Printable Maps for Use in Class

World-pa_0Do you work with people from an area of the world you know little about? Most of us aren’t that great at the geography of our own area of the globe, to say nothing about knowing the names of states, cities, or rivers half a globe away! It can be awkward when chatting with a colleague in another country and they talk about their weekend travels, but you have absolutely no idea whether they went to a city, the country, mountains, or seashore. Not the best way to build credibility! Even worse if your colleague is talking about organizational expansion plans, and you don’t know whether they’re talking north, south, east, or west! Learning some basic geographical literacy can be a great help in building relationships, trust, and productivity on a team.

To that end, in trainings I sometimes print out a blank or unlabeled map of a country or region, and ask my learners to fill it in. What better way to realize how much we have to learn? I often use it as a warm-up activity: something for those who arrive early to do while waiting for the on-time arrivals; a way to engage and focus learners.

The problem is finding the maps. I want accurate maps that print in high resolution. And, ideally, I want maps with the “answers,” labeled maps, as well as the blank or unlabeled ones. I would also like them to be free of charge. Enter Arizona State University’s Geographic Alliance, which has free downloadable and printable maps that are very useful for training and education. Be sure to check them out! They have maps for all seven continents, major world regions, and quite a few countries.

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The Alliance’s mission is to advocate for a geographically literate society. As such, they have elementary and secondary lesson plans focusing on Arizona, the USA, and the world. How wonderful is that? Foci of the lesson plans include GeoStem, GeoMath, GeoHistory, and GeoLiteracy. If you are an educator or play around with kids, be sure to check out their cool curricula! Samples include:

  1. Can You Hear Me Now? How a Country’s Wealth Influences Communication: students use scatter plots to discover relationships between the wealth of a country and the access of its citizens to modern methods of communication.
  2. Don’t Just Escape A Problem, Shape A Solution: An NBA Star’s Efforts to Fight Ethnic Hatred: students will identify the events that led to the formation of Group 7, Vlade Divac’s organization to aid child victims of war. Students will recognize how one person is able to identify a problem and make a positive impact on the world.
  3. From Around the Corner to Around the World: How Technology Helps in the Spread of a Product: students will examine the spread of one product (Coca-Cola) as aided by advances in technology. Students will mark on their maps their estimates of the spread of a product and then mark their maps again after receiving and discussing information. Students will culminate the lesson by writing a summary paragraph.
  4. Go, Buddha, Go: Patterns in the Spread of Religions: students will gain a better understanding of patterns of cultural diffusion, while also reinforcing their knowledge of where religions began and where they spread to.
  5. If These Walls Could Talk: Seeing a Culture Through Human Features: students will identify events that shape a culture, and identify human features in their own community.

Cultural Detective is a renowned process for developing intercultural competence by better understanding oneself, others, and bridging differences so that we harvest the added value of diversity. It is immediately applicable and theoretically grounded, and combines well with a host of other tools, activities and approaches. Maps are just one of these. To read some of our other articles about maps, click here.

Three Never-Again Opportunities!

CustomBackgroundImage-1.jpgTo celebrate SIETAR USA’s 15th anniversary, Cultural Detective is partnering with SUSA to offer an incredible win-win contest. Want to get six months of service for the price of one? How about 20 months of service for the price of 12?

1. SUSA 15th Anniversary Contest: Detect Opportunities for Cultural Bridging

  1. During April subscribe for one-month to CD Online, giving you access to the complete packages including Values Lenses for more than 60 cultures.
  2. Upload your original critical incident on CD Online, do a debrief, download it all as a PDF, and then submit to SUSA@culturaldetective.com.
That’s all you need to do. What do you get out of it?
  1. Upon receipt of your completed Incident and Debrief, Cultural Detective will upgrade your one-month subscription to six months. This means you will get 5 months of Cultural Detective Online free!
  2. CD will determine Incident and Debrief winners, who will receive a one-year subscription to Cultural Detective Online!
  3. Winning Incident and Debrief will also be showcased in a webinar in which winners can promote their services/organization as well as teach others.
2. April SIETAR USA Member Product Discount In addition to the contest, SIETAR USA is offering their members a code for a 15-month subscription for the price of 12 months. If you are a SUSA member and participate in the contest, you’ll end up getting 21 months for the price of 12! Now that’s a YOU WIN! contest!

