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Swiss Consulting Group :: Newsletter :: Communicate or Die
December 2005

Thomas D. Zweifel

Dec 14, 2005

A message from Thomas D. Zweifel
Thomas Zweifel, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer :

Want to make a difference and avoid holiday shopping?

On behalf of all of us at Swiss Consulting Group, I send you my best wishes for a happy holiday season. May the coming year be your best year yet, and may it bring you the well-deserved fruits of all your labors this past year. (In fact I call it the Year of the Fruit...)

On a larger scale, may 2006 be a year when leaders at all levels and from all walks of life, in business and society, learn to communicate - and listen - across boundaries. Let us make sure we never reduce ourselves or our fellow human beings to one single identity. After all, in enlisting Hutus for killing Tutsis in Rwanda, perhaps the biggest culture clash of the 1990s, potential recruits were told that they were just Hutus ("we hate Tutsis") and not also Kigalians, Rwandans, Africans and human beings1. Let us remember that the same person can be a US citizen, a Swiss citizen, born in Paris, of Austro-Hungarian ancestry, a democrat, a man, a movie buff, a writer, a teacher, a political economist, and a businessman (me, for example). Let us build a world where difference is not an obstacle, but a contribution to greater communication and accomplishments.

In that context, I would like to introduce my old friend and colleague Klaas van der Horst to you. Klaas and I met in Paris in 1988 and have worked together off and on over the years. Recently, Klaas joined our global executive team and took responsibility for our books worldwide. Here is his story.

1I owe this idea to the economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, with whom I worked in London in 1990.

Dear Reader,

I am thrilled to share with you the extraordinary impact Thomas's books have had on me and the over 16,000 other individuals and organizations worldwide who are using them to deepen their leadership competencies (in particular as top communicators and cross-cultural managers) while getting the results they want.

My wife had been working on translating Communicate or Die into French (it's coming out in early December - pour les Français, cliquez ici, and I frankly had not paid much attention for much of the year. But that changed one weekend. I found myself reading the French manuscript - and I was hooked. Here was the most useful book I had read in years. It was a profound experience: it was like sitting in a workshop and being coached by a superb trainer. I realized that Communicate or Die is extremely relevant to the key issues we face - in our organizations, in our relationships, in our societies.

For many years I had dreamed of having my own restaurant, and becoming one of the rare chefs who earned the distinction of at least one "Michelin" star for the restaurant. My oldest son Björn left home at seventeen - and broke my heart. He gave a sign of life from time to time, but I felt he had gone out of communication. A decade later he showed up - and was employed in one of the restaurants of the famous chef Alain Ducasse. Today Björn is thirty-three and has already earned his first "Michelin" star in one of London's top restaurants. When I read Communicate or Die, I suddenly saw how poor my speaking - let alone my listening - to Björn had been over the years. I also realized how proud I was of him, and I told him (using the tools from the book). This simple communication has completely transformed our relationship. Recently Björn looked to employ a coach to help him achieve his ambitious objectives (in short, a 3-star "Michelin" that makes money). I offered to be that coach. He accepted, and I was moved and honored in ways I can hardly describe. The first assignment I gave him is to read Communicate or Die, and do the exercise on page xxi. To give you a taste, here it is.

Lab: Leadership-In-Action
What objective is so vast that it would stretch you way beyond who you are today?

By when?

What is missing in your leadership to meet this objective?

What blockages (in you and around you) will you need to transcend to meet the objective?

(I am aware that most people skip over these types of labs. But maybe you will find it in yourself to invest a few minutes in answering these questions. It's a great time of year for this type of exploration.)

The experience with Björn gave me an idea: the biggest difference I could make was to commit myself to making the book available to everyone I knew. I ordered 150 copies of Communicate or Die for my business and personal relationships. It seemed like I wasn't the only one:

Read more testimonials and excerpts here

Clients give rave reviews
We purchased 165 copies as our Holiday gift for clients (family and firends get them also!). It is a quick read with practical recommendations on improving skills coupled with stories. [These] skills are critical for leaders ... leaders in business, community leaders and in leaders in familes ... actually for effective leadership in each of our own lives. It applies to everyone!
- Suzanne Frindt, Principal, 2130 Partners

Then I read Thomas's other book, Culture Clash - and realized that here were the tools that any manager, politician or salesman confronted with cross-cultural issues and committed to success must use. To put it simply: the more people read Culture Clash, the more businesses and societies can bridge the cultural differences they are facing, and the less cultural clashes (from the recent riots in France to violence in the Middle East, from lawsuits to culture clashes at DaimlerChrysler) there will be.

Culture Clash would have made a difference in my work In the 1980s and early 1990s when I worked as an interbank money market broker in New York and London. My results with colleagues in European and North-American banks were excellent, but this cannot be said of my Japanese accounts. Meanwhile, a colleague of mine had non-stop extraordinary results with his exclusively Japanese accounts. What was going on? He later he told me that he avoided all technical questions; what he did do was spending virtually entire nights with his Japanese customers, entertaining them and building ever-deeper relationships with them. Then, during business hours, his Japanese friends pushed all sorts of lucrative deals in his direction. I wish I had known the Pyramid of Global Leadership™ from Culture Clash then!

Pyramid of Global Leadership

But back to the present: I bought 75 copies of Culture Clash. Call me crazy, but when I see a good thing, I want to share it with everyone.

