Denis Leclerc – Don’t judge people too fast, we have more in common than we are different.

Denis Leclerc
Professor Denis Leclerc tells us why you should “Learn something new every day”; why you should ”Learn to slow down; why it’s important not to “judge people too fast” and more. Hosted by Siebe Van Der Zee.

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About Denis Leclerc

 

Dr. Denis Leclerc teaches cross-cultural communication and global negotiations at Thunderbird School of Global Management. His interests and research have focused on intercultural communication competence and global negotiation. At Thunderbird, Denis teaches in multiple programs such as the on-campus Master of Global Management, Executive MGM, customized programs such as Thunderbird International Consortia, and multiple oil and gas executive programs. He also serves as the academic director for multiple custom programs such as Raytheon, Novartis and Medtronic, and open-enrollment programs in negotiation and leading diverse teams.

Before joining Thunderbird, Denis taught at Arizona State University and served for eight years as director of multiple international studies abroad programs there. He directed and served on numerous master’s and Ph.D. committees in the U.S. and Europe. He was co-program evaluator for a National Science Foundation (NSF) three-year grant examining the cultural adaptation of U.S. scientists working in scientific laboratories abroad. This research project was instrumental in guiding NSF to redesign program components to include cross-cultural training for their international assignments.

Denis has been published in leading journals in his field including the International Journal of Intercultural Relations, and has been a contributor to Readers in Communication, authoring a chapter on the impact of culture on global negotiations.

Denis is also an active and highly sought-after consultant. As the principal of his own consulting company, he has conducted cross-cultural research for companies in North America and France. Additionally, he has provided support for international program evaluations and has planned, facilitated, and analyzed professional development seminars for a wide range of executive programs throughout the U.S. and Europe. He is a keynote speaker and seminar leader for various companies such as American Express, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and ExxonMobil on topics as varied as cultural misunderstanding, improving multi-cultural awareness, and cultural strategic negotiation preparation.

In 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2022 he was voted the most valuable professor by the Thunderbird Executive MGM students. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2016, he was voted most outstanding faculty member by the Thunderbird MGM students. He also ranks as one of the best professors in all the corporate programs that he participates in.

A native of Normandy, France, Denis completed a maitrise in cultural geography (honors) from L’Universite de Haute Normandie, Rouen, France, and then a master’s in international tourism at Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D. in cross-cultural communication from the Hugh Downs School of Communication at Arizona State University. He received his certifications for the Global Mindset Inventory from Thunderbird and the COM/COI from the Training Management Corporation. As one of his last research interest, Denis is publishing an entrepreneurial journey book that will be available September 2022.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Learn something new every day, even if it is a new word 06:36
Lesson 2: Never stay angry. Anger will eat you alive 08:58
Lesson 3: Managing stress is like “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” (Quote by Arthur Ash) 12:33
Lesson 4: Don’t judge people too fast, we have more in common than we are different. 14:45
Lesson 5: Travel 23:10
Lesson 6: Success is a journey not the final destination 29:27
Lesson 7: learn to cultivate creativity 34:12
Lesson 8: Help and support others 37:00
Lesson 9: Learn to slow down 39:00
Lesson 10: Learn how to become a better mentor 44:01

Denis Leclerc – Don’t judge people too fast, we have more in common than we are different.

[00:00:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello and welcome to our program 10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn where we talk to businesspeople, journalists, professors, ambassadors, leaders, and luminaries from all over the world. My name is Siebe Van Der Zee. And I’m your host. I’m originally from the Netherlands happily residing in the beautiful Grand Canyon state of Arizona.

[00:00:30] I’m also known as the Dutchman in the desert. I hope you will enjoy our program. Our guest today is Professor Denis Leclerc. Denis Leclerc is Professor of Cross-cultural Communications and Global Negotiations at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, a native of Normandy in France, Dennis received his doctorate in cross-cultural communications from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. At the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Dennis teaches multiple programs, including an on-campus MBA class. An executive MBA program. And a customized corporate program for major companies, such as Raytheon, Novartis, and Medtronic. Dennis has been published in leading journals, and he’s also active as a business consultant in north America and in France. He is a sought-after keynote speaker and seminar leader for organizations such as American Express, the US Chamber of Commerce, ExxonMobil, and others on topics like cultural misunderstanding, improving multicultural awareness and cultural strategic negotiation preparation. That’s a mouthful.

[00:01:43] You can learn, learn more about Professor Leclerc on our website 10 lessons learned.com Bonjour Denis comment ca va?. Thank you for joining us

[00:01:53] Denis Leclerc: Bonjour, bonjour. Ca va tres bein et toi?

[00:01:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, Nous pouvant parler on Francais,

[00:01:59] I suggest we don’t speak French, but, uh, it’s very nice to have you as our guest, global communicator professor wonderful. When we talk about cross-cultural communications, what would be the definition? How would you describe that field? Because it seems to cover so much.

[00:02:19] Denis Leclerc: Hmm. You know, actually, it’s a very good question.

[00:02:21] To my definition of cross-cultural communication might be difference if you go and talk to other professors, but it’s really our ability using communication to close the gap, close the differences we have because we have way more in common than we have differences. So, to me, what I try to remind people when we do cross cultural communications is actually the ability, we have of finding common grounds, common knowledge, common experiences with other people.

[00:02:50] So that would be my definition.

[00:02:53] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, it, it covers literally a lot of ground. This is global it’s international. Is it also domestic within countries?

[00:03:04] Denis Leclerc: Oh yeah. Oh absolutely. I mean, it’s also like, you know, if you take countries like, uh, you know, the us, for example, that, you know, you have people from the west coast are very different from people from the east, you know, north and south.

[00:03:15] I mean, you always have people in the south of France are very different from the north of France. People in the south of the Netherlands are different from the people in the north of the Netherlands. I learned that, you know, going through store one times, like. Really. And they’re like, oh no, no, no. You’re you use an expression that is only used in the south of the Netherland.

[00:03:31] So, you know, there’s always disparity that way.

[00:03:34] Siebe Van Der Zee: very true. Very true. is there perhaps, uh, a lesson that you have learned in your life, in your international life that you would like to teach yourself if you would be 30 years old today

[00:03:50] Denis Leclerc: to be more patient, to be, uh, yeah, to be more patient to observe, to, to not, to not be the one talking all the time.

[00:03:58] I think in, I think in my thirties, I was trying to show off like who I was and kind of what I knew. And I think that’s, you know, listen to people is way more interesting.

[00:04:09] Siebe Van Der Zee: There’s wisdom in that. No doubt at the same time, as a professor, as a business consultant, You are asked to communicate and share your thoughts and wisdom.

[00:04:19] not to put you on the spot, but how do you combine that with listening?

[00:04:23] Denis Leclerc: Oh, no, actually I think it’s, super important because like, for example, if you look at, if you listen to like doing consulting and businesses, it’s all about listening. I mean, if you coach somebody, it’s you listening to them and, you know, asking them the right questions, you can get down to the, what their real issue is.

[00:04:40] And if you just come up and say, I’m going to tell you how to do it. It’s not as interesting. I mean, my teaching, for example, now, if I look at how I start to teach 20 years ago, 25 years ago, compared to how I teach now, my role is to teach is to be the one who speak the least amount during my classes, I, I present a concept.

[00:05:01] Then I have the students talking to each other and we come back and see what they have learned. And that’s, that’s the way I love the courses to go super interactive, uh, super engaged from the students. And I, I try, unfortunately, sometimes you have to present big concepts. So, I have to be the one speaking, but just, you know, let them go.

[00:05:17] And, you know, just, I’m just presenting frameworks as a professor say, Hey, have you thought about doing this, that perspective? That to me is my, my true job as an educator.

[00:05:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: You see, I think that’s a very important point because many of us, myself included have a tendency to speak too much and yes, over time, I think I have learned how to turn that off or turn it down and to focus more on the listening part.

[00:05:44] And I think that’s, that’s a, that’s an important element of wisdom that indeed you learn over time. It may be more difficult for people earlier in their career to say, you know what, I’m just going to. Listen and find out, but it’s an important tool if they can apply it.

[00:06:03] Denis Leclerc: And I’m not saying I’m the best at it either.

[00:06:06] I’m just saying, I’m just saying, that’s what I, you asked me for my lessons. Like I’m still working, you know, sometimes I finish a lecture, whatever I’m like, well, that was not good. I mean, basically you talked the whole time, so that’s, that’s still something that this is my self-awareness. I have to keep up actually.

[00:06:25] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, I like it. I like it.

[00:06:26] Denis Leclerc: I haven’t other days it’s just totally escapes me.

[00:06:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, and obviously we’re going to listen to your 10 lessons, so, oh yeah, yeah. Please speak up.

[00:06:36] Lesson 1:   Learn something new every day, even if it is a new word

[00:06:36] Siebe Van Der Zee: let’s start with lesson. Number one, learn something new every day. Even if it’s a new word. Literally every day?

[00:06:45] Denis Leclerc: Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah. Every day I loved like the other day.

[00:06:48] I love to find new words. I, I don’t know the words. Like I listen to a French podcast, like every day, but there was a word in French. I have, I had no idea where the origin was from. And it was just like, and sometimes because English is not my first language, so sometimes I will hear a word in English and I will just like, I have never, never heard of that word.

[00:07:10] I mean, where does it come from? And to me, that’s, that’s language is absolutely amazing. Um, so to me, the linguistic part of it, but it’s also, I love cooking, so I learn every day how to cook something. I’m a, I love pastry. So, I just make cakes and stuff. You know, one time I wanted to know how to make sausage.

[00:07:27] So with a friend, we made sausage for like three weekends in a row. And just, I like to be able to learn something new, like, listen to podcasts I’ve never heard of before, but I tried to learn an instrument. It was not a good experience. you know, say, I could say this is not, this is not, this is not in my cards.

[00:07:45] You know, you realize sometimes you learn, and you realize, eh, no, do something else. But I think it’s important for all of us.

[00:07:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: And in that sense to have a, an open mind, but also to have somewhat of a focus, to force yourself, to continue to learn. Right. That’s, that’s part of what you’re saying.

[00:08:01] Denis Leclerc: Yeah, absolutely. Like for example, at the school, I mean, where I am right now, my professional environment, we, there has been major shifts. One of the area of that the school is really big on is on the space industry. I don’t know anything about the space industry. So right now, I’m working on like, what can I, it’s absolutely fascinating, absolutely fascinating field. But I’m learning, I’m trying to learn something every day about the space industry that I didn’t know before.

[00:08:25] So it’s a concept of keep learning.

[00:08:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: I like it. yeah, it’s inspiring, right. to, uh, keep looking for new things and try new things, et cetera, et cetera. Yeah. Yeah. We, we tend to get stuck sometimes in, in doing the same thing over and over.

[00:08:39] Denis Leclerc: Oh yeah. Because usually we get rewarded for doing that. I mean, professionally, if you do something very well, then you’re like, that’s it I don’t have to, to stretch myself, but to me, it’s in the stretching and learning something new that you get new learning, you get new options. You, you get new perspectives, so yeah. Yeah. You know, that’s, that’s the part.

[00:08:58] Lesson 2:   Never stay angry. Anger will eat you alive

[00:08:58] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number two, uh, is something that you don’t want to do. Never stay angry. Anger will eat you alive.

[00:09:06] Denis Leclerc: No, that’s something ever. I was a very, I was always very angry when I was growing up. And I just learned that at some point you have, you have to let it go, you know, it’s just like, and it’s angry. Yeah. It’s being angry. I mean, you know, I was 17 and I had a bleeding ulcer just because I was just mad at people and mad at everything and be able to control that and focus that.

[00:09:29] And so I’ve all I told myself, you know, at some point it’s like, I have to let it go. You know, it’s just, there’ no need for doing that. I mean, that anger is not going to be serving you. Well, it’s not serving people are around you. anyway And, you know, you need to, it goes to, you know, it’s just like, yeah, just let it go.

[00:09:46] the anger is like the physical anger. I mean, I used to play squash, a lot when I was growing up. I, I don’t, I couldn’t tell you how many brackets I broke playing. I used to have to play with a tooth protect, you know, teeth protection, because, and with that was, that was my fuel.

[00:10:02] And then one time it was just like, no, you have to quit done. And it was so much better, but it’s, it is the physical. And it’s also the mental aspect of not being angry, letting it go.

[00:10:13] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Well, in a way, two questions, but the first one, was there a moment that you decided to do it differently? And, and the other point there is so much going on around the world that angers people mm-hmm and in some cases, When a war is going on, mm-hmm, the devastation when other things happen and you see it, of course, in politics, mm-hmm, the anger.

