Women in Leadership and the First Public Use of Cultural Detective

women-in-workplace-2016Cultural Detective is all about supporting equality and justice, and one of the ways we’ve supported gender equality — and particularly women in business leadership — just might surprise you! It involves the very first person to use Cultural Detective after it launched to the public in 2004…

“Women are less likely to receive the first critical promotion to manager — so far fewer end up on the path to leadership — and they are less likely to be hired into more senior positions. As a result, the higher you look in companies, the fewer women you see.

This disparity is especially pronounced for women of color, who face the most barriers to advancement and experience the steepest drop-offs with seniority.”

— From Women in the Workplace 2016 report

I had a longstanding training contract with Texas Instruments in Dallas. One of the secretaries there, an administrative assistant we’ll call Ana, was Mexican American. She reported to four “white guys”: US American Caucasian men, all of whom helped manage TI’s business in Mexico and Latin America. Ana had worked for TI for six years; she knew all the stories of success and failure between Dallas and Mexico.

Ana was so excited when we launched Cultural Detective Mexico! She knew our materials are written for lay people, and she knew the business would benefit from using them. So, Ana got her bosses to agree to participant in a Lunch-n-Learn she would lead, during which she would teach them about Mexican culture. They of course were skeptical, but they agreed to humor Ana. And it would only last three hours…

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Ana conducted the short workshop for her bosses. Using the Cultural Detective Mexico Values Lens, Ana told a Texas Instruments’ story for each of the values. Each time she told one of the stories from her and her bosses’ experience, she asked them how they could have done things differently had they known what she was explaining to them. Her bosses were amazed. Two of them called me to praise Ana and the Cultural Detective, and tell me they couldn’t believe how practical our approach is.

So what does Ana’s story have to do with women in leadership? Re-read the pull quote above…

Two and a half weeks after the Lunch-n-Learn, Ana was promoted OUT of her administrative assistant role and INTO a management role! Her bosses not only realized, thanks to her efforts, the business value of cultural savvy, they also gained recognition of the power of Ana’s insights and experience. They knew she could be a terrific asset to the Latin American operation, and, indeed, she has been. But it took her taking on a leadership role for them to begin to picture her in that role.

Cultural Detective, when used regularly over time to reflect on one’s own experience, builds intercultural competence. In that sense our Method and materials help build equity for women, as well as others who all too often lack access to power. We have two terrific packages that focus on specifically on gender: Cultural Detective Women and Men and Cultural Detective LGBT.

But Ana’s story also shows how using the Cultural Detective Method can build credibility for the facilitator and establish the importance of cultural competence, justice and equity in our organizations and communities.

Learning to use the Cultural Detective Method to build intercultural competence has never been easier with Cultural Detective Online at your fingertips 24 hours a day. You, your staff, and those you coach can develop a habit of exploring cultures, studying critical incidents and uploading your own real-life stories to hone your skills on the way to your next promotion.

The pull quote at the beginning of this post is taken from “Women in the Workplace 2016,” a survey conducted by McKinsey and LeanIn.org. of 34,000 men and women at 132 companies in the USA that employ 6.4 million people. The survey was designed to uncover attitudes on gender, job satisfaction, ambition, and work-life issues. The 31 page 2016 report is available via free download, and includes some excellent Cultural Bridges for helping organizations, managers and individuals understand paths to “getting gender diversity right.” The report’s findings make an excellent companion piece to use with Cultural Detective Women and Men.

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Report from the Field: Creating Models Worthy of Emulation

IMG_6315-640x480Many thanks to Benjamin Smith, Ph.D., linguist, intercultural consultant and trainer, and owner of Broad Imagination LLC, for this guest post.

“Recently, I was invited to lead a cultural sensitivity training for a company facing some key human resource challenges. I was given a little background information prior to my arrival, but stopped the director short as he was bringing me up-to-speed in our meeting, in order to be able to gather information during the needs assessment without preconceived notions.

The printed workbook and facilitator guide that I use to supplement my training is produced by Cultural Detective®, a company with decades of success in the intercultural field. I find that their philosophy dovetails well with mine in that they help me guide users through a process of understanding the “Lenses” through which they see the world.

