How to Work with Germans – Part 1

Before the Meeting:

I learned much the hard way from my interactions with German businesses over the years. I’d like to share some surprising advice with you – things I consider as ESSENTIAL for interacting and negotiating with Germans… 

Preparation is not just a good idea - it's essential!


1. Be Uber Prepared: Go beyond the basics. Planning and organization earns you a higher level of respect anywhere, but you won’t survive without it in German business dealings! 

 

2. Understand Cultural Values: Understanding German cultural values (drivers) gives you insights into what is important to them, and often answers the question of “WHY” they are pushing for a particular outcome. Key drivers to discern are Germany’s relatively low Power Distance Index (PDI), very high degree of Individualism (IND), and Long Term Orientation (LTO)

 

Germany has a low Power Distance, and very high degree of Individualism, and a Long Term Orientation.

 

3. Appreciate the Evaluation Process: German leaders and managers tend to be decisive and assertive, but will rely heavily on technical expertise from their team members. So, don’t FOCUS all of your efforts on the manager or head person. You will also need to win over the supporting team members, each with their own needs and perspectives. Final decisions are made objectively, ignoring personal preferences.

 

Know your own limits and non-negotiables before you start!

 

4. Know Your Limits: It’s not necessary to outline or share your non-negotiables at the onset. But they should be clearly defined and communicated to your team members prior to discussions.

 

PART 2 of this blog covers the essentials for “During the Meeting”!

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