[00:10:37] Is that something that you would say, ah, don’t worry about it, or how do you express your thoughts when you are in disagreement?

[00:10:46] Denis Leclerc: So, you know, I, I read, and I do not remember a sociologist that basically they did research a lot on Facebook and networks and friends and all that. And you realize that in your life, I mean, the, the maximum amount of people you can talk to, like really have conversations with 50 people.

[00:11:04] And so, you know, most of us, if we say we have like 10 friends, like close friends, that’s, that’s huge. I mean, people, you can call that 10 friends is amazing. Yeah. So, to me, the anger is just like, There’s a lot of stuff going on. I don’t like, but do I have control over it? It’s like, no. So, I try to help people who are close to me and close to people I know, or locally, that’s just like, you know, it angers me to see what’s going on in the US angers me what’s happening in Ukraine.

[00:11:33] It angers me to see what’s happening in lot of countries, but I don’t feel that I can have an impact unless, you know, yes, you can vote. You can give money, you can make donations, but there’s like reading the newspaper. I mean, I used to read newspapers all the time. I stopped doing it.

[00:11:47] Just like it. It puts your mind in the morning at such a. It’s just like not good. Yeah. And I, it just can’t deal with it.

[00:11:55] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think we could use people in leadership with that attitude, right?

[00:12:00] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. well, yeah, hopefully yes. You know, but you know, anger fuels people, although that’s the thing. And, you know, you ask me, is there at times, just to me, it’s just like, I realize it’s exhausting.

[00:12:13] It is absolutely exhausting to be angry all the time. it’s, you know, it eats you alive. I mean, it does. And to me, it’s just like, you have to find another way. I mean, I don’t want to spend 50 years in my 10 lessons, you know, having a list of people I’m angry, you know, I just, I, I want to do something else with my life know,

[00:12:31] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, I hear what you’re saying.

[00:12:33] Lesson 3:   Managing stress is like “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”. (Quote by Arthur Ash)

[00:12:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: And it kind of feeds into your lesson number three. Yeah. Stress is like start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.

[00:12:43] Denis Leclerc: And, and this is one of my favorite quotes from Arthur Ash, yeah. And it was interesting because to me, I mean, if you look at why we get stressed, sometimes it’s because I think there’s sometimes a disconnect between understanding kind of, we know where we’re studying, but.

[00:12:58] We forget to use what we have. I mean, we are never going to have everything. We are never going to have everybody we want to, and you just do what you can just put one foot forward and just make it happen. And managing stress. I mean, it goes back to my second, uh, lessons because it’s a different, I mean, I’m not angry anymore.

[00:13:18] but I, I still work on managing the stress because stress will, and sometimes it’s just like being able to stop and doing it. I mean, I, I gave myself a gift, when I turned 50 and I, got my training in, uh, transcendental meditation and it was just the most amazing, like within two weeks it was like, I, I don’t know how to explain, because I’ve done yoga in the past.

[00:13:45] I’ve done a lot, but doing that meditation really was just this amazing level. I mean, I don’t know your brain, just, just like you manage your stress very differently. And sometimes I forget to do my meditation because I get busy, but when I have time just sitting quietly for like 20 minutes, even once a day, just really allows you to manage your stress.

[00:14:08] I mean, so that’s one of my lessons and, you know, it’s just like being able to really manage that is, is very important. And they, they under, they, they have done research on, on meditation, managing stress in school system where, you know, we are all buzzing. We’re all buzzing all the time. And I think the technology is, has added to that.

[00:14:28] I mean, I’m not on Facebook anymore. My Facebook got hacked and at first like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Now I’m like, oh, okay, good. That’s good. You know, I know it’s just like one thing I don’t have to worry about. So, you know, the only thing I’m on is LinkedIn, that’s it.

[00:14:40] Siebe Van Der Zee: There is life without Facebook.

[00:14:42] Denis Leclerc: So, but yeah, managing stress is critical.

[00:14:45] Lesson 4:   Don’t judge people too fast, we have more in common than we are different.

[00:14:45] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number four Denis, is one that, I like a lot, and it depends again on the context, but I’m thinking of you, of course, as professor in cross cultural communications and global negotiation, lesson number four, don’t judge people too fast. We have more in common than we are different.

[00:15:05] Denis Leclerc: No, no, it’s, to me it’s so important in the cross cultural field I’m in, because we really quickly turn the judgment wheel because we spin all the time because we are always like, you know, trying to outsmart people, show off how we’re smart and, yeah, sometimes just like, you know, just let’s turn off that judgment, you know, screen, but it’s very hard and, you know, unfortunately the US for what has happened for the last few years, it’s very hard to not do it, but it’s like we have more in common and then we’re different.

[00:15:40] And I have, I have experienced that traveling around the world of finding myself in weird situation where I’m just like, eh, I don’t know how to do it. And people’s like, well, do you need some help? And I’m like, oh, okay. You know, it’s just like, it’s, that’s the part to me that. I find interesting.

[00:15:53] And when you start to really talk to people, you realize, oh yeah, we have more in common. I mean, you know, it’s just like, yeah, language is a barrier, you know, language is a barrier. But, um, I learned something, one of my students one time showed me because he, he said, I’ve, I’ve never learned a language. He, so he only spoke, no, he spoke two, two languages.

[00:16:11] He said, I speak English in Spanish. That’s all he said, but I’ve gone around the world. I said, how do you do it? He says, but he had a gift, and the gift was to be able to draw. And so, his travel books were just drawings everywhere. And he said, it’s just amazing to show people that we have way more in common about drawing and art and all that stuff.

[00:16:31] So I, and again, it’s a lesson. I hope I’m good, but it’s like not to go to the judgment value.

[00:16:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s like I said, this is one of my favorite topics, having lived and worked in different countries, as of course, you know, I’m thinking of Edward T. Hall, 1976. Yeah, the iceberg theory.

[00:16:53] Yeah. If you think of an iceberg where the tip sticks out from the water, but the most, the biggest part is below the sea line, the water line and at the bottom of the iceberg, values and a little bit above the values, beliefs, belief systems, mm-hmm and above the waterline visible are the behaviors.

[00:17:16] And I think we both know how quick people are to put labels on behavior, cultural differences, and typically they can be negative because it’s different than our culture, whatever our culture. It’s different.

[00:17:33] Denis Leclerc: Oh, absolutely. And you know, to me, it happens every time I go back to France because I’ve been in the us now for 30 years, I’m American.

[00:17:40] So going back to France, I speak the language. I, well, I don’t know if I look like people anymore, but you know, you see what I mean? It’s like, I, I fit because you know, the first couple of days I speak French and that, oh, you have a weird accent. And then a couple of days then it’s kind of my accent relaxes and I’m not looking for my words all the time, but I remember like being very frustrated at first, going back to my native country and judging what people were doing and how they were doing, you know, like the fact that in France, you have, you have lunch at noon. You don’t have lunch at two o’clock in the afternoon.

[00:18:13] you know, you just, you, it doesn’t happen. You know, you have dinner at eight o’clock. Uh, there’s a pace of life. And it always, I remember like going back to France and judging, you know, like, why am the stores not open on Sundays? And it was just like, and you realize, you know, you are missing, you are losing money.

[00:18:31] And then you’re like, huh. Yeah, no, it’s actually good that the stores are not open on Sundays. You know, it’s just like, but it’s just judge, even from my home, you know, birth country, basically, I judged what was going on very quickly. And I’ve learned to just like, turn it off, like very quickly,

[00:18:48] Siebe Van Der Zee: but it’s human nature.

[00:18:49] I think it’s absolutely it’s fair. Right. And I think that’s something we have to, uh, expect from human beings. Oh, absolutely. All of us. Yeah. To compare. Situations, like you said lunch. Uh, when I lived in south America, restaurants would not open until 9:00 PM in the evening, so no, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I couldn’t change the country even though I was hungry.

[00:19:13] Denis Leclerc: Yeah, no, exactly. Just it’s really the part it’s, it’s really the part to me of that, that judgment. And then you can just look around and not judge your neighbors. I mean, just, and again, but it’s hard. It again, to me, it’s all about to me, this, I, I love that exercise of doing the lessons because to me it’s a, it’s almost an exercise of self-awareness.

[00:19:31] I mean, how, how self-aware are you of sometimes the blinders you put on yourself or. You believe, you know how to do things. So, I, I truly enjoy just going through these 10 lessons because I was like, man, I don’t know if I remember I told you, I don’t know if I have 10 lessons and then after one it’s like, no, that’s a very interesting exercise.

[00:19:52] So

[00:19:53] Siebe Van Der Zee: yeah, no, this, this is by the way, this is something we hear from many of our guests. They enjoy the exercise to come up with the 10 lessons. And I, I, I want to on this particular topic, because again, it intrigues me so much, as well in the academic sphere, when we talk about high context versus low context cultures, and, and perhaps you can give a, a quick overview of the difference between what is high context, what is low context when it comes to cultures and countries, etc.

[00:20:24] Denis Leclerc: It’s a good point. I mean like the high context countries are, and it’s linguistic also, like for example, in the countries, like in Asia, like Japan and Korea, they middle east are very high context, which is the context where the communication is taking place is very important. Everything is happening in contextual. Low context are usually the Northern European countries are much more low context, which is like all the information are given in the language they are given like very clearly stated.

[00:20:52] And it’s a, the language is structure where you have very quickly a verb, you know, a subject verb compliments. It’s a very clear sentences. And, you know, to give you an idea of difference between high context and low context, um, high context, you know, in Japan, if you ask somebody Japanese, I remember when we had a Japanese guest who stayed with us and you ask his opinion and always his expression was known like, yes, very difficult.

[00:21:18] And you realize he has given you all the information. That’s the high context communication, a low context I could ask to Dutch or French person. What do you think? I would say what I think is like, it’s stupid and I will tell you how it should be done, you know.

[00:21:32] Siebe Van Der Zee: You are so right.

[00:21:33] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. That’s the low context way of communicating.

[00:21:36] And so that’s the big difference. And so, the not judging people and it goes to a lot of things like, you know, high context, low context, but extrovert introvert. I mean, that’s when I talk about not judging people too fast is, is also the, the ability of, uh, not always judging people who are extrovert as being the people who know best, I’ve seen a lot of people who are very introvert.

[00:21:58] And, but when you start talking to them, you realize, whoa, you are paying attention, or you are really super engaged. It’s like, it’s not the engagement that you have in classrooms. That’s why I love being an educator because you can look at the students who are, raise their hands, who participate all the time, but you always have quiet students.

[00:22:16] And when they come to your office, you have conversation with them and you’re like, wow, that is so interesting. I’m so glad you came and talked to me because absolutely changed my perception of who you are and how you engaged. So, I try to have the students coming to my office hours, like all the students, at least for 10, 15 minutes, just so I can change my perception of who they are in class and kind of like, because they, they have so much talent and they have so much knowledge that a classroom is not it’s, it’s a way of judging students by grades or whatever.

[00:22:45] So, you know, it’s a different way of doing it.

[00:22:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: So, it it’s such an important issue. And I think you and I can fill a complete hour. Absolutely. Yeah. On that part, because it’s, it’s part of who we are as human beings. Yeah. That we make those judgements, but we have to become aware and do a better understanding in order to really understand what is happening and not to be so quickly in making a, a judgment.

[00:23:10] Lesson 5:   Travel

[00:23:10] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number five. Yeah. It, it’s almost Dutch, low context travel,

[00:23:16] Denis Leclerc: absolutely.

[00:23:16] Siebe Van Der Zee: Travel.

[00:23:17] Denis Leclerc: Travel. because to me, it’s just like, you don’t know who you are until you have started to cross your own borders.

[00:23:24] I mean, you know, like, if you take the example, of like, you know, Netherlands or France or the US, you can travel in the US, but you are still, there’s still a, a certain underlying value and culture that unless you cross the borders, then you realize.

[00:23:38] Oh, that’s who it means to be me basically. And that to me is the part of travel. It’s not it’s yes, the food, but it’s also the, the ability of trying. I love airports. I, I know it sounds like a totally like weird things, but I love airports because especially big international airports, because you realize there are these weird space where you have people coming from all over the world.

[00:24:00] People are very high level of stress because it’s to them. They don’t see the airport as being the journey. They are like, it’s unfortunate I’m stuck here. And so, you have a lot of stress. You have behaviors that you might not see otherwise. You have places where you can pray. You have people under amazing distress, and then you have people who traveled a lot. And they’d look at an airport and I remember talking to a friend of mine one time and we were talking about Heathrow airport, and I was going through Heathrow so much that I was able to leave my seat on the airplane and be in the lounge in less than 20 minutes. And we talk, we talk about like how stupid of a record is that, you know, it’s just like, you know, because yeah.

