. Responding to inquiries with “the colleague is on vacation” is a sign of incompetence and unprofessionalism.