Teamwork and “Verbindlichkeit”: What Germans and Americans should know

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  1. August 12, 2018

    […] –I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Americans, when you tell your German colleague that you will do something by or on (insert date here), your German colleague (let’s call him Gunther) will count on you to have whatever it is you have promised–yes, promised–by (insert same date here). So, you’d do well to make sure your initial time estimate is realistic and not overly optimistic, and if you run into time management trouble, tell Gunther exactly that as soon as said trouble becomes evident. Trust me. The way to Gunther’s heart is through his sense of your reliability, not through vague and unfulfilled assurances. Likewise, Bob needs to be open to Gunther’s sense of realistic communication and time estimation and ideally not set deadlines that are unachievable, or at least be open to Gunther’s feedback that a deadline of (xyz) is too optimistic. Remember that—even in this fast-paced business world—Germans are still naturally inclined toward thoroughness, in contrast to the more American „let’s tweek-it-as-we-go“ ethos. These differences will have an impact on what someone’s idea of a realistic deadline is. […]

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