Le « Bridging » 

I hope you’ll join Catherine Roignan and myself in the heart of Paris on 18 November for this terrific one-day, bilingual workshop! English follows the French.

Atelier le samedi 18 novembre 2017 de 9h30 à 17h30
Hotel Normandy, 7 rue de l’Echelle – 75001 Paris
Animé par Dianne Hofner Saphiere et Catherine Roignan
Organisé par SIETAR France

Le « Bridging » : méthodes et techniques pour faciliter la coopération
au-delà des différences culturelles

Savoir « créer des ponts » entre personnes ou groupes culturellement différents, les mettre en situation et en capacité de communiquer et coopérer de façon efficace : c’est à la fois une nécessité et un but pour de nombreux chefs d’équipe, que ce soit en entreprise, dans les administrations ou les ONG.

Le « bridging » est aussi l’objectif ultime du travail interculturel : si on apprend à remettre sa propre culture en perspective et à se familiariser avec la culture de l’autre, c’est précisément pour parvenir à construire ce pont sur lequel se rencontrer.

Mais comment s’y prend-on concrètement? Comment les managers et les professionnels de la formation et du conseil peuvent-ils favoriser la synergie des efforts et des équipes internationales?

Le Cultural Detective® « Bridging Cultures » capitalise sur l’expertise existant désormais dans ce domaine : compétences, activités, grilles d’analyse, bonnes pratiques pour faire évoluer les esprits et les pratiques, issues d’expériences dans différentes organisations dans le monde.

Dans cet atelier dynamique et participatif, vous apprendrez comment :

  • Renforcer votre capacité personnelle à « faire le pont » avec des personnes différentes de vous
  • Prévenir et surmonter les blocages dans la communication
  • Adapter votre stratégie de « bridging » à des contextes particuliers
  • Identifier des mesures concrètes permettant de faciliter la coopération entre groupes culturellement divers.

Vous serez amenés à expérimenter vous-mêmes plusieurs exercices du Cultural Detective® « Faire le pont entre les cultures », de manière à pouvoir ensuite les transposer dans vos groupes et organisations.

L’atelier sera bilingue, en français et en anglais.

Programme de la journée :

9h30      Qu’est-ce que le « bridging » ? Présentation de la problématique
10h30    Compétence 1 : Identifier son attitude personnelle face au « bridging »
11h30    Pause café
11h40    Compétence 2 : Prévenir et surmonter des blocages de communication
13h         Déjeuner libre
14h15     Compétence 3 : Analyser les contextes d’intervention
16h         Pause café
16h15     Compétence 4 : Identifier des mesures concrètes et adaptées pour créer des
ponts
17h15     Conclusion, retours des participants et pistes pour action.

Registration: http://sietarfrancecongres.com/events/le-bridging-un-atelier-propose-par-dianne-hofner-saphiere-et-catherine-roignan/

Bridging Cultural Differences: Methods and Techniques to Create Cooperation that Leverage Differences

18th November 2017 from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Hotel Normandy, 7 rue de l’Echelle – 75001 Paris
Facilitated by Dianne Hofner Saphiere and Catherine Roignan
Organized by SIETAR France

To build a bridge between culturally diverse persons or groups and develop the environment and ability to communicate and cooperate efficiently: that’s both a necessity and a goal of many team leaders in organizations worldwide.

Bridging is also the ultimate goal of any intercultural work: learning to put our own culture in perspective and learn about the other’s cultures is part of the process.

But how to do this concretely? And how can managers and training and consultancy professionals best support the synergy of efforts and teams, so that differences become assets ?

Cultural Detective Bridging Cultures capitalizes on the now-existing expertise of intercultural bridging practices in different organisations around the world. It identifies key competencies, offers activities, grids for analysis and best practices to help mindsets and habits evolve and to create cooperation.

