Enhance Your Training Design Skills!

thIn two complimentary webinars next week—at times convenient to different world time zones—Cultural Detective Senior Trainer of Facilitators, Tatyana Fertelmeyster, will share her wealth of expertise designing intercultural competence workshops.

This professional development opportunity is aimed at those committed to building understanding, respect and collaboration where they work and live. It requires a basic familiarity with Cultural Detective—you know how the famous Lego children’s toy generally works, and you want to learn how to build really cool projects out of it. Similar to Legos, Cultural Detective provides endless opportunities for creating meaningful and engaging learning in a variety of settings.

Participants will explore ways to build everything from a two-hour training session to a semester-long course, and from a culture-specific learning to a leadership development strategy. Bring your experiences, your curiosity, and your ideas, and let’s play with “Lego” together!

The webinars will take place on September 8th and 9th. The first is scheduled convenient to Asia, Oceania and the Americas. The second should be easy to attend for anyone in Africa, the Americas, Europe or the Middle East.

Sign up now to reserve your place, as seating is limited!

Please email your specific questions prior to the webinar to Tatyana Fertelmeyster at connecting.differences@gmail.com. We look forward to having you join us!

 

Just Released! New Book: Perception and Deception

PERCEPTION AND DECEPTION COVER FACE 3Need a powerful story to illustrate your point about intercultural miscommunication? Want to help someone understand that different cultures may utilize the same word, concept, image, gesture, sound or touch to mean different things? Could you use a proverb that gives insight into another person’s cultural worldview? Search no more—Joe Lurie , intercultural trainer, Executive Director Emeritus at UC Berkeley’s International House, and former Peace Corps Volunteer, has got you covered!

Perception and Deception: A Mind Opening Journey Across Cultures, is an entertaining, eye-opening and easy-to-read book that contains dozens of intriguing intercultural experiences, gathered from Joe’s research and his decades living abroad and managing Berkeley’s International House, one of the largest, most diverse living centers on the planet.

In an informative and enticing manner, the author explains how he discovered that his perception of a situation could be “deceptive” when he looked at it simply through his own Lens. Joe’s growing self-awareness of the impact of culture is clearly illustrated through his humorous stories and striking culture clash examples from news reports across the globe. Better yet, these stories are indexed by culture! Joe also shares pearls of wisdom about perception, perspective and the nature of “truth” from his rich personal collection of proverbs and sayings from around the world.

Joe’s infectious curiosity in uncovering and understanding cultural differences will help readers, no matter their profession, age or cultural background, gain a fuller appreciation for the richness of human diversity, and the multiple things that can go wrong when trying to communicate across cultures. You, your students, colleagues, clients, friends, and family will all enjoy this engaging book, published by Cultural Detective, and now available in paperback. Kindle on Amazon and other e-versions from Barnes and Noble and Apple will be coming soon.

Perception and Deception is an engaging and insightful introduction to cross-cultural communication in a globalized world. For more information, reviews, a peek inside the book, and a link to purchase a copy, visit www.PerceptionandDeception.com.

Purchase the book now.

You are also welcome to copy and print the flyer below to share with your colleagues and friends.
Perception Deception Flyer White

Rajel messouab ta hed ma y sed lou el bab. “All doors open to the person with good manners.”

morocco_purchWe are pleased to be publishing a wonderful addition to our series, Cultural Detective: Morocco. It’s perfect for those working with Moroccans, or wanting to do business in or relocate to Morocco. Perhaps, however, you are like me: you have seen tourist posters, watched Casablanca, eaten at Moroccan restaurants, and dreamed about visiting this seemingly exotic place. If so, then you will also enjoy wandering through our new package, even if you have no immediate plans to visit or do business in Morocco—at least not when you start reading the package!