To accomplish this objective, Cultural Detective® presents Values Lenses—for key cultures such as nationality, gender, spiritual tradition, age or generation, and sexual orientation—as well as Personal Values Lenses.

I feel blessed to have worked with such a remarkable group of individuals who are committed to improving their intercultural communication skills. One of the most important takeaways for me from the training was realizing that obtaining a better understanding of where we come from refines our assessment of others, and sheds a positive light on helping us accurately interpret others’ behavior.

Obtaining a better understanding of where we come from, refines our assessment of others and sheds a positive light on helping us accurately interpret others’ behavior.

My approach to the project included one-on-one interviews with each participant during and at the conclusion of the training. Thanks to valuable advice from more experienced interculturalists, the interviews enabled me to gather useful information—people often reveal things in private that they are reticent to share with a group. These insights informed the content and delivery of the training.

I deliberately engaged my strength of connectedness as I spoke with people individually. The interviews afforded me the opportunity to create a space where I could genuinely listen to participants and tailor the training to their concerns. I typically schedule a follow-up interview after the training to assess what learning has taken place.

In this intimate setting, prior to and after the training, I find that, while people are eager to talk about what everyone else is doing wrong, they are not so quick to admit their own faults. They often overemphasize their exhaustive efforts to resolve intercultural conflicts, and minimize the efforts of their colleagues.

Through appreciative inquiry and inductive listening, I can facilitate peoples’ ability to see the things they were not initially aware of, and shed light on areas where their efforts can be more effective, to gain traction and avoid spinning their wheels. These interviews are powerful supplements to the training itself, enabling participants to apply their learning and develop personal development plans.

I designed several activities for the group sessions during which participants would be able to showcase their cultures and articulate their Personal Values Lens—the glass through which they view the world, colored by the values they embrace.

It was refreshing to see how people listened to and celebrated the cultural traditions shared by others through songs, recipes, and inside family jokes. There were several points when we analyzed family stories that had been passed through the generations, and examined the values those stories contain. It was amazing to see how participants recognized the uniqueness of each individual and what they had to share. It was also a great reminder of how anxious people are to be recognized for their contributions.

It was amazing to see how those present recognized the uniqueness of each individual and what they had to share. It was also a great reminder of how anxious people are to be recognized for their contributions.

Another facet of my company’s approach—Broad Imagination LLC—supported by the Cultural Detective® Model, consists of helping clients develop solutions themselves through a facilitated discussion. A Cultural Detective® session is not a passive chat that is forgotten when we all go home. It requires me, as a facilitator, to be present—to truly listen to and push participants for practical solutions. People tend to skirt difficult topics and slip into euphemisms or clichés as a way of avoiding the “elephant in the room.” I appreciated the courage of those who were willing to name their fears, explore them, and address them publicly.

IMG_6318-640x480Some “aha” moments for trainees in this session included:

  1. Common sense is not the same as cultural sense. What we may consider to be general knowledge or a logical conclusion is not shared by everyone. Knowing that different cultures have a unique perspective on any given cultural encounter helps us open our minds and make room for unexpected conclusions.
  2. All countries do not have the same value for “ethnic exoticness” and, therefore, respect. For example, in the USA, one may appreciate a Mexican flag being displayed in a cubicle, while the display of a Canadian flag might not earn the same appreciation. It is far more common that the more “exotic” and underrepresented the culture, the more interest we take in their displays of nationalism and pride.
  3. It doesn’t matter how much time someone has spent living among other cultures, biases persist and are hard to shake. It is one thing to spend time abroad, and another to make the effort to go outside our comfort zones to truly understand another’s cultural Lens.
  4. Language has a way of revealing lack of trust in an organization. When there is low trust, it does not matter what a person does, it can still touch off our sensibilities. Being offended that someone is speaking an unfamiliar language in our presence may cause us to bristle because we suspect that they are talking about us. It may not be that the language is threatening or that there are unsavory nonverbal cues, rather simply the fact that the language is spoken in a low-trust environment results in a negative spiral of lower trust.
  5. All we can really do is observe behavior. When we seek to explain why someone did something or what their motives were, we are venturing into judgment and assumptions. Assuming the best positive intent behind observed words and actions helps mitigate potential incorrect negative perceptions and opens our mind to collaborative solutions.

