Keynote speaking at Gala Awards Banquest

Keynote speaking at International Gala Awards Banquet

The end of the year found me  doing a whirlwind lecture tour in
the Baltic States & Finland. I also undertook some interesting engagements here in the UK, culminating with being the keynote speaker at a Frost & Sullivan’s prestigious Excellence in Best Practices Award Gala Banquet. What interesting people I came to meet running some fascinating businesses. The occassion offered unparalled access to European Industy’s movers and shakers.  Needless to say Christmas arrived very quickly! 

Frost & Sullivan Excellence in Best Practice Awards:
The much anticipated and highly competitive Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

F&S Gala Awards DinnerMy presentation “Developing Roots & Wings for your Company” explored how businesses can develop a culture of excellence that filters down from the leader to all members of staff. This builds individual self-confidence, self-esteem and self-belief that in turn enables each individual and the organization in turn to reach full potential. This talk covered the need and the ways in which an organisation can adapt for foreign markets to do business with greater knowledge, understanding and success.

HSBC’s Women In Business ConferenceDr Deborah Swallow
Held in Weybridge, UK, HSBC’s conference also featured Karen Darby
of uSwitch fame as a keynote speaker. Although it was our job to inspire the women who attended to reach their full potential, I certainly received my fair share of inspiration from the audience! One of the main topics being discussed was home-life balance to which I contribute my own story of how I ended up redefining what ‘success’ means to me and my observations that in a partnership with children, I believe, one of you has to put home and family first and the other has to put work first. And, I’m one who firmly believes that there is life after children!

Export Mentors ClubEstonia: Export Mentors Club
A welcome return to Tallinn saw my sixth visit to Estonia where I spoke to members of The Export Members Club on behalf of Tallinn City Enterprise Board. My talk was on the topic: ‘Playing to Win: how to raise your game in international markets’.


Estonia: Tallin University of  TechnologyTallin University
‘Communicating Across Cultures’ was my theme for the
lecture I gave to staff and students of the Tallin University of Technology. My thanks go to Professor Peeter I was humbled to find that we had standing room only for the event.


Deborah Swallow in Tampere UniverstiyFinland: Tampere University of Applied Sciences  
December found me visiting Finland – a place I love – and my first visit to Tampere. Although a little cold the first snows still had not really arrived. My presentation to staff and students was on: The Implications of Culture on Effective Knowledge Sharing in Multi-Cultural Groups. 


Latvia: Conference on High Performing Virtual Teams Tallin Univeristy 2
The pace was still high energy as I arrived in Latvia to
address a conference whose theme was on High Performing Virtual Teams. The topic for my breakout session was: ‘Knowledge Sharing in Global Teams’. This highlighted that people from different cultures have fundamentally different beliefs about the proper roles of bosses and subordinates, and even about the nature of knowledge itself. Therefore, transferring knowledge is not as straight forward as one thinks.

Deb-CokeLondon: 3 Day MBA
Back to London to deliver one of my ‘3 Day MBA’ courses. These are always enormously satisfying. There is always such a range of people – different industries, different nationalities, different challenges – but with one thing in common: a hunger to thrive in the global market place. Three days of wall-to-wall ideas and solution finding – we are all exhausted but invigorated at the end of the course.

Essex: Education Sector Lunch & LearnDebby at Blyth Eden Conference
Blyth Eden were the hosts of a special Lunch & Learn session for
educationalists in the Essex region where I was invited to address delegates on ‘How Different Cultures Teach and Learn’. This talk emphasised the differences in expectations about the roles of teachers, students and pupils across cultures, and highlighted the unexpected problems that arise from this.

PASSION for the PLANET Radio Interview
Finally, I got to say my piece on the radio, about the importance of respectful communication in a widely diverse community, when I was interviewed by Chantal Cooke. PASSION for the PLANET is a radio station that is dedicated to ethical living in a very broad approach.

“You can’t fix a problem in Iraq with an 8,000 mile-long screwdriver!” proclaimed Terence BrakeTerry Brake in his session on collaboration in virtual teams, at the Conference on High Performing Global Teams. I’d never met Terry before but am a fan of his work – and just like his books – his session was filled with insights and practical information. As he described, no longer do we have a simple ‘work place’ but agile ‘workwebs’ that are virtual and protean. And, a global virtual team consisting of  people distributed across time and space, whose task it is to collaborate, is a form of this. Terry’s session focused on his integrated set of virtual team perfomance indicators…

In American culture, generally speaking, a TEAM is seen as a support group that allows individuals to be champions. To a greater or lesser degree, most individualistic cultures have a similar attitude. But what does a ‘team’ and teamworking mean to you?  Can you help me please?

I’ll be lecturing at the end of this month at a conference on High Performing Global Teams and would love to be able to include your opinions. Please leave a comment for me on this blog – all comments greatly appreciated.

The economic climate and globalisation has made industries more competitive so it is vital for organisations to have the right international skill set.  With the challenges of new markets, globally distributed remote teams,  the enormous changes happening in the workplace where people of all different nationalities are thrown together and different communication styles across the globe, it’s a sure bet that CULTURAL DIVERSITY is today’s business reality.  Our future clients and colleagues will be more likely to want to do business with us if we can demonstrate an authentic understanding for their culture, business needs and communications styles. You cannot afford to get things wrong!  International managers armed only with easy-to-learn, fast-to-recall cultural dimensions and differences will find themselves stereotype rich and operationally poor in today’s business reality of complex cultural organisations and culturally diverse customers. Ensure a positive difference for your business performance ,as well as for the people within it, by learning how to embrace cultural diversity profitably!