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!
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!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
We receive so many requests from people based in Europe who want to attend a Cultural Detective Certification. If you live in Europe, this is your only chance to attend one this year on your home continent at an unbelievable price, so please do not miss out! Also very convenient for anyone attending the 2019 SIETAR Europa Congress in Leuven.
Conducted by Tatyana Fertelmeyster, this workshop will be a pre-conference event for the SIETAR Europa Conference. Participants will learn to facilitate Cultural Detective’s state-of-the-art, developmentally appropriate, theoretically-grounded and immediately practical method to build intercultural competence in their organizations, communities and teams.
Stories are the cornerstone of the Cultural Detective Method, and we have written about them on this blog quite often. Today I am very pleased to share with you a guest blog post by Joanna Sell, storyteller extraordinaire. She will be leading a complimentary webinar for us on 6th December 2018. Register now!
You might be asking why storytelling in intercultural communication? This exact question marked the beginning of my journey towards the storytelling approach. When I was setting the sails, I had no idea where it would bring me. I simply knew that my clients in the business world, my students at the universities, and many people working across cultures desperately wanted golden recipes on how to behave in intercultural contexts. Does that sound familiar to you?
Following the motto, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” people wanted to hear do’s and don’ts for communicating and cooperating with the “inhabitants of Rome.” What struck me, mostly, was the fact that they were deeply convinced that such “ready-made recipes” existed or were useful.
On one hand they acknowledged the diversity of their own groups and said: “Well, our group is very diverse in terms of age, gender, professional background, and nationality, and it is clear that our setting is ‘colorful,’ but we are here to hear about ‘Rome and the Romans.'” I asked myself why was it so easy to talk about a mosaic of cultures in their own groups while also asking for do’s and don’ts lists for communicating with “the others.”
Everything changed once we exchanged stories. Suddenly, the beauty of diversity became tangible and the focus moved towards practicing perspective change, self-reflection regarding communication skills, and a clear shift from “autopilot modus” towards curiosity and acceptance of differing thinking patterns.
As an intercultural trainer and coach I was overwhelmed—and I experienced my own personal change, as well. I still provided input on doing business and working in teams in countries of my expertise, and I addressed the challenges and rewards of virtual leadership. However, I began to incorporate the experience and knowledge of the participants into my programs much more. Why? Because the narrative approach and various storytelling methods guided me to get to know my participants better, allowing me to better tailor the content to their needs.
Additionally, thanks to the exchange of stories, they got to know one another from a completely new perspective and were willing to share their experiences in an open manner. A setting of psychological safety and an atmosphere of trust were the most wonderful gifts most of us experienced during time spent together sharing stories. Discussions about establishing trust and designing a team charter took on completely new dynamics. When we talked about action plans at the end of the meeting, participants were much more committed to following through, as well as to risk story sharing in their professional contexts and to apply storytelling methods in their daily lives.
I gathered the list of the reasons that storytelling works so well in the intercultural context, and I welcome your ideas to add to my observations.
- Storytelling allows discovering cultural roots from multiple perspectives.
- Storytelling offers insights into complexity of multicultural identities.
- Storytelling supports zooming in and out, i.e., perspective change.
- Storytelling adds the emotional layer to the cognitive level.
- Storytelling serves as means of transmitting cultures.
- Storytelling deals with new stories of belonging.
- Storytelling initiates change processes.
- Storytelling moves hearts.
Guest blog post by Bego Lozano, who has lived and worked in different countries and cultures over the past 20 years. Right now, she calls home the Bay Area of California where she focuses on mindful leadership and coaching.
As a fan and user of both Cultural Detective® and Personal Leadership®, I was delighted to learn that there is a tool called EPIC (Essential Practice of Intercultural Competence) that combines both.
I recently used the EPIC Toolkit to design, deliver and facilitate a training for a California-based NGO that focuses on supporting those affected by Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that currently has no cure. This NGO had a unique challenge: funding for programs aimed at Spanish-speaking families had stopped with the 2008 financial crisis and had only recently returned. Their first attempt at organizing an event had fallen short of their expectations—both their internal expectations and those of their partners. They hired me to help make sure that didn’t happen again; they wanted to get the word out about prevention and treatment in powerful and meaningful ways. I turned to EPIC.
The beauty of EPIC is that participants develop awareness into what they personally bring to their work, plus gain insight and understanding of the core values of a culture different than their own. Quite often we forget that as human beings we bring our own cultural lenses to everything we do, and understanding a situation from our own perspective only gives us, at most, half the picture.
After an EPIC training, participants become more mindful of their own values and actions—why they respond in the ways they do. They learn to appreciate the values of the different culture, and most importantly, to build bridges to work better together.
EPIC is not a one-time fix; it is a process of continuous feedback and change, a mobius strip that has space for constant improvement and nuances. It is about competence, and therefore it includes practicing relentlessly and compassionately.
Last I checked, the programs for Spanish-speaking families were doing much better: employees had implemented small and significant changes that had increased participants’ engagement and comfort and their partner’s reported meaningful improvement. People were excited about their jobs and the positive impact they can have in their communities. If you’d like to learn more about EPIC or give it a spin yourself, it is available for license and is such a value!
Register now to learn to use Cultural Detective’s robust and personally customized online system to improve intercultural competence in your communities, organizations and teams—bridging the issues that polarize our societies and leveraging differences as assets.
