Rajel messouab ta hed ma y sed lou el bab. “All doors open to the person with good manners.”

morocco_purchWe are pleased to be publishing a wonderful addition to our series, Cultural Detective: Morocco. It’s perfect for those working with Moroccans, or wanting to do business in or relocate to Morocco. Perhaps, however, you are like me: you have seen tourist posters, watched Casablanca, eaten at Moroccan restaurants, and dreamed about visiting this seemingly exotic place. If so, then you will also enjoy wandering through our new package, even if you have no immediate plans to visit or do business in Morocco—at least not when you start reading the package!

One of the delightful things about Cultural Detective: Morocco is the feeling of almost participating in the culture that begins as you read the introduction. The oral tradition of Morocco is clear throughout the package, and the stories and examples show the hospitality and warmth of the people. To truly navigate successfully within Moroccan culture, you will need the advice of an inside perspective—a cultural informant—to help you develop and maintain the relationships and connections so necessary to doing business in this fascinating country. Cultural Detective: Morocco can provide you with that ongoing guidance, with ideas to save you from being unintentionally rude, and with suggestions that may help you communicate more comfortably and successfully with Moroccans. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Cultural Detective: Morocco has truly been a “labor of love,” coming to fruition due to the determination of two very dedicated professionals, Catherine Roignan and Youssef Zahid. Currently, one author lives in France and one in Morocco; both have a great deal of international experience, both have more than full-time jobs, and both have family responsibilities that take up every spare moment. In spite of these challenges, they wrote, revised, and wrote some more.

What is even more remarkable to me is that they wrote in French and then translated their work into English so I could read it. I made suggestions, did some editing, and then my suggestions were translated back into French for their consideration. (While the current version is in English, we will soon publish the French language version.) Of course, part of the authors’ discussion was also about Arabic words, as they explored the nuances of Moroccan culture and the particular choice of words used to describe it. This was a truly multilingual, multicultural creation process, weaving observations from inside and outside of the culture, and shifting worldviews as the authors worked to share the culture of Morocco with us.

One of the Moroccan values highlighted in the package is Daba baada (the present comes first): the only thing one can be sure of is today; one cannot know what tomorrow will be like, as things may change at any moment. We hope you will take the time today to explore this terrific new package, either via the PDF version or by viewing it as part of your subscription to Cultural Detective Online.

42% Fail in Overseas Assignments

As many as two in five managers fail in their overseas assignments, according to a survey released by Right Management. A worldwide average of only 58% of international postings were judged to be successful by their organizations, with little variation across regions.

“This has to be one of the most disappointing findings of our survey,” said Bram Lowsky, Group Executive Vice President Americas at Right Management. “Given the investments being made in bringing along a new generation of leaders and their growing need to be able to think and operate globally, for 42% to fail when they’re sent abroad is hard to fathom. It’s also worth noting that the failure rate is more or less a constant whether it’s Asian, European or North American managers.”

The survey also found disparities in the preparation given expatriates before an assignment, said Lowsky.

Expat Prep

“A global average of 25% of organizations provides language training. However, the average drops to 18% for North American employers, while it’s closer to 33% among European, African and the Middle Eastern companies. Even harder to believe, an average of 16% of companies globally give minimal to no preparation at all, and for North American employers it’s 22% that do virtually nothing. No wonder so many managers don’t perform well outside their home country.”

We know readers of this blog are more savvy than that! There are enough challenges changing jobs within an organization, let alone the additional challenges when transferring to an unfamiliar culture. Smart organizations don’t just invest in training the person going on the international assignment; they invest in building strong relationships among the whole team—domestically and internationally. Learn how Cultural Detective Online can benefit your team by attending one of our free webinars. Or give us a call—we’d be happy to assist you in getting your team subscribed to Cultural Detective Online today!

5 Top (Free & Easy) Virtual Collaboration Tools that You May Not (Yet) Be Using

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“When organizations elect to create virtual teams, they focus on the potential advantages, such as the diversity of the team, or the potential for ’round the clock’ productivity with employees working in multiple time zones. However, companies must also be aware of the challenges that accompany virtual teams. For these groups to be successful, managers cannot use the old rules of leadership. New ways of working require different skills.”

