ENGLISH IN BUSINESS
THE MORE, THE BETTER?
“English is more and more necessary for international business, but less
and less sufficient”(Leonard Orban, EU Commissioner for Multilingualism)
1 Pre-reading task. Discuss the following questions in groups:
-People have always needed a common language to communicate. What
language have they used for this purpose in Europe?
-What language have European community had as an international one in
different periods of history?
-What language do you learn as a second language? How can you apply the
knowledge of English in your future life? What are your ambitions?
2 Read the following statement. Do you agree or disagree? Prepare
arguments to support your view. “English is more and more necessary for
international business, but less and less sufficient”
3 Read, learn and keep in memory the following expressions, try to use
them in your own sentences:
-tangible return on investment
-to benefit from learning a foreign language
-competition for public funding
-insufficient language skills
-the revealing results
-inadequate intercultural skills
-small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
-the total value of smth
-a quantifiable benefit
-to undertake a number of studies
4 Read the first part of the text
YOUR BENEFITS FROM LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
a) Why should you learn a foreign language? That might seem like a
stupid question, particularly coming from a company that publishes
language-learning magazines. Surely, the more foreign languages you can
speak, the better. Yes, probably. But sometimes simple questions are not
as stupid as they seem.
Of course, it’s easy to think of reasons for learning languages. You can
travel more easily, communicate with more people, and learn about other
countries and cultures. Languages can also help you in your current job,
or be an advantage if you want a new job.
b) But look again at that last paragraph. It’s all about “you, you,
you”. You benefit privately from learning a foreign language. You
benefit in your career, language skills benefit society more generally —
for example, by improving international understanding. And companies
benefit from the language skills of their employees.
c) Anne Davidson Lund, a director of CILT, the National Centre for
Languages in the UK. says: “figures speak more loudly than words in a
climate where language learning is not an unquestioned right, where
competition for public funding for education and training is intense,
and where the prize goes to those who can show a tangible return on
investment in terms of their nation’s bank balance. Can we win that
prize for languages?”
d) Lund argued that, if the business sector wants to secure more public
funding for foreign-language education and training, it must show that
language skills bring a quantifiable benefit to companies. Also, the
business sector must show that there is “market failure”: that is, firms
are not currently getting all the language skills they need.
CILT has undertaken a number of studies to look into these questions.
The most important one was the 2007 “ELAN” study Effects on the European
Union Economy of Shortages of Foreign Language Skills in Enterprise— see
box, page 19) for the European Commission. This looked at firms in 29
European countries and tried to quantify the value of contracts lost
because of insufficient language skills.
e) The results were revealing. The report found that there was a clear
link between language skills and export success. And among a sample of
2,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), 11 per cent said that
they had lost contracts as a result of a lack of language skills. (In
most countries, ten per cent said they had also lost contracts because
of inadequate intercultural skills.) Some of these contracts were worth
over f) The ELAN report identified four key elements of language
management in companies that were successful in export markets:”…
having a language strategy, appointing native speakers, recruiting staff
with language skills and using translators and interpreters”. An SME
investing in all of these four elements was found to have an
export-sales proportion 44.5 per cent higher than one that does not do
5 Read through the first part of the article quickly once more. Match
each sentence 1-7 to the sentence a-g that should logically follow it.
1 Foreign languages can
2 You benefit privately
3 You can travel more easily, communicate with more people and
4 Language skills benefit society more generally by
5 The prize goes to those who can show a
6 If you want to secure more public funding for foreign-language
training and educations…
7 Four key elements of language management for success in export markets
a) it must show that language skills bring a quantifiable benefit to
b) improving international understanding
c) a language strategy, appointing native speakers, recruiting staff
with language skills and using translators and interpreters
d) also help you in your current job
e ) learn about other countries and cultures
f) tangible return on investment in terms of their nation’s bank balance
g) from learning a foreign language
6 Think about the questions to paragraphs A-F which require the answers,
presenting the main idea of each paragraph.
1. Read, learn and remember the following expressions, try to use them
in your own sentences:
-to make recommendations for improving language skills
-regional and minority languages
-to gain a competitive advantage
-to deal with different languages
-the importance of implementing strategies for developing the language
-disseminating best practices on language strategies
-targeting the official language
-to master the language of the consumers
-to have access to the behaviour and attitudes of others
-to target English as a priority
-to meet companies’ language needs
-challenges facing multinational companies
-to integrate employees into their workforces
2 Read the text
COMPANIES SHOULD INVEST MORE IN FOREIGN-LANGUAGE SKILLS
Following the ELAN report, Leonard Orban, the EU Commissioner for
Multilingualism, set up the “Business Forum for Multilingualism” to make
recommendations for improving language skills in EU companies Orban
speaks about the role of foreign languages in business.
1) Why is multilingualism so important for the EU?
The EU already has 23 official languages, more than 60 regional and
minority languages and hundreds of other languages spoken by people
originally from outside the EU. We now want to make full use of this
linguistic diversity. We want to show that, rather than being a burden,
it is an asset for the EU — for cultural, educational and professional
reasons. Also, EU companies can gain a competitive advantage through
foreign language skills. But one of the main ideas from the Business
Forum for Multilingualism is that English is not enough. English is more
and more necessary for international business, but less and less
2) So, how good are the language skills of EU citizens?
We are still a long way from our goal of every citizen learning at least
two foreign languages. Only 28 per cent of European citizens are able to
speak at least two foreign languages. And nearly half of European
citizens can speak only their mother tongue.
3) What role should companies play here?
Companies should invest more in developing the abilities of their
workers to deal with different languages. I think especially at the
level of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) there is not enough
awareness of the importance of languages other than English and of the
importance of implementing strategies for developing their employees’
language skills. So we have made a number of recommendations in the
report on ways to help firms. Of course, increased financial support
should be considered — at the EU level, but also at national, regional
and local levels. But we also propose a new European internet platform
for collecting and disseminating best practices on language strategies.
4) But are language skills only the companies’ responsibility?
No, it’s a shared responsibility. The European institutions also have a
contribution to make, but so do the member states through improvements
in their education systems. And so do individuals themselves.
5) Latin is still one of the most common foreign languages taught in
educational institutions. Shouldn’t this time and effort be spent more
usefully on modern foreign languages?
