Did you get my email?


“Email is our main form of communication. Between us in the United States and our colleagues in Germany. And for the most part it works. However, it is very common for our German colleagues to not acknowledge that they have received an email from us.

We don’t understand this. It is very disrupting. We don’t know how to react. Should we re-send the email? Should we try to call them?

But wait, that’s the point of email, to avoid having to reach someone by phone. There is a time zone difference. And we don’t want to interrupt our colleagues by suddenly calling them. And if the subject of the email is time sensitive we become very, very nervous.

Why don’t German colleagues acknowledge that they have received our emails? Help!”

(Please note: I, John Magee, should have stated in the question above that the American who discussed this with me meant important emails, not routine emails. Thanks.)

Consult vs. Serve

Describe for two non-business examples: 1. When you were served in just the way you expected, and 2. When you were consulted, also in a very effective and professional way.

Customer-Supplier Expectations

Explain where you draw the line between being served and being consulted. What are your expectations as the customer, and what are the expecations of the supplier (vendor, supplier, consultant)?

Customer-Supplier Collaboration

Describe the ideal collaboration between two companies in your business culture. What are the key components? In other words, what are the questions, topics, areas where the collaboration absolutely has to work well?

Success Factor

How highly does your business culture rank the importance of internal processes – how the work is done – to the success of a company? If high, why? If low, why? Name specific examples.

Guaranty vs. Tool

Name one process in your society (non-business) which is an absolute must? Why is it so important? What does it guaranty? 

Discipline vs. Deviation

Take one of the most important processes in your private life. Identify one critical point along that process. Describe when you handle that point with discipline (stick to the process) versus when you handle it with discretion (allow for interpretation and deviation).


In the economy of you culture, which products are known for being especially efficient? Which ones are inefficient?