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 Product 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 Product 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 Product. 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 Product. 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 Product. Then read the questions and answers uploaded to Ask CI. Both of these provide more insight into how the two cultures approach Product.

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.

Efficiency
In your culture‘s economy, which products are known for being especially efficient? Which ones are inefficient? Why are they so?

Intelligence
How does your culture define an intelligent product? What‘s the most intelligent product you own?

Reliability
Can a culture define the reliability of a person differently than the reliability of a product? If yes, how so? If not, what would be an example of a difference which applies to a product as well as to a person?

Durability
What products in your culture have to be durable in order to succeed in the market? From which products do users not expect all that much durability?

Quality
Think of products you may have purchased over the last few years. Explain to your colleague the role quality played in your decisions. When was quality very important, when not so important?

APPLY

You responded to the survey and case study on Product. 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 Product. You and your colleagues are ready to apply that understanding by combining your respective approaches to Product.

Step 6 – Formulate
Your organization operates within a business ecosystem. You deliver products and or services to customers. Suppliers deliver products and or services to you. These suppliers and customers could be company-internal or -external. Either way, those relationships cannot work without a common product philosophy.

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

First, review the key success factors you identified in the quantification. Second, pinpoint where in your business ecosystem having a common product philosophy is essential.

With the cultural differences in the forefront of your mind – third – address the following questions: Where are our product philosophies not aligned? How can we align them?

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 Product.

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