Our task in the European Commission is to defend and promote the
linguistic diversity in Europe. That means targeting mainly the official
languages of the EU. So, we look less at languages like Latin or ancient
Greek. But these languages, even though they are no longer tools of
communication, can be useful in terms of personal development. So we are
not against these languages. But we would encourage people to learn a
large variety of European languages. There are so many languages — for
example, those of neighbouring countries in the EU, or of non-EU
countries — and people should choose whatever languages they want.
6) When you say people should learn two foreign languages, do you mean
two EU languages?
No, Europeans should also learn the languages of non-EU countries. For
example, there are more and more Chinese people who are learning
European languages. But Europeans should also learn Mandarin, Russian,
Urdu, Japanese and so on. This will help not only individuals but also
our companies, and so help the Union to become more competitive.
7) But, surely, learning better English is still the priority for many
Of course, we acknowledge that English is more or less a lingua franca
for communication between companies. And we are talking about the need
for good English, because very often people speak bad English. But when
you are addressing consumers, it is a completely different story.
English is not enough. You need to master the language of your
consumers. For example, it has been shown that many people in Germany
don’t understand advertising slogans that are in English. And we are not
only talking about language skills; we’re talking about intercultural
skills. Teaching a language doesn’t mean just teaching grammar,
pronunciation etc. It means teaching a culture, literature and so on. It
means having access to the behaviour and attitudes of others. We need to
understand that others may think in a different way. These are the sorts
of skills that are needed to do business in other places. So, while
English will continue to be important, companies should add other
languages, and other abilities, in order to become more competitive.
8) Which, then, are the most important foreign languages for EU workers
to learn apart from English?
That’s not for us to say. It’s up to every company to decide which
language skills they need, according to their activities and plans. For
example, some companies may target Mandarin as a priority. Others may
target Hindi. We don’t want to tell the companies what to do. We just
want to tell them that languages are an important part of their
performance, and that they should consider this seriously.
9) Don’t firms solve their language needs pragmatically by, for example,
hiring people from other countries who speak two other languages as well
as their native tongue?
Yes, in many cases, companies do meet their language needs by finding
the right people to employ. On the other hand, as politicians, we have
to think about all European citizens and give them the chance to become
more competitive and to find better jobs. It is also to the advantage of
EU companies if they can find people in their own countries with the
necessary language skills. And, as we say in our report, one of the main
challenges facing multinational companies in the EU — and society more
generally — is to integrate employees from different nationalities and
ethnic backgrounds into their workforces. And this means that the
training of existing employees could be the best option.
3 Match each sentence 1-10 to the sentence a-j that should logically
1 EU companies can gain…
2 Only 28% of European citizens are able
3 Companies should invest more in
4 We propose a new European internet platform for
5 Our task in the European Community is
6 We acknowledge that English is more or less a
7 Teaching a language doesn’t mean
8 While English will continue to be important,
9 It’s up to every company to decide which language
10 One of the main challenges facing multinational companies in EU is
a) collecting and disseminating best practices on language strategies
b) lingua franca for communication between companies
c) a competitive advantage through foreign language skills
d) integrate employees from different nationalities and ethnic
e) companies should add other languages and other abilities in order to
become more competitive
f) to speak at least two foreign languages
g) to promote the linguistic diversity
h) skills they need, according to their activities and plans
i) just teaching grammar and pronunciation, but also a culture,
literature and so on
j) developing the abilities of their workers to deal with different
4 Read through the article, part two once more. Try to summarize in a
sentence what each paragraph 1-9 is about
5 Read the questions which are the headings of the paragraphs 1-9.
Answer the questions. Don’t look into the text.
! Home assignment: get ready to speak about the problems of
multilingualism in European community. For more information use the
For more information: Companies work better with languages — the
Business Forum for Multilingualism, European Commission:
http://ec.europa.eu/ education/languages/news/newsl669_ en. htm
Effects on the European Union Economy of Shortages of Foreign Language
Skills in Enterprise (ELAN), European Commission (2007):
http://www.cilt.org.uk/research/projects/ empioyment/elan. htm
Europeans and Languages, Eurobarometer Report (2006), European
Commission: for Europe, Conference Report (2008), British Council:
http://www. britishcouncil. de/pdf/report08. pdf
? British Council: www.britishcouncil.org
? CILT, the National Centre for Languages: www.cilt.org.uk European
Commission (Multilingualism): http://ec.europa.eu/
education/languages/index__ en. Htm
WORK AND LIFE BALANCE
1 Many business people are facing the problem of how to keep a balance
between their business career and private life. What priorities would
you set up if dealing with the same problem?
2 Read and discuss three parts of the article by Vicki
Sussens-Messerer”Fitting it all” in which she presenfthree different
points on work-life balance ( Spotlight 6/2008).
FITTING IT ALL
PENNY FERGUSON, mother of six and owner of leadership-development
company Penny Ferguson Limited, in Newbury, England.
Penny Ferguson is sitting in the log-cabin office in the garden of her
country home in Newbury, in southern England. The 65-year-old British
leadership specialist has just spent 20 minutes relaxing in an armchair.
She arrived back from Canada the night before and was up early for a
breakfast meeting with clients. She is tired and in a reflective mood.
“I have consciously started to take more quality time for me,” she says.
” That is a big change because I chose to work pretty hard for the last
In fact, Ferguson has worked hard her whole life. She has six children,
five grandchildren and four terriers, and started her company at the age
of fifty. At one point, she had six small children, two step-children
and nine dogs. “I used to go shopping with eight children,” she says. “I
had the three eldest pushing the youngest in the prams and I held the
hands of the middle two”.
Ferguson had her first child at 21 and her last at 29. In the middle,
she married for the second time. “I laugh about this now, but when it
came to the sixth child, I really didn’t know how to fit him into the
schedule.” She had an eight-bedroom house, which she says she ran like
clockwork. She had a mother’s help, but not all the time. “I would get
up at 5.30 a.m., have a bath and change before I did the baby’s first
feed of the day. I would make the children’s beds as their feet touched
the floor. I would take them downstairs and give them breakfast. Then I
would drop the boys at their school and Lucy at nursery school. In
total, I drove 92 miles (146 km) a day on school rounds. Between rounds,
I did the washing, ironing, cooking and shopping. The last thing I did,
before I fell into bed at night, was to put the washing in the machine.”