Karen McHenry

The success of virtual teams requires new rules of leadership and new skills, as Karen suggests, but also new tools. The tools we use to collaborate can make or break our effectiveness. How do we establish trust when we rarely if ever see one another? How do we build a new relationship with someone we’ve never met? Can technology help in this regard? Of course it can. It can also get in the way, causing more problems than it solves (how many times has a phone call or video conference cut in-and-out, or the sound during a webinar not worked properly?).

In this blog post I share with you my selection of Five Top Free Virtual Collaboration Tools available today, and my guess is you’re not using most of them. Trying them out may greatly increase your virtual team effectiveness. First, let me give you a bit of context, to aid  in your use of the tools.

(Click page numbers below to read more.)

Open Letter to Home Office Senior Management & Their Agents

130124120043-overseas-job-assignment-614xaThis is a guest blog post by Reyno Magat (full bio at bottom of the post), leadership and talent development consultant, coach and mentor, about a topic of crucial importance in the global mobility arena: management of headquarters’ expectations. I find it far too infrequently talked about, particularly in light of the huge impact it has on both expatriate and subsidiary (and in turn, overall organizational) success. I have previously written on this subject. I trust this open letter, intended as an exercise in empathy and walking in an expat’s shoes, and not as an indictment (unless the shoe fits), will help raise awareness and effect some change. Put those Cultural Detective subscriptions to good use, please! We need organizations that enable sustainable success, in all locations in which we operate.

“Much of expats’ energy, motivation and performance are affected by having to contend with home office senior leaders and their agents, who can be clueless and typically, frankly disinterested in the local realities, other than financial targets being met. These leaders and their collaborators often place unremitting pressure on expats to continue to conform to a home office-centric mindset, group-think, and timelines, with complete disregard of the challenges actually faced locally. All of these factors are at play as the expats are expected to perform and deliver results whilst mindful of risks to their personal reputation and consequent relationships with these leaders—affecting pay, bonuses, career progression AND family.”
—Reyno Magat

Dear former colleagues,

Before you ask, I’m happy to say my family and I are settled back home, having secured a really incredible new job at one of your competitors. As an added incentive, they have given me the promotion I had missed out on [for the second time, even though it had been verbally promised to me when you offered me the foreign assignment], and they’ve generously made up the cumulative pay awards and bonuses which you have steadfastly refused to give me, all on top of their superlative relocation package. Although I guess it was rather flattering that you had me flown back home for a series of discussions [business class flights and fine dining at your expense no less!] after I sent you my resignation letter, I have to say all of your efforts were too late, frankly, far too late.

Oh, just in case you’re genuinely interested to know, my dear wife is now able to have the medical attention she wasn’t entitled to whilst we were abroad, because your medical benefits package did not apply to her. You considered her a local national there, even though she has lived abroad for most of her life. You would have enjoyed meeting her when you visited, but of course you always had such tight schedules, having to fit in client meetings and their entertainment at the grand sporting and social events there [I always assured the local team that the timing was purely coincidental]. Memories of having to cajole the team to drop whatever they were doing [with unpaid overtime, as Group Finance would not have approved it] so that your visits, however frankly disrupting, went smoothly, are all in the distant past.

Speaking of clients, I’m relieved I no longer have to ask them, plead even, to provide yet more information to comply with your constant demands [which by the way seemed to invariably arrive late on Friday afternoons]. Thankfully, I’ve built very good relationships with them, although it never stopped them naturally making barely polite comments about what they call ‘imperialist/colonialist’ mentality and behaviours that must prevail at your home office. As I have often pointed out to you, many of your clients and, indeed, your employees there are well educated [including graduates from some of the best universities/business schools in the world], cosmopolitan and culturally sophisticated, some of whom coming from families, dynasties even, dating back to a time before our own nation became one. Unlike in our own culture, where people seemingly seek every opportunity to boast about their personal achievements, status and wealth, they are far too well brought up and well mannered to ever behave with such brashness, immodesty and self-publicity.

