Cultural Competence Discussion v3 / Kevin A Carter
Account Type: Business Kevin Carter Add ConnectionsHome Profile Contacts Groups Jobs Inbox 90 Search Companies More Groups The Diversity and Inclusion Group Discussions Members Promotions Jobs Search More... Start a discussion 1 of 20 Next » Intercultural Competence Updates: Last 7 Days Thought I would share .... the article just touches the surface because the author is really describing cultural protocol realities ... the true learning is raising the cultural competence of Clint Cora started a discussion: leaders that they have an awareness of the culture that they represent, foster and have a 2010 Year End Motivational bias towards; a recognition of how that culture is different than the one they are in and their Diversity Videos Recap ability to adapt and integrate the cultures of others .... 1 day ago Like Add comment 15 days ago The Cobra Was O.K.; The Duck Tongue Not So Much New York Times Orietta E. Ramirez and 1 more commented on: Cultural delights and minefields characterize business travel for Gary Pomerantz, executive Intercultural Competence vice president of the international engineering firm WSP Flack & Kurtz. 1 day ago 57 comments Jean Richardson likes: Intercultural Like Comment Stop Following Flag More Competence 1 day ago Like (3) Hamlin Grange, Pete Quinn and 1 other like this See all updates » 57 comments • Jump to most recent comments Marc Brenman • Kevin, if I understand your correctly, you are making a very good point that people need to understand their own culture as well as different ones. 15 days ago MarcStop Following Hamlin Grange • Marc and Kevin...In fact, I would say that the first step in the journey to becoming more culturally competent is to have a greater understanding of your own cultural world-view. 15 days agoFollow Hamlin Peter Bye • Thanks for sharing it Kevin. A fascinating article. As you say, it deals entirely in the visible or objective aspects of culture - foods, interaction protocols, Latest Post meanings of colors. Perhaps the author explored the deeper subjective and non-visible 2010 Year End Motivational Diversity aspects of culture that form the basis for the objective aspects he discussed in the Videos Recap article - the underlying beliefs and values - although these subjective aspects certainly Peter Clint Cora See all » are not addressed in the article. As written it seems to focus on a conventional "do /Stop Following dont" list. Those deeper aspects are the ones that determine how we see the world and interact Top Influencers This Week with others. The deeper understanding coming from intercultural expertise is the source of creating competitive advantage through diversity and cultural difference. Kevin Carter Hamlin - I share your thought about greater understanding of ones worldview being a critical step. This is one of the truly profound benefits of the Intercultural Development David Lipscomb Inventory. It measures a persons or groups worldview or mindset regarding diversity and cultural difference, and provides a basis for further development. 15 days ago Pearl Jones, SPHR • The article is a great illustration of Intent vs Impact. It also makes a serious point in a lighthearted way about the importance of cultural competence for everyone, but especially for those whose work and travel globally. Taking the time to learn more about the customs and mores of the people and places to where he travelled could have prevented some faux pas. Follow Pearl 15 days ago Kevin Carter • Marc, Hamlin, Peter and Pearl, I appreciated your feedback. What struck me was the combination of what we all are
saying ... while it is important to understand how to behave appropriately in other cultures, intercultural competence is not simply adopting certain protocols, or as Peter stated - a "do / dont list." It is the awareness that each of us, and our corresponding behavior, represent and create of culture for others that is either accepting or negating of their culture. This process not only happens when we travel abroad but also happens right here in the US when supervisors attempt to coach, correct or improve the performance of their direct-reports not realizing that it is the supervisor whose behavior is creating a work climate, or culture, that is fostering low performance. How many leaders ask themselves the question: "what about me (or my behavior) is preventing you from reaching your full potential?" 11 days ago Marc Brenman • Thanks, Kevin. I do not entirely agree with this: "it is the supervisor whose behavior is creating a work climate, or culture, that is fostering low performance." While it is the duty of the supervisor to assign work, make sure that staff have the tools they need to do the work, to set expectations, and to evaluate objectively; and the responsibility of management to ensure a good work culture; my experience is that some Marc staff are just better at what they do and work harder and more responsibly than others.Stop Following Staff bear a great deal of responsibility for work culture. 11 days ago Kevin Carter • Hi Marc, I mostly agree with what you are saying but let me provide an example. Lets say I am a manager whose strength is "communicating" or "getting to the bottom- line" but I have the habit of over-communicating, or dominantly conversation and getting to the bottom-line so quickly that I cut off debate, or the introduction of new ideas. I am creating a work climate for my direct reports that will unconsciously benefit some and unfairly penalize others. I may also be rating some direct reports poorly because they "dont speak up," or "show initiative," even though it is me who is taking initiative out of the work culture and discouraging others from speaking up. I believe that everyone is like me - that if they have something to say, they will fight and push to be heard (and those that dont - are not a good fit). I would say that thats managers intercultural competence is low ... they are not aware of the work culture that their behavior is creating. They are not aware of how their strengths - in excess - are preventing others from reaching their full potential. 11 days ago Marc Brenman • Weve all had to adjust to a supervisor whose style was not the same as ours. The objective of a workplace is not reaching the full potential of the staff, but getting the work done well, on time, at a reasonable cost. Some workplaces arent as "fun" as others. A rating system should be as objective as possible. Feedback should be frequent. A supervisory skill is knowing that some employees do fine work quietly, and Marc some with more "speaking up." "Speaking up" is sometimes evaluated negatively, forStop Following example, when some minority employees are coded in a discriminatory way as being "uppity." (To bring the conversation back to diversity and inclusion issues.) 11 days ago Kevin Carter • Marc, I dont necessarily agree with "the objective of a workplace is not reaching the full potential of the staff, but getting the work done well, on time, at a reasonable cost." I believe it is both, especially when most companies today are attempting to generate new products, services and innovations to serve increasingly diverse and global markets. I also believe our whole conversation has been about diversity, I began with cultural diversity and transitioned to discussing the diversity of work styles or orientations that individuals have and a managers ability to be adaptive to them (just as a leader would want to be adaptive to cultural differences in another country). I think you are raising an excellent point regarding why some minority employees would not "speak up." As you suggest, the interculturally competent manager would attempt to create a work culture (through their behavior, speech, etc.) that would incorporate that employees ideas, suggestions and recommendations. He would help them reach their full potential in the pursuit of business outcomes. 11 days ago Hamlin Grange • Wonderful conversation!