In this dynamic and interactive Cultural Detective®Bridging Cultures workshop you will learn how to:

  • Reinforce your personal ability to communicate and bridge with different people.
  • Prevent and overcome blocking situations.
  • Adapt your bridging strategy to specific contexts.
  • Explore different techniques to foster cooperation between culturally different groups.

This workshop will leverage select exercises from Cultural Detective® Bridging Cultures so that you can replicate them in your work, communities and organizations. You will leave the workshop with practices you can implement immediately as well as extensive handouts.

The workshop will be facilitated bilingually in French and English.

Program of the day :

9.30 am                               What is « bridging » ? Definition and issues at stake
10.30                                    Key Competency 1 : Self-awareness and bridging mindset
11.30                                    Coffee Break
11.40                                    Key Competency 2 : Overcoming blocking situations in
communication
1 pm                                     Open Lunch
2.15 pm                                Key Competency 3 : Contextual analysis
4 pm                                     Coffee Break
4.15                                       Key Competency 4 : Generating bridges
5.15 – 5.30                           Conclusion, feedback and tips for action

Registration: http://sietarfrancecongres.com/events/le-bridging-un-atelier-propose-par-dianne-hofner-saphiere-et-catherine-roignan/

Bridging Cultures Online Learning Event: Register Now!

Bridging Cultures2
How do you translate knowledge of cultural differences into practice? What should you actually do differently to communicate better, and how do you ensure that what you are doing is effective?

  • Identify “bridge builders” and “bridge blockers” to your success
  • Learn techniques for in-the-moment bridging of differences to ensure that conversations spiral upwards instead of downwards
  • Develop strategies to both prepare for and repair cross-cultural relationships
  • Develop high impact, creative resolutions that take into consideration interpersonal, intercultural, and situational factors

During the webinar we will use Cultural Detective Bridging Cultures. This package is a little different than many in our series: rather than focusing on a specific culture, this package includes exercises and processes to help you navigate the differences you face. It is all about translating cultural savvy into action.

Cultural Detective Bridging Cultures cover

As you probably know, the Cultural Detective Series develops three core intercultural capacities: Subjective Culture, Cultural Literacy, and Cultural Bridging. Every packet in our series develops all three of these capacities; culture-specific packages have a particular focus on Cultural Literacy, while CD Self Discovery and CD Bridging Cultures focus more in-depth on the other two target capacities.

The Cultural Detective Bridging Cultures package is for anyone wanting to move from awareness to action, and it makes a great complement to any Cultural Detective culture-specific package. Join the webinar and learn more about the package and how to use its unique activities and exercises to enhance your own skills and/or your training program.

WHO

Facilitator for this event will be Kate Berardo, co-author of Cultural Detective® Self Discovery and Cultural Detective® Bridging Cultures. She provides consulting, training, and coaching to help individuals be effective global leaders and organizations to navigate complex cultural challenges. Kate has developed and delivered learning events in more than eighteen countries, with individuals from over fifty nations, using both online and traditional facilitation tools. Her work has been featured in media worldwide, most recently on CNN’s Business Traveller and the Dubai daily Gulf News.

Kate holds a distinguished Master’s in Intercultural Communication from the University of Bedfordshire, UK, and is a summa cum laude graduate of Northwestern University in the USA. She is certified in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®. With George Simons and Simma Lieberman, Kate authored Putting Diversity to Work, a training guide for managers to leverage diversity in the workplace. Raised in California, she has also lived in Japan, Spain, France, England, and Denmark. Her work and travel to over forty countries have given her a deep understanding of the intricacies of bridging boundaries and barriers.

WHEN
Monday, June 13, 2016 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (MDT)
Register now to secure your place! 

Film Review: Emperor

MV5BMjI4OTcwMTY3N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTI1MzcxOQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_Our family watched a movie the other night that we all thoroughly enjoyed, and it as such an excellent cross-cultural film!

