As we move through the 100 year anniversary of World War I, I found myself watching an entertaining BBC documentary about how to become more German and what is it like to be German. It seems the British somewhat envy Germany’s industrial strength and want to understand what it is that makes Germany so successful and what they can learn from them.
For those lucky enough to be in or able to visit Berlin, there is also a fascinating and interesting World War I anniversary exhibition at the Deutsche Historische Museum (German History Museum) with tickets at €8 for adults.
One of the concepts the video below explores is that of German ‘Mittelstand’, which is equal to small to medium sized traditional or family owned companies. One thing the video misses, and which is an important feature I have observed during difficult economic periods, is the ability of German companies to keep workers EMPLOYED. Many workers will accept 30-50% less work for a short period of time ‘Zeitarbeit’ or until economic conditions improve. US companies normally fire people first to protect profits and then rehire as the economy improves. The difference is that German workers and companies remain highly skilled and are able to produce superior quality products and services as their experience levels deepens and strengthens over time. Competitors often play catch up by retraining new staff constantly and focusing on quality improvement programs. For Germans, quality is almost a given.