I truly believe that cultural competence is the "end game"...as it were. Diversity is merely the starting point or floor. I have conducted many sessions with managers and eyes glaze over whenever "cultural competence" is mentioned. And I cannot always blame them. I believe it is vital for usFollow Hamlin as diversity and inclusion professionals to give real-life examples, as each of you has done, to illustrate what cultural competence means and the role managers/supervisors play in this. It is not just about "those people", it is about "all of us people." 11 days ago Neal Goodman • All of our programs are about cultural competence and the first step is to understand youself, your own culture and cultural assumptions and biases. Only then can you focus on the "other" culture and its assumptions etc. Neal Follow Neal 10 days ago Kevin Carter • Thank you, Hamlin and Neal (and everyone) for your thoughts! Neal, from your work, can you highlight an example where managers who do not understand themselves, their culture and their cultural assumptions and biases pre- judge the performance of others? As Hamlin mentioned, managers "eye glaze over whenever cultural competence is mentioned." Also, how do they begin the journey to self-awareness. Thanks. 10 days ago Marc Brenman • Although I admire and respect Hamlin greatly, it has not been my experience that managers eyes glaze over when cultural competence is mentioned. In regard to "where managers who do not understand themselves, their culture and their cultural assumptions and biases pre-judge the performance of others," the last, cultural assumptions, can shade over into discrimination. And cultural assumptions flow both Marc ways. As a white Jewish male, I ofter encounter professional situations in my business,Stop Following social justice, in which people belonging to or self-identifying with other groups cant figure out what Im doing in their affairs, as if they had a monopoly on dealing with certain kinds of equity issues. There are often more commonalities than appear on the surface. For example, I recently read an article about Israeli and Palestinian high tech workers contracting for work, and finding that they share cultural similarities that make working together easy. One example given was the alleged preference of both groups to speak openly and vociferously about concerns. 10 days ago Neal Goodman • Kevin, People come to our seminars, coaching etc. knowing that they want to develop their Cultural Intelligence so there is no need to make the case for it. An example would be an American Executive who is being assigned to take over as President of a Japanese subsidiary of his Ameican company. He had to do a very deep dive into what it means Follow Neal to be an American, and an American leader, before he could be open to an alternative leadership stlye that made him succesful in Japan. He admited that when he got to Japan everything seemed stupid but he understood that there was a rationale he had to learn and he did.There are thousands of other examples bot domestic and global. 10 days ago Kevin Carter • Thank you, Neal! Marc, I tend to experience what Hamlin is describing when I initially speak with managers: a) having a self-awareness regarding ones own biases is somehow embedded in simply being a good manager and doesnt need be addressed separately; b) discussing commonalities is more important than discussing differences in getting work accomplished or c) its my job as a manager to set the priorities and parameters for what work is done and how it is accomplished and my direct reports role to complete those priorities and fit within those parameters. As you suggest, however, no group or individual has a hold or lock on intercultural competence. And individuals should be open to see and experience the commonalities that they have with others. For example, as an African American male, I may have more in common with a majority male than another African American male. It would depend on what has defined my identity and culture. It would also not lessen the possibility, however, that another African American male and I would also uniquely share and identify with impact of race in the US.
Really excellent discussion! 10 days ago Melissa Patrick • This is a fascinating conversation. I find it fascinating because there has been no mention of how power, privilege, and oppression play into interpersonal communication across human differences. I define differences as: cultural; racial; gender; class; etc. Managers/supervisors by virtue of their position have a power or authority that will have an effect on their direct report’s behavior. All over the world, menFollow Melissa and women have been socialized in different ways (as is exemplified in the article), and this creates a communication dynamic involving privilege and power. Finally, if you consider heterosexism, certainly straight people have the advantage of not having to orchestrate a “coming out” because we have the privilege of belonging to the mainstream, dominant social group. My point is that group membership matters. Kevin, you say it so well, that you may relate to other African American men because you belong to the same racial group and therefore have some shared experiences pertaining to race and racism. You can also relate to men who are not Black because you belong to the same gender group. Marc, as a White Jewish male, you mention the misperceptions or confusion that other people have of you because of who you are and what you do. I wonder why your service as an ally/activist in social justice efforts is misunderstood. I agree with your sentiment Marc, and I suspect we are not alone, that as humans we have much more in common than we realize. I also believe that we can not underestimate the influence that our group experiences have on 1) our life experiences 2) how we interact with others and nature, and 3) our worldviews, beliefs, and values. Hamlin and Neal, I also agree that before we can understand others, we need to gain a deeper understanding of our own identity. I have had participants in workshops I deliver come to the realization that absolute behavioral objectivity is not possible, and yet if we are aware of how our own privilege and internalized oppression (social locations) influences our interactions and impacts others, we can do a much better job at being competent communicators across lines of difference. Or as Pearl, pointed out, we will be less likely to commit those faux pas that insult, offend, and shame others. 10 days ago Marc Brenman • Hi Melissa, I was probably not sufficiently clear. It is not my "service as an ally/activist in social justice efforts" that is misunderstood (usually). It is sometimes my physical presence in the business, especially when people are dealing with first impressions. For example, the chair of a commission I worked for as executive director said very early in our relationship, "Youre just a plain old white guy." (Luckily her Marc predecessor had hired me!) On the other hand, after the recent passage of the repeal inStop Following the Senate of Dont Ask Dont Tell, a couple of prominent LGBT activists told me they appreciated my service as an ally. So this argues for reserving judgment and getting to know the other person. Were all sometimes guilty of mistakes. After many years in this business, I still make them. And, according to the theories of Unconscious Bias (borne out in hundreds of thousands of tests) we are all guilty of prejudice and stereotyping. Is this due to socialization? It appears not, from the very wide variety of people from many places who show implicit bias. But we can to some extent control our behaviors as they have an effect on other people. 10 days ago Kevin Carter • Hi Melisa, Hi Marc, Melisa, I am blown-away by your statement "absolute behavioral objectivity is not possible." That statement nails it! If managers just believed and acted like "absolute behavioral objectivity is not possible," they would view their behaviors with a skepticism that would allow room for direct reports to insert what drives and motivates them. They would also be open to the possibility that they may unconsciously favor some and not others. There was so much in your comments that was outstanding ... the phrase "absolute behavioral objectivity is not possible" just snatched me. Thank you! 10 days ago Neal Goodman • Marc, if not socialization then what? We are all a result of our socialization (our cultural DNA) and our biological DNA. While the biological does have an impact it is through socialization that we learn how and what to judge positively or negatively and it teaches us about power as well. Even "The Authoritarian Personality" was based on diffrences in socialization. Follow Neal Kevin and others. There appears to be a wide dicrepency in the meaning of Cultural Competence. Power exists in all cultures but how it is done differs by culture. Within cultures power is one of the most important aspects of Diversity but not the only one. If introduced properly, power can be an important learning tool.