But Ferguson doesn’t think this is good time-management. “I fooled
myself into believing that being efficient made me happy. But what was
more important – keeping the house perfect or having quality time with
children?” Between her second and third marriages, Ferguson was a single
mother for six years, at one stage holding three jobs.
3 Sort out the statements below into TRUE or FALSE:
1 Penny Ferguson was married two times.
2 Penny has a dog.
3 Penny keeps her house perfect.
4 Penny’s children attended schools which were quite a distance from her
5 Nobody helped Penny with her kids.
6 Penny had to do a lot of washing.
7 Penny is sure that being effective makes a person happy.
8 To make money enough, Penny had several jobs.
9 Penny Ferguson has never had much time for herself.
10 Penny had had six kids by the time she was 30.
CARY COOPER, author and professor of organizational psychology and
health at Lancaster University Management School
Сагу Cooper, professor at Lancaster University Management School, is
chaotic. The coauthor of Detox Your Desk, Declutter Your Life and Mind
(Capstone Press, ISBN 978-1-84112-787-3) knows he has an interview at 7
p.m., but forgot that it was with us. When I phone at the agreed time,
he is not there. But the guru on work-life balance is, surprisingly,
always available. His answering machine greets me cheerfully and
supplies several ways to find him. When he answers his mobile, he is in
his car, stuck in a traffic jam. He promises to be home in 15 minutes,
which he is.
“I guess I seem a jumble,” says Cooper, an American who lives with his
British wife in Poynton, near Manchester. “But I am actually quite
organized. I know what the big things are that I have to achieve. It’s
the things in between that I juggle.” But he likes it that way:”I would
have huge problems if everything was planned for me.”
That’s why he gives out his telephone numbers. “I like to be disturbed!
I find the interruptions stimulating. I like it when a journalist calls
me. They often ask, “Cooper, what do you think about X?”, and I think
“Oh, that’s fascinating!” Then I jump back into my writing again. I
can’t write at home; it’s too quiet. But I guess I’m unusual this way.”
Yet Cooper gets his work done. Today, for example, aside from his normal
university duties, he finishes editing three chapters of a book he is
writing on managing stress, he did two live BBC interviews, and gave an
interview for both The Times and The Daily Express. What’s his secret?
“I always start the day by prioritizing, and plan the big items well.
But I am lucky because I can process input fast, I write quickly, and I
am able to talk off the cuff.
“I don’t want work to dominate my life,” says Cooper, adding that his
first marriage suffered because he spent too much time at work. “I
wasn’t there for my two oldest children. So, after I remarried, I
decided to work bloody hard so I could get home early.” Now, when he
stops working, he really stops, he says.
4 Answer the questions about Cary Cooper’s story:
1 What nationality is Cary Cooper?
2 Is he easy to access?
3 Why did Cooper’s first marriage suffer?
4 Can Cary Cooper improvise easily when communicating with people?
5 Does Cary like to share his views with other people?
6 Do you agree that Cary Cooper is the guru on work-life balance?
7 Can Cooper type fast?
8 Is the family important for Cooper?
9 What can stimulate Cary Cooper?
10Can we say that Cooper is a well-known person?
TIMOTHY FERRIS, author of The 4-Hour Workweek and owner of a
Timothy Ferris claims you can run a global company and do all your work
in four hours a week – if you want to. One way is to outsource most of
your life. Ferris uses service providers for more than just to help run
his dietary-supplement business, Brain-QUICKEN. According to his
bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek (Random House, ISBN 978-0-307-35313-9),
he has also outsourced private jobs to an Asian company called “Your Man
in India”. Asha, his contact there, has paid his bills and bought toys
for his son. He once even wrote an e-mail to Ferris’s wife when she was
angry with Timothy, who also outsourced our interview request to his
book publicist. The author is tango dancing in Buenos Aires – so instead
of an interview, the publicist refers us to his book.
“Most of us work like hell to save for a future dream,” writes the
crusader of living-for-now. He says an investment banker friend once
said that, if he worked an 80-hour week for nine years, he could become
an MD(managing director) and make up to $10 million a year. “Dude, what
would you do with that money?” Ferris asked him. “take a trip to
banker answered. “Guess what?” writes Ferris in his book. “You can do
that for less than $3,000!”
Ferris himself takes many “mini-retirements” a year, when he combines a
burning interest with a destination. So, for example, when he lived in
Rio de Janeiro, he learned Portuguese and Brazilian jujitsu, and while
he was in Hong Kong he even acted in a very popular television series.
Ferris says the concept of working nine to five is totally arbitrary.
“It means we have to plan things to keep us busy all day.” To manage his
time, he applies the 80/20 “Pareto principle”, which says that 80 per
cent of results flow from only 20 per cent of inputs. “I found out that
only five of 120 wholesales customers were ordering regularly and
bringing in 95 per cent of revenues. Yet I was spending 98 per cent of
my time chasing the remainder. All of my problems came from this
unproductive majority.” Ferris also takes note of Parkinson’s Law, which
says that the more time you have to finish a task, the longer it takes.
It may be too early to say the young Ferris has found work-life heaven:
his life has been filled with crazy, failed initiatives. But his
time-saving ideas are worth noting. One of the top tips in this day of
information overkill is never to read a newspaper, but to outsource this
task, too. “I ask people what’s new, and the do the job for me,” he
5 Complete the sentences below:
1 Timothy Ferris runsbusiness.
2 Timothy wrote a bestseller “”.
3 Timothy is sure that one good way to manage time is toto other people.
4 Timothy’s friend had a dream
5 Ferris has a rest from his business
6 Timothy doesn’t take the conceptas obligatory for everyone.
7 Pareto principle says that
8 Ferris found out that onlybrought him 95 per cent of revenues.
9from unproductive majority.
10is never to read a newspaper.
6 Comment on the word combinations which you came across when reading
three stories. Go back to the context to explain and illustrate:
To have a reflective mood, step-children, at one stage, clockwork, to
detox, to declutter, to process input fast, to talk off the cuff, to
outsource, dietary-supplement, to combine a burning interest with a
destination, the concept of working nine to five, information overkill.
7 The table below contains a list of personal time-management
recommendations and tips coming from Penny Ferguson, Cary Cooper and
Timothy Ferris. Read all three lists, think and say:
Whose list fits you personally the best?
