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Seb Anthony

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Just wanted to find out out if anyone has experience of working/facilitating in moscow. Any advice, suggestions, successes, war stories, would be appreciated.
Wayne Mullen

4 Responses

  1. Working in Moscow
    I have worked in Moscow, mainly at the President’s personal Academy for Senior Civil Servants. It is hard to know where to start with lessons learnt.
    Firstly, I found it one of the toughest places to work. The people are very friendly but bringing about change is extremely challenging.
    Make sure you familiarise yourself with the etiquette of dinners and toasts, and when you don’t have to down the vodka in one!
    Even if you speak Russian, make sure you check out the technical terms. Somethings almost translate but are in fact different – I had a wonderful cross conversation about competencies (I meant skills, they meant what you are legally competent to authorise).
    Be prepared for the first day to be testy and formal. Once they have got to know you and trust you – which is where the socialising helps – things do loosen up. In fact you can then get other problems; once a group is given ‘freedom’ they then want to make full use of it.
    I found that models, structures, frameworks went down really well with most groups. Skills practice was trickier and needed very careful briefing. Role-play can leading to hopeless overacting, so refer to simulation instead. Case studies go down really well.
    I found humour was a great ally. And if you can talk about classic literature, that helps. I took some copies of Dickens I got cheap from a second hand book stall as little gifts and that was the best move I made.
    Corruption is rife. A potential client offered me a bribe. (I declined)
    Praise, respect and an interest in what they do – as in most countries – goes a long way.
    If you don’t speak Russian, learn a few words (and memorise or write down where you are staying using the Cyrillic alphabet – then you can always find your underground station or get a taxi back).
    Hope that helps

  2. Thank you!
    Hi Graham – thank you so much for the advice. Really helpful!!


  3. Travel and Expenses

    Having been responsible for the T&E policy for a number of facilitators who sometimes had to deliver training in Moscow, I’d also like to point out that not only can the flights there be expensive, but also the typical “Western” hotel chains – for some reason – tend to over-inflate their room rates.

    Ideally, try to get your client to organise all of this on your behalf, but if not, be sure that the T&E aspects of your assignment are sound.

    You don’t necessarily want to be carrying high hotel bills on your credit card, whilst waiting for reimbursement.


  4. Working with Russians and in Russia

    Just back from delivering a management course in Russia and can add some observations:

    1. Most Russians say they do not speak English when they do – they just seem afraid of looking silly – persistance usually gets a reposne and you can tell that they get most of what you say.

    2. Gifts went down really well especially as they were linked with Russia.

    3. They really enjoyed interactive exercises and were wholehearted contributors to discussions.

    4. Drinking Vodka at toasts over dinner is pleasant due to the high quality of the Vodka which also produced no adverse effects next day.

    5. The food was exceptionally good at all outlets.

    6. All transport ran to time and the underground is amazing.



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