One of the delightful things about Cultural Detective: Morocco is the feeling of almost participating in the culture that begins as you read the introduction. The oral tradition of Morocco is clear throughout the package, and the stories and examples show the hospitality and warmth of the people. To truly navigate successfully within Moroccan culture, you will need the advice of an inside perspective—a cultural informant—to help you develop and maintain the relationships and connections so necessary to doing business in this fascinating country. Cultural Detective: Morocco can provide you with that ongoing guidance, with ideas to save you from being unintentionally rude, and with suggestions that may help you communicate more comfortably and successfully with Moroccans. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Cultural Detective: Morocco has truly been a “labor of love,” coming to fruition due to the determination of two very dedicated professionals, Catherine Roignan and Youssef Zahid. Currently, one author lives in France and one in Morocco; both have a great deal of international experience, both have more than full-time jobs, and both have family responsibilities that take up every spare moment. In spite of these challenges, they wrote, revised, and wrote some more.

What is even more remarkable to me is that they wrote in French and then translated their work into English so I could read it. I made suggestions, did some editing, and then my suggestions were translated back into French for their consideration. (While the current version is in English, we will soon publish the French language version.) Of course, part of the authors’ discussion was also about Arabic words, as they explored the nuances of Moroccan culture and the particular choice of words used to describe it. This was a truly multilingual, multicultural creation process, weaving observations from inside and outside of the culture, and shifting worldviews as the authors worked to share the culture of Morocco with us.

One of the Moroccan values highlighted in the package is Daba baada (the present comes first): the only thing one can be sure of is today; one cannot know what tomorrow will be like, as things may change at any moment. We hope you will take the time today to explore this terrific new package, either via the PDF version or by viewing it as part of your subscription to Cultural Detective Online.

Happy Thorri! Celebrate our new CD: Iceland package!

CD Iceland coverIt’s hard to believe that we have finally completed the Cultural Detective: Iceland package! This project spans more than five years, with some stops and starts. After working long hours in Iceland, in the USA, and on Skype, the emphasis was always on finishing what we started with high quality. We were both certain that, in spite of our busy work schedules, other duties, and familes, it would sort itself out, and we would manage to complete this project.

2014-10-23 12.10.15

Erla on the left, Thorunn on the right

We were introduced to each other on a beautiful sunny day in Iceland in 2008, and that very day Thorunn asked Erla if she would be interested in collaborating on the Cultural Detective: Iceland project. We immediately “clicked” and decided to meet again and discuss the idea of working together. Throughout this collaboration we learned a lot about ourselves, about each other, and about our culture and what it means to be an Icelander. Through thick and thin, stressful moments, a lot of laughter, travel between Iceland and North America, we established a wonderful friendship for life.

It is perhaps fitting that Cultural Detective: Iceland is announced on Facebook during Thorri season, when Icelanders celebrate in ways no one else in the Western World celebrates: by eating fermented food and using anise or caraway-flavored snaps to help swallow it!

Þorrablot dinner

Þorrablot dinner

This mid-winter season in Iceland is called Þorri (Thorri), and according to the historic Icelandic calendar it starts on January 23rd with Húsbóndagur (Husband Day) and ends on February 22 with Konudagur (Women’s Day). At this time of year, Iceland is cold, dark, and windy. But because the sun rises at about 9:30 am in the morning, it is a whole lot better than in December, when it rises at 11:30 am—so it is time to celebrate as a way to get through the Thorri season! The celebration is called Þorrablot or celebration of the Nordic God Þór (Thor).

These parties are usually attended by people belonging to the same social group such as a fireman’s association, an association of people from a particular fjord, or people who work for the same company, etc. The entertainment varies from a stage performance, to a comedian as Master of Ceremonies, to people making speeches and reciting Icelandic poetry, and usually ends with lots of dancing and singing of national songs. The staple foods at these parties are pickled ram’s testicles, boiled sheep’s head, blood sausages, liver pudding, smoked and cured lamb, and dried fish. Some people have to be “manned” into eating these things, and some parties have these delicacies as side dishes rather than as the main dishes.

Below is a video of Þorrablot at CCP, an international company headquartered in Iceland. A new employee from Denmark has been invited to this celebration. Can you imagine his culture shock?!!

So how do we translate our wonderful yet, at times, strange culture into a manageable frame for others to understand? This was our task as co-authors. It was not easy, but surprisingly rewarding. After interviewing foreigners living in Iceland, and Icelanders working abroad, we began to see the values system emerge.