The Cultural Detective® Model emphasizes three core competencies: Subjective Culture (understanding ourselves); Cultural Literacy (our ability to understand others); and Building Cultural Bridges (the ability for two or more people to collaborate productively across cultures). These competencies are taught in a variety of ways, but I have found that when learners participate in this discovery of cultural identity through provocative discussions, they overcome their anxieties and find that the issues they once believed to be insurmountable obstacles are really stepping-stones to greater appreciation and collaboration.

I love the fact that this particular client’s mission focused on “creating a positive model.” That is precisely what intercultural training provides. The training that Broad Imagination aims to deliver, and which Cultural Detective® helped accomplish, created a model worthy of emulation, one that will serve as a touch stone for future positive intercultural encounters.

Armed with an appreciation for the rich and unique cultural heritage that each employee brings to the table (representing a plethora of values and cultural influences), participants can now implement specific strategies with their colleagues, and try new approaches to the same situations—with improved results, greater personal satisfaction and increased intercultural confidence.

How Do Universities Develop Students’ Intercultural Competence?

543266_10150772354506354_665823583_nAnd why is Cultural Detective quickly becoming a preferred tool?

University of Southern California is the most international campus in the USA. The Marshall School of Business at USC recognizes the value of intercultural competence and is committed to truly developing it in their students.

They know that the mere experience of study abroad, or working in a multicultural team, does not build competence. Experience is not learning. Learning is the sense that we make of our experience. USC knows that research shows developing competence requires ongoing, structured reflection on the part of students—with faculty guidance. They have been using Cultural Detective for the past two years, in a growing variety of programs, because they realize the tool helps them accomplish their goals.

The video below is of Assistant Dean Gita Govahi, telling us why the Marshall School of Business has chosen Cultural Detective, and how they use it:

At Cultural Detective we are particularly impressed with something USC has done: they have students generate learning material for the following semester. For example, while students are abroad and after they return, they are required to upload stories of intercultural interaction from their own experience into Cultural Detective Online. They are also required to debrief those stories, to make sense from them. Each program and each semester, faculty award prizes for the “best of” these stories and debriefs, and honor the student-authors by using them in the pre-departure orientation for the next cadre of students.

This second video shows Professor Jolanta Aritz, giving her opinion as an instructor:

I often say that launching a book or a tool into the world is much like having a child: you nurture them to the best of your ability, and at some point you just have to pray that they do good in the world. Children become independent, with minds and lives of their own. Books and tools are used by people in ways we, the authors and creators, can not always control, despite our best efforts. It’s people like the talented professionals at USC who make us very, very proud of the tool we have created. They are putting it to excellent use and students are learning lifelong skills.

We know you all are doing some incredible things with our tools. Please, share your story and make sure we know about it!

Using Cultural Detective Online in a College Class

BCCUNYhoriz_PMS288_PMS286A guest blog post by Dr. Elisabeth Gareis (Communication Studies, Baruch College, City University of New York)

With many colleges increasing their online course offerings, there is a great need for training tools that can be used as segments in online classes. Last fall, I was looking for such a tool for my graduate class in International Business Communication. In previous face-to-face renditions of the course, I had used Ecotonos with great success. When I couldn’t find a simulation game for online asynchronous settings, I decided to try the Cultural Detective Online (CDO).

One course assignment involves student groups investigating a country of their choice through readings and interviews, focusing on sub-topics such as oral and written communication, business customs, and business-related news events. In the end, the groups create webpages on their country, complete with narrated slideshows on each sub-topic.

Last fall, I assigned the CDO only for exploratory purposes. Before the students embarked on their adventure, I gave a screencast lecture on training tools, covering differences in type (e.g., simulations versus games), giving examples of specific ones (e.g., Barnga, Ecotonos, Diversophy), and discussing different uses (e.g., training versus coaching). The students had various levels of exposure to intercultural communication: some had overseas experience and others were new to the subject matter. None of them had used a training tool before.