Neal 9 days ago Kevin Carter • Hi Neal, My definition of "intercultural competence" is the capability to accurately understand and adapt behavior to cultural difference and commonality. I define culture as the norms and expected behaviors of a group, or a learned and complex set of instructions on how one relates to the world. My experience comes from some travel and work outside of the US and from providing IDI profile reports http://www.idiinventory.com/pdf/idi_sample.pdf. Unlike many of the people taking part in this discussion, I have not lived outside the US for an extended period of time so I find the discussion an excellent opportunity to learn and grow professionally and intellectually. In terms of Power, are you meaning someones preference for hierarchy or equity that is different in different cultures? I think Melisa is also referencing that "gender equity" has a very different meaning in different cultures. Combined together, is it possible that US majority males expect to be in the power position visa via women or minorities? I am sure it depends on other aspects of a persons personality. What is the learning here for the management of people within a corporate setting? 9 days ago Neal Goodman • Kevin. There is much complexity here. First, I must admit (as a social psychologist) that I find the IDI to not be the best approach to deal with this, though I understand why people see it as a solution. The field of intercultural relations and the field of diversity are not the same, yet there is much overlap. Many Diversity specialists have recently "found" cultural competence but they have little grounding in the field of Follow Neal intercultural relations so they jump to simple solutions. Likewise there are few in the intecultural field who really understand diversity and inclusion and the importance of power that this entails. What it means for managers in a corporate setting is that they need to build their cultural competence to work effectively with people from other national cultural backgrounds and they need to develop D&I skills to be able to see and deal with the hidden biases, power differentials etc. so that their interactions within the workplace, markets etc. are as inclusive as possible. After 47 years doning this and training hundreds of thousands of corporate managers and leaders I am always learning something new and surprised by how much there is still to learn. I have several related articles on our website under resources if you are interested. www.global-dynamics.com 9 days ago • Reply privately • Flag as inappropriate Neal Goodman • Kevin and others. Sorry the correct link to the articles is http://www.global-dynamics.com/news/gdi-in-the-media I am also sending a link to a recent artice on Global Diversity which is very critical and which few organization are approching effectively. http://www.global-dynamics.com/news/gdi-in-the- media#diversity_exec Follow Neal Good luck. Neal 9 days ago Marc Brenman • Hi Neal; in regard to your question, "if not socialization then what?" I take your question to be in the context of implicit or unconscious bias. Im not a wild enthusiast for this theory, though as the test results accumulate, Im coming around...I think the originators might say that the human mind and consciousness operate at a deep level that goes beyond socialization, which is more on the surface and operates Marc for one generation only. Our brains are the result of millions of years of evolution andStop Following survival. Even under the best of circumstances, neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to "rewire" itself) works only for one generation. For example, even people raised in homes in which there is tolerance and acceptance for others, including an accepting religious belief structure, will still show results of prejudice and discrimination on the implicit bias tests. Even African-Americans will show prejudice against other African-Americans. (I acknowledge that some would say that this is due to imposed societal self-hate.) Some psychiatrists say that "insight never cured anything other than ignorance." If this is true (if somewhat exaggerated) then intercultural education only reaches the surface manifestations. 9 days ago Kevin Carter • Hi Neal, Thank you. I will visit www.global-dynamics.com (http://www.global- dynamics.com/news/gdi-in-the-media) and read http://www.global- dynamics.com/news/gdi-in-the-media#diversity_exec.