We struggled quite a bit about which values to highlight through the Icelandic Values Lens. The more we talked to people, the clearer it became to us that Icelanders hold their language as central to the culture. So strong is this value that Icelanders believe that for anyone to be able to work in Iceland, even in menial jobs, they need to learn the language. To support this value, Icelandic companies who hire foreigners generally offer Icelandic lessons during the lunch hour.

Every culture has some things that cannot be translated. In Iceland, one of those things is the phrase, “þetta reddast,” literally translated into English as “it will work out.” However, in English, this phrase seems more of a hope than a reality. In Iceland, we understand the phrase to really mean “things will sort themselves out” and, in the end, they always do, somehow.

Because immigration is making the country more diverse and the travel industry is growing, there is a definite need to enable Icelanders to be more open and knowledgable about cultural differences and gain cultural competency. In addition, Iceland’s economy is export-driven and becoming more integrated into the world economy, so it is important for outsiders to learn how to work with these very direct, honest, and hard-working people with a great sense of humor.

Cultural Detective: Iceland is now included in Cultural Detective Online and also available in a printable PDF format. We are looking forward to using CD: Iceland in universites, companies, organizations, and any place people want to learn about our culture. If you get a chance, we hope you will visit our beautiful country. Meanwhile, we encourage you, a curious Cultural Detective, to learn about Icelandic culture by exploring the new CD: Iceland package!

Vinnan göfgar manninn. “Hard words break no bones.” (Icelandic Proverb)

CD Iceland coverI have the best job in the world: working with our Cultural Detective authors—I always learn so much! Recently, I had the pleasure of working with our authors on the Cultural Detective: Iceland package—the most recent addition to the CD series. This is a culture I know nothing about, therefore, I had no preconceived notions about how it would be to work with these bright ladies, or what I would learn.

Fortunately (from my US American point of view), being direct and straightforward is generally considered being honest, and is highly valued in Icelandic culture. When discussing a topic, everybody tends to share ideas (without evaluation) and then the best course of action is chosen. Questions are answered directly, and disagreement usually is not considered a personal attack. To those from a less direct culture, this style of communication may feel rude and blunt, while to Icelanders it’s just contributing their ideas.

The authors shared a delightful example of language and culture being intertwined: Icelanders do not use the word “love” as US Americans do. Their word for love is used in relation to family. It is a “very expensive/high value” term with a special use for a special purpose. Therefore, the use of “love” was very confusing to our authors when they first arrived in the United States. They were surprised that people loved their pets, loved ice cream, loved a movie, etc. In contrast, one of the authors told me that if her husband ever said he loved her, she would know she was dying! She told me, “Icelandic husbands love their wives so much that they almost tell them!”

This relatively small country (population 320,000) has seven universities, the oldest parliament in the world, and dynamic, high-energy, optimistic people. We look forward to introducing you to CD: Iceland, and a culture whose Viking roots impact the freedom and respect for the individual that are the heart of Icelandic values today. Be sure to check it out, put it to good use, and let us know what you think!

Recent Upgrades to Cultural Detective Online Enable Even Better Collaboration

QuickViewLensesOur most recent update incorporates significant changes to the user incident sections and the group functionality, in direct response to feedback from CDO users, so please keep those ideas coming! At Cultural Detective, we are always working to improve our flagship product, Cultural Detective Online.

conference_calling_support_headerQuick View Lenses: A New Tab On The Main Menu Bar
Maybe you are in a meeting, and you can just feel you are not quite connecting with the person sitting across from you, or the people on the other end of the conference call. Now you can quickly and easily open any of the Cultural Detective Values Lenses to use as clues in deciphering the dynamics of your conversation, and to help you bridge the communication gap!

The new Quick View Lenses tab is visible anytime you are logged into CD Online, located just to the right of the Package tab. Clicking on this tab will open a new browser window with a drop-down menu listing all Lenses in the CD Online system. Clicking on a Lens name will open that Values Lens in the new browser window.

Group Functionality: New Features
The real magic of cross-cultural collaboration is in using our differences as assets to innovate, create and solve problems—together.

You already know you can subscribe to Cultural Detective Online either as an individual user or as a group. A group may be a team that works together on a project, or a class of students. The group leader may be the team leader or the class instructor.

