PTPI Americas Regional Meeting 2012

As I had just finished facilitating the PTPI (People to People International) workshop and entering the elevator with some PTPI attendees, I was pleased to hear a funny comment by one participant: “I am so glad this was about developing cross-cultural skills as I was afraid we might be participating in some sort of scavenger hunt!”

Well, it was in fact a hunt in some ways – we searched for clues about what motivates our friends and colleagues to behave the way they do and what motivates us to act and react the way we do!

Key learnings from group wrap up were described as:

  • Seek to understand others values and what’s really motivating their behavior
  • Look for similar values and use those to collaborate
  • Appreciate differences
  • Incorporate the strengths of all team members – there is no “right way” to get things done
  • Show up with an open mind

The PTPI Cultural Detective session was designed to help the PTPI  community members and their board of directors with strategies to improve their diverse recruiting – and it was received very positively with a quick post, “Incredible Presentation by Cultural Detective,” and the above photo from Liz Wegman, PTPI staff member. We had a group of about 35 PTPI leaders in attendance from all over the country and world who will return to their communities with fresh perspectives and strategies around building more diversity in their chapters.

Although diverse recruitment is not typically how I lead into discussions around working with the Cultural Detective tools, it certainly was an applicable organizational need which developing intercultural competence can help solve. Has PTPI’s unique application of the Cultural Detective approach spurred some ideas for you to assist your or your clients’ specific intercultural challenges?

People To People International Working with Cultural Detective to Diversify Chapter Recruitment

Over the past several years I have enjoyed developing a professional and personally meaningful relationship with the People to People International organization (PTPI). For those of you who are not familiar with PTPI, the organization was founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 and is now run by his granddaughter, Mary Jean Eisenhower. Their mission is “to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures.” They are a dynamic group of dedicated staff and thousands of volunteers in over 135 countries truly working to promote the benefit of people working and living cooperatively together throughout our world. They are known by their tagline, “Peace Through Understanding.

Last year in November Cultural Detective had the privilege of sponsoring and designing the student curriculum for the PTPI Global Youth Forum 2011 (GYF). We focused on designing curriculum that would readily engage about 130 students and GYF leaders and most importantly inspire them to explore building relationships outside of their perhaps “look and act like me” group of students and friends in their local communities. Based on the testimonials of both students and teachers, we feel we did a pretty good job!

This spring I’ve been asked to present the Cultural Detective Method to PTPI Board Members and the PTPI Community at Large so they can focus their attention on recruitment of diverse leaders and members. In the upcoming session I hope to show how generational differences as well as national cultural differences impact with whom we as individuals may naturally gravitate to, which can limit the growth opportunities possible by confidently reaching out to people of multiple cultures. Stay tuned for more about the event in a future post!