I am not sure that D&I professionals are jumping to simple solutions as much as attempting to learn models or processes that will assist them to learn, grow and be more effective in the intercultural competence and intercultural relations fields. Models or processes like IDI, or Cultural Navigator, etc. are probably a jumping off point for further growth for many. What would you say are the key tenets of intercultural relations that are different than D&I and visa-versa? I will review the material on your website, as well, thank you for sharing it. Kevin 9 days ago Marc Brenman • Thanks, Neal, I always enjoy your articles and insights. I share your concern with the IDI and most other test and questionnaire-oriented instruments. Though I thought the example Kevin supplied was interesting. In regard to your discussion of the difference between intercultural relations and diversity, I agree, particularly with this: "they need to develop D&I skills to be able to see and deal with the Marc hidden biases, power differentials etc." As I have tried to point out elsewhere, D+I areStop Following built on a foundation of nondiscrimination, equity, civil rights laws, and redress systems. Intercultural relations has no such foundation, legitimately so, because it usually crosses national borders. As in your own valuable and long background, it is based on social psychology and not law. Efforts in international human rights law, especially in Europe, try to overcome this gap. And as shown in Europe, the two are often not a good fit. Merkel disses Turkish-Germans for failing to assimilate, France and Italy cast out Roma, Switzerland bans minarets on mosques, Belgium bans veils, the UK indulges in caste discrimination, etc. 9 days ago Neal Goodman • Marc, Very insightful comments. Europeans typically approach thes issues politically while Americans deal with thes issues legalistically. This is due to our different histories and what it means to be a citizen. 9 days ago Follow Neal Hamlin Grange • This is indeed a wonderful discussion to ring in the New Year!. And yes Neal, there appears to be a wide discrepancy in the meaning of cultural competence...ranging from the academic (which creates that "glazed" look I sometimes see in the faces of participants in training sessions) to the theoretical (that has no tangible meaning for folks on "the shop floor.")Follow Hamlin Of course being culturally competent is more than just being able to enjoy Jamaican jerk chicken or knowing when to/or not extend your hand for a handshake. A member of our group shared this definition sometime ago: "Cultural competence is the individual and organizational ability to have and utilize policies, appropriately trained and skilled employees and specialized resources, to systematically anticipate, recognize and respond to the varying expectations of clients, customers, and co-workers of diverse backgrounds." I like this definition because it encompasses D&I principles as well as issues of Power and Privilege. Unfortunately, separate camps have emerged: Those in the D&I Camp and those in the Anti-Oppression Camp. Those in the later believe that for an anti-oppression, anti- racism approach must be taken in order for progress to be made. Those in the former (where I reside) believe that D&I offers a large enough tent where issues of power and privilege, racism and oppression can be addressed without excluding others. I have been present at a conference where both sides clashed, and it wasnt pretty. Being a culturally competent individual (organization, etc) requires awareness, knowledge, skills and an open attitude towards difference. It should be the goal along the journey we are all on and the one that we accompany our clients. Diversity and Inclusion is the floor, Cultural Competence is the ceiling. 9 days ago Neal Goodman • Hamlin, I am on the same page with you. We should be able to bring D&I and Intercultural Competence together. Neal 9 days ago Follow Neal Kevin Carter • Hamlin, I like these statements: "D&I offers a large enough tent where issues of power and privilege, racism and oppression can be addressed without excluding others" and "Diversity and Inclusion is the floor, Cultural Competence is the ceiling." I would be on
this page as well. Our challenge is that many managers would not accept the premise or business ramifications of this philosophy. Our gift is to meet them where they are along this journey and connect our efforts to business outcomes. 9 days ago Hamlin Grange • Kevin...it is indeed a challenge. However, if there was a framework that encompasses these important concepts (which are really attributes of a productive organization or team) then managers and others would be more open. I have been fortunate to have been able to develop such a framework but it requires creativity and, as my friend Billy Vaughn at DTUI says, a willingness to "lean into discomforts."Follow Hamlin Which in a way brings us back to what started this discussion in the first place: the NY Times article "The Cobra was OK, the Duck Tongue Not So Much" by Gary Pomerantz. Now he says he makes "a point of reading as much as I can about local culture to gain a better understanding of customs." This is part of leaning into our discomforts because it is in the leaning in where the real learning begins. Thanks for starting this conversation Kevin. I learned a few new things. I wish each and everyone of you the very best of the Season. 9 days ago Kevin Carter • Thanks, Hamlin, If you feel comfortable, please share (or direct us to a link) and discuss your framework. Very best of the Season to everyone, as well! 9 days ago Hamlin Grange • The framework is called the Six Cylinders. More info on our website at www.diversipro.com. In practice, each Cylinder has Key Performance Indicators that must be implemented in order to activate the cylinders. 9 days agoFollow Hamlin Peter Bye • I approach this overall topic of intercultural competence (or, as I usually refer to it intercultural expertise) from the perspective of Hammers Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC). More on IDC: http://www.mdbgroup.com/intercultural_development.htm PeterStop Following We each are somewhere on IDC and think we are further along. Almost all of us over- estimate our level of intercultural expertise, no matter where we are on the continuum. IDC is five successive worldviews of how a person tends to experience, think and feel about, and react to diversity and cultural difference. Briefly, from our website: # Denial. Being comfortable with the familiar. Not anxious to complicate life with “cultural differences”. Not noticing much cultural difference around you. Maintaining separation from others who are different. # Polarization: Defense. A strong commitment to one’s own thoughts and feelings about culture and cultural difference. Aware of other cultures, but with a relatively incomplete understanding of them and probably fairly strong negative feelings or stereotypes about some of them. May lead to some distrust of, and a tendency to be judgmental about, cultural behavior or ideas that differ from one’s own. Polarization: Reversal is the opposite of Defense. The person feels that some other culture is better and tends to exhibit distrust of, and be judgmental of, their own culture. # Minimization. Aware that other cultures exist all around you, with some knowledge about differences in customs and celebrations. Not putting others down. People from other cultures are pretty much like you, under the surface. Treating other people as you want to be treated. A tendency to assume you understand the situation the same as a person from another culture. Two-thirds of ANY large population will be somewhere in this stage. # Acceptance. Aware of your own culture(s). See your own culture as just one of many ways of experiencing the world. Understanding that people from other cultures are as complex as yourself. Their ideas, feelings, and behavior may seem unusual, but you realize that their experience is just as rich as your own. Being curious about other cultures. Seeking opportunities to learn more about them. # Adaptation. Recognizing the value of having more than one cultural perspective
