ITAM, the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, is a prestigious university in Mexico City, alma mater of many national leaders in diverse areas of society. They recently dedicated several days to learning in-depth about the complexities of the migrant experience, and the intercultural competence required to integrate new residents in meaningful ways to transform our communities.
I was privileged to be invited as a presenter by a student body leader. In the morning my good friend and I conducted the CARITAS France game that we recently translated to Spanish, On the Road with Migrants or, En el recorrido con los migrantes. Students were powerfully moved by the experience and I was blown away by the depth of insight they gained. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.
The game is downloadable for free in seven languages. Please take advantage of it as it’s a terrific learning resource!
In the afternoon I conducted a two-hour workshop using Cultural Detective Self Discovery and CD Mexico. Students attending passionately shared their experience and personal challenges, as well as gained new intercultural competence.
I came away from my day at ITAM so reassured to know that these young people are our future! We are in most definitely in good hands!
These days we see, hear, and read about divides—political, racial, religious, economic, etc.—all the ways we are different from each other. It often seems these differences are exploited and amplified to encourage disagreement and conflict. It is hard to combat the feeling that we are living in a time of strong opinions and large cultural differences. But there have been previous situations of large cultural divides and evidence that people have bridged those cultural gaps in wonderful ways.
On a recent trip to Astoria, Oregon, a small town on the northwest tip of the state where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, I was reminded of how the town’s history is unusually multicultural. Of course, the first inhabitants were native peoples who lived in the area for thousands of years prior to the first Europeans arriving in 1792. The explorers Lewis and Clark and members of their cross-continent expedition spent the winter of 1805-06 in the area. By 1850 the town had 250 inhabitants, a large city for the time, and by 1920 it boasted over 14,000 residents— the second largest city in Oregon.
Astoria was noted for being very cosmopolitan; timber and fishing brought immigrants from around the world including Finns, Swedes, Chinese, and East Indians, among others. In fact, the influence of the Finns was so strong that street signs were in English and Finnish—the only bilingual city in Oregon at the time.
I ran across a story from Oregon folklore that illustrates the influence of the Finns on Astoria. Like most such handed-down stories, one likes to think they are describing the original situation accurately.
“A 16-year old girl from Finland, who had traveled to the US to live with her grandparents in Astoria, arrived unmet at the RR station. Failing to see her grandparents and unable to speak English, she slumped down on the wooden platform of the depot and began to sob. Seeing her anguish, a Chinese passerby paused to ask what was wrong. Tearfully, she told him. “Where do your grandparents live?” he asked. She took from the pocket of her dress a slip of paper and gave it to the man. “I know where this house is at,” he said. “I will take you there.” And he picked up her suitcase.
As they walked, the girl asked, “How is it that you speak Finnish?” “In Astoria,” the Chinese good samaritan replied, “if you do not speak Finnish you had better move elsewhere.” [from: in search of Western Oregon, Ralph Friedman, 1990, p. 3]
I found this story delightful and a great illustration of life in early Astoria. And a wonderful example of making an effort to reach across the divide.
But what could a Cultural Detective see in this story? I could imagine the young woman exhibiting the Finnish value of Sisu (Perseverance) by making the trek by herself. And perhaps the Chinese value of Jia ting (Family) influenced the gentleman’s decision to help the young lady. And/or maybe, as an immigrant himself and a Blended Culture person, he recognized the challenges of landing in a strange place with no one to meet you. Contextuality (It all depends) is an important Blended Culture value.
Once the Cultural Detective way of viewing the world becomes a habit, you can apply it in all sorts of circumstances, past and present. Using a Cultural Detective approach to viewing history can inform us of the issues that both “sides” faced in any interaction. And remember that “history” can be that discussion you had with your co-worker last week!
In these times of deep divisions, it is useful to understand the underlying values that impact a situation in order to figure out a solution. Using the Cultural Detective Online provides immediate access to the values of over 60 cultures, providing a roadmap for discovery, offering clues and a process to sort out challenges and to build bridges across divisions. We don’t have to always agree, but as interculturalists, we should definitely do our best to understand one another.