The local nationals there certainly never appreciated your inability and unwillingness to recognise that they come from an independent, sovereign nation which is only one, albeit in their eyes the most economically vibrant, of several that make up a region of different  histories, politics, economics and cultures. Yes, as I had pointed out so many times until I was blue in the face, indeed that country belongs to a geographical region, but their nation has a distinct market, business practices and customs, and political sensitivities [which may be different to ours, but not to be equated or conveniently labelled as being ‘corrupt’, ‘illegal’ or ‘laissez faire’]. I always felt very uncomfortable and worried about having to translate your memos, circulars and announcements into a language that all can understand, and have them not be seen as offensive. Inevitably, I was often accused by yourselves of having gone ‘native’ and not being mindful of Group initiatives or indeed being a dutiful corporate citizen. Frankly, frequently I didn’t understand them either, and our lives were made tougher, especially when the timelines were so compressed that they required all of us to stop everything else to comply. And, when I queried some of the content, somehow I was invariably referred to the corporate intranet. Because of time zone differences, it was often difficult to find anyone at your offices in any case who was available to help. Actually, even when I did visit your home office as part of my bi-annual leave, I found there were so many new faces, and that some of the people I had known well before I departed seemed to have moved on.

I believe you really ought to stop believing your own advertisement; that of being a truly global company, as in reality you are principally a domestic company that happens to have international offices. The market there as well as the clients, competitors and your very own employees think the same. Certainly, the employees witness on a daily basis the battles between yourselves and the local management team, with yours truly often being ‘piggy in the middle’! I know for sure that none of you ever appreciated my many sincere  efforts to mediate, and to offer what I believed to be workable solutions, as such actions had most certainly cost me my promotion and any chances of pay awards and bonuses during the time I was there. How I wish I was wiser when you asked me to take on the assignment and uproot my family, for what you then described as a ‘fast track’ for my career. I should have suspected earlier on, indeed even before I left the home office, that you were really ever only interested in sending a ‘body’ over there when HR suggested, as my own and my family’s only preparation, to go to the CIA website to read the country report of where we were going, as well as to go to the Amazon website to search for books about that country. Apart from a lengthy briefing on the company’s tax equalisation policy, that was the sum total of help my family and I were ever given.

I had actually used my own initiative before departing, by contacting Manuel Jones who you know had been an expat himself in several countries [mostly in other regions], and had been assigned previously to that country. After arrival though, I soon discovered that despite his many years of working and living abroad, his perceptions were inaccurate, dated, narrowly focused, and on many occasions, frankly racist. In fact, it made me wonder whether he actually met or formed any meaningful relationships with the local nationals, as he painted a significantly different picture of the people and the country. I suppose it was some years ago when he had all that foreign experience, and norms and business practices and realities have moved on rapidly since his time.

Looking ahead, and positively, senior management [and HR!] in my new company have warmly welcomed my offer to assist them in selecting people for foreign assignments, and to coach and mentor current and future expats. As HR is presently reviewing their foreign assignment policies and procedures, they have asked me to be one of their advisors, and I shall be collaborating with them too to identify new methods and sources of direct help aimed at all foreign assignees and their families. These will include setting up a panel of coaches and mentors specifically available to assist them [despite her own ill-treatment from you, my wife is certainly willing to assist too]. The Group CEO has already started introducing me as the Executive Committee’s newly appointed ‘BS detector’, who is expected to carry out reality checks on important home office directives before they are issued.

My experience with your company has made me justifiably sceptical, naturally, about what my new company will actually ‘deliver’ vs. intent, but I shall nevertheless be optimistic. I owe it to other expats and their families.

Sincerely,

Disillusioned but unbowed

*Reyno Magat is a London-based leadership and talent development consultant, coach and mentor. Over 35 years of working in the learning and development field has not diminished his  relish and enthusiasm for working with leaders at various levels to equip them with the self-awareness, skills and motivation to perform at their best and to develop to their full potential. Having worked with some 30 nationalities in about 15 countries from 5 sectors, he brings to bear his own personal international background, extensive insights into business and organisational realities, creative spark, and a healthy dose of pragmatism, whether he is facilitating a leadership workshop or on an executive coaching assignment. With the added direct experience of having been a corporate buyer of external leadership and cross-cultural development services, he is keenly aware of the imperative to seamlessly integrate learning interventions with the values, culture, priorities and realities within, client organisations. By being challenging and provoking honest reflection, his primary focus typically is on consistent, culturally-appropriate behaviours, and commercially-anchored, sustainable decisions that will produce the desired results for the client.