available to you. Able to “take the perspective” of another culture to understand or evaluate situations in either your own or another culture. Able to intentionally change your culturally based behavior to act in culturally appropriate ways outside your own culture. Development must consider ones current place on IDC. E.g. Consider someone at Polarization with a "us and them" judgmental mindset. A person at this stage must first become comfortable that we all have a lot in common before delving into the deeper nature and effects of the ways in which we differ. First getting to the ethnocentric Golden Rule is developmental progress. Confronting a person at this stage with difference, power, privilege, and racism will be counter-productive. This only becomes productive at Acceptance. I use the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), a psychometric instrument that measures where an individual or group is on IDC and where they think they are. This enables stage-appropriate individual coaching and/or group development. More on IDI: http://www.mdbgroup.com/idi_background.htm Hamlin Grange made the outstanding point that we need to make the learning relevant with real-world examples. The importance of this cannot be over-stated. I dont even talk about intercultural competence / expertise at first. It tends to be extremely engaging and effective to let people experience the effect of different mindsets regarding diversity and cultural difference on business / real world situations. Then the eye glaze stops and people tend to want to learn more. 9 days ago Kevin Carter • Thanks, Hamlin, The Six Cylinderss approach (http://www.diversipro.com/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=77) appears to be an overall framework to conduct D&I organizational analysis somewhat like Ed Hubbards Diversity 9-S audit framework (http://www.hubbardnhubbardinc.com/diversity_9-s_audit.htm). These frameworks are a good place to start in terms of organizational D&I analysis. I couldnt find the piece, however, regarding intercultural competence. I have used Hubbards framework, the APQC Measurement Alignment Worksheet (http://www.apqc.org/knowledge- base/download/37279/a%3A1%3A%7Bi%3A1%3Bs%3A1%3A%222%22%3B%7D/inline. pdf?destination=node/37279) and a slightly modified version of Peter Byes Business- Aligned® diversity and inclusion framework (http://www.mdbgroup.com/business_aligned_diversity_planning.htm). Thanks, Peter for providing the overview of the IDC I / IDI model. Marc and Neal, what do you view as the strengths and weaknesses of the IDC / IDI approach since you have concerns about IDI and most other test and questionnaire- oriented instruments. If a manager is interested in beginning the journey to improve their level of intercultural competence in order to create more productive personal and business relationships, how do they begin? 8 days ago Neal Goodman • Kevin, Great question and discussion. You begin by finding out what the organizational need is. Is it D&I, Cross-Cultural Competency, OD or other. Some of the instruments mentioned can be helpful once you have conducted your objective analysis of the situation. Only then can you find the appropriate tools/solutions. Too many have "invested" in processes such as the IDI and Follow Neal see this as the only tool in their toolkit and then try to convince their clients of its appropriateness to solve their perceived issue. (I will move your people from point A to point B, C& D). To a carpenter, all I need is a nail and hammer (no pun intended).This is very unfortunate as it limits our thinking and potential solutions. I would also like to add that conceptually, the IDI is based on the ideas of Milton Bennett who of course based it on the theories of others. We need to listen very carefully and inclusively before settling on a possible solution. There are no quick fixes. I have seen significant change and improvements based on self-reported applications of our training/coaching etc. but no two solutions are ever the same. Neal 8 days ago Marc Brenman • I agree with Neal that "You begin by finding out what the organizational need is." One also looks at the mission of the organization. Not the phony mission statements like hamburger companies saying theyre serving the public, but real mission statements like "Sell lots of hamburgers and make lots of money for the shareholders." From a globalized marketing perspective, this kind of real mission Marc statement can lead to a realization that intercultural learning and knowledge are useful.Stop Following This is the horizon scan, and looking over the horizon, which is part of strategic planning. For example, "Well, maybe we cant sell lots of hamburgers in China, but what
else can we sell that Chinese will buy and eat?" Or "Guess we have to serve wine with those hamburgers at our stores in France." One can do organizational diagnosis: "How well prepared are we to meet and fulfill those global needs?" This I think is where the instruments can come in-- to evaluate each manager to ascertain whether or not she is able to carry out the task successfully. But we also know that some managers are simply better at these diverse, intercultural, global tasks than others. Effectiveness is determined by results, and if a given manager is producing results, what the heck does it matter whether she fills out an instrument or not? I can imagine, however, that in a situation where large numbers of less-experienced managers are thrown into the fray in an intensely intercultural situation, such as young US military officers in Afghanistan, it might be useful to kickstart their learning by evaluating where they are on a scale of intercultural understanding and ability. Maybe Neal can tell us whether his programs have ever been used by the military. Ive approached the problem from the diversity and counter-insurgency side, with a curriculum for the military; and from the conflict resolution side, with a program for culturally appropriate alternative dispute resolution. Neither uses an IDI-type instrument, but maybe the former should. Im open to thinking about it, and maybe Neal can provide some thoughts on the subject. 8 days ago Kevin Carter • Thanks, Neal and Marc I would agree with this approach: Step 1: organization analysis (and there many tools / frameworks out there that can complete this process) that arrives at a clarity of the organizations business goals and how changes in the workforce or work environment could accelerate the attainment of these goals Step 2: identification and introduction of the tool, project, training, education etc. that will foster these changes, along with confirmation of the success metric (both direct - such as project completion, education rating, etc and in-direct such as increased sales, new products or services, cost savings, etc.) Step 3: implementation and progress monitoring of intervention Step 4: close out intervention (or stage of intervention) and report results Step 5: incorporate intervention within existing processes to foster continuous improvement As you suggest, within such a methodology, I would not rule-in, or rule-out IDI, or any other tool, I would just want to be sure I was utilizing the right tool for the right situation to assist my client achieve their organizational goals. Other thoughts, anyone? 