Cultural Detective has grown beyond my wildest dreams. I always say a product is like a child—once it launches into the world, it takes on a life of its own. People use products in ways beyond their creators’ vision. Gratefully, CD has been used by governments, NGOs, spiritual communities, businesses and universities, among many others, to build bridges across divides of opinion, behavior and world view.
You may also remember that we have partnered with our colleagues at Personal Leadership to create a hybrid method that gives EPIC results: EPIC: Essential Practice for Intercultural Competence. EPIC is a go-to method in much of my consulting, coaching and training work.
One of our clients—Debbie Bayes from CultureCrux—a very talented professional who lived for years in the Middle East and is currently in the USA, has put together a wonderful and reasonably priced online course that teaches users the EPIC method. This is 100% Debbie’s course, and she has done a terrific job putting it together.
I urge you to enroll or to pass on her announcement, below, to those you think might be interested. Your enrollment includes license for your use of Cultural Detective Online as well as EPIC. Together we can transform this world of ours, building bridges instead of walls.
Below is her course announcement.
Registration is Open!
I’m putting the final touches on the Increasing Intercultural Competence online course. It is now open for registration at culturecrux.net.
You can also find a link on my website (culturecrux.org) under Services/online courses.
The course outline is at the bottom of this page.
A Few Important Things for You to Know
- I will be sending out a number of emails between September 16th and 26th to give you more details about the course. In the future you will only receive these kinds of emails if you sign up specifically to get information on intercultural competence development and courses offered.This first time though, I would like you to receive these emails so you have a sense of what’s going on. Many of you are part of what has made this class possible!
- This course isn’t for everyone but if it’s not something for you at this time I expect you know someone who would benefit from it. Feel free to share this info with others you know who might be interested.
- Who is it for? The course is for those who interact with people from different cultural backgrounds every day in workplaces, communities, schools, universities, and faith-based organizations and who want to develop their ability to do so more capably, confidently, and effectively. It is also a great course for people who are preparing for short or long term international work.
- Campus pastors will be able to sign up for a discounted course called Special Course: Increasing Intercultural Competence for Campus Pastors which will have exactly the same content as the Increasing Intercultural Competence course. To confirm they are qualified to receive the discount, I will need campus pastors to email me when they register with their name, university where they work, group they work with (Chi Alpha, Cru, or Intervarsity) and their role (director, staff, admin, intern, other).
Stay tuned! More info coming soon. For now, please look over the course outline below and let me know if you have any questions.
Increasing Intercultural Competence
Course Tuition: $300 (US)
Increasing Intercultural Competence will center on training you in EPIC (Essential Practice for Intercultural Competence). EPIC is a fun, eye-opening, and practical method of learning to engage with and work through cultural confusion and conflict in ways which lead to right action and creative cultural bridge-building.
It is a process that you can begin using immediately in your every day life and you can continue to use throughout your life as you work to increase your ability to understand and interact positively with people from different cultural backgrounds.
Extremely valuable training for anyone involved in community service, government, education, healthcare, business, church leadership, or other faith-based organizations.
Class One – Introduction to EPIC and Cultural Detective Website
- A 30-day subscription to the Cultural Detective website (culturaldetective.com) is included in the course! The first class will introduce you to the website and give you time to explore and learn to navigate this fantastic resource which we will be using throughout the course.
Class Two – Something’s Up: Attending to Judgment, Emotion, and Physical Sensation
- Learn how to stay engaged and open when faced with cultural confusion or conflict.
- Recognize how our judgments, emotions, and physical sensations can be either barriers or cluesto finding creative and productive ways forward.
Class Three – Careful Observation, Values, and Beliefs
- Practice your skills of careful observation as we continue to engage with a real life intercultural incident.
- Develop your ability to look behind the words and actions of cultural others to understanding the values and beliefs behind them.
