It is only a car! – Act 2

The Right Analogy

After doing background interviews and analysis I had to think about what analogy I could use on the first day of the workshop in order to get the participants to look more deeply into what they were trying to do.

My belief was, and continues to be, that you can’t effectively integrate that which you don‘t fully understand. So how could I help them as quickly as possible to understand where they diverge in how they fundamentally make decisions. In other words, where they diverge in their respective national cultural decision making logics.

Step One: Understand the fundamental differences in decision making approaches. Step Two: Apply that insight into the task at hand of harmonizing two different ways of making the same kind of recurring decision.

We had two full days together. I decided to have them compare and contrast how the two cultures – Germans, Americans – go about buying a used (or new) car. Why that?

Many people make that kind of decision several times in their life. The decision involves a sizable financial investment. The basic elements in the decision making process are the same in both countries. It will be easy to compare the respective approaches. And it will be fun.

Do you think that this kind of analogy, this kind of decision, buying a used car, can give us insight into how the two cultures fundamentally make decisions?

If not, what other real-world examples in the lives of Americans and in the lives of Germans could provide us with that kind of deep insight?