4 Reasons to Add EPIC to Your Toolbox


Many thanks to Debbie Bayes, Intercultural Consultant and Trainer at culturecrux.org, for this guest blog post.

I recently had the chance to use EPIC (Essential Practice for Intercultural Competence) for the first time with a group of people who train student leaders in a university setting. There were several surprises along the way… all of them good!

  1. Reasonably quick prep to put together a quality training event—The structure of the EPIC process, which brings together both Cultural Detectiveand Personal Leadership methods,made it possible to plan a quality training event in a short amount of time. It saved me hours of work and was a breeze to facilitate!
  2. It was helpful to have the EPIC experience to look back on when going over IDI results after the training—This particular group had asked each member to take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) prior to the EPIC training. As I met with individuals to go over their IDI results following the training, I found that having the common EPIC experience to look back on provided many concrete examples that I could use to illustrated ideas that are sometimes difficult for people to grasp. Concepts like the limitations of Minimization and the value of working towards Acceptance were far easier to explain because moving through the EPIC process so clearly and tangibly demonstrated both.
  3. EPIC worked well with people at all levels—Because I had IDI results on the group before doing the EPIC training, I had some sense of people’s abilities prior to meeting with them. Participants in the group ranged from Denial to Acceptance. It can be difficult to plan an event for a group that has such a wide range of abilities. I was pleased to find that everyone in the group was engaged and interested throughout the training.
  4. EPIC was fun and eye-opening—The two most frequent comments I received on the EPIC training in the weeks following were that it was both fun and eye-opening. The training challenged the participants, caused them to see both themselves and cultural others in new ways, and inspired them to press on to learn more. And all the while, they were having fun!

I expect to use EPIC frequently in the year ahead. It’s a great tool to have in the box!

Much-Anticipated New Release! Cultural Detective: Bridging Cultures

Cultural Detective Bridging Cultures coverIntercultural 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.
Cultural Detective: Bridging Cultures is organized around four main competencies that are essential to bridging cultural differences. They are:
  1. 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.
  2. Course Correction: Recognizing points in an interaction where misunderstanding or conflict starts to occur, and responding appropriately.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Blocking Mindset:
  • 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?

Bridging Mindset:
  • 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.