Ellissa Corwin (COM 9656 Fall 2013)
The students all obtained a one-month subscription to explore CDO as an example of a training tool, and, at the same time, to get started on their country research. Their assignment was to view the video tutorials and then to complete the CDO package for their target country (i.e., to explore all sections, including the Lenses, proverbs/sayings, daily life examples, negative perceptions, and all incidents). In the end, they analyzed and discussed the experience. Here are some representative responses:

  • “The interface is easy to use.”
  • “The dashboard is a great way to orient the user at the start of their cultural investigation. It can be very helpful to write out what your aims are when doing research.”
  • “I think the Cultural Detective does a very good job of outlining primary Lenses. I particularly enjoyed the in-depth materials associated with each lens and learning from the interactions. I also appreciated that they include both positive and possibly negative perceptions of each trait.”
  • “I like how the Lenses are organized. I especially like the proverbs and daily-life examples.”
  • “I found it useful to begin learning about my group’s particular country and a good starting point for further research.”
  • “This type of in-the-moment skill-building practice really helps reinforce learning and build user confidence. The Cultural Detective also helped bring our textbook to life and clarify learning.”
  • “I liked the fact that all of the site’s sources are listed. This can really help someone who wants to dive deeper into a particular country.”
  • “Very organized and user friendly!”

Exploring the CDO gave the students insight into the world of intercultural training and coaching, and provided them with quality information on their target country. As it is self-paced, it is easily integrated into asynchronous online college classes.

I am using CDO again this semester, but this time a little differently. In addition to exploring the tool, students’ final presentations will include using their research findings (readings and interviews) to design an activity that is modeled after the incidents in CDO. In other words, each student will contribute an issue from his/her sub-topic to a scenario or dialogue, which will then be analyzed by other classmates. Not only will this better integrate CDO into the course, it will also allow students to directly apply their learning.

Cultural Detective Online is a great tool, and I recommend it highly. Students greatly enjoy their learning via the CDO.

A note from the Cultural Detective Team:

Please contact us if you’d like to learn how to integrate CDO into your classroom experience.

Coming soon—exciting new CDO functionality will allow members of a “group” (e.g., a class or a team) to collaboratively create critical incidents, which can be submitted to the group administrator (professor or team leader) for approval, and then shared with other group members for analysis and discussion.

Have you joined us for a free webinar to see how Cultural Detective Online can be integrated in your academic or business setting? We hold them twice a month—attendance is limited so register now: Cultural Detective Online Webinar

 

Want to Get Rave Reviews AND Truly Make a Difference?

WowlargeHow would you like to revel in unsolicited, overwhelming praise and gratitude? And, on the job, no less?

We all make fun of “happy sheets,” those “feel good” evaluation forms participants are asked to fill out at the conclusion of a training session. But how sweet it is when a hardworking facilitator or coach receives unsolicited kudos! And Cultural Detective can enable you to do just that.

We help you look better and DO better! Cultural Detective provides a core process for developing intercultural competence, and you facilitators, coaches, team leads, study abroad counselors, professors—you add the bells and whistles, the supplementary activities and simulations, the design and personality that weave it all into a smashing success! You know you’re using a state-of-the-art Method, grounded in developmental and constructivist theories, adding both to your credibility and effectiveness.

Here’s an email one corporate trainer recently received after using Cultural Detective. Thank you for sharing it with us!

“Hi,

I trust you are back home, and preparing for your next Cultural Detective training session. I hope all is well.

I want to thank you for coming and bringing your fabulous Cultural Detective presentation and training. I swear to goodness I have used what I learned no less than five times, within our group, to resolve differences that could have been roadblocks otherwise. You squarely “nailed” the subject matter and how to use it. Your passion, your examples, your group exercises, how you drew people out to share their experiences and expectations and your patience (with at least one of us, who shall remain nameless) was inspiring. It was excellent, and the water-cooler talk I heard echoed the same thoughts as mine. I can truthfully say that I got more out of those short, few hours, than any other training I can think of. I am anxious to use the strategy in a discussion with parties of more diverse cultures than my five encounters so far. I’m confident we both will win.