Collaborative Incidents and Debriefs
Group members have the option of sharing a critical incident they upload with the members of their group with one easy step. The Group Administrator will receive an email requesting approval of the incident for group-wide publication. After publication to the group, the incident creator’s name will be listed as having authored the incident.

A group member now is able to invite other group members to collaborate on an incident. This is a terrific new feature! Let’s say I’m working together with Ana on a project. I upload a story about my collaboration with Ana. She is now able to edit my incident draft, making sure it’s also accurate from her perspective. Then, together, we can debrief what happened: she gives me insight into her intentions, and I let her know what I was intending. Together, we enter interpersonal bridges—what each of us can do to reach out to the other while contributing our personal best, and systemic bridges—what our organization can do to support our efforts and encourage our intercultural success.

Group members can also create a Sample Debrief to aid other group members. The Sample Debrief will appear just like a Sample Debrief written by an author. Collaborators on an incident may also contribute to its debrief. We strongly recommend that group members create a Sample Debrief for each shared incident to aid fellow group members in their learning.

Our recent upgrade included MANY other great additions to the CD Online system. For just US$99/year, or US$150/two years, your individual subscription gives you access to the 60+ packages in our system, and permission to project its contents to your classes, trainees, or coaching clients. I can’t imagine where you can get better value for your investment!

Please join our 130 authors in putting this incredibly robust tool to good use, to build respect, understanding, inclusion and teamwork in your arenas of influence. Want to learn more about what Cultural Detective Online can do for you and your organization? Join us for our next free 90-minute webinar—click here to view the full schedule through the next few months.

Have You Taken Advantage of Our Free Webinars?

Night work

  • “Really? You are logging into this webinar, willingly and of your own accord, at midnight? No joke? And for you it’s 3 am?”
  • “Yes! I am so very excited to be here! Thank you for offering this learning opportunity!”

The response to the free “Cross-Cultural Effectiveness” webinars we have been conducting since February of this year has truly overwhelmed me. We’ve already welcomed hundreds of participants from six of the seven continents, including a broad diversity of professions and experiences—from hospitals to schools, disaster relief to hospitality. I’ve had the pleasure to meet incredible people who are building cross-cultural competence and using or hoping to use Cultural Detective in the most creative and needed ways! It has been such a joy and learning experience. Thank you all!

People don’t need to be inconvenienced by the time difference to participate in these webinars. We offer them twice a month, once at times convenient to the Americas, Europe, and Africa, and another more convenient to Asia and Oceania.

Would you like even better news? Those who participate receive a COMPLIMENTARY 3-day pass to Cultural Detective Online!

I’ve promised myself to use a different critical incident each and every webinar, and it’s amazed me the richness of the discussion this has generated, the powerful ways in which we can overcome stereotypes, the innovative ways the groups have generated to harness the power of diversity.

We also are committed to conducting special-interest webinars for you, to aid in ongoing cross-cultural competence development. Thus far we have held two, both in partnership with customers and colleagues: one on virtual teaming, and another on coaching across cultures. Stay tuned for future additions to the schedule!

If you would like to participate in a webinar, or get more of your colleagues and friends excited about intercultural competence, please register now. We have just updated the calendar through the end of December 2013.

If you use Cultural Detective in your work, and you would like to share what you do and how you do it in hopes of helping others succeed, please contact us. We may be able to partner on an upcoming webinar, or share your story in a future blog post! We also welcome your topic ideas. Keep ’em coming!

Need help figuring out 50 million Latinos?

coverLatino—Guest blog post by Brenda Machado-Koller

Yes, I know, it’s a loaded question. But it’s worthwhile taking a look at possible answers.

Latinos or Hispanics are the largest, fastest-growing, and one of the most influential socio-economic ethnic groups in the USA. More than 50 million Latinos reside in the USA today. By 2050, one-in-four US Americans are projected to be of Hispanic descent.

We encounter Latinos in virtually every setting, including business, education, healthcare, politics and in our communities-at-large. It’s time to gain an even deeper understanding of Latinos and to continue building more successful organizations and communities.

You’ll find some of the answers to the fundamental changes in US society in the Cultural Detective® Latino/Hispanic. Interculturalist Dianne Hofner Saphiere and I developed this latest installment of the Cultural Detective Series, and many experts contributed their thoughts to the training materials (my heartfelt thanks to all!). The Cultural Detective Series now includes more than 65 culture- and topic-specific educational guides that have been published over the past decade and frequently updated.

