Summer 2006

Successful Start to 2006

Over the years, L’Epée Coaching & Consulting has seen a steady increase in the number of nationalities represented in its various activities. While eleven different countries were represented in 1999, that number has swelled over the past several years to 35 in 2006. This diversity not only provides a unique environment in which to understand cultural differences, but also gives L’Epée’s participants the opportunity to apply various concepts and ideas in facilitating cross-cultural communication.

While I continue to be actively involved in both executive and management coaching, I have, at the request of many, decided to broaden my services to include public speaking skills as well as networking skills. These activities are aimed at helping my clients improve their overall communication and chances for results and success.

In the corporate training aspect of my work, I will continue to deliver interactive and flexible customized programs that identify the specific demands of an organization and build on the knowledge and experience of its members.

Finally, like many of you, I will be taking holidays during July and August before returning in the fall with a broad range of new activities. Though there aren’t any official functions slated for the summer, I do intend to be in and around Prague, albeit less often than usual, so please stay in touch.

Leadership Challenges Power Lunch

Due the holiday, there won’t be a Leadership Challenges Power Lunch in July and in August.

They will resume on September 19th with the topic: Creativity and Innovation

Become the speaker and leader you want to be!

We invite you to try out the new club and see how Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.cz) can help you improve your communication and leadership skills. Bohemian Toastmasters represents the expansion of Toastmasters in Prague so successfully started with Prague Speakers. It will give current Prague Speakers and new members more opportunities to give speeches and more time flexibility. With two clubs in Prague, we will be able to better address the varying needs of our diverse members and have a double effort in promoting Toastmasters in Prague and attracting and supporting new members to both clubs.

For more information, check out http://www.praguespeakers.org/meetings.php

Calendar of events and activities:

July 26 “Soiree d’été” organized by the French, British and Canadian Chambers of Commerce www.ccft-fcok.cz
September 19 Leadership Challenges Power Lunch: Creativity and Innovation
October 24 Leadership Challenges Power Lunch: The Right Brain Experience
November 22 Leadership Challenges Power Lunch: Ethics and Integrity

Communication Tip of the Month: At the UN, how we envy the World Cup by Kofi A. Annan

UNITED NATIONS, New York. You may wonder what a secretary general of the United Nations is doing writing about football. But in fact, the World Cup makes us at the United Nations green with envy. As the pinnacle of the only truly global game, played in every country by every race and religion, it is one of the few phenomena as universal as the United Nations.

You could even say it’s more universal. FIFA has 207 members; we have only 191.

But there are far better reasons to be envious.

First, the World Cup is an event in which everybody knows where their team stands, and what it did to get there. They know who scored and how and in what minute of the game; they know who missed the open goal; they know who saved the penalty.

I wish we had more of that sort of competition in the family of nations. Countries openly vying for the best standing in the table of respect for human rights, and trying to outdo one another in child survival rates or enrolment in secondary education. States parading their performance for all the world to see. Governments being held accountable for what actions led them to that result.

Second, the World Cup is an event that everybody on the planet loves talking about, dissecting what their team did right, and what it could have done differently – not to mention the other side’s team.

People sitting in cafés anywhere from Buenos Aires to Beijing debate the finer points of games endlessly, revealing an intimate knowledge not only of their own national teams but of many of the others too, expressing themselves on the subject with as much clarity as passion. Normally tongue-tied teenagers suddenly become eloquent, confident, and dazzlingly analytical experts.

I wish we had more of that sort of conversation in the world at large. Citizens consumed by the topic of how their country could do better on the Human Development Index, or in reducing the amount of carbon emissions or the number of new HIV infections.

Third, the World Cup is an event that takes place on a level playing field, where every country has a chance to participate on equal terms. Only two commodities matter in this game: talent and teamwork.

I wish we had more levelers like that in the global arena. Free and fair exchanges without the interference of subsidies, barriers or tariffs. Every country getting a real chance to field its strengths on the world stage.

Fourth, the World Cup is an event that illustrates the benefits of cross- pollination between peoples and countries. More and more national teams now welcome coaches from other countries, who bring new ways of thinking and playing.

The same goes for the increasing number of players who, between World Cups, represent clubs away from home. They inject new qualities into their new team, grow from the experience, and are able to contribute even more to their home side when they return.

In the process, they often become heroes in their adopted countries – helping to open hearts and broaden minds.

I wish it were equally plain for all to see that human migration in general can create triple gains – for migrants, for their countries of origin and for the societies that receive them. That migrants not only build better lives for themselves and their families, but are also agents of development – economic, social and cultural – in the countries they go and work in, and in the homelands they inspire through newly won ideas and know-how when they return.

For any country, playing in the World Cup is a matter of profound national pride. For countries qualifying for the first time, such as my native Ghana, it is a badge of honor. For those who are doing so after years of adversity, such as Angola, it provides a sense of national renewal. And for those who are currently riven by conflict, like Ivory Coast, but whose World Cup team is a unique and powerful symbol of national unity, it inspires nothing less than the hope of national rebirth.

Which brings me to what is perhaps most enviable of all for us at the United Nations: The World Cup is an event in which we actually see goals being reached.

I’m not talking only about the goals that a country scores; I also mean the most important goal of all – being there, being part of the family of nations and peoples, celebrating our common humanity.

I’ll try to remember that when Ghana plays Italy in Hannover on June 12. Of course, I can’t promise I’ll succeed.

Herald Tribune, Published: June 9, 2006