Class Four – Stillness, Ambiguity, Vision, and Cultural Bridges
- Learn the role of cultivating stillness, engaging ambiguity, and aligning with vision in interactions with cultural others as we continue to press into a real life intercultural incident.
- Complete the first time through the EPIC process by pulling together all you have learned to this point and building some creative cultural bridges as you seek to resolve the conflict we have explored in the intercultural incident.
Class Five – Applying the EPIC Process to Your Own Context Part I
- We will practice the EPIC process again but but this time with the opportunity to deepen your understanding and apply these principals to your own context.
Class Six – Applying the EPIC Process to Your Own Context Part II
- Pulling together all you have done so far, you will explore potential right action and creative cultural bridges in your own situation.
Class Seven – BONUS CLASS on a special topic which I will announce next week!
- The bonus class will provide you with an additional opportunity to move through the EPIC process with a focus on a current hot issue in North America today which involves cultural differences.
- Learn to work through this sensitive issue and gain the knowledge and skills to lead others through it as well.
Class Eight – Continuing your Journey: You’re Not Done Yet!
- During this final class I will introduce several valuable resources and fun ideas which will equip you to continue your journey of developing your intercultural abilities long after you complete this course.
- When does the course start? What’s the schedule? It is an entirely self-paced course so it will start when you start and end when you end. The only thing that has a time limit is the 30-day subscription to Cultural Detective but that won’t begin until you decide to begin it. You will need access to Cultural Detectives during the first four classes. It would be nice to have it during the last four classes but it’s not essential.
- How much time does it take? Each of the eight classes in the course will take about an hour to complete. That includes watching short videos (just a few minutes each) and doing the exercises included. But, again, it is self-paced so you can do as much or as little as you want at any given time. The course is designed to fit anyone’s schedule, no matter how busy.
- Are there tests? No! As with the free mini-course that I launched over the summer, this course leans more toward the practical than the academic. You will learn real skills that you can begin using right away in everyday life and you can continue to use throughout your life. It can be a great course to take with a spouse or to discuss with a friend who is also taking it. Learning together is more fun!
You have asked for this. Repeatedly. “Help us get out of the snow, cold, and grayness of winter” for some terrific intercultural professional development. A Cultural Detective Facilitator Certification Workshop will be held January 16-18, 2020, in my hometown for the past 12 years—Mazatlán, México.
Mazatlán is home to gorgeous tropical colonial architecture, world-class seafood, dozens of miles of pristine beaches, a seven-mile oceanfront promenade, an historic lighthouse with crystal bridge, and some of Latin America’s best opera, ballet, and modern dance. Located at the mouth of the Sea of Cortés, you can watch whales doing acrobatics, dolphins and manta rays jumping, huge colonies of tropical birds, and witness some of the world’s most dramatic sunsets. Mazatlecos or “salty feet” (patasaladas) are some of the most outgoing, friendly, and inclusive people you will ever meet. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.
I rarely facilitate these workshops, but I will this time, and I hope you’ll join me to learn more about two of my favorite things: Cultural Detective and Mazatlán. Certifications are highly interactive; this one will include a project in the community to enable attendees to get to know a bit of local culture and gain a feel for its people. In addition, we will have optional morning and evening activities to make the most of the location.
Cultural Detective is one of only two process-based intercultural competence development methods, and the only one available online for ongoing learning. Groups and teams improve their ability to collaborate by working together to debrief their own real experiences and sharing their Personal Values Lenses.
These workshops get rave reviews from both highly experienced professionals and those new to the intercultural field:
- “Cultural Detective has changed my programs from a ‘deliverer of information’ focus to that of discovery, with less pressure on myself and participants.”
- “Better than a master intercultural workshop! Facilitator exuded training experience and intercultural expertise.”
- “Cultural Detective has become the backbone, the design core, of almost everything I do.”
- “Cultural Detective is so versatile: it’s useful for a variety of purposes and it can be used in so many ways. It’s broadened and deepened my repertoire of effectiveness.”