Which items given in three lists do you consider of major importance?
Which items would you never include into your list of time-management
What is your personal time-management achievement?
What is your worst time-management sin?
What five points out of three lists do you consider the most important
What five points would you put into your personal list of
Сагу Cooper on their time management
My time management
routine: I start the day by prioritizing. Then I force myself with the
things that are important and don’t allow myself to be distracted. I
choose a quiet time in the day to delete unimportant e-mails.
What’s on my desk that shouldn’t be there: Sweets. Bits of paper that I
have picked up more than once and then put down again, rather than
dealing with them. Private photos that have been there for a month and
that I haven’t yet sorted out.
Biggest distractions: E-mails. People don’t distract me because I am
good at politely getting rid of those who disturb me.
My biggest time-waste: Thinking about private things I can’t do anything
about at work, especially things that happened in the past and that
might happen in the future.
Top time-management tip: Decide what is important by asking. If this was
never dealt with, would it matter? We tend to think of ourselves as two
people – a work person and a private person. But we should integrate the
time-management skills we learn at home at work, and vice versa.
The first thing I do in the morning: Prioritize! I open my e-mails,
print out the ones I need, walk to my secretary’s office, where the
printer is, collect them and then order them on my desk Then I use them
to write my “things to do ” list. My time-management sin: Waiting until
the last minute to do smaller writing jobs. This is bad time management.
But I haven’t yet let anyone down. The biggest nuisance on my desk: The
pile of papers I don’t really want to throw out but don’t quite know
what to do with. At some stage, I’ll go through them and throw most of
them out. My biggest time-management achievement: I’ve stopped trying to
change colleagues who are negative. This caused me more stress than
anything else. Top time-management tip: Set an exit time every day. If
you know that you have to leave at a certain time, you’ll make sure you
get the important things done. You won’t get everything done, but you
have to stop somewhere if you want to have a life outside work.
Focus on doing only those things that bring income: Ask yourself, “If I
had a heart attack and had to work two hours a week, what time-consuming
activities -e-mail, phone calls, conversations, paper work, meetings,
dealing with customers, etc. – would I cut out?” Used even once a month
this question can keep you san and on track. Fold a standard piece of
paper three times to make a small to-do list: Never have more than two
critical items on it.
Decide which items are the most critical: Ask yourself, “If this is the
only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?” Put a
post-it on your computer screen with the question, “Are you inventing
things to do to avoid the important things?” Accomplish more in less
time :Leave work at 4 p.m. and take Monday and/or Friday off. This will
force you to prioritize and work more quickly. Use short deadlines to
force immediate action and ignore unimportant things.
Answer e-mails twice a day: Have the automated message telling people
the two times in the day you read your message and refer them to voice
mail they need you urgently.
1 We cannot not make decisions. Even when we decide not to decide, this
is a decision . Read the questions below, think and answer them:
Have you ever been taught decision making? When, where and for what
What exactly is decision making?
What are the key steps in decision making?
What makes people take bad decisions?
What kind of decision maker are you?
2Read the article by Bob Dignen from Business Spotlight (6/2008).Pay
special attention to and memorize the vocabulary in bold type.
TAKING THE PLUNGE
International business is a world of complexity, ambiguity and
paradoxes. Decisions are often made on the basis of limited information,
which makes risk management an essential discipline. And instead of the
clear top-down decision-making structures of the past, organizations now
expect individuals and teams to work autonomously at all levels. Greater
cultural diversity has also widened the range of decision-making styles
and processes, and increased the potential for conflict.
1What is decision making?
Most people would argue that we take business decisions to reach
personal, team and organizational goals and that the art of decision
making is simply to choose the right option from a range of
possibilities. But, in practice, decision making is more complex.
First, the motivations behind our decisions may be less rational and
strategic than we think: political loyalties, beliefs, environmental
constraints, ethical factors and even irrational motives may play a
Second, decisions are not isolated events but part of a context of
2Key steps in decision making
To understand decision making better, it helps if we break down the
process into various steps:
a)Decide to decide. The first step is to recognize that a decision needs
to be taken to achieve a particular goal. This may be easier for some
people than for others. Those who lack self-confidence ox fear risk may
be indecisive, preferring to wait and see what happens rather than
acting. Others may decide to act too quickly without thinking through
the consequences, and so may be seen as impetuous.
Cultural issues may also be significant. In some national or
organizational cultures, only those in senior positions can “decide to
decide”. In collective cultures, this decision may be a group process,
which could require time to get a critical mass to support. This can be
frustrating to those from a more individualistic culture, but rushing
this process could lead to decisions that do not have wide acceptance.
b)Collect and evaluate information. Effective decision making requires
reliableinformation. But you should not collect so much information that
you end up confused and paralyzed. Indeed, it will often be impossible
to collect all the relevant information in the necessary timeframe. A
certain information risk is often present. It can help to involve others
in the information collection process to get as wide a range of opinions
as possible. This provides not only better insight, but also potentially
greater involvement in the implementation of any decisions.
It is important to set clear and relevant criteria to evaluate possible
options. If a human-resources manager is to select training providers,
price is an easy criterion to look at, but it may not be as relevant as
quality criteria such as experience with similar companies, the ability
to innovate or being able to deliver training in different languages.
Finally, you should know when not to take a decision. Resist the
pressure to decide if you feel that waiting will allow questions to be
clarified or new alternatives to emerge.
c)Decide on an option. A number of problem-solving tools can help you to
compare the advantages and disadvantages of different options. On the
basis of such tools and a certain amount of gut feeling, you should
select the option that you think has the greatest probability of
Things may still stand in your way. A new turn of events may require you
to rethink things. Unexpected resistance from others may necessitate a
u-turn. You yourself may lack the courage to take an unpopular or
Fear of failure often prevents people from taking decisions. To make the
right decision, you will have to manage your own fear of failure and
risk. Remember the following:
1 Not taking risks limits opportunities for growth and improvement.
2 Risk is meant to be scary, so don’t worry about being afraid.
3 We fear losing the familiar, so work hard to embrace the new.
4 Never be reckless: take calculated risks in a rational state of mind.
5 Accept a learning curve and don’t try to succeed 100 per cent
6 When you jump, jump with 100 per cent conviction or you will hurt
yourself when you land.
d)Implement the decision. Once you have made a decision, the real work
starts. It is vital to
motivate yourself and others to accept the consequences of that decision
and to support it with the necessary actions. If you simply announce
decisions but fail to “sell and support” them, you risk resistance and
failure. Effective decision makers proceed as follows:
– They explain the reasons and positive intentions behind their actions.