Developmental Intercultural Competence Using Cultural Detective Online

CDO
Are you doing your best to develop cross-cultural effectiveness in your organization, and want better results? Quicker results? Longer lasting results? Or, maybe even just results—heightened productivity and satisfaction? Our clients have achieved amazing increases in cross-cultural effectiveness—their people improving two stages on the DMIS (the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity) in a few months, and customer satisfaction increasing 30%—using Cultural Detective developmentally. How did they do that?…

Index for This Post (jump ahead if you’d like)
The DMIS
The DMIS and Cultural Detective
How Customers Successfully Build Intercultural Competence
Additional Resources

Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity ©Dr. Milton J. Bennett, 1986 & 1993.

Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity ©Dr. Milton J. Bennett, 1986 & 1993.

The DMIS
Let me start by telling you about the DMIS. First published by Dr. Milton Bennett in the International Journal of Intercultural Relations in 1986, and more fully developed in Education for the Intercultural Experience in 1993, the DMIS has proven to be a key milestone in the intercultural field. It provides a roadmap for those of us who aim to develop intercultural competence.

A developmental model is a conceptual framework that helps us better understand a progressive process, as well as providing guides for continued development. Examples of a developmental model with which most parents are familiar are those charts that track the major milestones of an infant’s growth. Such models help us anticipate when our baby will smile, sit up, crawl, or distinguish right from wrong, and they can help us ready our children for their next big challenge. There are abilities our baby generally must develop (e.g., roll over) before being ready to accomplish tasks at a higher stage of development (e.g., crawl). At each stage, the baby needs to be appropriately encouraged, while also feeling safe enough to take the risk to try something new.

Similarly, the DMIS is a conceptual model of six stages of the development of intercultural sensitivity, from ethnocentrism to ethno-relativism. The IDI, or Intercultural Development Inventory, is a psychometric instrument that assesses one’s stage of development. Its origins are based in the DMIS, though it uses a slightly modified version of the model today, called the IDC (Intercultural Development Continuum). The DMIS and the IDI enable us to track where we are in the development of our intercultural sensitivity, and ready ourselves for enhanced sensitivity or effectiveness.

The DMIS and Cultural Detective
The beauty our clients have found in the Cultural Detective Method is that it challenges and supports, stretches and comforts, learners at each stage of their development of intercultural sensitivity. While the DMIS and IDI indicate where one is on the developmental continuum, Cultural Detective assists in the learning and development of the skills needed to succeed in cross-cultural interactions.

The process works organically. The designer must make the case for diversity and inclusion in developmentally appropriate ways, and debrief learning in ways that comfort and challenge the learners. However, the Cultural Detective (CD) Method itself need not vary, no matter the developmental stage. Learners, depending on their abilities, will naturally use the CD Method differently at different levels of development.

Let me give a couple of examples.
  • Learners in ethnocentric stages of development will easily and fairly quickly solve a Cultural Detective mystery—they will be eager to complete the Worksheet, solve the problem, give the participants in the critical incident advice on what they should have done differently. Facilitators will observe, however, that learners at earlier development stages will suggest Cultural Bridges that are naïve or unrealistic, though of course possible. They might suggest, for example, that “the Japanese person just needs to speak up more assertively,” or “the Mexican manager needs to be more considerate of others and trust that his and his company’s welfare will be looked after.” Both of these recommendations are within the realm of possibility, both are achievable by Japanese and Mexicans of certain personality types or personal discipline, but such Bridges are not realistic for the majority of people from those cultures. Learners in ethnocentric stages feel good that they are able to solve the problem, which encourages them to try another and, with practice, learn what really works and what doesn’t when teaming across cultures.
  • When completing that same Cultural Detective Worksheet, learners in ethno-relative stages of development will enjoy pairing Values, Beliefs and Cultural Sense with the Words and Actions they motivate. They will invest effort into discerning the commonalties, as well as the differences, between the participants in the critical incident. They will develop ways to build on shared interests, while also leveraging diverse opinions and abilities, so that all players more fully contribute and the organization or community benefits. They will, without prompting, compare themselves, their values and beliefs, to the players in the incident—constantly learning, discovering, and refining their self-understanding. They will, in an organic way, explore and cultivate their cultural (or multicultural) identities, their understanding of and empathy for others, and their abilities to collaborate across cultures.