- “Cultural Detective has enabled me to resolve counter-productive conflicts between co-workers much more effectively.”
- “Cultural Detective is a wonderful tool! It will help any team to work better as a team.”
- “Cultural Detective is indescribably valuable in providing directions and methodology to stimulate intercultural awareness and competence.”
- “Cultural Detective helps me to be a better manager of my employees. It helps make my company attractive to a younger and more diverse workforce.”
- “Cultural Detective helps me not to be so quick to get angry or criticize. It has made me much more productive.”
Clients have shown us that regular on-the-job use of Cultural Detective improves scores on the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI); one client report its staff gained two stages in just four months! Customers also tell us that use of Cultural Detective increases their bottom line:
- One client directly attributed a 30% increase in customer satisfaction to Cultural Detective.
- Dozens of consultants have reported sales increases as their clients continue using their subscriptions to Cultural Detective Online and then ask the consultant back for further in-depth training, consulting and coaching.
Our workshop will begin on Thursday evening from 5 – 8pm for a welcome reception and workshop. This will allow you to fly in that day, take a walk on the beach, and soak in some sunshine before joining us for sunset. Both Friday and Saturday we will meet from 9am – 5pm, and will conclude the program on Saturday with a no-host dinner and night on the town. You may fly out at your leisure on Sunday or plan to stay longer for a holiday.
Our venue is a charming smaller resort hotel right on the prime beach in the Golden Zone—Las Flores Beach Resort. Single rooms have two full size beds for 1755 pesos/night (about US$92); suites also have two beds, a guaranteed ocean view, sitting room, kitchenette, and terrace for 2539 pesos/night (about US$134). There are numerous less expensive options as well as more luxurious lodging if you prefer.
Register now to secure your early-bird reduced rate. Click here for more information, call +1-913-902-0243, or email Greg or Dianne at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working with you, and thank you for all you do to promote much-needed intercultural competence in this world of ours!
Increasingly US American families are split between red and blue, torn over how to deal with issues ranging from immigration to women’s bodies to world trade. Young and old report that they no longer talk politics or religion with even their closest friends; there seems to be no space for the crucially important task of discussing and thinking deeply in community about important yet delicate matters facing the nation.
News feeds now have razor-thin aim, reinforcing what we already believe, hardening and emotionalizing beliefs into convictions so that we feel anger towards our neighbors. Amidst this reality are frequent revelations about foreign powers feeding the frenzy of hatred; their active fomenting of division within US American society is the newest weapon of mass destruction.
How do we reclaim our public spaces for civil discourse? Can we think things through together, deeply and constructively, without degenerating into insults? One new hope has presented itself in the form of an extremely well-reviewed interactive play called “American Dreams.” According to the website, “American Dreams” is:
“An immersive, interactive theatrical event that imagines a world where the only way to become a U.S. citizen is by competing in a nationally-televised game show run by the U.S. government.
The live “studio” audience votes after each of the five rounds, determining which contestant will win the ultimate prize — citizenship to the “greatest country on earth.”
Weaving multiple levels of audience engagement with up-to-the-moment questions about immigration and citizenship, this playful participatory performance invites us to explore who and what we choose to believe — and how those choices shape who we are as people, communities, and nations.
Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow:
“American Dreams” creates a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of critical thinking as well as a bit of learning about the laws of the USA and the rights of its citizens and residents. CPT’s Executive Artistic Director, Raymond Bobgan, says the play captures the fact that:
“To live in the Unites States now is to always live in that tension between desire for freedom and equality for all people and at the same time the desire to protect what we have achieved.”
The performance will be making a “Red State Swing State Tour” in summer 2020, and the next important step is to bring “American Dreams” to your community to help recapture civil public discourse and critical thinking; enough of the “dumbing down” of the USA by outside powers and our own laziness or righteousness! Click here to learn about bringing the show to your city!
Caritas France has a terrific learning game about migrants that is available in several languages; we’ve reported about this learning game before.