[00:24:40] I, the, you know, you see what I mean? It’s just like, and then it is just like, yeah, but it’s like, is that really something you should be proud of that because to me, the airport was just like just a one stop going somewhere else. And so, I’ve learned like I was in Oman. I have never been to Oman, so I walk the airport like two or three times just to see people just because it’s just like to see where people are from, you know, the stress level. And to me, that’s the part of traveling and the destination, of course, but you know, just like the airport, I always pay attention to the airport because it’s not only the business lounge.

[00:25:13] There’s something sometimes that is interesting in there.

[00:25:15] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’ve never heard anyone talk with such, passion about being at an airport, but I understand what you,

[00:25:22] Denis Leclerc: I know, that’s why I’m saying, you know, no, I, you know, I I’m talking about big international airports. I’m sorry. Let me clarify that. You know,

[00:25:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: I, no, I understand and I, I understand the reason why I, I had never really thought about it, myself, that, indeed, when you were at the airport and let’s say. We see that a lot when you’re stuck at the airport, right. With long delays and lots of people. But to your point, if you’re dealing with a, with an international airport, you get people from all over the world in a very small place.

[00:25:56] And yes, they’re dealing with stress. Traveling can be stressful, but you make a great point. And of course, the other element of travel is experiencing behavior and situations, that are different from what you are used to.

[00:26:13] Denis Leclerc: And, you know, and to me, this is to me, airports. And to me, I’m sorry to go back to the airport issue, but it’s the first and the last thing people will see from your home country.

[00:26:22] And I remember getting into, I realized I had to turn off my, like I had to shut up because I was at the Chicago airport. And the TSA agent was yelling at people to move lane. And I look at her, it’s like yelling is not going to be helpful. She obviously does not understand you and yelling is not going to be helpful.

[00:26:43] And I say, and I look at the person and do you realize this is the last thing that that person is going to remember to be yelled at by a TSA agent? Yeah. She might have had the best time. And then her negative is that part here. I said, just, you know, just come on, recognize that she can’t, she’s not understanding.

[00:27:02] And, but I love also, I mean, you know, outside, when you’re on the airport, I love everything about traveling in a foreign country. But to me, just like that experience should not be over overstated cause I’ve seen so many things happen.

[00:27:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: Oh, absolutely. And it’s something that’s you know, I know from experience has been happening for a long time that if someone needs to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the language fluently, whichever language, but let’s say English, sometimes people start talking louder.

[00:27:32] Denis Leclerc: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:27:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: To the point where they start yelling. And of course, if you don’t understand the language, it doesn’t help.

[00:27:40] Denis Leclerc: doesn’t at all. It’s not useful at all. Travel is, to me is just like, yeah, it it’ll teach you so much about who you are.

[00:27:48] It will show you too so much about the stress. yeah. And I’ve been very lucky. I mean, I’ve traveled professionally for Thunderbird for like 18 years. So, they send me all over the world and I’ve gone to Russia many times. I’ve got to Saudi Arabia many times. I’ve gone to places that Portugal, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, I mean, I’ve gone to some neat places, and you always learn Mexico of course, but in Canada, but you know, it’s just like you, you learn so much about like, How to deal with other people and.

[00:28:17] Siebe Van Der Zee: And, and in combination with your, your earlier lesson, you continue to learn, right?

[00:28:22] It’s hard to say I’ve been around the world for now. I know it. Yeah. There’s, there’s, there’s no way you can learn at all.

[00:28:28] Denis Leclerc: No, like, like, for example, like, you know, I was just in Saudi Arabia and I, even though I have, you know, I consider myself a seasoned traveller. I got, you know, there’s two types of cabs in Saudi Arabia and I took the wrong cab.

[00:28:38] So it was like, oh, but I should have paid attention.

[00:28:41] Siebe Van Der Zee: What happened?

[00:28:42] Denis Leclerc: When you go outside the airport in, um, in Riyad you have the state-owned cabs that have a fixed price, and then you have, it’s not even Uber. It’s just like people with their cars and they have a sign on top. It says taxi.

[00:28:54] And they say, where do you want to go? And then they charge you, whatever.

[00:28:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: They, they charge you a little bit more.

[00:28:59] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. And that’s, that’s what happened to me. I’m. Okay. What’s the exchange rate and it’s like, oh, it’s 30 bucks. Okay, fine. I can give him 30 bucks, but he was, you know, these kind of things like not paying attention, you know, was, but I was exhausted.

[00:29:10] I mean, after all the travel, but, but I, you know, I’ve had also great experiences.

[00:29:15] Siebe Van Der Zee: Sounds good. We’re talking today with Dennis Leclerc, professor of cross-cultural communications at the Thunderbird school of global management sharing his 10 lessons he learned in his life, in his career.

[00:29:27] Lesson 6:   Success is a journey not the final destination

[00:29:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number six, success is a journey, not the final destination while we’re talking about traveling. And now we’re talking about success is a journey, not a final destination.

[00:29:39] Denis Leclerc: I realized that when I was trying to do my PhD.

[00:29:41] Because people were trying to crank their PhD in four years. I mean, it was kind of like, and to me, I’m like, I am not in a hurry. So, I took courses that were not being part of my PhD program. I was very slow. Not that I’m a slow learner, but I realized I really love to learn. So, to me it was just like, well, there is a chance for me to kind of like that journey is way more interesting because that’s where you learn who you are and what you do.

[00:30:04] And so then when I got my PhD, I tried to go for tenure, which I hated every day of the whole process. every day because I did not enjoy the journey. I thought the journey was painful. Um, nothing was interesting about the whole journey, but I think sometimes in life we, we think that the destination is, is what matters, but actually, no, it’s the journey I’ve been, you know what?

[00:30:32] I hate to use sports analogy. It’s like I’ve run marathon in my life. I mean, I’m in really bad shape. I couldn’t do it now, but. You know, the realize that the, the marathon is a great, is a great, um, mind trick and mind trip, because the first, if you, if anybody, any of your listeners have ever run marathon, you will see that very quickly.

[00:30:56] You realize this last seven miles are the most important one. The first, the first 20 are just like easy compared to the last six, because your mind start to trick you. And that’s where the journey really starts in marathon. That’s where you are just questioning. You know, if you can do it, if you are going to be able to finish, if you are collapsing, your, your body’s going to tell you, you can’t finish.

[00:31:16] You can’t run. And that to me. And then when you, you are at the final destination, you’re like, oh, wow, that was, I really enjoyed the last six. It was really tough, but that you realize that is a closure, but what was important is like all the 26 months you run before, that were very interesting. So that, and I tried to remind me of that because.

[00:31:36] I have a business, we had a business that we are just closing right now. And the success was the journey of having the business. And so, I’m writing a book on entrepreneurial journey because that’s really what matters. It’s the destination is like, yeah. You know, it’s interesting. But if you plan everything, you know, destination is not surprising.

[00:31:54] Siebe Van Der Zee: How would you define your greatest success in life? That can be a very tough question or at least tough one to answer.

[00:32:03] Denis Leclerc: Huh? Um, I think finishing my PhD because I did in a foreign language and it just, and in French and I’m not a great writer and being able to do it was to me. Yeah, that was pretty amazing. And I, I have a PHD in a foreign language and, you know, for some people it’s just like, not a big deal to me. It’s like, that’s pretty, pretty amazing, you know?

[00:32:29] Cause if you, you know, if I could see my French teacher in high school told me I could not write any words correctly and, you know, showing her, I could publish in English. I think that to me would be a great success professionally. yeah, yeah.

[00:32:41] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. And I, mean, I, I asked out of nowhere, of course, and I realize that’s, it’s a tough question to answer, but I appreciate your answer because it, it has to do with something that happened a few years ago.

[00:32:52] Yeah. Right. It, it, you said, getting a PhD is remarkable in itself. Yeah. But to be successful with a PhD in a foreign country that adds to it.

[00:33:04] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. It just sometimes, you know, it’s something I kind of. Because I’m the only one in my family who has a higher education, I mean, I take that for granted. Yeah. And you realize, oh man, no, no, no. They look at me different and to me, and just like, no, you know, it’s just like, so yeah. I would say professional, I would say that’s, you know, but then when you’re surrounded by the PhDs, then people start say, well, how many publications do you have?

[00:33:28] it’s like, where have you? But to me, that part here is like, yeah, no, it was really good. I mean, I’m very proud of that. Yeah.

[00:33:34] Siebe Van Der Zee: And I, think it, makes sense in that, in that sense with the, with the question, because you’re still active. You’re still doing all kinds of stuff. Yeah. So, it’s not the end of the destination.

[00:33:43] No. Uh, but it was a moment in time that you look back at and. Yeah, that was success. I achieved something at that moment. I guess if you win, you know, gold medal for winning the marathon, that would’ve been something.

[00:33:57] Denis Leclerc: No, it’s the same thing, you know, it’s the achievement you realize what goes to be able to that, that final destination.

[00:34:04] That’s the part that was just like, no, that was pretty. Yeah. That’s well, that’s a, that was a very good question, actually.

[00:34:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, I appreciate it. It’s great to talk. Yeah, yeah.

[00:34:12] Lesson 7:   learn to cultivate creativity

[00:34:12] Siebe Van Der Zee: That good. I enjoy our conversation lesson than number seven, learn to cultivate creativity. And my mind is a little bit spinning about that as far as how do you do that?

[00:34:24] Denis Leclerc: So, this is where. You know, you go back to like the, the wounds that you get when you’re in high school. But I can’t, I, I was, I, my high school where I went to was super competitive. I mean, they were super, super, super competitive. I mean, I don’t know how to explain that to people other than when we got our grades every month, basically the director of the school came.

[00:34:42] And if you were in the lower five, it just threw your grade cards on the floor and tell you you’re wasting money. So it was, yeah. So, it was just like, so you, you never wanted to be the last bottom five where to pick up your grades from the floor. And say, you know, you go to your parents because they’re was, you are wasting their money basically.

[00:34:59] But, so there was not a lot of creativity in the school because we are all like academic and all that stuff. And I’ve learned, I love going to museums. I love like, you know, you put me anywhere like in a museum and I could be there for four hours and I’m just, because I just find the power of creativity, like music, anybody who has a studio that is super creative, uh, could be painters, musicians.

[00:35:21] People who cook people who draw anything to me, I just find it interesting and cultivating creativity. I’m a pretty good baker. And I realize I love baking because it’s a very creative process for me and it’s very Stressless. I can make my cakes, I can do whatever, you know, and I make cakes like at least once or two every week, but I don’t eat them.

[00:35:44] I mean, I, I eat some part of it, but um, like for example, in the garden right now, we have a big fig tree. So, I’m making a, I made a fig tart. But that’s my second one I’ve made in a couple of days, but we try to give them to the neighbors. So that to me is my creativity. I’ve always like welding. So, I try to give myself sometimes for welding I’ve welded gates.

[00:36:07] I think it’s important for people to have another outlet and their jobs, you know, something that has nothing to do with physical. So, it cannot be like physical activities either, but it’s just something that where your brain is totally engrossed. You are in flow. Basically. It’s something you are doing that is not your job.

[00:36:25] Like musicians are, are getting flow all the time, where that creativity is really part of, uh, who they are.

[00:36:31] It’s like more like something that you do. you know, even if it’s like a project or something where you have to use different skills, different part of your brains, basically.

[00:36:39] You know, you could believe that you have like two parts of your brain and, you know, be able to balance these two here because I think it makes, it makes either side very much more interesting. That’s why mathematicians are interesting, but they usually, they have a be having a creative outlet. you know, that to me is very important and if people don’t have one, they. Try something.

[00:36:59] No. Interesting.

[00:37:00] Yeah.

[00:37:00] Lesson 8:   Help and support others

[00:37:00] Denis Leclerc: Lesson number eight, help and support others. Sounds really good. Where did that lesson come from in your case?

[00:37:08] Because people help me because when I came to the US, I didn’t know anybody.

[00:37:15] I had a grant from my sister had given me money and Americans helped me. I mean, you know, finding an apartment that part of helping where you are in a foreign country, and you don’t know anything. I remember my first computer; my advisor bought the computer for me, and I paid him every month. He didn’t have to do that.

[00:37:38] It was not his problem, you know? And so, I think it’s like receiving the help from. Americans in general and see how generous people were, that to me, I’m like, you know, helping, I mean, so helping.

[00:37:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: And then giving back, giving back.

[00:37:53] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. Giving back. I mean, you know, I’ve been, really blessed to be help in my life, that, you know, I try to help other people and support them.