Emperor tells the supposedly true story of the USA’s decisions about whether or not to try (and hang) Emperor Hirohito after Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. Since I have always referenced the post-war reconstruction of Japan as “best practice” in ending a war, restoring a nation, and building an alliance (a lay person’s opinion, as politics and the military are in no way my specialties), I found this film particularly enlightening. It is a joint US-Japan production.

Emperor was released in the USA in 2012 and in Japan in 2013, but somehow just made it to my attention here in Mexico. Thank goodness it did! It stars Matthew Fox as Brigadier General Bonner Fellers, a Japan expert, and Tommy Lee Jones as General Douglas MacArthur (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers), along with a host of Japanese actors.

The film captures the emotional torment
of a person attempting to bridge two cultures:
how could he be truthful, gain and maintain credibility with
both Japanese and US Americans, remain true to himself,
and yet do the right thing?

Though there are quite a few Hollywood clichés, I absolutely loved the insight into Japanese culture that Fellers demonstrates in the movie—it’s a great example of practical application of culture-specific knowledge. The film captures very well the emotional torment of a person attempting to bridge two cultures, particularly in such a sensitive situation: how could he be truthful, gain and maintain credibility with both Japanese and US Americans, remain true to himself, and yet do the right thing? The movie shows some  of the post-war devastation of Japan, the dignity of its people, and the wisdom that, fortunately, prevailed.

I believe there is much to learn here, and I hope our US military will use this film as required viewing as part of its officer training. I so often talk about the need for expats to “manage up” rather than just “manage down,” and Emperor is a terrific case study of how one general did just that.

The movie also includes a bit of love story, as Fellers tries to rekindle his relationship with Aya, a foreign exchange student he originally met at Earlham College in Indiana. Emperor is based on Shiro Okamoto’s book, His Majesty’s Salvation.

It is interesting that the movie never points out that Fellers was a Quaker, something about his background that I imagine was key to his decision making and his style, or that he was the official liaison with the Imperial Household. It is also encouraging that even with so little knowledge of the culture, he was able to do so much good. That is assuming, of course, that the movie is in any way accurate.

 

SPOILER ALERT
My one complaint about the movie is that the closing credits note that Fellers was “demoted” from being a general. This, to me, is a classic misuse of a true statement. The filmmakers should either have added an explanation or omitted this statement entirely. Sharing it in its brevity misleads and implies negativity.

The fact is that after World War II the military reduced the ranks, cutting the titles of 212 generals, because it was no longer wartime and the military no longer had a need for so many generals. Fellers reverted to colonel, but retired with the brigadier general title.

 

The Connection between Creativity and Intercultural Competence

If I were to ask you what it takes to be effective across cultures, what comes to mind? If you are anything like me, then you have probably started to rattle off some of the classics: self-awareness, open-mindedness, curiosity, flexibility—maybe communication skills. All important.

But where is creativity in this picture? And why isn’t it closer to the top of the list when it comes to what it takes to be effective when working across cultures?

You could argue that creativity is an output of some of the above: if you are open-minded, curious, and flexible, you are likely to be able to be more creative, which will help you to be more effective. But I think it’s worth highlighting the importance of creativity as a stand-alone competency for working across cultures—especially when it comes not just to being aware of cultural differences, but being able to develop effective bridging solutions to differences you may experience.

Take Morfie, our newly named CD animal mascot, as an example. Sure, he may be curious as he scuttles across the ocean floor, but what makes him effective is his creative problem-solving in the face of challenging situations: his ability to morph himself into another sea-creature to ward off danger.

The importance of creativity is something I learned the hard way. When I first moved to Japan, I moved into an apartment subsidized by the company I was working for. There were all kinds of problems with the apartment when I arrived (for example, the heating was broken and it was the middle of winter in Sapporo—yes, the same location as the Winter Olympics in 1972). What would you do in this situation?

My initial instinct was to take a more ‘American’ approach—to take my contract in to my employer, highlight the conditions outlined in the contract that had not been met, and ask for these to be amended. But I wasn’t in the US. I was in Japan, a more relationship-focused and indirect culture. Surely going in and making these kinds of demands and pointing to a contract would not exactly start me off on the right foot with my employer, I thought.