Well over a year ago Cultural Detective led a wonderful team of talented people who voluntarily translated “On the Road with Migrants” into Spanish. We did our best to keep the language neutral, universal, international. Such is not so easy in Spanish, as you may know, but we did our best.
Caritas has not yet uploaded that version, but you can download it here. It is free to use, though you will need to print out the game boards and cards, and purchase game pieces.
Thank you for helping Caritas and us to help this world develop beyond “tolerance” and into inclusion and cross-cultural justice, equity and collaboration!
I just downloaded a wonderful high-resolution jpg of an equal-area projection Peters Map of the world for FREE thanks to Bob Abramms and our friends at ODT Maps, and you can, too!
The Peters Map jpg is branded with the Doctors Without Borders logo, but, hey, you can print it out most any size you want; it is a terrific asset to a classroom, training room, meeting room, etc. Click here to download your copy.
While you’re at it, you can also download a Hobo-Dyer equal-area projection map via this link. This one is not quite as usable, as it has the Carter Center data all over it. But, it is high-resolution and free.
In Bob’s and ODT’s incredible retirement generosity, they have uploaded other free things you can get your hands on:
- Free hardcopy maps and more at (really some wonderful learning materials here): https://manywaystoseetheworld.org/collections/free-maps-and-more
- Free digital maps and more at: https://manywaystoseetheworld.org/collections/free-downloads-articles-maps-books-atlases-outline-map-kits-handouts-teachers-guides-mp3-audio-files-etc
- Free Diversity Materials at: https://manywaystoseetheworld.org/collections/diversity-digital
- Free Empowerment Materials at: https://manywaystoseetheworld.org/collections/empowerment
We are not retiring BUT, as always, Cultural Detective offers a huge selection of freebies, accessible and downloadable anytime here.
Bless you for helping build intercultural competence, respect, justice, equity, inclusion and collaboration in this polarized world of ours! You are doing vital work.
“An analysis and summary … of common trends for a new set of skills and competencies necessary for success in the twenty-first century, studied by policy-making institutions like UNESCO, by education institutions like the British Council, by multinational corporations like IBM and Google, and by influencer organisations like LinkedIn and the World Economic Forum.”
Entitled “After Cultural Literacy: New Models of Intercultural Competency for Life and Work in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) World”, the article is published in Educational Review, 2019. It is a must-read for any organization desiring to educate and train capable leaders, workers, citizens, and community members, as well as for interculturalists and diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioners who seek to build the business case for the work we do. Whether you work in education, business, or in the public sector, with refugees, migration or teams, in economic development or sustainability, this article will prove useful.
“Even a brief analysis of global tendencies – as increased international interconnectedness, the rapid rate of urbanisation, technological advances, increased migration, and the devastation of natural resources – makes it evident that labour markets are increasingly demanding workers with advanced skills. Workplace changes, the transnational movement of refugees, economic migrants, professional and expert service providers, and student exchange programmes created a strong and urgent need for people to learn to live together in this diverse world. Consequently, cultural literacy has come into sharper focus.”
I am proud that the Cultural Detective project has made a huge contribution to the development of intercultural competence in this world of ours. The learning that authors gain while writing their Cultural Detective packages in collaboration with our staff and five to six teams of other-culture authors, and the transformation that the method and materials create with the guidance and facilitation of our expert and dedicated community of practitioners, truly astound me. I’ve always said that products are like children, they take on lives of their own, and Cultural Detective is no exception; it is used in places and ways I could never have imagined, by people I’m proud to work with, and with results that help bridge the polarized divides in contemporary society. This article by Elena Shliakhovchuk, a member of our distinguished authoring team, shows what a fine mind and a determined heart can do to make a difference. Below I will provide a few quotes from her treatise, in hopes that it will pique your curiosity to read the article in full and continue your learning.
The Business Case for Cultural Literacy
(And the use of Cultural Detective, which is proven to develop these competencies.)