[00:38:01] And just as much as I can. I mean, and sometimes it’s money sometimes it’s time, whatever it is. So, but that to me is very important because I know that I would not have done what I’ve done in the US if I had not been helped.

[00:38:15] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Interesting that, I can understand if you look at how you have been helped, that you want to give back because you know how important it is to help people.

[00:38:25] It’s a fairly simple concept, right?

[00:38:27] Denis Leclerc: I’m not a very religious person, so it’s not linked to any honor religious belief, but it’s just like, some people need some help without, Any, without an exchange of anything, they just need help.

[00:38:38] Siebe Van Der Zee: That’s an important element in there.

[00:38:40] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. That there is not like, you know, not having an exchange of anything. And again, this is kind of the inspiration of helping us support people. But, sometimes we’re good, sometimes we’re in bad. Yeah. So just like, you know, it’s being the ability we have of, of reminding ourselves of that.

[00:38:57] And especially for me, it’s important.

[00:38:58] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Makes sense.

[00:39:00] Lesson 9:   Learn to slow down

[00:39:00] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number nine, learn to slow down and I wish I would say yes, that’s what I do, but please explain

[00:39:10] Denis Leclerc: yeah, no, it’s just like. Especially right now where we have, we have access to like I am and, and I love technology. I love WhatsApp.

[00:39:19] I love texting. I mean, I tell my students, if you have to talk to me, just send me a text or WhatsApp. Don’t, don’t send me an email. I’m going to check my email, but I read so many email during the day. And then I’m just going to be like, oh yes. Somebody asked me a question two days ago, so I have to create a list for it.

[00:39:33] So, but at the same time, that creates, it goes back to like, it creates a lot of stress. It creates a lot of things where, and you, we can all function at very high level. But some days it’s very good for us to learn, to slow down. like for example, you know, I, I’m what I go to France. What I love about going to France is the, the fact that we have nine hours difference.

[00:39:54] And so my phone is on for my family. They want to reach out to me, but I will turn off my phone in France at seven o’clock because to me it’s just like, I I’m, I am on vacation to be able to disconnect. I’m trying to slow down. I’m not trying to keep my daily job or my daily output or input. but I’m pretty good. I, I, I think I’m pretty good at slowing down. I mean, that’s one aspect of COVID. I mean, it’s like, I am very lucky. We have a great house and I realized, you know, I didn’t have to go anywhere. It was just like weeks without seeing anybody. And we had all the food we needed and just like, oh, that’s pretty cool.

[00:40:32] You know, I have my dogs, the chickens and the, the yard to take care of and you’re realize, oh, you know, that’s, you know, slowing done is a good thing.

[00:40:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: Now, if I think of however, we describe it, but up and coming professionals, people with great ambition early in their career, would you tell them to slow down?

[00:40:49] Denis Leclerc: I, I would tell them to, to pay attention to their, their mental, uh, capacity to absorb what they think is moving around, like, you know, getting information because, I like the fact that in, in France or in Europe, people get their five weeks paid vacation. They get all that part. And people looking like cost a lot of money, but it’s also, it forces people to slow down.

[00:41:11] I mean, forces people to just like disconnect, uh, from the world. I mean, uh, Mercedes Benz. I learned that from their high-level executives, their email system shuts down on weekend. And the reason why, because they have done studies that actually we don’t have the capacity to always be on. So, for these young people, yeah, you can try to do it, but you are going to burn out.

[00:41:34] And so be very judicious of basically understanding that sometimes you just need to take a break. And when I need to take a break, I, I need, don’t go online, and don’t slow down basically. And how you make decision? that’s something I’ve learned. I in terms of learning to slow down. I, I try to not make decision like on the spot.

[00:41:54] I always say, well, let me think about it. Because it allows me to slow down and kind of pay attention to what’s happening.

[00:42:00] Siebe Van Der Zee: There has to be a balance that that’s.

[00:42:02] Denis Leclerc: Yeah, no, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Sometimes, you know, sometimes you need to move fast, but I, I am not sure that moving fast is the, is always the best way.

[00:42:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: no, and it’s, it’s a good point. I think common sense, tells people that you have to take a break from time to time, even when you’re busy and you have, you know, working under pressure, you do have to allow yourself because. It’s not going to work in your favor, if you do not give yourself a break,

[00:42:29] Denis Leclerc: yeah. And like, for example, I’m, I love to take naps because you reach a point where you’re, you know, if you work really, if you really work intensely on, on a lot of things, I like to take like a 40-minute nap. Cause some you need to give your brain time to just like shut down for a while and your brain, your, brain’s still working.

[00:42:46] Cause you, you come back, and you actually refreshed. I mean, but again, I’m, I’m very lucky. I’m very blessed because I have a job where I can basically pace myself during the day, any way I want to. And I know a lot of the listeners don’t have that luxury, but I, I do. And I, I try to not forget about it.

[00:43:02] Siebe Van Der Zee: well, and perhaps Denis, in, in your case, you’re dealing. Communication in so many different countries with different time zones. So, yeah, it may be whatever in the afternoon where you’re at and it’s going to be morning somewhere else or

[00:43:17] Denis Leclerc: yeah, no. Oh yeah. And I like, you know, I, and I like, for example, I am the, the king of falling asleep in the airplanes.

[00:43:24] I I’ve fallen asleep on the airplanes between Phoenix and Los Angeles, like an hour and a half I’m asleep. I get on the plane, I’m asleep on the plane and I get up when we land in Los Angeles and I look around and, you know, people are. You it’s just like, yeah, my wife doesn’t, she likes to travel with me, but she finds it so annoying because I get in an airplane and I’m asleep so fast.

[00:43:45] I don’t know if it’s the movement of the end or something. It just I’m like a baby in the car, you know, I just fall asleep so fast. So, but then you

[00:43:51] arrive at Los Angeles international airport and that’s the, the center of the universe as you explain,

[00:43:58] right?

[00:43:59] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, exactly. So that’s a good combination. Yeah.

[00:44:01] Lesson 10: Learn how to become a better mentor

[00:44:01] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, we are at lesson number 10, learn how to become a better mentor. And I have some thoughts, some questions, but please, go ahead and your thoughts.

[00:44:13] Denis Leclerc: So, again, because professionally I’m an educator at the core. So, when people ask me, what do I do? I always say I’m an educator just happen to have a PhD.

[00:44:21] I know a few things, but I’m just an educator at the core. and I’ve learned that. Being a mentor to people is super rewarding, but not everybody’s ready to be a mentor. And being a mentor requires you to yeah. To slow down to listen to the person you’re trying to work with. Yeah. So, it’s somebody you are trying to help, uh, because you cannot say, oh, I have the solution for you, because then you are not a mentor.

[00:44:49] You are just putting your, your, your framework, your lenses, your way of looking at the world in a way that, um, is not what the person needs. So, so I, I hope I do that, correctly at the school. Um, but yeah, to me, that’s uh, and a mentor, you know, I have. Have an expression is like you meet people for reason or season or lifetime, and sometimes you could just meet somebody for like, you know, a couple of weeks and that’s it, you’re done, you know, um, they needed you for that one thing and, you know, season could be a semester, you know, and a lifetime, it could be friends you have for life.

[00:45:28] So that’s the part of, and again, I’m not saying I’m really good at it. I’m just saying it’s one of my lessons that, you know, I love to be known as a mentor, but it’s just, you know, sometimes it’s that self-capacity of self-awareness.

[00:45:44] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, as a professor educator teacher, it fits well with, with serving as a mentor.

[00:45:50] just curious, do you currently have a mentor yourself?

[00:45:54] Denis Leclerc: No, that’s a good question, but I’ve had people have admired. My, my first. professor and when I came to the us was an amazing mentor. He I’m sure he didn’t, you know, unfortunately he passed away a few years ago. He knew he was an amazing mentor because he had a way, like, he’s the one who bought my first computer, you know, but he, he was not from the US, he was from Ghana and he had, he understood kind of the struggle of international student.

[00:46:20] And so he had that ability to be a mentor. Yeah, it was just really amazing, an amazing relationship that we had. And I could never use his first name even after I got my PhDs. Like, no, it’s still Dr. Tase, not Victor. I mean, I could use his first name around other people to me. It’s just like, no, that’s the part of like the mentor mentee was just like, um, yeah, it was a, yeah, it did impact my, my life, but right now, no I don’t.

[00:46:45] Siebe Van Der Zee: Denis. It’s, it’s great to have this conversation and talking about your 10 lessons and it makes me think about, are there any lessons that you have unlearned in your life, in your career?

[00:47:00] Denis Leclerc: From the 10 I just gave you?

[00:47:01] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, just it could be, but it could be in, in just in life that you thought, Hmm, I got to do this differently.

[00:47:08] You did touch on that during your 10 lessons, but there may be another one that stands out.

[00:47:13] Denis Leclerc: To unlearn, um, I’m not kidding. That that question is really puzzling. But to me it’s like, so it’s something I used to do that I’m not doing anymore.

[00:47:21] Siebe Van Der Zee: Exactly, exactly.

[00:47:23] Denis Leclerc: And like, you know, I, I don’t want to use the word aggressive, but it goes to that anger issues, like always wanted to be, because you know, you, you asked the question earlier about like early in your career and that part, it’s a learn, you have to learn to be like number one, number two, number three. Yeah. Then that’s something you have to unlearn actually as you move up in an organization because, that was so that part maybe is the lesson I had to unlearn.

[00:47:48] It’s like I had to unlearn to be that competitive. You know, you talk, talk earlier about the, the mentor. I remember having a, somebody watched me teach one time and he gave me the best lesson ever. Cuz I was teaching and I was like, man, I’m good. I’m you know, I was thinking that I’m really good. I’m really good.

[00:48:03] And at the end he, he came to me, he said, um, and somebody, I respected also because he had been doing it. Well, he, he was one of your professor at Thunderbird actually. and so basically, he talked to me, he said, you know what? People know you are smart, but it’s not about you. It’s about them. And I’m like, and that was just like, oh it was like such a light bulb because you realize that’s what being a, to me, in my role as an educator, that’s what it is.

[00:48:29] It’s not about me. It’s about the, the students and that shift I had to unlearn it. So that’s, it’s a lesson that cause you get a PhD and it’s all about PhD is the most selfish degree people will ever get because it’s not about you. You, you are the one who work. You, you know, it’s all the PhDs, the, yeah, it’s super selfish as a degree, but then if you really want to educate and engage people, you have to unlearn the fact.

[00:48:55] It’s not about you because by the time you have a PhD, everybody, okay. You have a stamp of approval that, you know, something, and then you have to unlearn being selfish with your knowledge and be able to listen to people. So maybe that’s a lesson.

[00:49:07] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think it’s a very, very important point that you’re raising.

[00:49:11] You were just talking about your biggest success was obtaining or achieving the PhD. Yeah. And what you’re sharing now is to say, Hey, it’s not about me. It’s about my students.

[00:49:23] Denis Leclerc: And that, part was just, but it’s. I remember when he told me that, because I was just trying to go through all the material and it’s like, you know, people know you are smart, just shut up and listen to them and were like, what?

[00:49:35] And it was just such a, so, you know, when I was telling you earlier about you meet people for reason, a season or lifetime. That’s he, I met him for that reason, you know, and I worked with him for a couple of months afterwards, but that was the reason why he taught me a couple of things about really being an educator.

[00:49:51] And it was just like, and that lesson was so quick. It’s like, it’s not about you. So, about the student, I’m like, oh, oh yeah, of course it is. But he totally counterintuitive.

[00:50:00] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s a great point to end this particular program with, thank you so much. Denis Leclerc, we do it the French way.

[00:50:08] Professor. Thank you for sharing your wisdoms with our global audience in closing. You’ve been listening to the international podcast, 10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn sponsored by PDF. The professional development forum PDF provides webinars, social media discussions. Podcast and parties and best of all, it’s all for free.

[00:50:31] For more information, please visit professional development forum.org. Our guest today is Denis Leclerc, Denis Leclerc, professor cross-cultural communications and global negotiations sharing his global lessons. It took him 50 years to learn and to our audience, don’t forget to leave as a review or a comment.

[00:50:53] You can also email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com. That is podcast. Number 10, lessons learned.com. Go ahead and subscribe. So, you don’t miss any future episodes. And remember, this is a podcast that makes the world wiser and wiser podcast by podcast, lesson by lesson merci beaucoup et au revoir. Thank you, and stay safe.

[00:51:22] Denis Leclerc: Thank you au revoir.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 
Denis Leclerc

Denis Leclerc – Don’t judge people too fast, we have more in common than we are different.