Clients give rave reviews
Communication and culture clash are both key issues in any global company. The two books are linked - by listening and communication you can overcome major cross-cultural obstacles. Good stuff; I love these books.
- Steve Baird, Senior Management Advisor, UBS

Read more reviews and excerpts here

Here is my appeal to you. This season, give your people - colleagues, clients, friends - something more meaningful than the usual company pen or watch or bottle of wine (and having lived in Paris for many years, nothing against wine, of course!). Give them the gift of a new skillset. You will not regret it; they will be grateful to you for a long time. And it may well be the smartest investment in your people's productivity you can make. Best of all (at least from my point of view), you avoid holiday shopping! Simply click here to read excerpts and/or place your order.

Thanks for what you do to build a better world, and Happy New Year!

Klaas van der Horst is a member of Swiss Consulting Group's global executive team. A former interbank money-market broker, he lives in Geneva. He and his wife Azucena have four children. or [41]21-803-1457.

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English Edition

Communicate or Die and Culture Clash (SelectBooks)
Cover price:$14.95 Read more or order now
Order both booksPay $25.90 and save $4; Read more or order now
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Give your people the gift of a new skillset. Order your holiday gifts today at (single and double orders) or (bulk and co-branding orders).

Edition Française

Communique ou Meurs (Editions Tricorne)
Cover price:€ 20.00 Voir un extrait ou commander maintenant
Order 20+ booksFor just € 17.00 per book; Voir un extrait ou commander maintenant
Order 100+ booksFor just € 14.00 per book; Voir un extrait ou commander maintenant
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Deutsche Ausgabe

Communicate or Die (Gabler Verlag)
Cover price:€ 36.00 Mehr lesen oder bestellen
Order 20+ booksFor just € 31.00 per book; Mehr lesen oder bestellen
Order 100+ booksFor just € 24.50 per book; Mehr lesen oder bestellen

Chinese Edition

Communicate or Die (CITIC Publishing House, Beijing)

For more information, contact

For more information, contact

Give your people the gift of a new skillset. Order your holiday gifts today at (single and double orders) or (bulk and co-branding orders).

Book a Swiss Consulting
Group Speaker/Trainer

Could use a speaker/trainer to inspire your managers and boost their human competencies and productivity? We offer speaking engagements in the "3 Cs" essential for 21st-century leaders: Coaching, Communication, Cross-cultural strategy. Watch a video at International Speakers Bureau

1. Culture Clash: Managing the Global High-Performance Team (1/2 day or 90 minutes): Like it or not, all of us are touched by globalization. But few leaders are prepared for working across borders, and the costs of cultural blindspots in mergers, virtual teams and outsourcing can be immense - from lawsuits to lost opportunities. Video

2. Communicate or Die: Getting Results Through Speaking and Listening (1/2 day or 90 minutes): Often managers have a great vision, but fail to communicate their strategies and turn them into results. Just as often, an organization's staff has insight and information that never makes its way to the top. But the difference between a good company and a great one may lie in its ability to communicate. Video

3. Coaching: The Leadership Model for the 21st Century (1/2 day or 90 minutes): Millions of people are thrust into leadership positions for the first time. An unprecedented process of democratization and globalization, along with the flattening of organizational hierarchies and the Internet, outsourcing and the virtual team, have transformed the landscape of leadership. How do you lead effectively in this new environment? The old style of leadership is bankrupt. Command-and-control is simply not good enough anymore. Video

Featured Book
International Organizations and Democracy: Accountability, Politics, and Power

We are happy to announce that Lynne Rienner Publishers will release in November International Organizations and Democracy by Thomas D. Zweifel.

"This path-breaking book offers the first empirical analysis of the democratic processes across major international organizations. A must read for scholars, practitioners and students of world politics." — Andrew Moravcsik, Princeton University
Read the introduction.


European Course for Life Sciences Executives, ECLE (University of Basel, March 2006)

The European Course for Life Sciences Executives offers an intensive, interactive and customized leadership course for executives in the life sciences. Thomas D. Zweifel and Tony C. Baechle (Vice President Swiss Consulting Group-Switzerland) will serve on the faculty of leading experts in pharmaceutical R&D, financing, licensing and business development.

The formal postgraduate course is for a small group of approximately 20 participants and consists of two 3-day modules, with 4 weeks between the two modules for practice and company project work at home. The first course is scheduled for March 2-4 and March 23 - 25, 2006 at the Hotel Bad Schauenburg, near Basel (Switzerland). ECLE will grant a certificate of the University of Basel in collaboration of ECPM European Center of Pharmaceutical Medicine and the Wirtschaftswissenschaftliches Zentrum (WWZ) to participants. Representatives from the IMD Business School in Lausanne, the University of St. Gallen, Swiss Consulting Group and Columbia University will act as committee members.
More and Application Form PDF

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communicate or die in chinese

Sales of Communicate or Die in China published in Chinese by CITIC & Infomedia have passed 10,000 copies. Learn more.

Communicate or Die
for Technology

Swiss Consulting Group and Total Systems Education together have developed a 2-day workshop that addresses the practical steps needed to achieve a common project understanding between the business and Information Technology teams. See a course description.

Progess in Haiti
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Since 2003 Swiss Consulting Group has trained community leaders in Haiti and helped them launch 123 catalytic projects, from cleaning up slums to building schools to electrification. Learn more. :: Coaching leaders to meet the future.

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