I hope you can carry Cultural Detective all across the organization, because it applies to everyone; I even used it with my wife to determine where we were going to eat, just like the example you used! How about that for an example of classroom to practice! I don’t think it gets any better than that.

Well, thanks again. I just wanted you to know how much I though of your training and what it had done for me, in, what, a week? It was great. Thanks, and if ever I can be of service to you in someway, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Sincerely,

(signature removed for privacy), a practicing cultural detective

Unsolicited Review

coverAfAmI just had a chance to review the newly released Cultural Detective: African-American, by Kelli McCloud-Schingen and Patricia Coleman, as well as talk to the authors yesterday in the teleconference on the topic of “Black versus African-American.” Normally, I don’t review items in this series, not just because I’m the co-author of several, but because the formula for their success both in printed versions and now online hardly requires special notice for the individual items which now number well over 50.

However, in this case I think a word is necessary. Necessary, particularly because my suspicion is that most folks reading the title twill probably think largely in terms of diversity and inclusion, rather than in terms of culture. While these issues are at a certain point inseparable, one of the weak points of the diversity movement in the USA has been to imagine itself as intercultural, with little attention, and sometimes fear of dealing with the attitudes and values of targeted groups. There is still a lot of sensitivity here. Consequently when people, particularly outside the US, see publications focused on US minorities, they may think to dismiss them as some of the same-old, same-old diversity stuff.

That is not the case here. This is truly a work of intercultural significance, despite the fact that the participant guide runs to only about 30 pages. First of all, the introduction, slightly longer than the average instrument in this series is absolutely brilliant. It gives the user an overview that is rich, thoughtful, insightful, even for, perhaps particularly for US Americans who tend to see racial issues one at a time, without a sense of heritage and culture in their historical context. But it is certainly what outsiders need and should want to know in order to work well with African-Americans.

“Truly a work of intercultural significance!”
“Absolutely brilliant.”
“Rich, thoughtful, insightful.”
“Heritage and culture in historical context.”

For the many expats going from other parts of the world to the USA, there is usually a question of, “What should I know about… How should I behave around… What should I avoid when dealing with African-Americans?” This instrument helps you cut to the chase, not by offering “kiss, bow, and shake hands tips” but providing insight into the values, strengths, and sensitivities peculiar to a part of the US population who are still to a great degree consciously heirs of a trajectory anchored in slavery, passing through personal pain even while also arriving in corporate boardrooms and occupying the Oval Office. This is a solid cultural perspective on the discourse, on the story that leads to the core values of African-Americans today, in all their diversity, and in contexts where bias and discrimination are still possible obstacles to appreciating cultural identity.

So, if you are preparing expats to go to the USA, or if you are one, this is an important tool, and now one of several dealing with internal cultural dimensions of the very diverse USA, now available in the easily accessible online versions of Cultural Detective.

 

Developing Intercultural Competence — Online?

“While other cultural databases do an effective job of providing country overviews, Cultural Detective Online offers unique and complementary capabilities.”
—Joseph K. Lunn, Project Portfolio Manager and Cross-Cultural Trainer, Zurich North America

What makes for a truly useful online learning tool? When I asked intercultural trainers this question they seemed to want to be able to emulate the face-to-face environment as much as possible. Keep the learners’ attention, make it experiential, real and applicable — and make them think! They don’t need “the answers,” they need to know how to come up with real solutions when they find themselves in the midst of cross-cultural conflict. Oh, and you know the old adage, keep it simple!

