April 2013
Clues to Intercultural Effectiveness
Tips, Techniques and Resources 
Building the "Business Case" for Intercultural Skills




"Our ability to engage successfully with other countries, organisations and people will depend to a large extent on whether we possess the necessary intercultural and foreign language skills to make fruitful connections, whether in trade and investment, charity/NGO programmes or as government and international organisations. This is fundamentally changing the way in which employers value and seek to develop intercultural skills in the workplace."


"More and more business leaders are identifying real business value in employing staff with intercultural skills. These skills are vital, not just in smoothing international business transactions, but also in developing long term relationships with customers and suppliers. Increasingly they also play a key role within the workplace, enhancing team working, fostering creativity, improving communication and reducing conflict. All this translates into greater efficiency, stronger brand identity, enhanced reputation and ultimately impact on the bottom line."

Assessment Tools and Profiles

You Trust a Quiz to Tell You Who You Are? 


You may have had the same experience I have: clients, students, trainees and colleagues often ask me what assessment tools I recommend. My response, of course, is "for what purpose?What do you want to assess?" Sadly they usually can not answer that question. They know they want something online, something quick. They want something that provides immediate feedback, either inexpensively or for free. But, they rarely have focused in on a purpose, on what they want to learn through the "assessment."


Sometimes I hear, "To give our people a profile of themselves, a profile of their style that tells them who and how they are." The assumption is that, by understanding ourselves via this hypothetical quick, online, inexpensive or free assessment, we will immediately (almost magically) become empowered to collaborate more effectively across cultures.  


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Building Cross-cultural Competence




Participants will learn the basic Cultural Detective Method for bridging cultures. Rather than minimize difference you will learn to leverage similarities and diversity as assets. 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 will receive a free three-day subscription to CD Online.


 Learn more or register

Cultural Detective Women & Men and GGIA
by Donna Stringer

A New Tool and a New Mashup on Gender Relations


The Global Gender Intelligence Assessment is a new online tool created by Barbara Annis and Alan RichterIt is an outstanding resource that measures gender attitudes and competence in the areas of Insight (Head), Inclusion (Heart) and Adaptation (Hands). These three constructs are combined with scores for Self, Others and World, giving you a 3 x 3 grid of nine gender, related competencies each with interpretation and developmental suggestions. There are two versions of the assessment: one for general staff and one for leaders.


As a developmental process, it would work beautifully to use the GGIA as a follow-up to the CD Women and Men. Having experienced a non-judgmental process of understanding and considering both one's own and the "other" gender, and identifying bridging behaviors, most individuals would now be ready to complete an assessment that allows them an interpretation of their responses followed by outstanding strategies for personal development suggestions... 


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Impressive, Powerful, Thought-provoking 



How about watching a terrific film from Chile? Our local rental place had a closeout a few weeks ago, and one of the DVDs we happened upon was Machuca, a 2004 film by Andrés Wood. What a terrific find!


I am often asked about status and class in Latin America by those who come from more egalitarian societies. Navigating class differences has been one of our greatest challenges living in México; neither life in the US, Spain, nor Japan equipped us for the expected and often desired separateness here. While a period piece, Machuca viscerally illustrates the class differences and tensions of the era, and I would recommend it as a worthwhile resource.


Read the review 

Interpreting Between the Signs

"Signs" of Cross-cultural Difference: Lydia Callis


It seems I missed a huge fifteen minutes of fame during Superstorm Sandy. Such frequently happens to me, living in the "provincias" of Mexico as I do.


The events I mention involve NYC Mayor Bloomberg's sign language interpreter, Lydia Callis. Reactions by the Hearing community to Lydia's powerful interpreting skills were discussed on prime-time news and talk shows domestically and internationally. Parodies of Lydia signing appeared on a seemingly endless array of radio and television shows and internet sites.


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Re-shaping Cultural Identity Discourse
by George Simons

Using Social Media to Rebrand Culture 


Stories can be made to say what we want them to say. I went shopping this evening and, at the checkout, the cashier, seeing the bandage on my nose, asked what happened to me. To her horror, I explained it this way: "A couple days ago, I had an encounter with a young man, who had me held down and cut me with the blade that he had in his hand."


Her reaction naturally changed to one of amusement and empathy, the moment I mentioned that the young man in question was my surgeon, and the immobilization was being strapped to the operating table! There is no untruth in the first story, but the discourse it calls forth depends on who the listener is, and evokes a substantially different discourse with the omission or addition of a few details. Had I told the same to my policeman neighbor, I'm sure a different automatic discourse would have sprung up for him, and he would have started to ask different questions, though, knowing him, I am sure he would have had a hearty, guys-will-be-guys laugh at the end. The key to the ultimate meaning of stories is intentionality. I was taking advantage of my strange appearance to lighten my pain and have a little fun. Understanding intentionality is the key to cultural competence, not just recognizing difference and learning to adapt behaviors to the situation.  

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Transforming Pain Into Constructive Action




Cultural Detective is about collaboration, authenticity, respect, and bridging differences. The CD Method has long leveraged drama, primarily through the acting out and resolution of critical incidents, as it involves our whole person: body, heart, head and spirit.


I was delighted to learn recently about one colleague who combines our goals with one of our favorite techniques in incredibly powerful ways! On a daily basis I am astounded by and grateful for the unique contributions you, our Cultural Detective community, make to the world around us, and I'm eager to share with you this latest example.


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Vanessa G. Hernández