April 2004

Welcome to this months L’Epée Coaching & Consulting Newsletter. A warm welcome to our newest readers, and as always, warm appreciation to our long-time readers.

The concept of authenticity as a marketing phenomenon has been around for some time now, so it’s not surprising to see that it has recently developed into a management style. The new trend in management seems to be:Let’s be ourselves!!

And though this would seem to be a more natural way to manage people, an interesting dilemma was pointed out by some participants at my last Creative Self-Marketing Workshop: How can we achieve the results we want and be authentic at the same time? In other words, because there is always a degree of compromise in any working relationship, one can’t expect a what-you-see-is-what-you-get strategy to be effective 100 percent of the time.

After all, how tolerable would most of us be if we were always ourselves? This is particularly true in a global working environment made up of people from different backgrounds and cultures.

My experience in the Czech Republic, for example, has taught me when to tone down my outgoing and spontaneous personality in order to work more effectively with those around me.

As a Frenchwoman who has spent almost 10 years living and working in New York City, I am accustomed to fast-paced and energetic way of life. However, after 9 years in the Czech Republic, I have learned that my get-up-and-go approach isn’t always the most efficient way to work with Czechs. In fact, I often have to soften my behavior to the point where I feel as though I am pleading with people to get something done. This is because my natural, direct style would get more resistance than results.

The fact that I have had to change my behavior to get what I want does not mean I have sacrificed my authenticity. In the given context, I am speaking and behaving appropriately and, more often then not, getting the results I want.

While most of us prefer to keep our behavior in line with our own beliefs and values, working in a multicultural environment requires us to leave the familiar behind while accommodating the values of those around us. That forces us to put things into perspective and really ask ourselves what we are trying to accomplish. What you will find is that a compromise in behavior and attitude can sometimes be far more productive than letting your natural inclinations determine everything.

New Power Lunch Series

The aim of this new series of Power Lunches is to provide participants with a forum to share experiences and knowledge relating to effective communication across cultural contexts. Regular get-togethers in an open and inspiring environment will allow everyone to focus on the cross-cultural issues, experiences and dilemmas they face in their everyday professional lives.

Each lunch will be devoted to a specific cultural topic and will allow participants to explore the cross-cultural situations they encounter, as well as receive feedback from each other and the facilitator. Look for a separate mailing with more information about this program. Should you have any immediate questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Calendar

April 5 WIB – Women in Business dinner at Mlynec
April 15 Intercultural Power Lunch: Understanding Cultural Differences
April 21 The Better Management Society Luncheon
April 22 Career Management Lunch & Learn Series
April 28 Intercultural Power Lunch: How we relate to time
May 12 Intercultural Power Lunch: Relationships to People Part I
May 19 The Better Management Society Luncheon
May 26 Intercultural Power Lunch: Relationships to People Part II
June 7 WIBA – Women in Business dinner at Mlynec
June 9 Intercultural Power Lunch: Communication Patterns
June 16 The Better Management Society Luncheon

Communication Tip of the Month: The Art of Persuasion

“The purpose of foreign policy is to influence the politics and actions of other nations in a way that serves your interests and values. The tools available include everything from kind words to cruise missiles.”

While reading Madeleine Albright’s definition of the purpose of foreign policy, I can’t help but think how applicable that statement is to so many situations in the business world. The kind words and cruise missiles Ms. Albright refers to are all part and parcel of the art of persuasion.

In today’s western work environment for example, a manager’s unquestioned authority over his or her people is becoming increasingly rare. Workers now routinely ask not only “What should I do?” but “Why should I do it?”

A manager’s ability to give a convincing answer to this second question is entirely dependent on his or her persuasion skills.

The art of persuasion requires insight, planning and compromise, and is a skill that takes time to develop. To do it effectively involves listening to other people’s opinions and understanding their perspectives.

You must prepare carefully, present a convincing argument and finally make an emotional connection. Doing all this, while maintaining a sense of respect for the person you’re trying to persuade is vital to success. Otherwise, you may be perceived as a manipulator.

In short, persuasion is about communicating with your colleagues, addressing their needs and concerns, and then negotiating an appropriate a solution that all parties can understand and agree on.

How are your persuasion skills?

Yours truly,Karin