We have two upcoming workshops, one in San Diego USA in October and the other in Vienna AUSTRIA in November. Proceeds from both events will support the respective SIETAR (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research) organizations. You will leave the workshop with a developmentally-sound set of tools in your hands and the knowledge and skill to use them. You will form meaningful, long-lasting relationships with leading professionals. And, as a certified facilitator, you will receive a 10% discount when you license our printed materials, a listing on our website, and one-month access to Cultural Detective Online.
Click on the link to learn more or secure your seat now.
Would you like to improve your skills for working in a multicultural, geographically dispersed team or organization? For leading such teams? Are you charged with developing diversity and inclusion competence, or intercultural competence, in your students, colleagues or clients? Would you benefit from an intercultural competence tool that looks at people as unique individuals influenced by multiple different cultures (organizational, professional training, age/generation, spiritual tradition) and teaches critical thinking in context?
If so, you will want to attend a Cultural Detective Facilitator Certification programs. Use of Cultural Detective does not require certification—the Cultural Detective Method and materials were designed with the idea that they could be used by interested non-specialists. However, the Cultural Detective Series is so robust that users ask for in-depth workshops to learn more about the many applications and strengths of this versatile approach, and to network with peers using the Cultural Detective Method.
Cultural Detective Facilitator Certification Workshops are designed for small groups who share two-and-a-half days of intense, guided interaction; the current schedule of workshops is below. We explore what “intercultural communication competence” means and offer ways to use Cultural Detective to enhance intercultural effectiveness in your organization or community.
We have three public sessions on the calendar for 2017:
- IRELAND, Dublin, 22-24 May
- USA, Portland OR, 22-23 July
- AUSTRIA, Vienna, 23-25 November
In the video below, George Simons, a prolific Cultural Detective author and trainer of facilitators, explains what you can expect in a Cultural Detective Facilitator Certification. While his focus is the training in Dublin in May 2017, the process and content apply to any of our public certifications worldwide.
Register now to secure your seat for the workshop of your choice as spaces are limited. Certification Workshops are a wonderful way for the advanced practitioner to reflect on the things that matter, and develop the ability to combine and integrate various theories, approaches, and tools in the field. Those who are newer to the intercultural field will learn a developmental process that is theoretically grounded and proven effective, and that supplements and dovetails with the frequently used dimensions-based approaches. We explore the impact of multiple cultures on each of us, the idea of layering Value Lenses to visually represent these influences, and a variety of ways to incorporate Cultural Detective into your training, teaching and coaching.
We all very much look forward to seeing you there!
This is a guest blog post written by Amy Prunuske and Katie Nemeth. Their biographies follow the text.
The laboratory is a multicultural environment that stimulates innovation but also contributes to misunderstandings. Scientists often have formal training in research techniques, but rarely in communication, and particularly not in cross-cultural communication.
In the University of Wisconsin biochemistry laboratory in which Amy did her research training, there were lab mates from Korea, Germany, Japan, India, and Poland, as well as the USA. This diversity is vital for the development of new ideas, but it can also create communication challenges. Many of the undergraduates in the US Midwest come to the university with minimal exposure to people from different backgrounds, so it is important to help them understand that different cultures have differing verbal and nonverbal rules mediating social interactions.
During Katie’s postdoctoral training, she participated in many active learning and training workshops. While diversity and inclusivity were part of the lesson designs, she wondered if and how students could become actively mindful of the role that culture plays in a group setting. Seeking out ideas, she participated in non-science workshops and discovered Ecotonos: A Simulation for Collaborating Across Cultures. After finding this vital missing link, Katie worked with Amy to add the experiential learning component to various courses and groups in the biology department.
We have found that Ecotonos is an amazing way to expose scientists to the existence of cultural differences and how to use them as assets. As part of the activity, students are divided into three monocultural groups: Delphenius, Zante, and Aquila—each with a unique set of cultural characteristics. Ecotonos comes with ten sets of rule cards, three case studies and three different tasks, so students can play the game repeatedly and each time it’s different. Click any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.
In our work with the biology students, we have them practice their new cultural rules by creating a flag that represents the values of their culture (see pictures). The students in the monocultural groups enjoy taking on these new characteristics, with some finding it easy and others finding it challenging to behave in new ways.
After the monocultural work, participants are re-sorted into multicultural groups of different structures: minority-majority, joint venture with balanced populations, and diverse membership with representatives of all three cultures. In their multicultural groups, we have them rank the performance of three hypothetical workers, with the three workers demonstrating characteristics similar to one of the three sets of group rules. This exposes the participants to the ways in which we can be biased toward people with behaviors similar to those of our own culture, and allows students to practice getting beyond their biases.
We have used the program as part of the introduction to the biology laboratory, where they will be expected to work in groups, as well as in programs for undergraduates from groups under-represented in the sciences.
Ecotonos is a great ice breaker activity for the students to get to know their classmates, and students often carry forward some of the behaviors learned during the activity, like snapping in approval, as part of creating a new shared culture for their group. Most students find the activity to be fun, and leave it with a much greater appreciation for the challenges of working across cultures.
Here’s a typical student comment: “It was helpful to understand how difficult it might be interacting with a different culture for the first time.” This is an important lesson for scientists, who often believe their discipline is a meritocracy not subject to the biases that are universally found. We are currently measuring the impact of Ecotonos using the cultural intelligence assessment.
We would like to thank Dr. Shelley Smith for introducing Ecotonos to us. We are grateful for the time she took to share her expertise in running the activity.
Amy Prunskee is a Faculty Curriculum Program Manager and Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Medical College of Wisconsin — Central Wisconsin.
Katie Nemeth is an Assistant Professor of the teaching faculty in College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN.