• A simple and powerful process
  • Experiential learning through critical incidents
  • Reliable, repeatable, and structured process
  • Quickly develop applicable skills

Once a Critical Incident has been analyzed using the Cultural Detective Worksheet, learners use Cultural Detective Values Lenses as clues to provide deeper insight into what happened in the story.


Values Lenses are a Cultural Detective’s magnifying glass; they represent the core values of a given culture or society—a selection of important values that are frequently misunderstood by outsiders, and thus get in the way of effective cross-cultural collaboration.

Each value on a Values Lens is defined with a few words, and then we provide examples of how the value influences everyday behavior. Common proverbs or sayings from the culture also illustrate each value’s meaning.

Despite the best of intentions, there are times when people may perceive others’ behavior as rude, inappropriate or simply perplexing. That is why an important component of Values Lenses is the inclusion of possible Negative Perceptions—some ways in which “outsiders” (those who don’t share a particular cultural value) might perceive the behavior of those who do.

Negative Perceptions serve as another set of clues for a Cultural Detective. If you perceive me as “rude,” for example, that perception gives you indications about the value that might be motivating me—and about the value that is causing you to think I am rude. Thus, Negative Perceptions provide insight not only into others and their beliefs and cultural sense, but into our own values and beliefs, as well.