Thus, in a very natural way, learners at all stages of development receive the support as well as the challenge they need to continue their developmental journey towards intercultural sensitivity. There is very little stress on the facilitator to adapt the CD Method for the learner’s level of development, freeing the facilitator to focus effort on answering questions and dealing with resistance in ways that are both appropriately challenging and supportive to the learner.

And such a flexible process can be a blessing when we work with groups from mixed developmental levels. I often compare the Cultural Detective Method to the Montessori approach, because learners at all developmental levels can gain from helping one another.

So, How Do Customers Do It? How Do They Successfully Build Competence?

1. Research shows the development of intercultural competence requires ongoing, structured learning. That is precisely what a subscription to Cultural Detective Online (CDO) provides. So, first, get a subscription. If you want to build competence in your team or organization, if you are an experienced interculturalist, or if you are new to the Diversity and Inclusion space, a CDO subscription is a small investment with huge potential. The subscription agreement allows you to project CDO contents onto a screen for group viewing in any work you personally deliver, as long as you explain to your learners that Cultural Detective Online is a tool that anyone can subscribe to. Our goal is to get these materials used!

2. USE the system, regularly. Cultural Detective Online isn’t an entertainment system; it isn’t passive; it won’t give you intercultural competence through osmosis or by using magic dust. (That’ll be version 2! Just kidding.) Log onto the system once a week, and spend 20-30 minutes debriefing a critical incident, and using Values Lenses to supplement what you see. Respond to the prompts asking you what you’ve learned. Review your notes.

3. After a few weeks using your subscription, once you feel comfortable and competent with the Cultural Detective Worksheet, upload your own incident. Choose something from your real life: perhaps an interaction with a family member, friend, or colleague that puzzled you. Once you write the brief story, link the participants in your incident (yourself and others) to the Values Lenses in the Cultural Detective Online system. Think about why you behaved the way you did, and reflect on the influence that national, gender, generational, and spiritual values had on your behavior. Think about these same influences on the other people in your incident.

4. Then, you can discuss the incident with the real people involved in the situation. Having worked through a CD Worksheet, you will be able to move beyond judgment in your discussion. You will have already thought through the possible positive intentions of the other person, so your dialogue will proceed constructively. You both can learn, and collectively develop strategies to collaborate, or cohabitate, more enjoyably.

5. If you are a team lead or an organizational facilitator, gather your learners together regularly (monthly, quarterly), to discuss what skills they are acquiring using the CD Online system, questions they have, and the challenges they’re experiencing in developing intercultural competence.

6. Remember, Cultural Detective need not stand alone; supplement the tool with your favorite activities: simulations, exercises, videos, role-plays, etc. The core Cultural Detective Method dovetails smoothly with just about any other intercultural tool or technique, because it is a process.

7. If you want to track your progress, be sure to use the IDI to get baseline measurements of participants in your group. I’d then recommend participants take the IDI again, after three months of structured learning using CDO. You will be amazed by the results!

8. Cultural Detective Online is a tool. It doesn’t replace skilled facilitation; it supplements and extends it. You may already use the MBTI, the IDI, dimensions models, etc., in the training or coaching you do. Add CD Online to your repertoire and you will be delighted at how it transforms what you are able to achieve with your learners.

9. Be sure to share your Cultural Effective success story with us, and get your organization some positive kudos!

Additional Resources
A few years ago, two very experienced and well-regarded intercultural facilitators, Heather Robinson and Laura Bathurst, wrote an article explaining what I’m talking about.

I am also happy to share with you one of the handouts I prepared for a session at a recent IDI Conference (be sure to scroll down to view all three pages). This handout is a table showing the needs for challenge and support at each stage of development, and explicates the ways in which the Cultural Detective Method meets those needs. You are most welcome to download and print this handout. Note that in the handout you will find the five stages of development that are currently used by the IDI (slightly different than those of the DMIS, above).

Please let us know how you have used Cultural Detective in your teaching and training to facilitate your learners’ intercultural development. I would also like to invite any researchers or graduate students who are interested in conducting research on this important topic to contact us.

Want to Get Rave Reviews AND Truly Make a Difference?

WowlargeHow would you like to revel in unsolicited, overwhelming praise and gratitude? And, on the job, no less?

We all make fun of “happy sheets,” those “feel good” evaluation forms participants are asked to fill out at the conclusion of a training session. But how sweet it is when a hardworking facilitator or coach receives unsolicited kudos! And Cultural Detective can enable you to do just that.

We help you look better and DO better! Cultural Detective provides a core process for developing intercultural competence, and you facilitators, coaches, team leads, study abroad counselors, professors—you add the bells and whistles, the supplementary activities and simulations, the design and personality that weave it all into a smashing success! You know you’re using a state-of-the-art Method, grounded in developmental and constructivist theories, adding both to your credibility and effectiveness.

Here’s an email one corporate trainer recently received after using Cultural Detective. Thank you for sharing it with us!

“Hi,

I trust you are back home, and preparing for your next Cultural Detective training session. I hope all is well.

I want to thank you for coming and bringing your fabulous Cultural Detective presentation and training. I swear to goodness I have used what I learned no less than five times, within our group, to resolve differences that could have been roadblocks otherwise. You squarely “nailed” the subject matter and how to use it. Your passion, your examples, your group exercises, how you drew people out to share their experiences and expectations and your patience (with at least one of us, who shall remain nameless) was inspiring. It was excellent, and the water-cooler talk I heard echoed the same thoughts as mine. I can truthfully say that I got more out of those short, few hours, than any other training I can think of. I am anxious to use the strategy in a discussion with parties of more diverse cultures than my five encounters so far. I’m confident we both will win.

I hope you can carry Cultural Detective all across the organization, because it applies to everyone; I even used it with my wife to determine where we were going to eat, just like the example you used! How about that for an example of classroom to practice! I don’t think it gets any better than that.

Well, thanks again. I just wanted you to know how much I though of your training and what it had done for me, in, what, a week? It was great. Thanks, and if ever I can be of service to you in someway, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Sincerely,

(signature removed for privacy), a practicing cultural detective

Cross-cultural Competence Enhances Productivity AND Satisfaction

Last week a new brochure, this week a new introductory presentation! Thank you all for the incredible work you do with this process and these materials, to build cross-cultural respect, teamwork, productivity and equity!!!!

Use it, pass it around, and do the good work! Thank you, everyone!

Six Powerful Ways to Build Cross-cultural Effectiveness

numeral button-sixWe have some very exciting news for you! Cultural Detective has teamed up with several of our partners to offer you SIX innovative ways to harness the innovation and power of diversity!

Yes, six upcoming events, several of which are free of charge.

Please take the time to sign up now to secure your seats, as these events will sell out quickly.

Tatyana Webinar FINAL#1: JUNE 3, Online
The Art of Facilitation for a Global World

This free-of-charge webinar will be conducted by Tatyana Fertelmeyster, and will preview three of the many dynamite learning opportunities that will be offered at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication in July, each of which will include Cultural Detective. Her unique technique of Spontaneous Facilitation allows her to work with individuals and groups with maximum concentration on the reality of the present moment. Click here to learn more or register.

IMG_9443#2: JUNE 5 & 20, JULY 10 & 18, AUGUST 7 & 22, Online
Enhancing Cross-Cultural Collaboration:
Demonstration of Cultural Detective Online

These events are free-of-charge. Participants learn to leverage similarities and diversity as assets, rather than minimizing or managing around difference. You will experience some of the wealth of content and process available in the Cultural Detective Online system, and see how easily the system can be incorporated into existing courseware. Participants in the webinar receive a free three-day pass to Cultural Detective Online.