– They describe the benefits for those affected.
– They have the mental energy, patience and communication skills to
e)Evaluate the decision. You will never improve your decision-making
abilities without reflecting on the decisions you take. Analyze the
extent to which key decisions achieve their goals and are supported by
those around you. If they were unsuccessful, what was the reason?
Remember also that it is possible to take good decisions that have a bad
outcome. A decision is good if it is based on a clear goal, logical
assessment of the available information and taken with the full
commitment of the decision maker and others involved. If things don’t
turn out as expected, you can use that experience to improve your future
3 Decision-making styles
Because people think and feel differently, it is not surprising that
they make decisions in different ways. One interesting way of
classifying decision-making styles is that of Rove and Boulgarides. In
their work, they emphasize the importance of values, needs and
preferences. Their model reveals four main decision-making styles, based
on whether people are task-oriented or relationship-oriented and on how
much cognitive complexity they prefer. The model also looks at the
motivations behind decision making. The four types of decision makers
a) Directive decision makers. These people are task-oriented and have a
strong need for power, wanting to feel they are in control of others.
They also have a low tolerance for ambiguity and prefer to keep things
pragmatic and simple. They tend to take decisions on the basis of less
information, using fewer alternatives. They need to feel that the
decision is theirs to make and no one else’s.
b) Analytic decision makers. These people are also task-oriented. They
need to achieve things and are highly motivated when dealing with a
challenge. They are more tolerant of ambiguity than directive decision
makers, and can tolerate higher information loads. They take time to
analyze in more detail the various possible courses of action.
c) Conceptual decision makers. Such individuals also have a strong need
for achievement. But they are people-oriented and less analytical. They
are comfortable with high information loads but their data collection
methods may be through talking to people, especially experts. They tend
to be more creative than the more analytical decision makers and think
about what can produce the best results in the long term.
d) Behavioural decision makers. These individuals have a strong people
orientation. They tend to communicate easily, using simple and
understandable messages(with low cognitive complexity). They consult
with others, are open to suggestions and happy to compromise. They
prefer a looser sense of leadership control. “I prefer everyone to “own”
the decisions that are mine”.
4 Finding your way
As we have seen, decision making is a process involving data collection
and rigorous analysis. But it is also a psychological process involving
human emotions and personal bias. The challenge is to develop your own
approach to decision making so that you can make the most of your
strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
When working internationally in teams with different mindsets and
priorities, it is essential that you can incorporate these diverse
perspectives into the decision making process. In this way, you will be
able to increase both creativity and the team’s commitment to decisions.
3Answer the questions:
What makes decision making so important today?
What definition of decision making can you suggest?
What affects decision making?
What are key steps in decision making?
What is the most essential for each step?
4Test your decision making
Look at the questions below and note down your options. Then see page
…. for comments. Decision 1: A normal coin is tossed ten times and
lands on heads each time. You have $1,000 to place on the next choice.
Do you choose heads or tails?
Decision 2: Which is more likely: to be killed by a shark, or by parts
falling from an aircraft in flight?
Decision 3: What length would a perfectly regular cube-shaped tank have
to be to hold all the blood of five billion people?
Decision 4: Think about the consequences of the nuclear accident at
Chernobyl in 1986. On a scale of 1 (not at all) to 100 (totally), how
strong would you support the building of a nuclear reactor close to your
5 Test your decision making: comments
There are various reasons why people make bad decisions. Here are a
number of them, which we discuss in relation to the four decisions that
you were asked to make on page . . . We use poor criteria. When faced
with complex decisions, people often rely on their own experiences. But
these may not be good criteria. In the first decision, most people
intuitively choose tails, even though the probability of heads is still
50 per cent. In the second question, the correct answer is “falling
aircraft parts”, but most people answer “shark attack” because of
their experience of watching films or television programmes.
We use wrong information. The third question is often answered poorly as
a result of people
giving false importance to what they see as significant data. Many
people estimate that the tank
must be several kilometers long because of the large number of people.
In fact, the answer is
“only” just over 260 meters.
We are not objective. The fourth question is usually answered on the
basis of personal values
and bias, rather than on objective criteria (“I need more information
about the risks”)
1What kind of decision maker are your?
3 Do you like to be the first to act or are you more cautious?
4 Are you prepared to take risks or do you delay decisions until you are
sure of the outcome? 5 How would you describe the decision-making
culture where you work/study?
6 To what extent do you fit into the culture?
7 Think about your last major decision at work/university.
– To what extent did you collect the necessary amount of information?
How well did you set the criteria for creating and comparing options?
-What tools (if any) do you use to help you make your decisions? Does
fear of failure sometimes stop you from making decisions? If so, think
about the positive aspects of risk taking.
– Think about an important decision that you made recently at
work/university. How well did you sell the decision to those affected by
– Think about the last bad decision you made. What did you learn from
the experience that helped you to take better decisions?
EXERCISE: Which type of decision maker would say what?
Four types of decision makers are: directive, analytic, conceptual and
Look at the comment below. Match each of them to one of these
decision-making styles. (The
answers are on page . . . .)
1 “I think our feeling here is that the third solution is the most
creative and will also produce the best result in the long term. Is
everyone happy with that solution?”
2 “On the basis of all the data that we have collected, I think it’s
clear that the third solution is by far the most logical.”
3 “OK. I think that we have talked things through and have now a clear
commitment from everyone. Can we agree to implement the third solution
and discuss results at the end of the month?”
4 “Implement this approach and report back at the end of the month on
results.” Answers: 1 Conceptual; 2 Analytic; 3 Behavioural; 4 Directive.
SURVIVAL GUIDE: decision making to bring about change
Coaching has established itself as a useful tool to support both
individuals and groups when they have to take key decisions. Co-active
coaching works with questions that stimulate insight into assumptions
and principles behind decision making. The following questions, based
upon a template created by Sharon Drew Morgan(see
www.businessballs.com), can help you to begin the process of innovative
1 Take a look around your working situation. What issues do you see that
require a decision for change?
