Winter 2002

Welcome to this month’s L’Epée Coaching & Consulting Winter 2002 Newsletter. A warm welcome to our newest readers, and as always, warm appreciation to our long-time readers.

On November 14th I was invited as a guest speaker to the first Cursus 2002 forum discussion, a management series on the development of intercultural relations and partnership in business. The purpose of the evening was to address French culture and business customs.

The guest speakers in attendance were Czech who had either moved to France during communism and/or lived and studied in France, Czechs who are doing business with the French, and French citizens living and working in the Czech Republic like myself.

Anyone who has ever attempted to run such a forum knows that the challenge lies in being able to turn a pretty heavy topic into a fun and animate discussion. None of us knew what to expect, but we were all going along for the ride. And it turned out to be a great and wonderful adventure, thanks to the amazing communication skills of the moderator; Jaroslav Dusek.

The evening started as few other business evenings ever do with a roar of laughter from the audience. Laughter is the international language and I didn’t need any translation to understand that in less than 10 minutes, Mr. Dusek had warmed us up for an unusual evening. His performance worked like magic, and for the next three hours I watched in awe a great communicator.

Mr. Dusek is a famous Czech stand-up comedian and actor but what really astonished me was his capacity to transform 9 very different people, who came from very different backgrounds and had strikingly different experiences about working and dealing with the French and Czechs, into a cohesive group.One of the most amazing aspects of Mr. Dusek’s moderation was that he seemed completely at ease with the topic and in control of the discussion although he doesn’t speak French and has never been to France.

Although cross-cultural communication is one of my main topic of interest, and during the course of evening we did cover quite extensively what makes working with the French great or terrible, Mr. Dusek’s communication skills were so impressive that I had to ask him how he managed to achieve such a performance.

“How did you do it?” I asked him. “How did I do what?” he replied.Neither Mr. Dusek nor myself speak each other’s language fluently but communication is a lot more than the exchange of words.After I managed to explain to him how impressed I was by his capacity to moderate and facilitate 3 hours of discussion about a topic he didn’t know much about, with people he didn’t know and didn’t rehearse together, he answered: “The key is to be present and to be curious”.

“As an actor, you have to be fully present in what you are doing and to be a successful moderator you have to be curious and interested in other people, genuinely interested in the people who are around you”. And he was. He made all of us feel that he was interested in what we had to say, that what we said was interesting and had some value and that he cared for us during the time he was going to spend with us.

Thank you Mr. Dusek for a wonderful evening and for a valuable lesson about communication and cross-cultural understanding.

Mr. Dusek will moderate all the six Cursus 2002 Many Cultures, One Business forum discussions.


November 2nd Career Assessment workshop Part II
November 2nd WIB -Women in Business dinner
November 12th Biljana Pelic Music Workshops
November 13th,27th CCRCC Annual General Meeting
November 14th Many Cultures, one Business: Cursus 2002 first forum discussion: France
November 16th Career Assessment workshop Part II
November 26th ASTD dinner
December 2nd WIB -Women in Business dinner
December 3rd CCRCC Christmas party
December 7th IWAP Christmas Bazaar
January 15th Many Cultures, one Business: Cursus 2002 second forum discussion: Germany and Austri

Communication Tip of the Month:

Hope: The antidote to failure

The participants who attended the Career Assessment workshops these past two sessions had the chance to take stock of their professional achievements and often to unearth some forgotten ones. Incidentally, identifying our achievements is also an opportunity to acknowledge our failures. And the way we deal with failures will determine how we can succeed the next time around as achievement is a function not just of skills and knowledge but also the capacity to stand defeat and learn from it.

After the technology bubble burst, many entrepreneurs who had risen to amazing successes found themselves on the sidelines having to reassess their career and reevaluate their competencies.

How do we feel when we get up in the morning having lost everything we worked so hard to achieve for over 5 or 10 years? Every entrepreneur knows that failure can be the ransom for success. Nonetheless, no one likes to lose, especially after a long winning streak.

The range of emotions we might experience will be closer to anger, sadness and fear than joy and happiness. And how we react to what we consider a defeat is crucial to our ability to gather enough motivation to continue.

The best way to stay motivated is, like Pandora, to keep hope in our emotional repertoire. Hope is our safeguard against losing our motivation.

What is Hope? It is the belief that we have both the will and the means to accomplish our goals, whatever they may be and to effectively deal with whatever impediments we might encounter along the way.

A high level of hope will allow us to stay motivated, to feel resourceful enough to find ways to accomplish our objectives (provided we have saved some goals and dreams for the future), to reassure ourself that things will get better. We might need to learn to become flexible to find different ways to achieve our goals or to switch goals if one becomes impossible.

The quickest way to bounce back from failure is to be aware of our abilities. Ability is not a fixed property; there is a huge variability in how one can perform. Our beliefs about our competencies and capabilities will have a profound effect on how we can apply those abilities. People who have a sense of “self-efficacy (the belief that one has mastery over the events of one’s life and can meet challenges as they come up)” bounce back from failures; they approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong.

And if like Anthony Robbins we believe that there is no such thing as failure, only results, then we can only succeed as we always succeed in getting some sort of results even if we don’t like what we are getting. If by trying something we didn’t get what we wanted at least we got a learning experience. And how we apply that learning experience will determine our future successes.

How much hope do you have in your emotional repertoire?

Yours truly,


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