Cultural Detective Latino/Hispanic is available as part of a Cultural Detective Online subscription, or via license as a printable PDF. The participant materials are a 26-page educational guide that introduces an insightful Cultural Lens of overarching Latino values that drive beliefs and behavior. In addition, the package features real life scenarios, best practices and a broad selection of reference materials for further study. Cultural Detective Latino/Hispanic is a powerful tool for human resources professionals, training experts, line managers, team leads or interculturalists who are dedicated to improving organizational effectiveness in a broad variety of settings.

Brenda Machado-Koller is President of Intercultural Business Services LLC. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico by a US American mother and a Puerto Rican father. Brenda holds an M.A. in Intercultural Relations.

Ask Cultural Detective Your Questions!

ask.fmHi everyone! We have added a new service for our community members, and trust you will join us in putting it to good use to build equitable and sustainable partnerships across cultures.

Cultural Detective now has a page where you can ask us a question, and we will text or videotape an answer to you. We just launched late last night, and this morning we woke up to two interesting questions. Below is our answer to the first. Click on the link above to view both sets of questions and answers, or share your question with us. We look forward to the dialogue!

Cultural Detective African-American Now Available!

coverAfAmThe Cultural Detective team is very pleased to announce the release of one of our most requested and highly anticipated packages — Cultural Detective African American! It is now available both in Cultural Detective Online and via site license.

Cultural Detective® African American explores the complexities of the culture and examines the values and communication styles of this community in an effort to bridge cultural gaps and support more inclusive groups, communities, and workplaces. It joins other domestic diversity packages in the series, including Cultural Detective Generational Harmony, Cultural Detective Women and Men, Cultural Detective LGBT, and the soon-to-be-released, Cultural Detective Latino/Hispanic.

Below, a message from package co-author Kelli McLoud Schingen:

ALI 1I facilitated an Advanced Leadership Institute for the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference January 17-20th, and thought that this would be the perfect place to pilot the Cultural Detective African American package that I co-authored with Patricia M. Coleman. There were 25 male and female upper-level students from universities all over the U.S., prepared for an intensive three-day workshop with me on leadership skills and cultural self-awareness. I spent the first day building trust and laying the foundation for the weekend. I facilitated activities that took the students on an exploration of their leadership styles, emotional intelligence, personality types and finally, cultural self-awareness.

ALI 2On the last day I Introduced the Cultural Detective, the purpose and intent of it, and the extensive research and in-depth process that Patricia and I went through to develop the tool. Understandably, the students met the tool with a great deal of suspicion. To say they were skeptical would be a gross understatement. I implored the students to stay with me and trust the process. The students started by working on the critical incidents in the package. I then asked the small groups to present on their findings. They were surprised that there was so much to consider and really convinced that the only valid perspective was the perspective and values of the African American “character” in the incident. I spent a great deal of time sharing how we view things through our own cultural lens, and then I unveiled the African American Values Lens. It didn’t take long for the students to be sold on the process and the values as I walked them through the positive and negative interpretations of each value. They seemed to be having fun and were fully engaged. Many of them commented just how grateful they were to FINALLY have words to describe their feelings, experiences, and cultural norms that they’ve inherited. They laughed at themselves and each other as they peeled back the onion of culture, and were grateful for the opportunity to explore cultural difference in this way. When I asked if they felt that the tool was an authentic representation of African American values they said, “Absolutely Ms. Kelli!”  Then I thought, “I guess we’re ready for launch.”

SIETAR Florida will honor Black History Month 2013 with a dialogue entitled, “Am I Black or African American?” via teleconference.  Featuring co-authors of Cultural Detective African American, Kelli McLoud-Schingen, Immediate Past President of SIETAR USA, and Patricia Coleman, President of SIETAR Florida. Please join us on Wednesday February 13, 2013 at 13h Miami time (1pm EST/12 CST/11MST/10PST).
Please RSVP by February 11th.

Access the event via conference line:

Dial-in Number: (559) 726-1000
Participant Access Code: 857895