2 What has stopped you from deciding until now?
3 What would you need to see/hear/feel in order to take a decision?
4 What criteria are you using to decide what aspects of the situation
need to be changed?
5 What needs to be changed first?
6 How are you going to handle of opinion in the decision-making process?
7 Who needs to support you so that you can take this decision?
8 How will you motivate them to support you?
9 How will you know whether you have taken the right decision?
10 How will you be able to make this success sustainable?
THE LANGUAGE OF DECISIONS
This section provides some suggestions on phrases and vocabulary that
you can use when making decisions. Remember, however, that you should
only use the language that you and your colleagues feel comfortable with
in your specific working context.
1Deciding to decide
What do we need to decide first?
How soon do we need to take a decision
Are we in a position to take a decision?
2Defining the decision-making process
How should we decide this? Who needs to be consulted? Who should take
the final decision?
I think we need to decide on a new logo.
Could you let me have a decision by next
Well, we can decide when we get the extra
I think we need to discuss . . .
We need to involve .. .
The person ultimately responsible is . . .
What do we need to know to take a decision? Why can’t we take a
decision? What information are we waiting for?
What criteria are we going to use?
On what basis will we take our decision?
What is important here?
We need information about. . .
We don’t have enough information on…
We are waiting for confirmation of. . .
Our decision should be based on . . . I think the decision should be
driven by The deciding factor will be …
5 Deciding on an option
What do you think we should do? Which option is best for you? What is
I think we should . . .
In my opinion we should decide to.
My decision is to . . .
6 Implementing the decision
What do we need to do to implement
What do we do now?
Can we agree on an action plan?
We have to . ..
The next step is to. Yes, I suggest that
7 Reviewing the decision
Was it a good decision? Yes and no. On the one hand, we could.. .
Did we take the right decision? Yes, we did. So far. . .
Would you take this decision again? I think so.
Section В Decision-making idioms
There are many idioms and idiomatic terms in English about decisions and
decision making. Here are some of the most common ones.
A done deal
This expression describes an agreement or decision that has been reached
on a specific issue. “We are still looking at different options, so it’s
not a done deal yet.”
Jumping on the bandwagon
If someone “jumps on the bandwagon”, they decide to join a trend that is
already very successful or fashionable.
“So many companies are jumping on the work-life balance bandwagon at the
moment and starting initiatives. But I don’t think they really believe
Putting your money where your mouth is
People who “put their money where their mouth is” support a decision or
opinion, often in some financial way, either with an investment or some
kind of bet.
“Come on. If you believe England will beat Germany in November in
Berlin, put your money where your mouth is and bet me $10.
Playing for time
People who “play for time” try to delay a decision in some way:
“He tried to play for time by asking for more information. I think he
was hoping we would just give in and reduce our prices.”
This business buzzword is used to describe the process of groups trying
to find out who was responsible for a decision that produced bad
results. The term comes from “brainstorming”. “The meeting about the
failure of our marketing campaign turned into a blamestorming session,
with nobody taking responsibility. Everyone just blamed everyone else.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Bob Dignen is one of the directors of York Associates
specializes in language, communication and intellectual training.
Contact: [email protected]
Group Communication, Peter Hartley, Routledge, ISBN 970-415-11159-1.
Harvard Business Review on Decision Making, Peter Drucker, John Hammond,
Keeny, Howard Raiffa, Aid M.Hayashi, Harvard Business School Press, ISBN
PERSONAL BRANDING. A BRAND NEW YOU
1 Before you read the article, take a few minutes to think and say what
the word ‘brand’ means. Give examples of your own.
2 Read the first part of the article.
I Companies invest an enormous amount of time to develop, promote and
sustain their corporate brands. Think of Coca-Cola, Apple, BMW or
McDonalds. Branding is a powerful way to shape customer perceptions of
products or services and to influence their buying behaviour. So, if
branding works for companies, why can’t it work for you as an
individual? Personal branding uses key corporate principles and
practices to enable individuals to manage their image in the workplace.
Before you read on, take a few minutes to think about the following
questions. Then compare your answers to the comments in the article.
? Why do you need a personal brand?
? What steps should you follow to create such a brand?
? What channels can you use to communicate your personal brand?
? What role does culture play in personal branding?
? Why do you need a personal brand?
II On the history of branding
The origin of the term “personal branding” is often traced back to a
1997 article, “The Brand Called You”, by Tom Peters, one of the world’s
leading business experts box, He said that everyone has a personal
brand, whether they like it or not. Peters defined brand primarily as
what other people think about us — the ideas and associations we
stimulate in their minds by the way we look, sound and behave.
Some aspects of our brand will be positive, others negative. Yet most of
the time, we don’t think about managing how people experience us. Peters
believed it was time for individuals to take control of their personal
brand in the workplace and to market themselves more consciously.
Peters argued that flatter corporate structures were making career
development more problematic. Automatic promotions up the organizational
ladder were be coming a thing of the past. Instead, individuals needed
to promote themselves by defining and communicating their unique selling
Some benefits of personal branding
· Greater visibility and opportunities for promotion
· Better working partnerships inside your company
· Higher salary
· The ability to attract and retain more customers
· Greater self-confidence
· Clearer focus on what really matters for you at work
III Creating a personal brand
It will be easier to create an effective personal brand if you follow
these three key steps:
a) Define your personal brand vision. When was the last time you thought
about what you want to achieve at work over the next three, five or ten
years? Ask yourself questions both about specific career objectives
(What do I want to become? How much do I want to earn?) and about
general professional objectives (What kind of leader do I want be? What
kind of team do I want to work in?). This process enables you to devote
the appropriate amount of energy to the right areas and also plan to
reach meaningful career goals.
b) Define your personal brand. The second step is to define a unique and
impressive professional brand. Start by creating a short statement of
who you are: the values you represent, your key qualities, and what
makes you unique. Tom Peters suggests that your uniqueness include not
only general personality descriptions, but also four key aspects of
working life: your vision and style as a leader; what makes you special
as a team member; your technical expertise: and your ability to help
deliver results. Think about your own uniqueness by answering the
following questions. You will find some useful examples of language to
answer these questions, see the survival guide section.
· What inspires and motivates you?
· How do you inspire and motivate others?
· Where are you taking people?