8 days ago Orietta E. Ramirez • Amazing discussion and lots of food for thought and insight provided by the members ... so where to begin and how to contribute? I have to say that having read everyones comments, provided by personal as well as professional experineces, and not yet having read the article, the phrase "until you have walked a mile in my shoes" came to mind. Orietta E.Stop Following Post-article reading, I would begin with what I believe is our goal and the theme of the article - cultural diversity - which I understand to be defined as a peaceful coexistence of multiple cultures or societies in an organization (e.g. workplace or university.) A culture can be based on ethnicity (Hispanic, Asian, etc.), gender (male, female), age, sexual orientation or religion. Cultural diversity is also referred to as multiculturalism. Two of the key aspects of cultural diversity are coexistence without conflict and exchange of ideas. Now to the real world, as the author identified via his colorful yet real-world examples, there are issues that arise when striving for a diverse work culture, such as (but certainly not limited to) 1) failure to respect others; 2) competition rather than teamwork; and 3) failure to utilize differences. The benefits of a diverse work culture, when managed properly, creates greater innovation, or sharing of ideas, problem solving through different viewpoints, and better company performance through people bringing differences together for the good of the company. Customers, clients and investors are drawn to companies that have diversified on both primary and secondary levels. A diverse workforce can be a hard working and highly competitive workforce, one with the potential to reach clients and potential investors in ways that a non-diverse workforce cannot. Thus, diversity brings to the table, so to speak, creativity, increased adaptability, broadens ones perspective thus allowing for flexibility, varied language skills which can expand the business market presence which provides cross-cultural understanding, and ultmately the respect and ability to work with, rather against, our differences. The author learned these lessons, albeit the hard way (lack of proper and prior preparation and research about the countries he was now navigating). The fact that not knowing and
understanding another persons culture could have ultimately cost him the account only goes to support, that knowledge is power and taking the time to ask the questions and have discussions, such as these, will only set the right (personal and business) foundation going forward.. 8 days ago Kevin Carter • Oriette, Welcome to the conversation and thank you for your comments. I agree that cultural diversity is an exchange of ideas that fosters increased adaptability and flexibility within an organization. Is it also described by "coexistence without conflict," or the successful management or leveraging of conflict (inherent when different people come together) for positive outcomes? 4 days ago Pamela Tudor • I echo all of you who have noted this is an excellent discussion. It seems that to begin the journey of becoming culturally competent many corporate managers start by learning the visible, tangible behaviors of other cultures, such as those described in the article and by Neal. But then we get to the deeper stuff of cultural competence, i.e. developing anFollow Pamela explorative, open-minded mindset, becoming more aware of ones own cultural biases, and the deeper dive into "what am I contributing to my teams success or failure?" through my cultural behavior and assumptions. How many corporate managers/leaders are willing to take that journey? Is that why the eyes start glazing over, as Hamlin noted? My guess is that corporate leaders stretch over the normal bell curve in willingness to look at their own intercultural competence, and make it a priority for their organizations. The good news is that those who are willing will probably pave the wave for their firms greater success in the marketplace and the workplace. And what can we do to help stop the eye/mind glazing? The term cultural competence itself is fairly clunky and academic, but people will get used to it, if we keep using stories to illustrate what we mean. And keep making the links with good management behaviors in the 21st century, where cultural competence is a necessary skill for competitive advantage and success. Whenever I go to my local Apple store, I see magnificent cultural competence. The place is always buzzing with energy and good vibes. The staff is culturally varied: young, old, black, white, latino, asian, and physically challenged. Everyone is welcomed and the climate is inviting. Steve Jobs, this middle-aged white man figured out how to create an enormously successful, multicultural, corporate environment. I speculate that his un-stereotypical background helped to create his explorative mind-set. But who ever knows what is it that creates a willingness to be open? 3 days ago Marc Brenman • Pamela, in regard to "Steve Jobs, this middle-aged white man figured out how to create an enormously successful, multicultural, corporate environment," John William Templeton, who is a member of some of these LinkedIn diversity groups, has done studies of minority employment (particularly among African-Americans) in Silicon Valley, and found very disappointing results. Marc 3 days agoStop Following Peter Bye • Pamela - you touch on an important point for those of us seeking to effect change in organizations with your point, "How many corporate managers/leaders are willing to take that journey? Is that why the eyes start glazing over, as Hamlin noted?" You also mention, "And what can we do to help stop the eye/mind glazing? The term Peter cultural competence itself is fairly clunky and academic..."Stop Following My experience is very much aligned with this. CEOs and line managers tend to care about, worry about, and really get engaged in things that grow their organization. In a for-profit corporation this is sales, market share, brand, operating expenses, growth. So it is incumbent upon us to speak their language and show how what we espouse directly helps them achieve what is important to them. When we start there and work our way towards intercultural competence or, as I prefer to call it intercultural expertise, it can work. When we start with intercultural competence, the business relevance is unclear, the eyes glaze over and it does not work. It isnt because the leaders are "bad" in any way - it is OUR issue for having addressed their needs improperly and ineffectively. It is one manifestation of our own gaps in intercultural expertise - not being able to adapt to the world as seen by our clients. A recent experience highlights this. A client urged me to start an executive session with their data. An exercise that actually has the participants see the effects of differing mindsets on THEIR business outcomes was deferred until about 2 - 3 hours into the program. This addressed one need - for the executives to see their data and inputs -
