German Approach

Germans define realistic as understanding reality. To understand the reality, is to understand how it became so, via its past.

American Approach

Americans define realistic as understanding the possible, to envision a future. Forward movement often demands moving away from the past.

German View

American visions are often not grounded or rooted in an accurate understanding of the status quo. Americans want to move forward without first establishing their starting point and direction.

American View

Too much emphasis on the present as a product of the past is seen as backward-looking. A vision of the future, forward movement, demands moving away from the past.

Advice to Germans

Provide the historical context. But again, let your listeners know beforehand that you need to tell the full story. Your aim is for all to have a common understanding of the status quo before you can consider how best to move forward together.

Advice to Americans

Try to hold back your natural tendency to jump from the present into the future. Take the time to explain the context of a situation. This will lengthen the presentation. Do your homework and demonstrate that you have done it thoroughly.