Click here to view client testimonials and videos on the Cultural Detective Online system. From that page, click on “Learn More/Subscribe” for details and pricing information. To learn more about this event or sign up click here.

Flyer seminario sin

#3: JUNE 6, Bogotá COLOMBIA
Negociando A Través de las Culturas

Cultural Detective is proud to sponsor this event conducted by Global Minds. Facilitated by Fernando Parrado, it will be held in the Salón Fundadores at the beautiful Uniandinos. The event will focus on joint ventures between Colombia and India.

60772_497965080240721_1862908967_n#4: JUNE 25, Online
Coaching and the Cultural Detective: A Creative and Transformative Process

This is a brand-new, first-time-ever offering! Are you are a business leader, coach, consultant, speaker or teacher? Do you want to become culturally competent and self-confident in the global arena? In our webinar we will introduce you to a powerful and transformative coaching process for cross-cultural competence!

The coaching process leverages the core process and wealth of content in the Cultural Detective Online to provide you with a comprehensive learning experience that is stimulating, supportive and transformative! In addition to exploring key cultural concepts and culture-specific information, the collaborative and creative coaching environment helps you develop new perspectives and skills for bridging the gap between your personal cultural “sense” and the cultural “sense” of your colleagues and clients.

The webinar will be facilitated by Jan O’Brien, IAC-MCC, President of Culture-Conscious International, a coaching and consulting company based in Houston, Texas. Jan is a US/UK dual national and has lived and worked extensively overseas, in particular in the US and the South East Asia region. She is a Certified Cultural Detective® facilitator and a Master Certified Coach with the International Association of Coaching (IAC). Jan has worked with clients from many language and cultural backgrounds and has personally experienced the benefits and challenges of living and working in the global arena. To learn more or register click here.

ici#5: JULY 20-21, Portland Oregon USA
Cultural Detective Facilitator Certification

Live and in person, this two-day facilitator certification program is the ONLY PUBLIC CERTIFICATION we have scheduled this year.

This workshop will be held between Sessions 2 and 3 of the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication, to make it convenient for you to attend and take advantage of other professional development opportunities in the same trip. Facilitated by Tatyana Fertelmeyster. This workshop will include a one-month subscription to Cultural Detective Online.

Click here to register. Click here for more information.

highroaders_logo#6: SEPTEMBER 24, Online
High-Performing Global Teams: How to Combine Virtual Training and
Cultural Detective for Incredible Results

This event sold out within 26 hours the first time we held it. This will be the second time it’s offered. Global teams have become the norm in most business environments today, but many teams never achieve “high-performance.” Why? Because team members from around the world are expected to achieve consistent results across languages, time zones, cultural values, and more but they are not given all of the skills they need to match this expectation.

Join us for an interactive webinar and learn the latest creative techniques for preparing today’s global teams to excel. Explore how global teams can come together via virtual training platforms and use Cultural Detective to work through scenarios relevant to their business challenges.

In this webinar, Vicki Flier Hudson, Chief Collaboration Officer for Highroad Global Services will walk you through a demonstration of a global team training designed for a large company using a variety of tools including Cultural Detective Online. You will gain ideas, tips, and strategies to help bring your global team together, build solid relationships, and achieve high-performance. To learn more or register click here.

Does Cultural Detective “Work” in a University Setting?

Simons-ESPEME

Click on the image to view a full-size version of this letter.

We are very proud to say that Cultural Detective has been an essential ingredient of the International Business Management Program in the ESPEME-EDHEC Business School in France over the past six-years. Dr. George Simons and colleagues have designed and delivered leading-edge courseware in fully simulated environments, spiraling around a Cultural Detective backbone. The results they have achieved have been remarkable. George has, over the years, most generously shared his experiences, his students’ projects (Blended Culture identity, comparative culture differences, movies, artwork, papers), and his designs with us.

I am thus quite eager to share with you this letter from Elizabeth Dickson, Head of the International Business Management Program at EDHEC Nice and Lille. I’m confident you’ll join me in congratulating George as well as his colleagues for the fine work they continue to do. I believe you will find it interesting to read Elizabeth’s letter, and to view what one head of a major educational institution feels have been the components of a successful international business course.