So instead, I tried a more indirect approach. When they asked me how things were in the apartment, I remember trying to be subtle about naming some of the problems. I think at one juncture I might have even said something like, “This is the first time I’ve lived in an apartment where frost and ice forms on the insides of windows.” I kid you not. This raises a whole other topic of the ineffectiveness that can often happen when more direct speakers try to be more indirect.

The point of that story, beyond revealing how much I had to learn about Japanese culture when I arrived, was that I was far from creative in my solving of that situation. In my mind, I had two options: take the American approach, or take the Japanese approach (at least my limited understanding of it at that juncture). Be direct or indirect. It was bifurcated, dichotomized, overly simplified, and therefore ineffective.
  • What if I had invited some of my colleagues over to my apartment for a meal, during which they could have experienced the issues first-hand?
  • What if I had asked a colleague for a recommendation for a repair service? Or even asked them to call a repair company for me, since I had yet to learn the Japanese word for moldy?
  • What if I had written to the American colleague whose role I was taking over and asked him what he would do in this situation?

The point being, I could have and should have considered a lot more creative solutions here, but simply didn’t. And that’s really the point. Often when we are working across cultures, we stop at the first, most obvious answer, and that’s a limitation.

The good news is that my little housing adventure in Japan likely has helped me to become more creative—and it certainly proved the need for me to do so. Interestingly, recent research at Northwestern University in the US and INSEAD in France has highlighted that individuals who have lived abroad often demonstrate higher levels of creativity on classic ‘creative problem solving’ tasks.

That said, waiting until you are stuck in challenging intercultural dilemmas to flex your creativity muscles—or relying solely on living abroad to develop the muscle, doesn’t seem the right answer. It’s the kind of thing that you want to have so ingrained in you, that when you are faced with a tough situation, you naturally think through a number of different possibilities. In essence, it’s about learning to be Morfie-like, to be able to quickly run through a rolodex of possible options as to how to transform yourself effectively in those situations—and to continually be expanding your repertoire of possible options.

Developing your creative problem-solving skills is one of four main competencies we focus on in the newly released Cultural Detective Bridging Cultures for that reason. In the package, we go through a series of exercises that help people to expand their solution space—to really get beyond solutions of the generic, ‘he should get cross-cultural training, she should take the other person out to dinner’ nature. In an earlier post I shared with you an exercise to get started.

One really useful technique that we practice in the package comes from the work of Michael Michalko, a pioneer in creativity. It’s called challenging assumptions. The process is simple. When you are faced with a challenging situation, you name all the assumptions you are making about those situations and challenge those assumptions. The premise is that often the way we frame a problem limits the potential solutions to it.

If we go back to my Japan example, I made a lot of assumptions:
  • that I couldn’t take a typically American approach (yet my colleagues were very accustomed to working with US Americans)
  • that my colleagues were typically Japanese (they may have been attracted to the company I was working with very specifically because it wasn’t typically Japanese)
  • that the solution lied in me adjusting the way I communicated, from a more direct to indirect style (versus, for example, emphasizing another shared value we had), etc.

Challenging even just one of the assumptions would have opened up a lot of other options for me to effectively address this situation.

The experience I had in Japan was ten years ago now, but the lesson it taught me about the importance of creativity is invaluable. I now adopt a number of different creativity techniques regularly in my work. Beyond challenging assumptions, I also regularly change my physical location to prompt me to think about things differently, and I use techniques like thinking through analogies and wearing the hat of the other individual to help me identify more creative and effective solutions.

I would love to hear your experiences with creativity as they relate to intercultural problem solving: whether you’ve experienced situations similar to mine in Japan where it would have served you to be more creative; whether you’ve found other techniques that have helped you to continue to develop truly innovative intercultural solutions; even whether I should challenge the assumption I now have that creativity is a powerful, often overlooked skill in intercultural problem solving.