German Approach

For Germans, the product and the processes which lead to the product are different sides of the same coin. Any work result is only as good as the processes which produced it. Processes ensure quality. They provide for objectivity, stability, predictability, controlling.

American Approach

For Americans, processes are tools, a (but not the only) means to an end. They assist, support, enable people to organize their work, their interaction. Processes cannot and should not replace human judgement.

German View

American processes are often no more than a series of to-do lists, like cooking recipes. They are no more than tools, a helper's helper. The potential of processes is misunderstood and misused.

American View

Germans attempt to solve all problems via processes, thus misunderstanding their limits. Many aspects of a complex business are difficult to force into the structure of a process. 

Constant focus on incremental modification of internal processes often does more harm than good. Its added value is questionable.

Advice to Germans

Naturally the question of "how we work" is very important. But don't overstress it. Together with your American colleagues identify those aspects of your work which are best understood and managed via processes. 

Other areas, due to their complexity and human nature, will only be frustrated, limited, hemmed in by forcing a process on them.

Advice to Americans

Join your German colleagues in the discussion recommended above. Explain to them when you rely on processes and when they are only of limited value.

Describe how Americans use processes as a tool to achieve results. Make apparent the very practical and pragmatic role of checklists.