Act 1 - German colleague about American processes
„The senior management wants us to harmonize our processes cross-Atlantic. We have been working on it already for one year. It is a really big problem. I think sometimes that we and our American colleagues talk about totally different things when we sit down to integrate these complex structures.
We have our thinking about how process should look. Based on this we have our Verfahrensanweisungen and Arbeitsanweisungen, sort of like processes and procedures. Anyways, those are the words they use in the U.S.
If we are honest, we Germans think many times that the Americans have no real processes. If they do, we do not see them or understand them. Yes, they do write down a lot of things and have many books with lots of detailed steps written down. But either they do not understand them or they do not follow them! Everything is very unsystematic. We call them long to-do lists or checklists.
If they do follow their own processes, they do it in a strange way. Often they jump over important steps, or they do steps out of order. No process discipline. What we really dislike is when they do not follow the set process, but at the same time do not tell us that they do this! We have no time to adjust what we do or to react.
Sometimes they hold themselves to their to-do lists very exactly, as if they were not competent enough to make their own decisions, other times they just go in another direction away from the process we agreed to. All very confusing.
I think sometimes, how are we to achieve good results when our work processes are so full of chaos? I think our process are very professional and scientific and that we should use them. Our US-colleagues do not want to see it this way, however.
They are very good, but a bit stubborn. We will harmonize our processes. It will take more time and many will be angry a lot. But they will see at some time that their processes should be adapted to ours. Then all will be ok.“
Are these comments plausible to you?