Professor Denis Leclerc tells us why you should “Learn something new every day”; why you should ”Learn to slow down; why it’s important not to “judge people too fast” and more. Hosted by Siebe Van Der Zee.

About Denis Leclerc

 

Dr. Denis Leclerc teaches cross-cultural communication and global negotiations at Thunderbird School of Global Management. His interests and research have focused on intercultural communication competence and global negotiation. At Thunderbird, Denis teaches in multiple programs such as the on-campus Master of Global Management, Executive MGM, customized programs such as Thunderbird International Consortia, and multiple oil and gas executive programs. He also serves as the academic director for multiple custom programs such as Raytheon, Novartis and Medtronic, and open-enrollment programs in negotiation and leading diverse teams.

Before joining Thunderbird, Denis taught at Arizona State University and served for eight years as director of multiple international studies abroad programs there. He directed and served on numerous master’s and Ph.D. committees in the U.S. and Europe. He was co-program evaluator for a National Science Foundation (NSF) three-year grant examining the cultural adaptation of U.S. scientists working in scientific laboratories abroad. This research project was instrumental in guiding NSF to redesign program components to include cross-cultural training for their international assignments.

Denis has been published in leading journals in his field including the International Journal of Intercultural Relations, and has been a contributor to Readers in Communication, authoring a chapter on the impact of culture on global negotiations.

Denis is also an active and highly sought-after consultant. As the principal of his own consulting company, he has conducted cross-cultural research for companies in North America and France. Additionally, he has provided support for international program evaluations and has planned, facilitated, and analyzed professional development seminars for a wide range of executive programs throughout the U.S. and Europe. He is a keynote speaker and seminar leader for various companies such as American Express, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and ExxonMobil on topics as varied as cultural misunderstanding, improving multi-cultural awareness, and cultural strategic negotiation preparation.

In 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2022 he was voted the most valuable professor by the Thunderbird Executive MGM students. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2016, he was voted most outstanding faculty member by the Thunderbird MGM students. He also ranks as one of the best professors in all the corporate programs that he participates in.

A native of Normandy, France, Denis completed a maitrise in cultural geography (honors) from L’Universite de Haute Normandie, Rouen, France, and then a master’s in international tourism at Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D. in cross-cultural communication from the Hugh Downs School of Communication at Arizona State University. He received his certifications for the Global Mindset Inventory from Thunderbird and the COM/COI from the Training Management Corporation. As one of his last research interest, Denis is publishing an entrepreneurial journey book that will be available September 2022.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Learn something new every day, even if it is a new word 06:36
Lesson 2: Never stay angry. Anger will eat you alive 08:58
Lesson 3: Managing stress is like “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” (Quote by Arthur Ash) 12:33
Lesson 4: Don’t judge people too fast, we have more in common than we are different. 14:45
Lesson 5: Travel 23:10
Lesson 6: Success is a journey not the final destination 29:27
Lesson 7: learn to cultivate creativity 34:12
Lesson 8: Help and support others 37:00
Lesson 9: Learn to slow down 39:00
Lesson 10: Learn how to become a better mentor 44:01

Denis Leclerc – Don’t judge people too fast, we have more in common than we are different.

[00:00:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello and welcome to our program 10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn where we talk to businesspeople, journalists, professors, ambassadors, leaders, and luminaries from all over the world. My name is Siebe Van Der Zee. And I’m your host. I’m originally from the Netherlands happily residing in the beautiful Grand Canyon state of Arizona.

[00:00:30] I’m also known as the Dutchman in the desert. I hope you will enjoy our program. Our guest today is Professor Denis Leclerc. Denis Leclerc is Professor of Cross-cultural Communications and Global Negotiations at the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, a native of Normandy in France, Dennis received his doctorate in cross-cultural communications from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. At the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Dennis teaches multiple programs, including an on-campus MBA class. An executive MBA program. And a customized corporate program for major companies, such as Raytheon, Novartis, and Medtronic. Dennis has been published in leading journals, and he’s also active as a business consultant in north America and in France. He is a sought-after keynote speaker and seminar leader for organizations such as American Express, the US Chamber of Commerce, ExxonMobil, and others on topics like cultural misunderstanding, improving multicultural awareness and cultural strategic negotiation preparation. That’s a mouthful.

[00:01:43] You can learn, learn more about Professor Leclerc on our website 10 lessons learned.com Bonjour Denis comment ca va?. Thank you for joining us

[00:01:53] Denis Leclerc: Bonjour, bonjour. Ca va tres bein et toi?

[00:01:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, Nous pouvant parler on Francais,

[00:01:59] I suggest we don’t speak French, but, uh, it’s very nice to have you as our guest, global communicator professor wonderful. When we talk about cross-cultural communications, what would be the definition? How would you describe that field? Because it seems to cover so much.

[00:02:19] Denis Leclerc: Hmm. You know, actually, it’s a very good question.

[00:02:21] To my definition of cross-cultural communication might be difference if you go and talk to other professors, but it’s really our ability using communication to close the gap, close the differences we have because we have way more in common than we have differences. So, to me, what I try to remind people when we do cross cultural communications is actually the ability, we have of finding common grounds, common knowledge, common experiences with other people.

[00:02:50] So that would be my definition.

[00:02:53] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, it, it covers literally a lot of ground. This is global it’s international. Is it also domestic within countries?

[00:03:04] Denis Leclerc: Oh yeah. Oh absolutely. I mean, it’s also like, you know, if you take countries like, uh, you know, the us, for example, that, you know, you have people from the west coast are very different from people from the east, you know, north and south.

[00:03:15] I mean, you always have people in the south of France are very different from the north of France. People in the south of the Netherlands are different from the people in the north of the Netherlands. I learned that, you know, going through store one times, like. Really. And they’re like, oh no, no, no. You’re you use an expression that is only used in the south of the Netherland.

[00:03:31] So, you know, there’s always disparity that way.

[00:03:34] Siebe Van Der Zee: very true. Very true. is there perhaps, uh, a lesson that you have learned in your life, in your international life that you would like to teach yourself if you would be 30 years old today

[00:03:50] Denis Leclerc: to be more patient, to be, uh, yeah, to be more patient to observe, to, to not, to not be the one talking all the time.

[00:03:58] I think in, I think in my thirties, I was trying to show off like who I was and kind of what I knew. And I think that’s, you know, listen to people is way more interesting.

[00:04:09] Siebe Van Der Zee: There’s wisdom in that. No doubt at the same time, as a professor, as a business consultant, You are asked to communicate and share your thoughts and wisdom.

[00:04:19] not to put you on the spot, but how do you combine that with listening?

[00:04:23] Denis Leclerc: Oh, no, actually I think it’s, super important because like, for example, if you look at, if you listen to like doing consulting and businesses, it’s all about listening. I mean, if you coach somebody, it’s you listening to them and, you know, asking them the right questions, you can get down to the, what their real issue is.

[00:04:40] And if you just come up and say, I’m going to tell you how to do it. It’s not as interesting. I mean, my teaching, for example, now, if I look at how I start to teach 20 years ago, 25 years ago, compared to how I teach now, my role is to teach is to be the one who speak the least amount during my classes, I, I present a concept.

[00:05:01] Then I have the students talking to each other and we come back and see what they have learned. And that’s, that’s the way I love the courses to go super interactive, uh, super engaged from the students. And I, I try, unfortunately, sometimes you have to present big concepts. So, I have to be the one speaking, but just, you know, let them go.

[00:05:17] And, you know, just, I’m just presenting frameworks as a professor say, Hey, have you thought about doing this, that perspective? That to me is my, my true job as an educator.

[00:05:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: You see, I think that’s a very important point because many of us, myself included have a tendency to speak too much and yes, over time, I think I have learned how to turn that off or turn it down and to focus more on the listening part.

[00:05:44] And I think that’s, that’s a, that’s an important element of wisdom that indeed you learn over time. It may be more difficult for people earlier in their career to say, you know what, I’m just going to. Listen and find out, but it’s an important tool if they can apply it.

[00:06:03] Denis Leclerc: And I’m not saying I’m the best at it either.

[00:06:06] I’m just saying, I’m just saying, that’s what I, you asked me for my lessons. Like I’m still working, you know, sometimes I finish a lecture, whatever I’m like, well, that was not good. I mean, basically you talked the whole time, so that’s, that’s still something that this is my self-awareness. I have to keep up actually.

[00:06:25] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, I like it. I like it.

[00:06:26] Denis Leclerc: I haven’t other days it’s just totally escapes me.

[00:06:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, and obviously we’re going to listen to your 10 lessons, so, oh yeah, yeah. Please speak up.

[00:06:36] Lesson 1:   Learn something new every day, even if it is a new word

[00:06:36] Siebe Van Der Zee: let’s start with lesson. Number one, learn something new every day. Even if it’s a new word. Literally every day?

[00:06:45] Denis Leclerc: Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah. Every day I loved like the other day.

[00:06:48] I love to find new words. I, I don’t know the words. Like I listen to a French podcast, like every day, but there was a word in French. I have, I had no idea where the origin was from. And it was just like, and sometimes because English is not my first language, so sometimes I will hear a word in English and I will just like, I have never, never heard of that word.

[00:07:10] I mean, where does it come from? And to me, that’s, that’s language is absolutely amazing. Um, so to me, the linguistic part of it, but it’s also, I love cooking, so I learn every day how to cook something. I’m a, I love pastry. So, I just make cakes and stuff. You know, one time I wanted to know how to make sausage.

[00:07:27] So with a friend, we made sausage for like three weekends in a row. And just, I like to be able to learn something new, like, listen to podcasts I’ve never heard of before, but I tried to learn an instrument. It was not a good experience. you know, say, I could say this is not, this is not, this is not in my cards.

[00:07:45] You know, you realize sometimes you learn, and you realize, eh, no, do something else. But I think it’s important for all of us.

[00:07:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: And in that sense to have a, an open mind, but also to have somewhat of a focus, to force yourself, to continue to learn. Right. That’s, that’s part of what you’re saying.

[00:08:01] Denis Leclerc: Yeah, absolutely. Like for example, at the school, I mean, where I am right now, my professional environment, we, there has been major shifts. One of the area of that the school is really big on is on the space industry. I don’t know anything about the space industry. So right now, I’m working on like, what can I, it’s absolutely fascinating, absolutely fascinating field. But I’m learning, I’m trying to learn something every day about the space industry that I didn’t know before.

[00:08:25] So it’s a concept of keep learning.

[00:08:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: I like it. yeah, it’s inspiring, right. to, uh, keep looking for new things and try new things, et cetera, et cetera. Yeah. Yeah. We, we tend to get stuck sometimes in, in doing the same thing over and over.

[00:08:39] Denis Leclerc: Oh yeah. Because usually we get rewarded for doing that. I mean, professionally, if you do something very well, then you’re like, that’s it I don’t have to, to stretch myself, but to me, it’s in the stretching and learning something new that you get new learning, you get new options. You, you get new perspectives, so yeah. Yeah. You know, that’s, that’s the part.

[00:08:58] Lesson 2:   Never stay angry. Anger will eat you alive

[00:08:58] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number two, uh, is something that you don’t want to do. Never stay angry. Anger will eat you alive.

[00:09:06] Denis Leclerc: No, that’s something ever. I was a very, I was always very angry when I was growing up. And I just learned that at some point you have, you have to let it go, you know, it’s just like, and it’s angry. Yeah. It’s being angry. I mean, you know, I was 17 and I had a bleeding ulcer just because I was just mad at people and mad at everything and be able to control that and focus that.

[00:09:29] And so I’ve all I told myself, you know, at some point it’s like, I have to let it go. You know, it’s just, there’ no need for doing that. I mean, that anger is not going to be serving you. Well, it’s not serving people are around you. anyway And, you know, you need to, it goes to, you know, it’s just like, yeah, just let it go.

[00:09:46] the anger is like the physical anger. I mean, I used to play squash, a lot when I was growing up. I, I don’t, I couldn’t tell you how many brackets I broke playing. I used to have to play with a tooth protect, you know, teeth protection, because, and with that was, that was my fuel.

[00:10:02] And then one time it was just like, no, you have to quit done. And it was so much better, but it’s, it is the physical. And it’s also the mental aspect of not being angry, letting it go.

[00:10:13] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Well, in a way, two questions, but the first one, was there a moment that you decided to do it differently? And, and the other point there is so much going on around the world that angers people mm-hmm and in some cases, When a war is going on, mm-hmm, the devastation when other things happen and you see it, of course, in politics, mm-hmm, the anger.

[00:10:37] Is that something that you would say, ah, don’t worry about it, or how do you express your thoughts when you are in disagreement?