So, when developing the Cultural Detective Online tool, some key fundamental concepts were kept in mind:

  1. Personal/professional goal setting should be at the entrance to working with the tool — what are the learners’ objectives in using the tool? They should be able to adapt and change these but also keep them in mind in order to stay on track and achieve them.
  2. Culture-general and culture-specific content and process — this is fundamental to working with the Cultural Detective Method (read more by Janet Bennett on this topic if you are up on it), so no challenge here!
  3. Contextually based learning — also core to the Cultural Detective Methodology is working with real-world critical incidents and pushing the learner to develop an understanding of the underlying role and subtle nuances cultural values can play in everyone’s lives.
  4. Links between deep culture and surface culture, between values and behaviors — again innately a part of working with the Cultural Detective tools and richly impactful (where we get the big aha moments) once the learner discovers, develops and really hones this skill.
  5. Prompting for the learners to summarize and apply their learning to their real situations — this is where the work they’ve put in pays the learner back; in other words what’s the bottom line? How can I really use what I just learned to make a value added difference in my work, in my global team, with my international vendors/clients/offices, etc.?
So we’ve heard from some of our early adapters — Cultural Detective Online will take you further in your intercultural competence journey. Joseph Lunn of Zurich NA says,

“In addition to crisp, clear detailed summaries of each country’s cultural values, the nearly 400 cross-cultural incidents provided show users exactly what can go wrong when cultural understanding gaps exist. The tool follows-up by sharing the differences in cultural values that underlie each incident and offers concrete suggestions to build cultural bridges and avoid similar incidents. CD Online is a great hands-on teaching tool that adds value to:

    • Employees beginning overseas assignments
    • Global project team members
    • Mergers and acquisition partners
    • Outsourcing engagements

Thanks for making this tool available to those who need it at a reasonable cost!”

Developing intercultural competence online? Of course! Take a test drive and see for yourself: Cultural Detective Online!

Why Do Kids Study Abroad?

The allure of traveling to exotic places, learning about people, their language and how their lives were shaped differently than our own – these reasons and more attract students globally to explore the opportunities of living and studying abroad.

From my experience, living abroad as a young adult can be one of the first opportunities to see the world through a very different lens. The experience of trying to understand and communicate with a foreign language and adapt to a very different way of daily life can be both eye-opening and a shock to the system.

As an intercultural product development company we have had the unique opportunity to work with several organizations in the study abroad and student exchange industry. I’d like to point out two of them as organizations who not only facilitate the study abroad experience but also enrich the students’ opportunity to have powerfully positive study abroad learning experiences. Both CIEE and AFS International put significant effort into preparing students for their time abroad by teaching about the impact of culture, and how to interpret behavior by getting to what’s underneath – the values that are motivating the behavior.

Enjoy these two different but equally interesting case studies of how enhancing cultural understanding with a core process like Cultural Detective has been successful. I would love to hear your opinion and ideas that have worked for you in this field!

  • Business case for university exchange program by CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange)
  • Business case for high school exchange program by AFS USA

Fortune 500 Client Prepares to Support Global Clients

“We have achieved, for the first time in my five years working on the Learning and Development team, a 100% satisfaction rating from our learners. This is quite an achievement, considering that learners spent 12 hours over three days in the classroom. They typically are resistant to being in the classroom for more than two hours at any given time!”

Such feedback from one of our Fortune 500 Learning & Development Managers is so wonderful to hear and just as powerful is what led to these results — it is a great story to repeat. Take a read!

“Our initial plan was to offer strict localization training that would concentrate on such basic details about Australia as spelling, unique business terminology, time zones, and the fact that they use the metric system. We also planned to train basic Australian etiquette: the do’s and don’ts.

In my search for training that we could purchase and customize to our specific needs, I came across Cultural Detective and discovered that we could, using your materials and methodology, offer our learners much more than the basics. In fact, what I found in Cultural Detective was an approach to cross-cultural communication that would leverage and greatly enhance the communication skills that our team already puts to use every day to achieve shared understanding with our U.S. business-to-business customers.

Clearly, Cultural Detective was a natural fit for us—a fact that was driven home when I attended the FOLE (facilitated online learning event) sessions and saw a great example of how the training could be delivered online (something I very much appreciated, since most all of our training will be virtual by next year!). The FOLE sessions put all the pieces of the puzzle together for me and gave me plenty of ideas for conducting the training in a fun and engaging way.

After attending the FOLE sessions, I worked closely with an Australian SME who works on our Customer Services team. His willingness and enthusiasm to share his culture made adapting Cultural Detective to our purposes a real joy. As your methodology strongly suggests, having someone who grew up in the culture directly participate in the development process helped breathed life into the content, and it also added a level of credibility to the training that made it even more engaging and effective.

