Combine

LEARN

Through the quantify exercise﹣together with your colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic﹣you have identified and quantified the influence of the topic Process on the success of your collaboration. It is now time to understand that influence. This is the basis for combining the respective approaches.

Step 1 – Respond
Go to the topic Process and respond to its survey and case study under Discuss. Respond in English. If that is your native language, express yourself in clear, straightforward English, keeping in mind that many participants speak and read English as a second language. If English is not your native language, you are not alone in the international business context. Don’t worry about writing in perfect English. Keep it simple.

Step 2 – Reflect
You have responded to the survey and case study. Now read and reflect on the responses from your culture, as well as on the responses from the other culture. The responses may include those from other CI members.

Look first for the way of thinking within the two respective cultures. Then look for the differences between those ways of thinking. And remember, similarities are good, differences are better. In differences lie the opportunity to combine cultural approaches.

Step 3 – Learn
Finally, read CI’s research-based analysis about Process. Approach describes the pattern of how the two cultures think. Under Examples you have pieces that make up those patterns. View is how one culture‘s approach can be (mis)perceived by the other culture. Advice contains CI’s thoughts on how to anticipate and prevent those (mis)perceptions.

DISCUSS

You responded to the survey and case study. You then read and reflected on the responses from your culture and the other culture. Your eyes are focused on identifying patterns in thinking.

Then you read CI’s research-based analysis about Process. Approach contrasts patterns of thought. The Examples describe those patterns. View is about misperceptions. Advice is how to anticipate the misperceptions.

Step 4 – Deepen
Under Discuss read the Stories about the topic Process. Then read the questions and answers uploaded to Ask CI. Both of these provide more insight into how the two cultures approach Process.

Step 5 – Discuss
Now enter into a discussion with colleagues from both cultures. The questions below might be helpful. Who participates in that discussion, how it is structured, and the mode of communication used, is your decision as a team.

Success Factor
How high does your business culture rank the importance of internal processes – how the work is done – to a company‘s success? If high, why? If low, why? Name specific examples.

Deductive or Inductive
How are processes best developed, deductively or inductively?

Guaranty vs. Tool
Name one process in your society (non-business) which is an absolute must? Why is it so important? What does it guaranty?

Discipline or Flexibility
Take one of the most important processes in your private life. Identify one critical point along that process. Discuss when you handle that point with discipline (stick to the process) versus when you handle it with discretion (allow for interpretation and deviation).

Power & Influence
In your society, which process leads to the most political debate? Why? Is it about what is best for society or is it about who has the say (power)?

APPLY

You responded to the survey and case study on Process. You read and reflected on CI’s research-based analysis on the topic. Stories and Ask CI gave you additional insight. After that you engaged in discussion with colleagues from both cultures.

You now understand key cultural differences between Germans and Americans when it comes to Process. You and your colleagues are ready to apply that understanding by combining your respective approaches to Process.

Step 6 – Formulate
Review the key success factors you identified in the quantification. In each of those areas you have processes, both formal and informal. Pinpoint those processes which are critical to success.

Create an apply-team within your culture. Based on your newly gained insights, formulate a combined approach to Process. Write in simple, clear English how the two approaches﹣German and American﹣could be combined. Do the following:

With the cultural differences in the forefront of your mind address the following questions: Do we have the same understanding of those processes? Do we live the processes in the same way? If not, how can we change that?

Step 7 – Prepare
Send your proposal to your colleagues in the apply-team on the other side of the Atlantic. You will receive their proposal. Study it carefully, first individually and then as a team. Prepare to engage in discussion and decision with your colleagues from the other apply-team.

Step 8 – Apply
Go into the apply-workshop with a clear and open mind, and with the determination to convert cultural differences from a liability into an asset. Your mission is to find the best way to combine the inherent strengths in the German and the American approaches to Process.

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