[00:10:46] Denis Leclerc: So, you know, I, I read, and I do not remember a sociologist that basically they did research a lot on Facebook and networks and friends and all that. And you realize that in your life, I mean, the, the maximum amount of people you can talk to, like really have conversations with 50 people.

[00:11:04] And so, you know, most of us, if we say we have like 10 friends, like close friends, that’s, that’s huge. I mean, people, you can call that 10 friends is amazing. Yeah. So, to me, the anger is just like, There’s a lot of stuff going on. I don’t like, but do I have control over it? It’s like, no. So, I try to help people who are close to me and close to people I know, or locally, that’s just like, you know, it angers me to see what’s going on in the US angers me what’s happening in Ukraine.

[00:11:33] It angers me to see what’s happening in lot of countries, but I don’t feel that I can have an impact unless, you know, yes, you can vote. You can give money, you can make donations, but there’s like reading the newspaper. I mean, I used to read newspapers all the time. I stopped doing it.

[00:11:47] Just like it. It puts your mind in the morning at such a. It’s just like not good. Yeah. And I, it just can’t deal with it.

[00:11:55] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think we could use people in leadership with that attitude, right?

[00:12:00] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. well, yeah, hopefully yes. You know, but you know, anger fuels people, although that’s the thing. And, you know, you ask me, is there at times, just to me, it’s just like, I realize it’s exhausting.

[00:12:13] It is absolutely exhausting to be angry all the time. it’s, you know, it eats you alive. I mean, it does. And to me, it’s just like, you have to find another way. I mean, I don’t want to spend 50 years in my 10 lessons, you know, having a list of people I’m angry, you know, I just, I, I want to do something else with my life know,

[00:12:31] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, I hear what you’re saying.

[00:12:33] Lesson 3:   Managing stress is like “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”. (Quote by Arthur Ash)

[00:12:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: And it kind of feeds into your lesson number three. Yeah. Stress is like start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.

[00:12:43] Denis Leclerc: And, and this is one of my favorite quotes from Arthur Ash, yeah. And it was interesting because to me, I mean, if you look at why we get stressed, sometimes it’s because I think there’s sometimes a disconnect between understanding kind of, we know where we’re studying, but.

[00:12:58] We forget to use what we have. I mean, we are never going to have everything. We are never going to have everybody we want to, and you just do what you can just put one foot forward and just make it happen. And managing stress. I mean, it goes back to my second, uh, lessons because it’s a different, I mean, I’m not angry anymore.

[00:13:18] but I, I still work on managing the stress because stress will, and sometimes it’s just like being able to stop and doing it. I mean, I, I gave myself a gift, when I turned 50 and I, got my training in, uh, transcendental meditation and it was just the most amazing, like within two weeks it was like, I, I don’t know how to explain, because I’ve done yoga in the past.

[00:13:45] I’ve done a lot, but doing that meditation really was just this amazing level. I mean, I don’t know your brain, just, just like you manage your stress very differently. And sometimes I forget to do my meditation because I get busy, but when I have time just sitting quietly for like 20 minutes, even once a day, just really allows you to manage your stress.

[00:14:08] I mean, so that’s one of my lessons and, you know, it’s just like being able to really manage that is, is very important. And they, they under, they, they have done research on, on meditation, managing stress in school system where, you know, we are all buzzing. We’re all buzzing all the time. And I think the technology is, has added to that.

[00:14:28] I mean, I’m not on Facebook anymore. My Facebook got hacked and at first like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Now I’m like, oh, okay, good. That’s good. You know, I know it’s just like one thing I don’t have to worry about. So, you know, the only thing I’m on is LinkedIn, that’s it.

[00:14:40] Siebe Van Der Zee: There is life without Facebook.

[00:14:42] Denis Leclerc: So, but yeah, managing stress is critical.

[00:14:45] Lesson 4:   Don’t judge people too fast, we have more in common than we are different.

[00:14:45] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number four Denis, is one that, I like a lot, and it depends again on the context, but I’m thinking of you, of course, as professor in cross cultural communications and global negotiation, lesson number four, don’t judge people too fast. We have more in common than we are different.

[00:15:05] Denis Leclerc: No, no, it’s, to me it’s so important in the cross cultural field I’m in, because we really quickly turn the judgment wheel because we spin all the time because we are always like, you know, trying to outsmart people, show off how we’re smart and, yeah, sometimes just like, you know, just let’s turn off that judgment, you know, screen, but it’s very hard and, you know, unfortunately the US for what has happened for the last few years, it’s very hard to not do it, but it’s like we have more in common and then we’re different.

[00:15:40] And I have, I have experienced that traveling around the world of finding myself in weird situation where I’m just like, eh, I don’t know how to do it. And people’s like, well, do you need some help? And I’m like, oh, okay. You know, it’s just like, it’s, that’s the part to me that. I find interesting.

[00:15:53] And when you start to really talk to people, you realize, oh yeah, we have more in common. I mean, you know, it’s just like, yeah, language is a barrier, you know, language is a barrier. But, um, I learned something, one of my students one time showed me because he, he said, I’ve, I’ve never learned a language. He, so he only spoke, no, he spoke two, two languages.

[00:16:11] He said, I speak English in Spanish. That’s all he said, but I’ve gone around the world. I said, how do you do it? He says, but he had a gift, and the gift was to be able to draw. And so, his travel books were just drawings everywhere. And he said, it’s just amazing to show people that we have way more in common about drawing and art and all that stuff.

[00:16:31] So I, and again, it’s a lesson. I hope I’m good, but it’s like not to go to the judgment value.

[00:16:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s like I said, this is one of my favorite topics, having lived and worked in different countries, as of course, you know, I’m thinking of Edward T. Hall, 1976. Yeah, the iceberg theory.

[00:16:53] Yeah. If you think of an iceberg where the tip sticks out from the water, but the most, the biggest part is below the sea line, the water line and at the bottom of the iceberg, values and a little bit above the values, beliefs, belief systems, mm-hmm and above the waterline visible are the behaviors.

[00:17:16] And I think we both know how quick people are to put labels on behavior, cultural differences, and typically they can be negative because it’s different than our culture, whatever our culture. It’s different.

[00:17:33] Denis Leclerc: Oh, absolutely. And you know, to me, it happens every time I go back to France because I’ve been in the us now for 30 years, I’m American.

[00:17:40] So going back to France, I speak the language. I, well, I don’t know if I look like people anymore, but you know, you see what I mean? It’s like, I, I fit because you know, the first couple of days I speak French and that, oh, you have a weird accent. And then a couple of days then it’s kind of my accent relaxes and I’m not looking for my words all the time, but I remember like being very frustrated at first, going back to my native country and judging what people were doing and how they were doing, you know, like the fact that in France, you have, you have lunch at noon. You don’t have lunch at two o’clock in the afternoon.

[00:18:13] you know, you just, you, it doesn’t happen. You know, you have dinner at eight o’clock. Uh, there’s a pace of life. And it always, I remember like going back to France and judging, you know, like, why am the stores not open on Sundays? And it was just like, and you realize, you know, you are missing, you are losing money.

[00:18:31] And then you’re like, huh. Yeah, no, it’s actually good that the stores are not open on Sundays. You know, it’s just like, but it’s just judge, even from my home, you know, birth country, basically, I judged what was going on very quickly. And I’ve learned to just like, turn it off, like very quickly,

[00:18:48] Siebe Van Der Zee: but it’s human nature.

[00:18:49] I think it’s absolutely it’s fair. Right. And I think that’s something we have to, uh, expect from human beings. Oh, absolutely. All of us. Yeah. To compare. Situations, like you said lunch. Uh, when I lived in south America, restaurants would not open until 9:00 PM in the evening, so no, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I couldn’t change the country even though I was hungry.

[00:19:13] Denis Leclerc: Yeah, no, exactly. Just it’s really the part it’s, it’s really the part to me of that, that judgment. And then you can just look around and not judge your neighbors. I mean, just, and again, but it’s hard. It again, to me, it’s all about to me, this, I, I love that exercise of doing the lessons because to me it’s a, it’s almost an exercise of self-awareness.

[00:19:31] I mean, how, how self-aware are you of sometimes the blinders you put on yourself or. You believe, you know how to do things. So, I, I truly enjoy just going through these 10 lessons because I was like, man, I don’t know if I remember I told you, I don’t know if I have 10 lessons and then after one it’s like, no, that’s a very interesting exercise.

[00:19:52] So

[00:19:53] Siebe Van Der Zee: yeah, no, this, this is by the way, this is something we hear from many of our guests. They enjoy the exercise to come up with the 10 lessons. And I, I, I want to on this particular topic, because again, it intrigues me so much, as well in the academic sphere, when we talk about high context versus low context cultures, and, and perhaps you can give a, a quick overview of the difference between what is high context, what is low context when it comes to cultures and countries, etc.

[00:20:24] Denis Leclerc: It’s a good point. I mean like the high context countries are, and it’s linguistic also, like for example, in the countries, like in Asia, like Japan and Korea, they middle east are very high context, which is the context where the communication is taking place is very important. Everything is happening in contextual. Low context are usually the Northern European countries are much more low context, which is like all the information are given in the language they are given like very clearly stated.

[00:20:52] And it’s a, the language is structure where you have very quickly a verb, you know, a subject verb compliments. It’s a very clear sentences. And, you know, to give you an idea of difference between high context and low context, um, high context, you know, in Japan, if you ask somebody Japanese, I remember when we had a Japanese guest who stayed with us and you ask his opinion and always his expression was known like, yes, very difficult.

[00:21:18] And you realize he has given you all the information. That’s the high context communication, a low context I could ask to Dutch or French person. What do you think? I would say what I think is like, it’s stupid and I will tell you how it should be done, you know.

[00:21:32] Siebe Van Der Zee: You are so right.

[00:21:33] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. That’s the low context way of communicating.

[00:21:36] And so that’s the big difference. And so, the not judging people and it goes to a lot of things like, you know, high context, low context, but extrovert introvert. I mean, that’s when I talk about not judging people too fast is, is also the, the ability of, uh, not always judging people who are extrovert as being the people who know best, I’ve seen a lot of people who are very introvert.

[00:21:58] And, but when you start talking to them, you realize, whoa, you are paying attention, or you are really super engaged. It’s like, it’s not the engagement that you have in classrooms. That’s why I love being an educator because you can look at the students who are, raise their hands, who participate all the time, but you always have quiet students.

[00:22:16] And when they come to your office, you have conversation with them and you’re like, wow, that is so interesting. I’m so glad you came and talked to me because absolutely changed my perception of who you are and how you engaged. So, I try to have the students coming to my office hours, like all the students, at least for 10, 15 minutes, just so I can change my perception of who they are in class and kind of like, because they, they have so much talent and they have so much knowledge that a classroom is not it’s, it’s a way of judging students by grades or whatever.

[00:22:45] So, you know, it’s a different way of doing it.

[00:22:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: So, it it’s such an important issue. And I think you and I can fill a complete hour. Absolutely. Yeah. On that part, because it’s, it’s part of who we are as human beings. Yeah. That we make those judgements, but we have to become aware and do a better understanding in order to really understand what is happening and not to be so quickly in making a, a judgment.

[00:23:10] Lesson 5:   Travel

[00:23:10] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number five. Yeah. It, it’s almost Dutch, low context travel,

[00:23:16] Denis Leclerc: absolutely.

[00:23:16] Siebe Van Der Zee: Travel.

[00:23:17] Denis Leclerc: Travel. because to me, it’s just like, you don’t know who you are until you have started to cross your own borders.

[00:23:24] I mean, you know, like, if you take the example, of like, you know, Netherlands or France or the US, you can travel in the US, but you are still, there’s still a, a certain underlying value and culture that unless you cross the borders, then you realize.

[00:23:38] Oh, that’s who it means to be me basically. And that to me is the part of travel. It’s not it’s yes, the food, but it’s also the, the ability of trying. I love airports. I, I know it sounds like a totally like weird things, but I love airports because especially big international airports, because you realize there are these weird space where you have people coming from all over the world.

[00:24:00] People are very high level of stress because it’s to them. They don’t see the airport as being the journey. They are like, it’s unfortunate I’m stuck here. And so, you have a lot of stress. You have behaviors that you might not see otherwise. You have places where you can pray. You have people under amazing distress, and then you have people who traveled a lot. And they’d look at an airport and I remember talking to a friend of mine one time and we were talking about Heathrow airport, and I was going through Heathrow so much that I was able to leave my seat on the airplane and be in the lounge in less than 20 minutes. And we talk, we talk about like how stupid of a record is that, you know, it’s just like, you know, because yeah.