but delayed another need - seeing the tangible business value. So they started checking out. Luckily, they were not out the door by the time they did the exercise. One participant comment after the exercise was telling - this would have been a good ice breaker. Marc- your point about Silicon Valley representation is well established, yes. It can be seen in the EEOC EEO-1 data. It is more a computer and technology industry issue than Silicon Valley specifically. But is also seems an unrelated point to this thread. There does not seem to be a relationship between technology industry diversity and the degree of intercultural expertise of Steve Jobs as an individual. 3 days ago Marc Brenman • Hi Peter, I disagree with your comment, "an unrelated point to this thread." But perhaps we just emphasized Pamelas comment differently. I emphasized the "corporate environment" part. And Apple is certainly one of the Big Dogs of Silicon Valley and the IT industry. I will bet that even though Pamela sees a pretty multi-culti group of employees in the Apple stores, the good corporate jobs are almost entirely Marc Anglo, Asian-American, and South Asian. But lets say as a thought experiment that thatStop Following isnt true, that Jobs is a paragon of intercultural competence, diversity, and inclusion on the corporate level. Do we put all our eggs in the individual enlightenment basket, or do we seek a corporate culture of these virtues? 3 days ago Pamela Tudor • Peter, I very much like the term intercultural expertise, and how you emphasize that its not that the leaders are "bad". Rather we all need more exposure and education, on both sides of the aisle.Follow Pamela Marc, I figure we can always learn from the "enlightened" (as you put it) individuals, and see what is generalizable, rather than only see the down side of what firms/leaders are not doing. That we all know, only too well. I used the Apple Store as a story, and dont want to get too hung up on Steve Jobs exceptional leadership style, other than how it contains something instructive for other orgs as well. I spoke of the bell curve, and Steve is probably on the far, positive end. He went through a pretty tough personal journey himself, and perhaps that leavened his sensitivity/self awareness. Of course were not putting all our eggs in one basket, but rather, 1. acknowledging the breakthroughs that are possible, 2. seeing what we can learn from them and what can be applied elsewhere. I doubt if anyone in this discussion group doesnt seek a corp culture of these virtues but its an educational process, and that means we often learn and teach from the leaders, not the laggards. That means a lot of learning for ourselves as well. Were all in this mix; the more equanimity and acceptance we can actually live, the more we open the door for others, of all stripes. I for one have become a big fan of Tara Brach, a buddhist psychologist who wrote "Radical Acceptance". Theres always something more to learn, nest ce pas? 3 days ago Marc Brenman • I dont know that much about Jobs intercultural expertise, but from what Ive read and heard, hes a pretty quirky and unique leader. We should be clear that success in developing new electronic products that people will buy is not the same as meeting the goals of intercultural expertise. Though I suppose one could say that Apples products transcend culture. This does sometimes happen, as for example, in the Marc fact that African-Americans use Twitter more than other demographic groups. As to this,Stop Following "the more equanimity and acceptance we can actually live, the more we open the door for others," Im not sure at all how it fits in with intercultural progress. If we have a lot of equanimity and acceptance, the status quo doesnt bother us. On the one end, the US civil rights leaders had little equanimity (see Martin Luther Kings Letter from Birmingham Jail, for example), and at the other, Buddhist priests in Japan generally supported the Japanese governments war effort in World War II and before. Today, I would give the Dalai Lama as an example of an executive whose equanimity does indeed open the door to others. 3 days ago Jean Richardson • As a relatively new Diversity champion working for a UK company I have been driving the diversity agenda in my department. Most recently I conducted a series of focus groups targeting Harassment & Bullying across the organisation by grade to a senior level. The interesting summary is that each group mentioned the lack of cultural awareness and misuse of power amongst many other concerns. The Managers Follow Jean were mirrorring the top level management behaviours - and when this was seen as agressive, dominant and without due consideration to anything but deliverables it was deemed acceptable behaviour! Thus similar behaviours fillted down through the organisation. Misuse of power was not gender specific, more aligned to role/grade/people
management experience. The view was that Cultural awareness is a term used but not bought into by the leadership team. Although as mentioned previously, everyone thinks about understanding the culture of a country they visit but not of the people they work with! My challenge going forward is to embedd a business as usual consideration for diversity/cultural awareness or as you put it Kevin Intercultural competence. Any thoughts on an approach would be gratefully received. 2 days ago Hamlin Grange • Jean, congratulations on your new role. I have experienced a similar scenario in an IT firm where lower-level managers (and even front line employees) were "modeling" the bad behaviours of senior managers. They simply saw this as being part of the culture of the organization. Not surprising, shortly after I commenced training sessions, a number of harassment complaints wereFollow Hamlin filed against managers. These were long-simmering complaints - in one case the employee had put up with it for nearly 10 years - that workers finally felt they could bring the complaints forward. Of course, this is not uncommon. I would suggest a good starting point is to give everyone a clear understanding and definition of "culture." It is not merely linguistic or ethnicity...there are many "cultures" inside and outside organizations. As you know, culture is really a system of values, beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and standards of behavior that govern the organization of people into social groups and regulate both individual and group behaviour. Once managers understand that being culturally competent will make their units and/or teams (and they) more productive, then embedding this thinking into business processes will be much easier. However, it appears, at least in your situation, a lot of people will have to do a lot of leaning into their discomforts in order to move forward. 2 days ago Kevin Carter • Hi Jean, Great comments. Here is a quick guide (others can add their thoughts). I think the core understanding that a manager should have is: *. First, the manager should be open to the possibility that unconsciously and consciously his, or her behavior will create a work climate for (or have an impact on) their direct reports that may be different than their intention (or in alignment with the values of the organization) *. Second, the manager should be open to the possibility that some of their behavior (and judgments) may be part of cultural norms (possibly) based on their life experiences, nation of origin, race, gender, etc. (A manager understanding Hofstedes five Cultural Dimensions is a great place to start) *. Third, to address this possible bias, a manager should be clear about their intentions, say the words: "I intend, I want, to help." "I desire for us to communicate better." "My goal is for our team to be more collaborative." It is important that a Manager does not assume a direct report understands a managers intentions. *. Fourth, using the examples above, the Manager should ask the direct report: "what does help, better communication and collaboration" mean, look like and feel like to you? By asking these questions, the Manager is learning what behavior (from the direct reports perspective) will align with the Managers intention (or goal) *. Fifth, the Manager should be open to adapting their style, or work orientation to exhibit that behavior. For example, "help" may look like providing resources to one direct report, providing one-on-one guidance to a second direct report and simply asking questions for a third direct reports. This ability is the adaptive/integrative cultural competence, fluency or expertise that Peter and many others have mentioned during the discussion. Hope this helps. I have some training that I have done that we can talk through if you like. Good fortunes! Kevin 2 days ago Peter Bye • To build upon Hamlins and Kevins remarks: I would start by addressing two key aspects of the situation:
