A Design for Incorporating Cross-cultural Effectiveness into Existing Programs


arton235-88ad2Do you have an existing curriculum or training design and wish you could simply add a cross-cultural element to it? You probably don’t realize how easy and affordable it is to keep your existing objectives and design, while weaving in key cross-cultural dynamics using Cultural Detective. Below is a half-day design using Cultural Detective that works well in a variety of contexts with a variety of topics:

  • In business for global management, leadership across cultures, multicultural or international customer service, multicultural team effectiveness, negotiating across cultures, management and motivation, new hire orientation, expatriation (prior to departure, during the assignment, reentry).
  • In study abroad for students during orientation, their sojourn and reentry; orientations for host families; teamwork and community-building for students, receiving organizations, and host families.
  • For special purposes such as patient-care across cultures, multicultural spiritual communities, and neighborhood community building.

A Sample Half-Day Training Design Leveraging the Cultural Detective® Method

1. Objectives, introductions, agenda (of your chosen topic).

2. “What’s in it for me?” Present your topic in context; why is it important?

3. Skills for [workshop topic, e.g., leadership, teamwork, healthcare, sales, etc.] Across Cultures:

  • Tell a story or show a video of cross-cultural interaction in the context of the [workshop topic]. The playlists and videos on Cultural Detective‘s YouTube channel may give you some ideas.
  • Lead the participants through an analysis of the story (debrief) using the Cultural Detective Worksheet.
  • Once complete, ask participants what they learn from this approach (values, beliefs and “common sense” world view motivate behavior; world views are often different but all are “correct”; similar values can lead to different behavior; different values can motivate similar behavior; bridges must leverage similarities and shared objectives as well as differences/complementarities; bridges must be interpersonal and multidirectional but also organizational/systemic)
  • Summarize: What skills for [workshop topic] can we learn from this Cultural Detective (CD) approach?
  • Apply: How can participants use this CD approach in their daily work?

4. Culture-specific Skills for [workshop topic]

  • Introduce Values Lenses: what they are and aren’t; explain values and negative perceptions.
  • Introduce the Values Lens for each of the cultures in the story you told or the video clip you showed.
  • Ask participants if these values provide them further insight or deeper understanding of the incident. Do the Lenses provide any clues to help them add information to the CD Worksheet debrief? If not, fine. If yes, use that info.
  • Summarize: What skills for [workshop topic] can we learn by using Values Lenses? How can we use the Lens tools well? How should we never use the Lenses? (Lenses are guides to societal norms, and should never be used to stereotype or “box-in” individuals, but rather as clues for learning and dialogue.)
  • Apply: How could participants use Values Lenses in their daily work?

5. Knowing Oneself as a Cultural Being in the Context of [workshop topic]

  • Use a couple of the activities from Cultural Detective Self Discovery and guide participants to complete a Personal Values Lens
  • In pairs or threes, have participants share their Personal Lenses with one another
  • Have them discuss how they could best work together in the context of [workshop topic], to bring out the best in one another.
  • Summarize: What are some best practices for cross-cultural [workshop topic]? What have you learned?
  • Provide the Cultural Detective’s “A Dozen Best Practices for Cross-Cultural Effectiveness.”
  • Apply: What will you do to ensure you perform at your best in a cross-cultural [workshop topic] situation? To ensure you bring out the best in your team/clients/patients?

6. Summary and Application

  • Provide a list of skills for effective cross-cultural [workshop topic].
  • Ask participants what they have learned about themselves today as regards [workshop topic]?
  • What are the top 1-3 skills each participant wants to demonstrate to enhance their cross-cultural effectiveness at [workshop topic]?
  • How will they hold themselves accountable?

What cost does this add to your curriculum? If you are training 30 or more people, Cultural Detective Self Discovery licenses are just US$15 per participant. For Values Lenses, you can subscribe to Cultural Detective Online for less than $100 per year and project Lenses in a group training environment. The subscription price goes down for multiple users, to less than $30 per year per subscriber.

We hope you find this sample design useful, and that you will share with us your tried-and-true designs and curricula for integrating Cultural Detective into educational or training programs. We know you do terrific work, in such a broad variety of contexts, and your designs will no doubt stimulate others’ creativity and effectiveness. Together we can build a more equitable, just, respectful world in which we collaborate for a sustainable future!

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