[00:24:40] I, the, you know, you see what I mean? It’s just like, and then it is just like, yeah, but it’s like, is that really something you should be proud of that because to me, the airport was just like just a one stop going somewhere else. And so, I’ve learned like I was in Oman. I have never been to Oman, so I walk the airport like two or three times just to see people just because it’s just like to see where people are from, you know, the stress level. And to me, that’s the part of traveling and the destination, of course, but you know, just like the airport, I always pay attention to the airport because it’s not only the business lounge.

[00:25:13] There’s something sometimes that is interesting in there.

[00:25:15] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’ve never heard anyone talk with such, passion about being at an airport, but I understand what you,

[00:25:22] Denis Leclerc: I know, that’s why I’m saying, you know, no, I, you know, I I’m talking about big international airports. I’m sorry. Let me clarify that. You know,

[00:25:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: I, no, I understand and I, I understand the reason why I, I had never really thought about it, myself, that, indeed, when you were at the airport and let’s say. We see that a lot when you’re stuck at the airport, right. With long delays and lots of people. But to your point, if you’re dealing with a, with an international airport, you get people from all over the world in a very small place.

[00:25:56] And yes, they’re dealing with stress. Traveling can be stressful, but you make a great point. And of course, the other element of travel is experiencing behavior and situations, that are different from what you are used to.

[00:26:13] Denis Leclerc: And, you know, and to me, this is to me, airports. And to me, I’m sorry to go back to the airport issue, but it’s the first and the last thing people will see from your home country.

[00:26:22] And I remember getting into, I realized I had to turn off my, like I had to shut up because I was at the Chicago airport. And the TSA agent was yelling at people to move lane. And I look at her, it’s like yelling is not going to be helpful. She obviously does not understand you and yelling is not going to be helpful.

[00:26:43] And I say, and I look at the person and do you realize this is the last thing that that person is going to remember to be yelled at by a TSA agent? Yeah. She might have had the best time. And then her negative is that part here. I said, just, you know, just come on, recognize that she can’t, she’s not understanding.

[00:27:02] And, but I love also, I mean, you know, outside, when you’re on the airport, I love everything about traveling in a foreign country. But to me, just like that experience should not be over overstated cause I’ve seen so many things happen.

[00:27:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: Oh, absolutely. And it’s something that’s you know, I know from experience has been happening for a long time that if someone needs to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the language fluently, whichever language, but let’s say English, sometimes people start talking louder.

[00:27:32] Denis Leclerc: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:27:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: To the point where they start yelling. And of course, if you don’t understand the language, it doesn’t help.

[00:27:40] Denis Leclerc: doesn’t at all. It’s not useful at all. Travel is, to me is just like, yeah, it it’ll teach you so much about who you are.

[00:27:48] It will show you too so much about the stress. yeah. And I’ve been very lucky. I mean, I’ve traveled professionally for Thunderbird for like 18 years. So, they send me all over the world and I’ve gone to Russia many times. I’ve got to Saudi Arabia many times. I’ve gone to places that Portugal, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, I mean, I’ve gone to some neat places, and you always learn Mexico of course, but in Canada, but you know, it’s just like you, you learn so much about like, How to deal with other people and.

[00:28:17] Siebe Van Der Zee: And, and in combination with your, your earlier lesson, you continue to learn, right?

[00:28:22] It’s hard to say I’ve been around the world for now. I know it. Yeah. There’s, there’s, there’s no way you can learn at all.

[00:28:28] Denis Leclerc: No, like, like, for example, like, you know, I was just in Saudi Arabia and I, even though I have, you know, I consider myself a seasoned traveller. I got, you know, there’s two types of cabs in Saudi Arabia and I took the wrong cab.

[00:28:38] So it was like, oh, but I should have paid attention.

[00:28:41] Siebe Van Der Zee: What happened?

[00:28:42] Denis Leclerc: When you go outside the airport in, um, in Riyad you have the state-owned cabs that have a fixed price, and then you have, it’s not even Uber. It’s just like people with their cars and they have a sign on top. It says taxi.

[00:28:54] And they say, where do you want to go? And then they charge you, whatever.

[00:28:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: They, they charge you a little bit more.

[00:28:59] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. And that’s, that’s what happened to me. I’m. Okay. What’s the exchange rate and it’s like, oh, it’s 30 bucks. Okay, fine. I can give him 30 bucks, but he was, you know, these kind of things like not paying attention, you know, was, but I was exhausted.

[00:29:10] I mean, after all the travel, but, but I, you know, I’ve had also great experiences.

[00:29:15] Siebe Van Der Zee: Sounds good. We’re talking today with Dennis Leclerc, professor of cross-cultural communications at the Thunderbird school of global management sharing his 10 lessons he learned in his life, in his career.

[00:29:27] Lesson 6:   Success is a journey not the final destination

[00:29:27] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number six, success is a journey, not the final destination while we’re talking about traveling. And now we’re talking about success is a journey, not a final destination.

[00:29:39] Denis Leclerc: I realized that when I was trying to do my PhD.

[00:29:41] Because people were trying to crank their PhD in four years. I mean, it was kind of like, and to me, I’m like, I am not in a hurry. So, I took courses that were not being part of my PhD program. I was very slow. Not that I’m a slow learner, but I realized I really love to learn. So, to me it was just like, well, there is a chance for me to kind of like that journey is way more interesting because that’s where you learn who you are and what you do.

[00:30:04] And so then when I got my PhD, I tried to go for tenure, which I hated every day of the whole process. every day because I did not enjoy the journey. I thought the journey was painful. Um, nothing was interesting about the whole journey, but I think sometimes in life we, we think that the destination is, is what matters, but actually, no, it’s the journey I’ve been, you know what?

[00:30:32] I hate to use sports analogy. It’s like I’ve run marathon in my life. I mean, I’m in really bad shape. I couldn’t do it now, but. You know, the realize that the, the marathon is a great, is a great, um, mind trick and mind trip, because the first, if you, if anybody, any of your listeners have ever run marathon, you will see that very quickly.

[00:30:56] You realize this last seven miles are the most important one. The first, the first 20 are just like easy compared to the last six, because your mind start to trick you. And that’s where the journey really starts in marathon. That’s where you are just questioning. You know, if you can do it, if you are going to be able to finish, if you are collapsing, your, your body’s going to tell you, you can’t finish.

[00:31:16] You can’t run. And that to me. And then when you, you are at the final destination, you’re like, oh, wow, that was, I really enjoyed the last six. It was really tough, but that you realize that is a closure, but what was important is like all the 26 months you run before, that were very interesting. So that, and I tried to remind me of that because.

[00:31:36] I have a business, we had a business that we are just closing right now. And the success was the journey of having the business. And so, I’m writing a book on entrepreneurial journey because that’s really what matters. It’s the destination is like, yeah. You know, it’s interesting. But if you plan everything, you know, destination is not surprising.

[00:31:54] Siebe Van Der Zee: How would you define your greatest success in life? That can be a very tough question or at least tough one to answer.

[00:32:03] Denis Leclerc: Huh? Um, I think finishing my PhD because I did in a foreign language and it just, and in French and I’m not a great writer and being able to do it was to me. Yeah, that was pretty amazing. And I, I have a PHD in a foreign language and, you know, for some people it’s just like, not a big deal to me. It’s like, that’s pretty, pretty amazing, you know?

[00:32:29] Cause if you, you know, if I could see my French teacher in high school told me I could not write any words correctly and, you know, showing her, I could publish in English. I think that to me would be a great success professionally. yeah, yeah.

[00:32:41] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. And I, mean, I, I asked out of nowhere, of course, and I realize that’s, it’s a tough question to answer, but I appreciate your answer because it, it has to do with something that happened a few years ago.

[00:32:52] Yeah. Right. It, it, you said, getting a PhD is remarkable in itself. Yeah. But to be successful with a PhD in a foreign country that adds to it.

[00:33:04] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. It just sometimes, you know, it’s something I kind of. Because I’m the only one in my family who has a higher education, I mean, I take that for granted. Yeah. And you realize, oh man, no, no, no. They look at me different and to me, and just like, no, you know, it’s just like, so yeah. I would say professional, I would say that’s, you know, but then when you’re surrounded by the PhDs, then people start say, well, how many publications do you have?

[00:33:28] it’s like, where have you? But to me, that part here is like, yeah, no, it was really good. I mean, I’m very proud of that. Yeah.

[00:33:34] Siebe Van Der Zee: And I, think it, makes sense in that, in that sense with the, with the question, because you’re still active. You’re still doing all kinds of stuff. Yeah. So, it’s not the end of the destination.

[00:33:43] No. Uh, but it was a moment in time that you look back at and. Yeah, that was success. I achieved something at that moment. I guess if you win, you know, gold medal for winning the marathon, that would’ve been something.

[00:33:57] Denis Leclerc: No, it’s the same thing, you know, it’s the achievement you realize what goes to be able to that, that final destination.

[00:34:04] That’s the part that was just like, no, that was pretty. Yeah. That’s well, that’s a, that was a very good question, actually.

[00:34:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, I appreciate it. It’s great to talk. Yeah, yeah.

[00:34:12] Lesson 7:   learn to cultivate creativity

[00:34:12] Siebe Van Der Zee: That good. I enjoy our conversation lesson than number seven, learn to cultivate creativity. And my mind is a little bit spinning about that as far as how do you do that?

[00:34:24] Denis Leclerc: So, this is where. You know, you go back to like the, the wounds that you get when you’re in high school. But I can’t, I, I was, I, my high school where I went to was super competitive. I mean, they were super, super, super competitive. I mean, I don’t know how to explain that to people other than when we got our grades every month, basically the director of the school came.

[00:34:42] And if you were in the lower five, it just threw your grade cards on the floor and tell you you’re wasting money. So it was, yeah. So, it was just like, so you, you never wanted to be the last bottom five where to pick up your grades from the floor. And say, you know, you go to your parents because they’re was, you are wasting their money basically.

[00:34:59] But, so there was not a lot of creativity in the school because we are all like academic and all that stuff. And I’ve learned, I love going to museums. I love like, you know, you put me anywhere like in a museum and I could be there for four hours and I’m just, because I just find the power of creativity, like music, anybody who has a studio that is super creative, uh, could be painters, musicians.

[00:35:21] People who cook people who draw anything to me, I just find it interesting and cultivating creativity. I’m a pretty good baker. And I realize I love baking because it’s a very creative process for me and it’s very Stressless. I can make my cakes, I can do whatever, you know, and I make cakes like at least once or two every week, but I don’t eat them.

[00:35:44] I mean, I, I eat some part of it, but um, like for example, in the garden right now, we have a big fig tree. So, I’m making a, I made a fig tart. But that’s my second one I’ve made in a couple of days, but we try to give them to the neighbors. So that to me is my creativity. I’ve always like welding. So, I try to give myself sometimes for welding I’ve welded gates.

[00:36:07] I think it’s important for people to have another outlet and their jobs, you know, something that has nothing to do with physical. So, it cannot be like physical activities either, but it’s just something that where your brain is totally engrossed. You are in flow. Basically. It’s something you are doing that is not your job.

[00:36:25] Like musicians are, are getting flow all the time, where that creativity is really part of, uh, who they are.

[00:36:31] It’s like more like something that you do. you know, even if it’s like a project or something where you have to use different skills, different part of your brains, basically.

[00:36:39] You know, you could believe that you have like two parts of your brain and, you know, be able to balance these two here because I think it makes, it makes either side very much more interesting. That’s why mathematicians are interesting, but they usually, they have a be having a creative outlet. you know, that to me is very important and if people don’t have one, they. Try something.

[00:36:59] No. Interesting.

[00:37:00] Yeah.

[00:37:00] Lesson 8:   Help and support others

[00:37:00] Denis Leclerc: Lesson number eight, help and support others. Sounds really good. Where did that lesson come from in your case?

[00:37:08] Because people help me because when I came to the US, I didn’t know anybody.

[00:37:15] I had a grant from my sister had given me money and Americans helped me. I mean, you know, finding an apartment that part of helping where you are in a foreign country, and you don’t know anything. I remember my first computer; my advisor bought the computer for me, and I paid him every month. He didn’t have to do that.

[00:37:38] It was not his problem, you know? And so, I think it’s like receiving the help from. Americans in general and see how generous people were, that to me, I’m like, you know, helping, I mean, so helping.

[00:37:51] Siebe Van Der Zee: And then giving back, giving back.

[00:37:53] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. Giving back. I mean, you know, I’ve been, really blessed to be help in my life, that, you know, I try to help other people and support them.