And, to answer the question in this post’s title, “Yes, by all means. There are quite a few universities on several continents using Cultural Detective to great effect.” It’s not just for business anymore.

There are quite a few other use cases that might prove interesting to you on our website.

The Best-Kept Secret of Successful Teams

4 Phase ModelAlmost every team and community today is diverse in some way or another: gender, age, spirituality, professional training, ethnicity, nationality… While we respect other styles and cultures, most of us still get stuck at some point where we say, “OK, we’re different; now how do we work (or live) side-by-side? How do we harness our differences as creative assets? At a minimum, how do we simply keep from driving each other crazy?”

We might work with partners who view time as flexible and events as unfolding. This may mean that, to them, deadlines are mutable and subject to change. Meanwhile, we push ourselves and our bodies, working overtime to make sure we honor our commitment to an agreed-upon deadline. While we may respect our colleagues’ view of time management on a theoretical basis, and perhaps envy them their apparently healthy work-life balance, how do we succeed with partners who don’t seem to respect their commitments to deadlines?

Perhaps we have a neighbor or even a waiter at a favorite restaurant who communicates very directly, yet we prefer a bit more indirection, thank you. While we respect their communication style, it can get irritating and try our patience.

Too often we fail to actively seek to bridge differences because we see them as something negative, as something that separates rather than unites us. Yet, by ignoring our differences, by pretending they are not there, we imbue them with great power. Eventually they can get the best of us, surprising us at awkward moments and causing frustration and tension. Our reluctance to address differences may stem from a fear that acknowledging their existence may push us farther apart rather than allowing us to collaborate enjoyably.

So, how do we transform these differences into assets? How do we convert them from something to be denied, hidden, or tamped down, into something to be embraced and used for the good of the organization and the team?

One model that has proven quite useful over the past two decades of use comes from the classic and widely used simulation, Ecotonos: A Simulation for Collaborating Across Cultures. Called the “Four-Phase Model for Task Accomplishment,” this very simple approach guides us to first identify the similarities and differences at play in our interaction, verbally affirm them, spend time understanding them and, finally, explore how to leverage them.

How a specific team leverages similarities and differences will depend on the members of the team and their shared goals and realities. Each team creates its own team culture, ideally based upon and growing out of the first three phases of this Four-Phase Model.

As you can see in the graphic above, the Four-Phase Model is not linear, but rather each phase weaves into and out of the other. For example, understanding may lead to further identifying, or leveraging may lead to added affirmation.

A text description of the Model accompanies Ecotonos and provides further elaboration of the graphic:

Identifying
  • Perceiving similarities and differences
  • Establishing which differences are divisive and which commonalties unite
  • Creating self-awareness of one’s own strengths and styles
  • Appropriate balancing of the tension between sameness and difference
Affirming
  • Confirming individual commonalties and differences
  • Substantiating that difference is desirable
  • Legitimizing difference in the eyes of the group
  • Welcoming conflict and paying attention
Understanding
  • Attempting to understand the other person’s perspective
  • Stepping into the other’s shoes
  • Mirroring/exploring and discovering together
  • Probing for deeper comprehension using various approaches
  • Seeing an issue from several vantage points
Leveraging
  • Defining how team members can contribute to goal accomplishment
  • Agreeing on methods for utilizing team expertise
  • Facilitating the generation of creative solutions
  • Creating a “team” culture
  • Focusing on efficiency and effectiveness

Once people become comfortable with the Identifying Phase, they may perceive the Affirming Phase as something unnecessary, a waste of everyone’s time. “We are all adults. We don’t need to give one another kudos.”

But my extensive experience proves, over and over again, that taking the time and effort to actively engage in the Affirming Phase is well worth the investment. Proceeding more slowly allows the team to accomplish more in less time, so to speak.

Below is one video that illustrates the value of affirmation in our lives. It is pretty long, but you’ll get the idea pretty quickly and I’m confident you’ll enjoy watching it.

The Four-Phase Model is one tool that can powerfully transform conflict into productivity and innovation. And, by the way, don’t forget that you are awesome!