3. SIETAR USA 15th Anniversary Conference Proposal Submissions Being Accepted Through May 4th!

Want to earn the opportunity to present at this historic 15th annual conference, October 14-17, 2015 in Orlando, FL.? Session proposals will be accepted through May 4th. Be among the field’s leaders and submit yours now!

You Trust a Quiz to Tell You Who You Are?

Your profile now!

Depp photo @Examiner
Honsou photo ©Armando Gallo/Retna Ltd

You may have had the same experience I have: clients, students, trainees and colleagues often ask me what assessment tools I recommend. My response, of course, is “for what purpose? What do you want to assess?” Sadly they usually can not answer that question. They know they want something online, something quick. They want something that provides immediate feedback, either inexpensively or for free. But, they rarely have focused in on a purpose, on what they want to learn through the “assessment.”

Sometimes I hear, “To give our people a profile of themselves—a profile of their style that tells them who and how they are.” The assumption is that, by understanding ourselves via this hypothetical quick, online, inexpensive or free assessment, we will immediately (almost magically) become empowered to collaborate more effectively across cultures.

Now don’t misunderstand me: assessments and inventories can be incredibly helpful tools. We are all better served by understanding our learning styles, personality traits, and communication skills. Taking a quick online assessment can also be fun. Heck, those quizzes in the magazines can be entertaining: What kind of personality am I in the bedroom based on whether the quiz says I’m more attracted to Johnny Depp or Djimon Honsou. I had fun just writing that sentence!

However, I can’t help but feel the world is just a WEE bit out of whack when we trust a personal profile, produced by a quick survey, more than we trust our own 20, 50 or more years of experience living with and as ourselves. Profiles can be informative: they can stimulate thinking and conversation. But they are not going to, in and of themselves, improve my ability, either in the bedroom or to work cross-culturally.

What causes us to want a profile? We are by and large intelligent people. We are adults. We know ourselves. Many of us want the quick and easy “answer” because our days are so full. Many of us don’t take time for contemplation, practice, or deep meaningful dialogue—even though these are precisely the acts via which wisdom, happiness and, yes, competence are achieved.

Let’s face it: intercultural competence, like all the other important abilities in life (good parenting, sound health, even skills with technology) involves PRACTICE. We need to stay current, we need to both broaden and deepen our abilities and experience.

So, keeping in mind the importance of HOW we use assessment tools, and the importance of a regular structured practice to improve our abilities, there are a handful of “profile” tools in the cross-cultural field that I find useful. Why do I like these particular instruments? They involve or encourage the contemplation, practice and deep meaningful dialogue of which I’ve written, and that research shows is required in order to improve cross-cultural competence. Some tools I can recommend are:

  1. Cultural Detective Self Discovery: This unique product in the Cultural Detective series helps individuals to investigate their cultural identities and develop a “Personal Values Lens.” Through a structured sequence of short exercises and discussions, individuals identify their core values, the positive and negative aspects of these values, and the thinking and behavior that flows from them. They then explore how their values and behaviors may be similar to and different from those of cultural groups. This Personal Values Lens can be used in conjunction with the Cultural Detective Online system for individualized structured learning, or, better yet, with the guidance of a facilitator or coach.
  2. The International Profiler: This terrific tool by our friends and colleagues at WorldWork involves a web-based psychometric questionnaire, followed by coaching sessions, to help develop an individual’s ability to operate effectively in unfamiliar cultural contexts. Nigel Ewington has been piloting ways of combining The International Profiler (TIP) and Cultural Detective (CD), to harness the best of both. Perhaps we can ask him to do a guest post about that?
  3. Personal Leadership: This methodology offers a way of being and interacting with the world that begins from the “inside out,” one that asks people to be fully present in their lives, awake to their habitual behaviors, and willing to look at situations with “beginner’s mind.” Of particular interest in this context is the personal visioning practice. Barbara Schaetti and Heather Robinson and I have created a MashUp process aimed at leveraging the dynamic interaction possible with Personal Leadership (PL) and Cultural Detective (CD).
  4. The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), originally based on the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), is a statistically reliable, cross-culturally valid measure of intercultural sensitivity. What I love about it is that it is developmental: great for charting individual or group progress. It can be completed online, with the assistance of a qualified administrator, and involves individualized feedback. Ideally the IDI is used as part of a process that also involves development planning and coaching.