But what really made the Australian training effective was the fact that we prefaced it with your Self-Discovery course. Learners who may have been a bit skeptical about having to take part in a course on “culture,” when they typically receive “nuts-and-bolts” training on how to meet their customers’ technical and marketing needs, were plainly won over to the idea, at times in moving ways. Members of our team whom I have known and trained for a number of years, and who rarely participate in the classroom, shared powerful childhood stories that demonstrated their ability to connect the personal and the cultural in deep and meaningful ways.

The Self-Discovery course cleared the way for us to dig into the Australian Cultural Detective course and make what in some cases were startling discoveries. One such discovery emerged when my Australian SME, who was in the training session (not only because he is my SME, but because he will be part of this new Australian program), shared his cultural core values with the rest of the group, all of whom are native-born Americans. His values were not only quite different from the rest of the group, but they meshed perfectly with the Australian core values, once I revealed that lens to everyone. The impact on the class, including on my SME, was clear and immediate: they were startled by concrete evidence of fundamental cultural differences.

Because of this discovery, as well as their very personal engagement with their own cultural makeup, learners were able to engage with the Critical Incidents deeply, perceptively, and energetically. We were able to pull out and analyze many “clues” from the incidents, while having a lot of fun doing so!

The other discovery came when I was working with another trainer on my team whose focus was on our new client company’s marketing strategy and how it evolved over many years in Australia. When he shared his extensive research on that strategy, it was immediately clear that the Australian core values I was covering were at the heart of our client’s branding. Based on that finding, we were able to weave our courses together into a powerful and cohesive curriculum.

To ensure that the lessons learned in the classroom stick and continue to grow, our coaching team (who participated in both beta sessions and live training) are now making connections back to the Cultural Detective method, concepts, and terminology as they guide learners through the initial relationship-building process with our customers. And the anecdotal evidence of the overwhelming effectiveness of this coaching is pouring in already.

I have received kudos from my managers and the Vice President of Services for having chosen and successfully delivered the Cultural Detective training. But the kudos should really go to you and your company, Kris. Cultural Detective is a rock solid methodology.

Thanks again for all your help making this training possible. When we take our next step into the global market, we know who we will turn to for training solutions.”

When you take your next step into the global marketplace, who will you turn to?

Going Global: International Expansion Strategies

I recently had the opportunity to co-facilitate a Kansas City International Trade Council workshop focused on global expansion with Dianne Hofner Saphiere (via Skype from Mexico) and Janet Graham, who is currently a Baker University adjunct professor of International Business, Marketing, and Economics. We had a diverse group of business professionals, university professors, independent consultants and college students who actively participated in the workshop held at the beautiful Kauffman Foundation facilities.

Janet Graham brought a wealth of knowledge, discussing the various entry strategies when considering expanding globally. Some key decisions organizations must make in order to form a clear market entry strategy that she referenced include: which market to enter, when to enter the market and on what scale, and which entry mode to use? Great questions to which she provided some resources (such as globaltrade.net, globalEDGE, and WorldoMeters) to help direct the decision-making process. She quoted a local business leader from Hill’s Pet Foods who said the countries in which they have been most successful they’ve had a dedicated local distributor who markets and sells their products – and the relationship is key!

We then got to have fun bringing culture into the picture! Dianne pointed out that culture touches all parts of the strategy – communication, negotiation, competitiveness – and will ultimately affect how successful your business can be at expanding globally. I had the opportunity to showcase the Cultural Detective Method with the group by working through a global expansion incident involving a local specialty beer manufacturer exporting to Canada. We ended with an activity that tied the learning together by incorporating Values Lenses into developing strategies for expansion. The workshop was quick and to the point but brought together some true experts in the field and real world application of the Cultural Detective tools to meet local business needs.

The International Trade Council of Greater Kansas City was a gracious host and sponsor for the global expansion workshop – have you checked within your local community to partner with such organizations? It’s a great way to link the cross-cultural skill development to relevant community and business needs!