Business Consulting 101 - The German Business Culture summarized
Nazi Germany? No more.
Gone are the days when Germany under the Nazis was all work all day long, all through the year without much emphasis on the recreational side of life. Back then, Germany was efficient, reliable and technically advanced yet the Germans led a life which was more or less non existent outside of work.
Even now, Germany still does mean perfection, a progressive economy, efficient workforce, reliability and the authoritative business entity in continental Europe. The only difference is that, Germany has transformed itself from the "drain the life force of the workers" work culture of the Nazi period in to a "Treasure your life " work culture nowadays.
Germany has transformed from a war torn piece of trash economy of the world war II days, into this great industrial super giant which even has trade surplus against the world's largest exporters - USA and China (Trade surplus - When your exports outperform your imports)
What makes Germany is not just their technical advancement and their long lasting machinery but the people running their businesses - right from the bottom level employee to the CEO of the company. Let us see what is so unique about their business etiquette that makes them so successful.
In German Business Culture, if you promised something to do, you have to do; If your colleague promised you something, it will be completed as promised, and the same goes for external upstreams and downstreams.
The Germans just do not like surprises. They have learnt from experiences in life and work that a single break in the work chain wreaks havoc in the entire chain costing time money and effort that spoils it for everyone and have come to respect the fact that what is expected to be done has to e done. If they plan something, it has to be done within the timeframe.
In Indian workplaces, we see a lot of troubles about broken promises which affect our business greatly.
German businesses offer direct and realistic TATs of the work in question and not compromise on it. They commit to it only if it is possible to do so and just do not make empty promises to their clients just to get business. When a German business makes a promise to deliver something at a certain time, you can be sure of getting it done by that time.
This simple etiquette makes German business certain and powerful.
Work at Work, Play at Play
Germans work just 35 hours a week and yet they are one of the most productive countries in the world. Compare this to some our Indian IT / ITES companies where techies work more than 80 hours a week yet failing terribly on their deadlines. How? Actually, the heading gives the idea. Germans just focus on work when they are at work. It is quite logical to say so and you can say that even that is what happens mostly in India too.
Think about your workplace: How many hours you spend everyday for gossips, cricket chats, making weekend plans? Yes, a lot. I strongly believe that working 6 hours with perfect focus and productivity is better than 12 hours with lack of it.
German business culture revolves around working hard and playing hard. German laws forbid any business communication outside business hours. That means no business emails, SMS', calls after work etc. Therefore, a German mind is completely free after work to socialize and be happy. Happy Employee = Increased Productivity.
Germans get a whopping 31 (24 vacation + 7 holidays) days of paid holidays a year apart from their weekends to have a life outside of work.
It is one of the best things about German behavior that is actually that being direct about everything and we Indians do practice it efficiently meh., in the unorganized sectors. But when it comes to proper workplaces we have lost the touch. The fact that most unorganized Indian workplaces function efficiently is due to this principle or the lack of it is what affects productivity in large corporations. Trying to be more polite and avoiding to be a "rude prick at the workplace", people avoid direct instructions and lean towards suggestions.
German businesses are run on direct instructions as compared to indirect suggestions or requests. What is the difference between "It will be great if you can..." and "I need you to do" or "I will be so happy if you finish it by 5PM" and "I need this by 5PM"?. The latter is more direct and defines what is expected. It is strict but effective. Studies on human psychology show that employees are more responsive with increased focus and adherent when they hear direct instructions from their bosses. They realize the importance.
Maybe it time for Indian businesses to run their operations like the Germans do and maybe someday promises made by Indian companies can be trusted to delivered upon.