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!

Developmental Intercultural Competence

The ability to collaborate productively and enjoyably across cultures is more important than ever, whether we focus on communicating with elderly parents or teenaged children, or on building trust and producing results with colleagues at the next desk and across the planet. But what do theory and practice tell us about how to gain maximum effectiveness?

One exceptionally rapid and proven way to successfully improve cross-cultural competence is to use the MashUp: a natural and powerful combination of two leading intercultural competence development processes: Cultural Detective and Personal Leadership.

Starting in September we will conduct a four-month course that will transform your personal and professional practice. It will enable you to use the MashUp in a developmentally appropriate manner to support and stretch learners at all stages of intercultural development.

Coursework will be conducted virtually, allowing you to complete the assignments from your office, home, or during travels. There will be individual and pair assignments, in addition to online classes. Do not miss this opportunity to work with some of those who are doing leading intercultural competence work worldwide. Learn more.

More Than A Cross-Cultural Development Tool

As many of you may know, the Cultural Detective Team periodically facilitates online learning events which have been designed to help new users learn or seasoned users refresh their skills around working with the Cultural Detective Method and Values Lenses.

I recently had a follow-up conversation with one of our new users, whose organization is getting ready to expand overseas to Australia. Because I often co-facilitate the online learning events, I always find it enlightening to speak with some of our new CD users and online participants to get their perspective and gauge our facilitation success by their understanding of how to work with the CD Method. It really energized me to hear this particular client’s feedback so I wanted to share!

He said he was really excited by the multiple ways he realized his organization could use the CD Method for growth, in addition to his initial hope of using it to aid global expansion. Needless to say, as he continued to clarify his meaning: by discussing how CD is really an excellent business communications tool that can be incorporated into ongoing associate training regardless of cross-cultural work, and that CD provides a superb process for coaching as well — by the end of our call I was really grinning !

It always feels good when the messages we are trying to send make it effectively across the virtual training waves, but when they are taken to another level and creatively applied to the organizational needs, the time we spend educating is worth it’s weight in gold!