· What do you see as your greatest strength in team?
· What do your colleagues admire most about you?
· What’s special about working with you in a team?
· Where are you excellent?
· What are you known for doing better than others?
· What is your particular genius?
· What have you achieved that you are most proud of?
· What will you deliver to your management?
· What unique benefits do you offer the customer?
c) Promote your personal brand. No matter how good a brand is, it will
be of little value if it isn’t promoted well. That is why companies
spend millions on advertising to increase the visibility of their
brands. The same is true of personal branding. It is essential to move
on from creating the brand to making sure it is experienced by key
stakeholders — that is, the people with whom you work and who have
direct or indirect influence over your career development.
3 Read the first part of the text quickly once more and find the words
and phrases that match the definitions below:
a) excellent knowledge or skill in your professional subject
b) the feature of being very special, unusual
c) the relationships between people in business, organization
d) something important in your job that you hope to achieve
e) the process of creating your special image
f) the state of being more popular
g) the main personal characteristics
(personal branding, greater visibility, working partnerships, meaning
key qualities, uniqueness, technical expertise)
4 Read the second paragraph, discuss the importance of the enlisted
benefits. Which one is the most important in your opinion? Write the
list of the benefits of personal branding in the order of importance
from your point of view.
5 Read the third paragraph and
a) name the three key steps in creating a personal brand (don’t look
into the text)
b) answer the questions from part 1 in close pairs, then in open pairs
c) speak about your uniqueness using four key aspects of working life
from part “d”. You will find some useful examples of language to answer
the questions in the survival guide section.
d) speak about the importance to promote your personal brand, use no
more than 3 sentences.
6 Write down 10 words and expressions from the first part of the text,
which you think are the most suitable to speak about personal branding.
! Home assignment:
1-write down your personal brand vision, using no more than three
sentences,(see the survival guide section)
2-wrte down your own personal brand statement, using no more than three
sentences, use a list of useful personality adjectives from the survival
7 Read the second part of the article
IY Communicating your brand
There are various channels you can use to promote your unique personal
brand in the workplace.
a) The work channel. Effective personal brand promotion is more than
telling everyone how wonderful you are. The best way to showcase your
talent to others is to find opportunities to work with them. Look for
new projects where you could play a role. Volunteer informal support and
advice to those who might benefit from your experience. Don’t expect
opportunities to fall into your lap; you need to look actively. And
don’t get impatient if benefits don’t appear immediately. Allow your
reputation to grow slowly but surely. As a way of getting started,
commit yourself to one extra task for the coming four weeks that will
enhance your reputation with a significant decision maker.
b) The people channel. One of the best forms of marketing is personal
recommendation or “word of mouth”. It is essential to cultivate a strong
network of carefully selected people who like and respect you. Such
people can act as multipliers for your brand in conversations with other
decision makers. Some people like to join professional networking sites:
others increase the number of strategic lunches they take part in.
Whatever method you use, it is important always to think about whether
you are spending the right amount of time with the right people talking
about the right things. Your aim is to ensure that your “stakeholder
network” understands your values and talks about you in the right way.
c) The emotional channel. Corporate brands use emotions to connect
strongly to customer desires, such as the wish to be successful or
attractive. Your personal brand also needs to manage emotions. In their
book Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate, Fisher and Shapiro
identify four areas of emotion that need to be managed in business
contexts. Think about these four areas for your personal brand:
Appreciation. People feel good when they see that they are liked. When
people meet you, do they feel liked and appreciated by you?
Affiliation. We usually have more positive feelings towards people with
whom we have something in common. When people meet you, how clearly do
you communicate that you are similar?
Autonomy. We need to feel a sense of control over our own destiny. Do
people feel empowered and autonomous when they are with you, or do you
threaten their independence and expertise?
Status. People need to feel respected. How does your personal brand
communicate respect for others? How does talking to you confer status on
To gain their customers’ trust and loyalty, companies try to make the
experience of their brand an enjoyable one. Effective personal brands
work in the same way. Do people find it enjoyable and rewarding to be
d) The visual channel. When people see you, they should experience
credibility, authority and openness. For example, when you are making a
presentation, an open posture with strong and controlled gestures
normally helps to build your brand better than shifting from foot to
foot or waving your arms around wildly. Choice of clothing, hairstyle
and portables, such as a briefcase and laptop, also communicate your
values. And think also about your written communication, including
e-mails, presentation slides and even your handwriting on a flip chart.
What do the information load, format and design say about you?
e) The auditory channel. What do people think when they hear you? Are
they inspired, or do they have mixed feelings towards you and your
approach to business? Does your voice persuade with warm and friendly
tones, or does it create discomfort with dull intonation or shrill
tones? Do people “hear” you smiling on the telephone? If you don’t know
what people really think of you when they hear you, start asking!
Y The culture question
Creating and communicating a personal brand is not easy. For example,
what should you do if you feel that the key people in your professional
network don’t like your personal brand? What if they respect alternative
values and behaviours? Should you change yourself and risk becoming
There is no easy answer here, but it can help to think about this
problem in two parts. If you believe that key stakeholders have the
wrong perception of your talents, then you need to work on improving the
promotion of your brand. If on the other hand, your brand values
genuinely offer little to your stakeholders, think about whether you can
adapt your brand, or whether you need to find another place to work.
Culture can play a key role in brand communication. Whatever values or
information we try to transmit, the receivers of our message will see or
hear us and interpret the message according to their own mental model
and filters. For example, you may wish to promote a brand that says you
are direct and honest, but others may experience you as aggressive and
pushy. Or, you may want to promote the patience and empathy of your
empowering leadership, only to find that others see you as indecisive
and lacking direction.
You are likely to have a number of diverse audiences for your brand
campaign at work. These may include different national cultures,
departmental cultures, age and gender cultures, different business
relationships (for example, that between a customer and a supplier) and,
of course, the individual personalities of your colleagues, managers and
business partners. All these audiences will have distinct needs and
perspectives and may experience you in different ways. Effective
personal branding requires a clear vision and message but, above all,
intelligent promotion to diverse audiences.