* Get clear why this is important to the CEO and senior leadership team. What are their key business objectives, what changes are needed in the workplace to achieve them, Peter and how if at all does inclusion and intercultural expertise play a role in realizing thoseStop Following changes. This is what we call Business-Aligned® D&I planning. See a brief overview here: http://www.mdbgroup.com/business_aligned_diversity_planning.htm * Measure where the leadership team is in terms of their intercultural expertise. See my comments above regarding this. With this you can start designing development that makes clear to managers the business relevance of intercultural expertise and then move into the types of development Hamlin and Kevin mention. 2 days ago Kevin Carter • Jean, Building on Hamlins comments and my first point above: Because the Manager is the person in authority, direct report will assume his, or her style, behavior, opinion is the norm to be successful within the organization (re-enforcing that work climate) and the direct report may respond by shielding thoughts, opinions, and work styles that they assume are different (lowering team creativity, innovation and engagement) than the expected norm (or just decide to be less engaged, or leave the organization). I believe your example was evidence of this possible occurrence. Thanks, Peter. I would agree with your comments and recommendation. Getting clear regarding the alignment of intercultural competence to business goals would be even before my first step above. Kevin 2 days ago Marc Brenman • Kevins points, and many other points above, are well-taken. I especially like Kevins points about "shielding thoughts, opinions, and work styles that they assume are different." Lack of transparency, trust, and fairness often leads to complaints of discrimination. Such complaints, whether borne out by investigation, are indicators of problems of perception in the organization. Good organizational culture Marc addresses these issues, or at least contains avenues and venues to address them,Stop Following without repercussions for those who raise the issues. As management and quality guru Deming said, "First, drive out fear." 2 days ago Kevin Carter • Hi Marc, This statement: "lack of transparency, trust, and fairness often leads to complaints of discrimination" I find to be so true. In the field of D&I, most organizations fear transparency, particularly as it relates to analyzing people data. This attitude is not a good foundation to establish a D&I program aligned to business objectives, addressing misalignments in people processes or fostering inclusion. With "fear" and "lack of transparency," an organization tends to adopt a set of D&I best practices that may be inappropriate, or even, detrimental. 2 days ago Orietta E. Ramirez • Marc, you and the other members above, touch on a very important issue/topic that needs a bit more clarity. Whose fear are we driving out, the managers, the cultural organizational environment, or the individual employee? From my perspective, we need to understand ourselves first in order to better represent Orietta E. and service our firm/clients/business. We must thus begin from a more objective, versusStop Following subjective, perception (who we are and where we come from). Therefore, as managers and senior executives, our approach ought to be less defensive, particularly at the initial interactions with our team, for we may be projecting (knowingly or not) our own (biased) beliefs, experiences and expectations to a process/project. I do not usually begin with, I am a Hispanic woman (putting labels on ourselves) which can set a less productive and receptive tone to the project/matter at hand. With that being said, however, the issues and what lacks in a firm/managers environment, can, and most often is, a result of a lack of cultural knowledge and the unwillingness (call it egocentric) to learn from it. This is when we need to step up and raise the subject as diversity representatives, not with
an "in your face" nor apologetic tone. I prefer applying hypothetical scenarios which diffuse the personal aspect and provide a less intrusive yet stimulating tactic ... the "what if you had" or "did you know that in ... they successfully produced/resulted in ... due to the cultural approach/consideration". In a "true cultural" work environment, the basic needs would be sensitivity and self- consciousness: the understanding of other behaviors and ways of thinking as well as the ability to express one’s own point of view in a transparent way with the aim to be understood and respected by staying flexible where this is possible, and being clear where this is necessary.* It is a balance, situatively adapted, between the following parts: 1. knowledge (about other cultures, people, nations, behaviors…), 2. empathy (understanding feelings and needs of other people), and 3. self-confidence (knowing what I want, my strengths and weaknesses, emotional stability), mixed in with 4.Cultural identity(knowledge about one’s own culture) *Above section referenced from Wikipedia 2 days ago Marc Brenman • Deming was talking about the fears of the individual employee. He was especially concerned with quality control, and the ability of the individual production worker to bring quality issues to the attention of others. 2 days ago MarcStop Following Orietta E. Ramirez • Agreed, Marc. But his mission statement, if I read it correctly was, "to seek to conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with high moral and ethical standards, professional and personal integrity, and a commitment to lifelong learning, with the goal to advance commerce, prosperity and peace." 2 days ago Orietta E.Stop Following Jean Richardson • Thank you all for your comments. The task is huge as this is not my day job but a passion and Job 2 activity, however, have started by establishing an Ethnically Diverse Employee Network which has been seen to be successful I was nominated for and won an award! Follow Jean I agree with many of your comments, however, feel that the mission statement Orietta references fits what I am trying to achieve. "to seek to conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with high moral and ethical standards, professional and personal integrity, and a commitment to lifelong learning, with the goal to advance commerce, prosperity and peace." Engagement in D&I must come from the highest level within an organisation but I have found from current experience you cannot wait for this to happen. Starting at the working level is just as effective. Hamlin, Kevin, Marc, thank you for your suggested approaches. I am planning to develop some educational material to support my quest and will build on your comments. You have given me the inspiration to continue my D&I journey. One last thought. Kevin your comment on "lack of transparency, trust, and fairness often leads to complaints of discrimination" I find to be so true. In my experience this is the case and includes complaints of Harassment & Bullying, however, when considered in the context of HR Practices e.g. Performance Management complaints can become blurred with being Managed. There is a fine line between the two! 1 day ago Orietta E. Ramirez • Congratulations on your amazing goals and achievements, Jean. Continued success to you and all the members whose contributions can only enhance and engender these important efforts. Best wishes to all in the New Year! 1 day ago Orietta E.Stop Following Add a comment... Send me an email for each new comment. Add Comment