We can have all the information in the world about ourselves, but if we do not have the courage and diligence to act on it, it is worth very little. None of the tools discussed above provides instantaneous transformation or the magic pixie dust of cross-cultural collaboration. Nor, I imagine, will they give me an evening with either Johnny or Djimon. But with ongoing, mindful practice and the guidance of a good coach or trainer, we will find worlds open to us that we might never have imagined, and we will develop the ability to collaborate more effectively across cultures—exactly what many of our clients are asking for. Each of the tools above dovetails very well with the Cultural Detective Series: TIP and IDI can help you chart progress using CD as a developmental tool, and PL helps ensure the inner work that should accompany CD use happens.

There are many more inventories, assessments and collaborative tools in the intercultural field. What are some of your favorites? How do you use them for maximum effectiveness? How do you motivate yourself and others to practice? What do you wish existed to address specific developmental needs and challenges?

Get in Intercultural Shape for the New Year!

New Year Collage

Welcome to the New Year — at least for those of you following the Gregorian calendar! Are you ready? Is your organization poised and equipped to make significant positive contributions to this planet of ours? Do you have organizational traditions to kick-off the new year and encourage employees to strive towards new goals?

Most cultures of the world have very special traditions for sending out the old year and bringing in the new one. In Mexico where I live women wear special undergarments on New Year’s Eve — either red for love or yellow for gold or money — symbolizing what they most want to receive in the year ahead. Those who would like to travel carry a suitcase out into the street and around the block.

In Japan where I lived previously, the end of the year is a time to clean the house, purging it of things from the past that are no longer needed. We cook osechi foods, the beautiful make-ahead kinds of delicacies that will feed family and visitors through the first few days of the new year, and allow everyone — including the cook — to enjoy a respite.

What are your traditions for saying goodbye to the past year and greeting the future? Do you make resolutions, set goals, or make plans to learn something new?

My absolute favorite New Year’s was spent with good friends nearly two decades ago. On New Year’s Eve, we wrote down the hurts we’d experienced, the negative habits or memories we continued to carry and wanted to get rid of, the qualities about ourselves that no longer served us, the visions of ourselves, others or our businesses that were not constructive. We made a big bonfire, and we had a field day burning these no-longer-wanted items. Oh how liberating it was! We all felt so light, so energized!

On New Year’s morning we woke before sunrise. We had written, on paper we’d folded into origami boats, the qualities we wanted to receive and nurture in the new year. The positive habits and qualities we wanted to cultivate, relationships and moments we wanted to consciously treasure, and healthy visions of ourselves, others and our businesses that we wanted to hold close. We launched these items into the ocean, setting them into motion.

The beginning of a year is a good time to reflect on our cross-cultural successes (Cultural Effectives) as well as to learn from our mistakes and misunderstandings (Cultural Defectives) and decide what kind of year we want in 2013. Back in October we published a post about intercultural fitness. In November we reiterated why such fitness is so important, why organizations need intercultural fitness.

Maybe reading these posts has helped you to decide what to throw in the fire and what to set out into the water? If your fire is full of cultural missteps and your boat contains a desire to expand your intercultural competence, maybe it’s time you took action!

Cultural Detective wants to encourage you to get fit, too — interculturally fit! Much like committing to an exercise plan or a sensible nutrition plan, committing to prioritizing intercultural competence in the coming year will serve us well personally, in our families, as well as in our work lives. Also, just like a gym, it can be fun. We can spend as much time as we like and we might meet some really interesting people.

The new year is full of special offers for gym memberships, exercise classes, and diet programs — ways to encourage you to get fit in 2013. Just as gyms and diet programs offer incentives this time of year, the Cultural Detective Online intercultural competence gym is offering complimentary three-day subscriptions to help get you focused and motivated!

Here is how to get yours:

  1. Log on to http://www.culturaldetective.com/cdonline/orders/trial before January 31, 2013.
  2. Enter your name, email address and the promotional code: NewYearFitness
  3. You will receive a verification email from cdonline@culturaldetective.com. Be sure to clear it in your spam filter! Click the link in the email, follow the instructions, and explore a new way to improve your intercultural fitness 24/7!

We hope you will take advantage of this special offer to learn how Cultural Detective Online can assist you at home and abroad, with colleagues and friends, in your community and in your organization! Feel free to share this offer with those you care about — we think the world could benefit from a little more intercultural competence on everyone’s part!

Best wishes for a peaceful year ahead from the Cultural Detective team!