Intercultural understanding is essential to working in a global world, though by itself it is simply not enough. There is a critical need beyond awareness of differences: an ability to generate and demonstrate effective, transformative, out-of-the-box solutions to challenging intercultural situations. Since 2004, the Cultural Detective series has successfully enabled people to do just that.
We are proud to announce the debut of our latest offering, Cultural Detective: Bridging Cultures. This new tool enables individuals, teams and organizations to purposefully strengthen mindsets and skills in order to leverage cultural differences as assets. It contains worksheets, exercises, tools, tips, and complete instructions. The learning package is authored by Kate Berardo.
Not every situation can be bridged, perhaps not every situation should be bridged, and the act of bridging, as many things in life, may involve an investment of time and energy. This new set of learning materials begins, therefore, by helping you distinguish whether “to bridge, or not to bridge.”
Cultural Detective: Bridging Cultures will enable you to understand how you tend to react when encountering cultural bridging opportunities, identify more effective strategies for bridging both in-the-moment and over time, and practice putting these skills into action. More specifically, you will:
- Identify when a conversation is about to spiral up or down.
- Identify “bridge builders” and “bridge blockers” to your successful intercultural communication.
- Learn techniques for in the moment bridging of differences to ensure conversations spiral upward instead of downward.
- Develop holistic strategies that consider influencing factors such as history, context, and structure of the interaction.
- Learn how to expand, filter and test effective bridging solutions.
- Develop high-impact, creative bridging solutions to both prepare for and repair intercultural relationships.
- Practice, and receive feedback, on bridging strategies in situations that are real and relevant for you.
- Self-Awareness: Being aware of the mindset you bring to challenging intercultural situations, and knowing both your strengths and blocks in turning such situations into bridging opportunities.
- Course Correction: Recognizing points in an interaction where misunderstanding or conflict starts to occur, and responding appropriately.
- Holistic Analysis: Being able to analyze complex intercultural situations in a detailed and holistic way that considers a variety of influencing factors, and, thereby, more effective solutions.
- Creative Solving: Learning skills and methods to generate “beyond the obvious” solutions to bridge intercultural differences.
While this is not to suggest these are all the skills needed to work effectively across cultures, these are often under-developed abilities that need to be strengthened to enable effective intercultural bridging, and, therefore, are the focus of this package.
How about an exercise to get you started? The purpose of this activity is to learn what bridging and blocking look like for you, so you can hold a bridging mindset more often.
Let’s begin with some simple definitions.
- Focused on own agenda
- May become defensive or impatient
- Unintentionally harming the relationship
Think about a challenging interaction in your own life (who, what, when, why) during which you held a blocking mindset. How did you feel? What did your blocking mindset look like? What behaviors did it entail? What outcomes did you achieve?
What do your reactions tell you about yourself and how you might improve your intercultural effectiveness?
- Open and curious about others
- Willingness to meet others more than half-way
- Belief that others are NOT “out to get us” but that they have positive intentions
Think about a challenging interaction in your own life (who, what, when, why) during which you held a bridging mindset. How did you feel? What did your bridging mindset look like? What behaviors did it entail? What outcomes did you achieve?
Learn more about Cultural Detective: Bridging Cultures; view a short video on the core Cultural Detective method, which a major software manufacturer credits with a 30% increase in customer support satisfaction; purchase small quantities of the package; or contact Kris Bibler about a site license.