- “The spread of literacy in the world and the inclusion of the ability to create, consume and communicate different materials associated with various contexts in the modern understanding of literacy, inclines us to be cooperative and more tolerant to a different other. Harvard psychologist Pinker links widespread literacy to the reduction in people’s “taste for cruelty” and the widening of the circle of tolerance towards others, thus empowering ‘the empathy escalator’.” (2011 Pinker, S. (2011). The better angels of our nature: Why violence has declined. New York, NY: Viking.
- “Cultural literacy has begun to be seen as a “modus operandi” (Ochoa, McDonald, & Monk, 2016 García Ochoa, G., McDonald, S., & Monk, N. (2016). Embedding cultural literacy in higher education: A new approach. Intercultural Education, 27(6), 546–559. ) that “highlights communication, comparison and critique, bringing ideas together in an interdisciplinary and international collaboration” (Segal, Kancewicz-Hoffman, Landfester, 2013 Segal, N., Kancewicz-Hoffman, N., & Landfester, U. (2013). Cultural literacy in Europe today (Vol. January). , p. 4). Furthermore, Cultural Literacy is claimed to have the same implications as Opportunity Cost in economics and “can be applied and verified through everyday experience, in any and every context” (Ochoa et al., 2016).
- “Similarly, Rosen argues that management and technology alone will not give economies supremacy, but populations will also need to be culturally literate, “Culture is no longer an obstacle to be overcome. Rather, it is a critical lever for competitive advantage”. He postulates that tomorrow’s leaders will strive to be culturally wise by appreciating similarities and differences between peoples, companies, and countries; and they will know that superficial understanding negatively impacts businesses (Rosen, 2000Rosen, R. (2000). Global literacies: Lessons on business leadership and national cultures: a landmark study of CEOs from 28 countries (1st ed.). Simon & Schuster.).”
- “UNESCO Global Citizenship Education (2014 Global Citizenship Education: an emerging perspective; Technical Consultation on Global Citizenship Education. (2014). ) and the UNESCO “The Education 2030. Incheon Declaration Framework for Action” (2016 Incheon declaration framework for action for the implementation of sustainable development goal 4 ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.) underline the importance of citizenship education and the empowerment of citizens to resolve global challenges and to contribute to a peaceful, inclusive and tolerant world. UNESCO’s “The Hangzhou Declaration Placing Culture at the Heart of Sustainable Development Policies” (2013 UNESCO. The Hangzhou declaration placing culture at the heart of sustainable development policies. ) emphasises that cultural literacy is an integral part of quality education and plays a vital role in the promotion of inclusive and unbiased societies.”
Recent Leading Research on Cultural Literacy
“Over the last decade, reputable institutions… have been analysing the skill set required for a successful specialist in the twenty-first century, concluding that intercultural skills are in high demand.
- Oxford Economics, 2012 Oxford Economics. (2012). Global Talent 2021. How the new geography of talent will transform human resource strategies. Executive summary. .
- British Council, 2013 British Council. (2013). Culture at work. The value of intercultural skills in the workplace.
- World Economic Forum, 2016 World Economic Forum. (2016). New vision for education: Fostering social and emotional learning through technology.
- The latest LinkedIn Workplace Learning Trends Report indicates that soft skills make up the essential skill set that should be cultivated through talent-development programmes. Ninety-two percent of executives name soft skills as equally or more important than technical skills, with 64 percent of responders highlighting the importance of communication skills and 55 percent collaboration skills, confirming that effective communication with others (in its broad meaning) is key to success in the twenty-first century (LinkedIn, 2018 Linkedin, L. co. (2018). Workplace learning & development report 2018 | LinkedIn learning. Retrieved March 21, 2018..
- P21 Partnership for twenty-first Century Learning amongst education, business, community, and government leaders developed P21’s Framework for twenty-first Century Learning to define and summarise the skills and knowledge students required at work, for life and citizenship in the 2020s. The Life and Career Skills category includes Social and Cross-Cultural Skills as required for navigating complicated life and work environments (P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning, 2016 P21 framework for 21st century learning 21st century student outcomes and support systems framework for 21st century learning. (2016). ).