YI Always be selling
Developing and communicating your personal brand is not enough. You also
have to “walk the talk”. Are you a leader who breeds confidence and
trust with analytical excellence and good people-management skills? Are
you open for feedback and do you act to improve yourself even when the
messages you get are difficult to accept? If not, your brand may be
compromised. Remember that every encounter represents an opportunity to
sell “Brand You”, from first impressions in casual social encounters and
the many e-mails you write each day to taking part in international
meetings or presentations. Effective brands are consistent brands. So
make sure that how you look, sound and act at all times sends a
consistent message about who you are and what your unique value is.
8 Read the fourth paragraph of the text quickly and find the words and
phrases that match the definitions below:
a) to present somebody’s abilities or good qualities
b) when people tell each other about it (not read or write, only speak)
c) people or companies that are involved in a particular project,
especially if they invest money in it
d) to give somebody the power or authority to do something
e) to make people feel that they are respected by you
f) to have the feeling of trust and belief
3-to communicate respect for others
5-to feel empowered
6-word of mouth
9 Check your memorizing skills. Name five channels which you can use to
promote your unique personal brand, don’t look into the text.
10 Read part “c”(paragraph IY) once more and
a) try to explain what the words “appreciation, affiliation, autonomy,
b) complete the sentences with proper words mentioned above
The job of a university teacher brings with it high ________ and good
His_______ to the most powerful political party gives him high position
in the society.
Frenchmen usually show great_______ to women.
Young people would like their parents to give them greater ________
autonomy in their personal life.
c) answer the questions you can find in the parts c, d, e.
11 Read paragraphs Y and YI quickly. Try to summarize in a sentence what
each part (a-f) is about
12 Find key words and expressions(at least 10) suitable to speak about
developing and communicating your personal brand from paragraphs Y and
13 Match each sentence 1-6 to the sentence( a-f) that should logically
follow it, don’t look into the text
1-What should you do
2-It can help you to think
3-Whatever values or information we try to transmit
4-Effective personal branding requires
5-Are you a leader who breeds
6-Every encounter represents an opportunity
a) confidence and trust with analytical excellence and good
b) if you feel that the key people in your professional network don’t
like your brand?
c) to sell your personal “Brand You”
d) about this problem in two parts
e) a clear vision and above all, intelligent promotion to diverse
f) the receivers of our message will see or hear us
14 Read the survival guide section, get ready to participate in the
round-table discussion “Creating a personal brand helps to face the
challenges of the modern life”.
SURVIVAL GUIDE. PERSONAL BRANDING
Creating your personal brand.This section provides some suggestions for
phrases and vocabulary that can be used to communicate your personal
brand at work. Remember, however, that you should only use the language
and approach that you feel comfortable with in your specific context.
1. Communicating your brand vision and values
Building a personal brand is not achieved by telling everyone how
wonderful you are. You need to communicate your vision and values
regularly in business encounters such as presentations, meetings and
social conversation. Here are some key aspects you should consider:
a) Leadership vision
Communicate your vision of good leadership, so that your staff can
deliver the performance you want.
For me, good leadership means…
This organization’s strategy is to…
What inspires me is…
My greatest motivation is…
The future for me is…
Communicate your vision of good teamwork practice.
My approach to teamwork is…
The critical success factor is..
What I always want to see in teams is…
Teams need to have…
For me, a team is not a team unless it has
Communicate your own skills as well as those you admire in others.
· One thing I do know is how to..
· My core competence is…
· Some people say that my particular attribute is to…
· One quality I admire in people is…
· The key attribute for firms is…
· A core skill for us all today is…
Communicate an attitude to goals that is personally focused, but also
highlights the importance of wider goals.
I guarantee that I will deliver…
· My goal is to…
· My view of (customer service) is…
· The secret to getting great results is…
· The team has to reach…
· The organization’s objective is to…
2. Differentiating your brand
Positioning is a critical element of brand identity. Differentiating
clearly between what you see as right and what you see as wrong is a
simple way of distinguishing your personal brand from the competition.
The following extracts from presentations are examples of the type of
approaches and sentences you could use.
Empowerment, not dictatorship: a message about leadership
“I am not going to stand here and tell you what to do every time
something goes wrong. My leadership philosophy is one of empowerment,
and not dictatorship. I work with trust, and I work with you, not
instead of you.”
Responsibility, not blame: a message about teamwork
“I don’t like the current atmosphere in the team. There is too much
focus on finding the person to blame, rather than taking responsibility
for putting things right. Responsibility for me is a value that I expect
everyone to live by.”
Analysis before action: a message about results
“I don’t think we should take a decision without having the data. In my
view, you can’t get effective performance without sufficient analysis.”
Clarity, not confusion: a message about communication
“The messages we are sending to our staff confuse not just them, they
also confuse me. I am a great believer in clear and direct
communication. So we need to look again at our communication to create
greater transparency and thus increase motivation.”
Solutions, not problems: a message about customer focus
“My approach to this issue is to focus on solutions, not problems. We
don’t have the time or resources to discover every problem. And anyway,
our customers need solutions… yesterday!”
3. Finding your strengths and talents
The Gallup Organization’s Strengths-Finder is a talent assessment
instrument developed for the internet. A talent is defined as a
“naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behaviour that can
be productively applied.
Knowledge and skills, on the other hand, can be taught and learned.
The Strengths Finder instrument lists 34 different “themes” that
describe talents. These can provide an excellent starting point for the
creation of your personal brand statement. Among the themes are those
below. Remember that people can be strong in a number of themes.
Achiever: People who work hard and enjoy being busy.
? Communication: People who find it easy to put their thoughts into
Developer: People who recognize and cultivate the potential and
abilities of others.
? Futuristic: People who inspire others with their visions of the
future. Harmony: People who don’t enjoy conflict and try to achieve
? Maximizer: People who focus on strengths as a way to stimulate
personal and group excellence.
? Responsibility: People who are committed to honesty and loyalty.
? Woo: People who love the challenge of meeting new people and making a
? For a full list of the 34 themes and their descriptions, see the
article “The Gallup Organization’s Strengths Finder Instrument” by Tonya
Fredstrom, Jim Harter and Kenneth Tucker. The article can be found on
the Career Trainer website (www. careertrainer. com).
When creating your personal brand statement (see below), it can be
helpful to use adjectives that describe your personality.
conscientiousсумліннийcooperative спроможний до
вариськийpatient терплячийresourceful винахідливийself-assured впевнений
в собіself-disciplined самодисциплінований self-sufficient
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