[00:38:01] And just as much as I can. I mean, and sometimes it’s money sometimes it’s time, whatever it is. So, but that to me is very important because I know that I would not have done what I’ve done in the US if I had not been helped.

[00:38:15] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Interesting that, I can understand if you look at how you have been helped, that you want to give back because you know how important it is to help people.

[00:38:25] It’s a fairly simple concept, right?

[00:38:27] Denis Leclerc: I’m not a very religious person, so it’s not linked to any honor religious belief, but it’s just like, some people need some help without, Any, without an exchange of anything, they just need help.

[00:38:38] Siebe Van Der Zee: That’s an important element in there.

[00:38:40] Denis Leclerc: Yeah. That there is not like, you know, not having an exchange of anything. And again, this is kind of the inspiration of helping us support people. But, sometimes we’re good, sometimes we’re in bad. Yeah. So just like, you know, it’s being the ability we have of, of reminding ourselves of that.

[00:38:57] And especially for me, it’s important.

[00:38:58] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Makes sense.

[00:39:00] Lesson 9:   Learn to slow down

[00:39:00] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number nine, learn to slow down and I wish I would say yes, that’s what I do, but please explain

[00:39:10] Denis Leclerc: yeah, no, it’s just like. Especially right now where we have, we have access to like I am and, and I love technology. I love WhatsApp.

[00:39:19] I love texting. I mean, I tell my students, if you have to talk to me, just send me a text or WhatsApp. Don’t, don’t send me an email. I’m going to check my email, but I read so many email during the day. And then I’m just going to be like, oh yes. Somebody asked me a question two days ago, so I have to create a list for it.

[00:39:33] So, but at the same time, that creates, it goes back to like, it creates a lot of stress. It creates a lot of things where, and you, we can all function at very high level. But some days it’s very good for us to learn, to slow down. like for example, you know, I, I’m what I go to France. What I love about going to France is the, the fact that we have nine hours difference.

[00:39:54] And so my phone is on for my family. They want to reach out to me, but I will turn off my phone in France at seven o’clock because to me it’s just like, I I’m, I am on vacation to be able to disconnect. I’m trying to slow down. I’m not trying to keep my daily job or my daily output or input. but I’m pretty good. I, I, I think I’m pretty good at slowing down. I mean, that’s one aspect of COVID. I mean, it’s like, I am very lucky. We have a great house and I realized, you know, I didn’t have to go anywhere. It was just like weeks without seeing anybody. And we had all the food we needed and just like, oh, that’s pretty cool.

[00:40:32] You know, I have my dogs, the chickens and the, the yard to take care of and you’re realize, oh, you know, that’s, you know, slowing done is a good thing.

[00:40:39] Siebe Van Der Zee: Now, if I think of however, we describe it, but up and coming professionals, people with great ambition early in their career, would you tell them to slow down?

[00:40:49] Denis Leclerc: I, I would tell them to, to pay attention to their, their mental, uh, capacity to absorb what they think is moving around, like, you know, getting information because, I like the fact that in, in France or in Europe, people get their five weeks paid vacation. They get all that part. And people looking like cost a lot of money, but it’s also, it forces people to slow down.

[00:41:11] I mean, forces people to just like disconnect, uh, from the world. I mean, uh, Mercedes Benz. I learned that from their high-level executives, their email system shuts down on weekend. And the reason why, because they have done studies that actually we don’t have the capacity to always be on. So, for these young people, yeah, you can try to do it, but you are going to burn out.

[00:41:34] And so be very judicious of basically understanding that sometimes you just need to take a break. And when I need to take a break, I, I need, don’t go online, and don’t slow down basically. And how you make decision? that’s something I’ve learned. I in terms of learning to slow down. I, I try to not make decision like on the spot.

[00:41:54] I always say, well, let me think about it. Because it allows me to slow down and kind of pay attention to what’s happening.

[00:42:00] Siebe Van Der Zee: There has to be a balance that that’s.

[00:42:02] Denis Leclerc: Yeah, no, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Sometimes, you know, sometimes you need to move fast, but I, I am not sure that moving fast is the, is always the best way.

[00:42:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: no, and it’s, it’s a good point. I think common sense, tells people that you have to take a break from time to time, even when you’re busy and you have, you know, working under pressure, you do have to allow yourself because. It’s not going to work in your favor, if you do not give yourself a break,

[00:42:29] Denis Leclerc: yeah. And like, for example, I’m, I love to take naps because you reach a point where you’re, you know, if you work really, if you really work intensely on, on a lot of things, I like to take like a 40-minute nap. Cause some you need to give your brain time to just like shut down for a while and your brain, your, brain’s still working.

[00:42:46] Cause you, you come back, and you actually refreshed. I mean, but again, I’m, I’m very lucky. I’m very blessed because I have a job where I can basically pace myself during the day, any way I want to. And I know a lot of the listeners don’t have that luxury, but I, I do. And I, I try to not forget about it.

[00:43:02] Siebe Van Der Zee: well, and perhaps Denis, in, in your case, you’re dealing. Communication in so many different countries with different time zones. So, yeah, it may be whatever in the afternoon where you’re at and it’s going to be morning somewhere else or

[00:43:17] Denis Leclerc: yeah, no. Oh yeah. And I like, you know, I, and I like, for example, I am the, the king of falling asleep in the airplanes.

[00:43:24] I I’ve fallen asleep on the airplanes between Phoenix and Los Angeles, like an hour and a half I’m asleep. I get on the plane, I’m asleep on the plane and I get up when we land in Los Angeles and I look around and, you know, people are. You it’s just like, yeah, my wife doesn’t, she likes to travel with me, but she finds it so annoying because I get in an airplane and I’m asleep so fast.

[00:43:45] I don’t know if it’s the movement of the end or something. It just I’m like a baby in the car, you know, I just fall asleep so fast. So, but then you

[00:43:51] arrive at Los Angeles international airport and that’s the, the center of the universe as you explain,

[00:43:58] right?

[00:43:59] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, exactly. So that’s a good combination. Yeah.

[00:44:01] Lesson 10: Learn how to become a better mentor

[00:44:01] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, we are at lesson number 10, learn how to become a better mentor. And I have some thoughts, some questions, but please, go ahead and your thoughts.

[00:44:13] Denis Leclerc: So, again, because professionally I’m an educator at the core. So, when people ask me, what do I do? I always say I’m an educator just happen to have a PhD.

[00:44:21] I know a few things, but I’m just an educator at the core. and I’ve learned that. Being a mentor to people is super rewarding, but not everybody’s ready to be a mentor. And being a mentor requires you to yeah. To slow down to listen to the person you’re trying to work with. Yeah. So, it’s somebody you are trying to help, uh, because you cannot say, oh, I have the solution for you, because then you are not a mentor.

[00:44:49] You are just putting your, your, your framework, your lenses, your way of looking at the world in a way that, um, is not what the person needs. So, so I, I hope I do that, correctly at the school. Um, but yeah, to me, that’s uh, and a mentor, you know, I have. Have an expression is like you meet people for reason or season or lifetime, and sometimes you could just meet somebody for like, you know, a couple of weeks and that’s it, you’re done, you know, um, they needed you for that one thing and, you know, season could be a semester, you know, and a lifetime, it could be friends you have for life.

[00:45:28] So that’s the part of, and again, I’m not saying I’m really good at it. I’m just saying it’s one of my lessons that, you know, I love to be known as a mentor, but it’s just, you know, sometimes it’s that self-capacity of self-awareness.

[00:45:44] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, as a professor educator teacher, it fits well with, with serving as a mentor.

[00:45:50] just curious, do you currently have a mentor yourself?

[00:45:54] Denis Leclerc: No, that’s a good question, but I’ve had people have admired. My, my first. professor and when I came to the us was an amazing mentor. He I’m sure he didn’t, you know, unfortunately he passed away a few years ago. He knew he was an amazing mentor because he had a way, like, he’s the one who bought my first computer, you know, but he, he was not from the US, he was from Ghana and he had, he understood kind of the struggle of international student.

[00:46:20] And so he had that ability to be a mentor. Yeah, it was just really amazing, an amazing relationship that we had. And I could never use his first name even after I got my PhDs. Like, no, it’s still Dr. Tase, not Victor. I mean, I could use his first name around other people to me. It’s just like, no, that’s the part of like the mentor mentee was just like, um, yeah, it was a, yeah, it did impact my, my life, but right now, no I don’t.

[00:46:45] Siebe Van Der Zee: Denis. It’s, it’s great to have this conversation and talking about your 10 lessons and it makes me think about, are there any lessons that you have unlearned in your life, in your career?

[00:47:00] Denis Leclerc: From the 10 I just gave you?

[00:47:01] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, just it could be, but it could be in, in just in life that you thought, Hmm, I got to do this differently.

[00:47:08] You did touch on that during your 10 lessons, but there may be another one that stands out.

[00:47:13] Denis Leclerc: To unlearn, um, I’m not kidding. That that question is really puzzling. But to me it’s like, so it’s something I used to do that I’m not doing anymore.

[00:47:21] Siebe Van Der Zee: Exactly, exactly.

[00:47:23] Denis Leclerc: And like, you know, I, I don’t want to use the word aggressive, but it goes to that anger issues, like always wanted to be, because you know, you, you asked the question earlier about like early in your career and that part, it’s a learn, you have to learn to be like number one, number two, number three. Yeah. Then that’s something you have to unlearn actually as you move up in an organization because, that was so that part maybe is the lesson I had to unlearn.

[00:47:48] It’s like I had to unlearn to be that competitive. You know, you talk, talk earlier about the, the mentor. I remember having a, somebody watched me teach one time and he gave me the best lesson ever. Cuz I was teaching and I was like, man, I’m good. I’m you know, I was thinking that I’m really good. I’m really good.

[00:48:03] And at the end he, he came to me, he said, um, and somebody, I respected also because he had been doing it. Well, he, he was one of your professor at Thunderbird actually. and so basically, he talked to me, he said, you know what? People know you are smart, but it’s not about you. It’s about them. And I’m like, and that was just like, oh it was like such a light bulb because you realize that’s what being a, to me, in my role as an educator, that’s what it is.

[00:48:29] It’s not about me. It’s about the, the students and that shift I had to unlearn it. So that’s, it’s a lesson that cause you get a PhD and it’s all about PhD is the most selfish degree people will ever get because it’s not about you. You, you are the one who work. You, you know, it’s all the PhDs, the, yeah, it’s super selfish as a degree, but then if you really want to educate and engage people, you have to unlearn the fact.

[00:48:55] It’s not about you because by the time you have a PhD, everybody, okay. You have a stamp of approval that, you know, something, and then you have to unlearn being selfish with your knowledge and be able to listen to people. So maybe that’s a lesson.

[00:49:07] Siebe Van Der Zee: I think it’s a very, very important point that you’re raising.

[00:49:11] You were just talking about your biggest success was obtaining or achieving the PhD. Yeah. And what you’re sharing now is to say, Hey, it’s not about me. It’s about my students.

[00:49:23] Denis Leclerc: And that, part was just, but it’s. I remember when he told me that, because I was just trying to go through all the material and it’s like, you know, people know you are smart, just shut up and listen to them and were like, what?

[00:49:35] And it was just such a, so, you know, when I was telling you earlier about you meet people for reason, a season or lifetime. That’s he, I met him for that reason, you know, and I worked with him for a couple of months afterwards, but that was the reason why he taught me a couple of things about really being an educator.

[00:49:51] And it was just like, and that lesson was so quick. It’s like, it’s not about you. So, about the student, I’m like, oh, oh yeah, of course it is. But he totally counterintuitive.

[00:50:00] Siebe Van Der Zee: It’s a great point to end this particular program with, thank you so much. Denis Leclerc, we do it the French way.

[00:50:08] Professor. Thank you for sharing your wisdoms with our global audience in closing. You’ve been listening to the international podcast, 10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn sponsored by PDF. The professional development forum PDF provides webinars, social media discussions. Podcast and parties and best of all, it’s all for free.

[00:50:31] For more information, please visit professional development forum.org. Our guest today is Denis Leclerc, Denis Leclerc, professor cross-cultural communications and global negotiations sharing his global lessons. It took him 50 years to learn and to our audience, don’t forget to leave as a review or a comment.

[00:50:53] You can also email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com. That is podcast. Number 10, lessons learned.com. Go ahead and subscribe. So, you don’t miss any future episodes. And remember, this is a podcast that makes the world wiser and wiser podcast by podcast, lesson by lesson merci beaucoup et au revoir. Thank you, and stay safe.

[00:51:22] Denis Leclerc: Thank you au revoir.

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum, which office insights, community or discussions, podcasts, parties, anything you want here, but they’re unique and it’s all free online. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

 

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