An Updated Model of Cultural Literacy
“Cultural literacy plays an essential role in building social inclusion, promoting economic development, coping with the opportunities and challenges surrounding globalisation and innovation, and fostering sustainability.
Based on the literature reviewed, in order to meet the unique demands of global interconnectedness in a culturally mindful way, the following competencies and skills of the updated cultural literacy model should be cultivated (Figure 3):”
It is worth noting here that regular use of Cultural Detective develops all of these competencies.
Give Elena’s article a read, and then probe more deeply into a couple of the references she links to. You will be glad you did.
For over a decade we have been talking about the fact that developing intercultural competence is a process and a commitment, not a one-shot event. Recently our senior trainer of facilitators, Tatyana Fertelmeyster, interrupted her usual incisive yet humorous social commentary on LinkedIn to share a personal rant:
“I am getting so tired of [the] conversation [that] diversity trainings don’t work! What in the world are we talking about? Antibiotics don’t work! Dah, did you take them twice a day for ten days? No, I took one pill and felt no difference. Or — I took one, felt better, and stopped. And now I am even more sick. Wait — why did a doctor tell you to take antibiotics in the first place? I told him I need to take antibiotics once a year in October. I don’t know why I need to do it and they never make any difference but I still do it. Or — I can’t take antibiotics any more. I have been using them for any kind of health problems for years and now I am allergic to them. Ridiculous, isn’t it? Maybe we first need to define what is a high quality diversity training, what it is and is not good for, who and why should be able to “prescribe” and “administer” that kind of treatment, and how the course of treatment should look depending on the issues and desirable outcomes. The whole process, not a one pill, one time, etc.
I absolutely LOVED this analogy! If bias, injustice, inequity, exclusion, and hate are illness-inducing bacteria, intercultural and diversity competence are antibiotics that can heal society. Yet, there’s a whole lot of garbage out there, and how do we wade through it? As we have frequently discussed on this blog, developing intercultural and equity competencies needs to be done developmentally and sustainably, as with anything in life, and Cultural Detective is a core tool that is proven effective for doing so.
As with any rant by a beloved and respected commentator, a few of the comments were outstandingly salient as well:
- “I have two qualifying comments: 1. Diversity training doesn’t lead to change. People lead to change. No amount of training will change the attitude or behaviour of someone who doesn’t want to change. I know my life will be healthier if I eat less and run more — but I don’t want to change. Diversity training can only raise awareness and try to influence change. Even the best trainer will not make a racist recant their views. 2. A half day/one day/two day training will not create lasting change, but it’s the pattern of 90% of training offered in this area. You attend, have a great time discussing the ways in which diversity matters, you even strategise on what you can do to improve diversity, but you [go] back to your desk to the 200 emails you need to action, the huge task list and the fantastic training slips into oblivion. And I haven’t even started on eLearning yet…. To promote diversity and inclusion agendas, we need to mainstream them. We need to by default consider D&I at every stage of interacting, policy creating, decision making, problem solving, recruiting, firing…….etc. If we consider D&I by default, then attitudes and behaviours will change.”
- “I wonder how many influencers and leaders in business sign up to this training, and also believe in its purpose. Societal change, and change within a business also needs authentic and committed leadership.”
- “When I was young I heard this story: ‘A man heard from someone that faith could move mountains. He had a big mountain near his house that cut out the light — so he decided to try this faith idea. As he went to bed that night he said ‘I have faith that the mountain will be gone in the morning.’ The next day he pulled back the curtains and the mountain was still there. And he said ‘I knew it wouldn’t be gone!’ Many companies sign up for diversity training because they heard it helps business. But, like the man above, they don’t really believe it and don’t fully buy in.”
If you’d like to read the full conversation or join in, here is the link. If you’d like to take your first step towards developing sustainable, meaningful intercultural competence, start with a subscription here.